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5 Thoughts on DPX, News of the Week, A Pinball Podcast Returns & More!

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Greetings, readers! This email comes to you from a writer who has finally recovered from the stress and excitement of Danielle Peck and Zoë Vrabel’s incredible game of Congo to close out this year’s Women’s Pinball World Championship.

There’s a lot going on, so let’s dive into This Week in Pinball:

  • Song of the Week

  • Pinball News of the Week

    • Five thoughts on Dutch’s launch of DPX

    • Pinball Brothers staff changes

    • An update from Pintastic New England

    • A new Brian Allen release and other sundry news

    • Women’s Pinball World Champion & NACS Winners

  • A fancy new Sponsor of the Week

  • Creator Highlights of the Week (including the return of a pinball podcast we haven’t heard from since 2019!)

  • Meme of the Week

  • Poll of the Week

Song of the Week

I’ve been itching for an opportunity to work Pulp’s 1995 brit-pop masterpiece Common People into an issue, and now feels like a great time with Dutch Pinball’s launch of DPX (see more below). A lot of people may be more familiar with William Shatner’s version.

Pinball News of the Week

Dutch Pinball Launches New DPX Brand

DPX (say it like GTF)

Dutch Pinball, makers of The Big Lebowski, announced on Facebook that they are introducing a new sub-brand called Dutch Pinball Exclusive, or DPX for short. This new division, or sister company as they call it, will be focused on producing smaller runs of pinball machines targeted to collectors. As the press release states, “Barry Driessen, founder of Dutch Pinball, in collaboration with Melvin Williams, has initiated DPX to cater to a niche market.”

At the same time, Dutch used the opportunity to tease what is likely to be the first release by DPX, a fully realized version of John Papadiuk’s Alice in Wonderland game, which never made it beyond the prototype phase and carries with it the stain of ventures associated with Papadiuk like Zidware and deeproot.

As with other pinball projects, I want to say it’s cool that Dutch Pinball is on the verge of bringing another game to market and that they appear to be building momentum and growing after a very long and difficult journey with TBL.

If nothing else, Papadiuk games that made it to production are a lot of fun to play, as he’s got a unique design approach that you don’t find replicated much by other designers (maybe for good reason).

Here are a few quick thoughts on the news:

  • Some people are bothered by any association with Papadiuk, as his Zidware failures left a dark spot on the industry. But that part doesn’t bother me—it doesn’t seem like Papadiuk is actually involved with this project. Instead, I tend to look at it as Dutch Pinball having acquired a distressed asset, in effect, getting discounted R&D costs for a comparable net-new game.

  • Dutch Pinball is already a niche manufacturer that mostly caters to premium buyers (collectors). It took them over a decade to complete their run of Big Lebowski games, and the number of games produced was relatively low and priced at a premium compared to a more volume-oriented manufacturer like Stern. So why go through the effort of establishing a sub-brand that effectively does the same thing and targets the same group of buyers?

  • To that end - the branding (primarily the name and logo design) isn’t distinct enough to truly separate itself from the primary Dutch Pinball brand in any meaningful way, like, for example, Toyota compared to Lexus. A typical buyer probably won’t draw enough of a line between DPX and Dutch for it to matter. Alice in Wonderland will be seen by the market as a Dutch Pinball release, more or less.

  • Why make this move now? In Dutch’s position, wouldn’t you want to focus on releasing a second functional game before diverting focus to a secondary brand?

  • My cynical take is that Dutch Pinball may lack confidence in the Alice in Wonderland game, or (more likely) they want the flexibility to take on more risk without causing too much collateral damage to the Dutch Pinball brand should something go wrong with a DPX release. If one of those fails, it’s OK because it’s not a Dutch Pinball release; it’s a DPX release, and DPX games are experimental and “pushing the envelope.”

Pinball Brothers Staff Turnover

On Tuesday, Richard Svanevik and Cato Paus Skrede, two of the original founders of Pinball Brothers, announced on Facebook that they were no longer with the company, had not been involved in decision-making since 2022, and officially exited in December of 2023 without a formal announcement by PB.

I wasn’t sure about including this as it’s not technically “news.” It’s a development that dates back to 2022 and, as such, really doesn’t materially affect the state of Pinball Brothers as we know it today.

Pinball Brothers are still on the verge of releasing a new game (rumored to be ABBA), are still associated with the Euro Pinball Corp. and Pedretti Gaming, and appear to be as active of a company as they ever were.

Staff turnover is unfortunate but a perfectly normal part of business, even at senior levels. If I were a prospective employee or investor, this data point would at least give me pause, but otherwise, it doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy.

The noteworthy bit of news to me is that it sounds like Richard and Cato may have other pinball projects in the works!

Pintastic Show Goes On Despite Founder’s House Fire

In a bit of sad news, Pintastic founder Gabe D'Annunzio lost his house this week in a fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, but I can’t imagine going through that myself.

The Pintastic organizers quickly got the word out about the ordeal, emphasizing that the upcoming show would continue as planned and in lieu of a fundraising campaign, simply wish to remind folks to attend the show, volunteer if possible, and that they still have room for game bringers and Flea Market vendors.

Brian Allen Releases New Alternative Art for No Good Gophers; Joins New Pedretti Project

Noted pinball artist Brian Allen recently released a new alternative artwork package for the Pat Lawlor-designed classic, No Good Gofers. Like other releases he’s done, he’s created a Translite, Limited Edition Backglass, Side Art Blades, and a full vinyl cabinet wrap. There’s also a Limited Edition art print for those who don’t own the game.

The artwork is really impressive, in line with other recent offerings. It even includes easter egg nods to iconic golf movies like Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore.

And in other Brian Allen news…

Pedretti Gaming announced that Allen would be involved in their upcoming project, rumored to be a remake of another Pat Lawlor classic, Funhouse.

Women’s Pinball World Championship & NACS Results

Two massive Women’s tournaments were held last week at Wizards World in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

As mentioned in the intro, Danielle Peck took down Zoë Vrabel in an epic game of Congo for the World Championship. Ashley Weaver and Louise Wagensonner came in 3rd and 4th place, respectively - and check out Ashley’s “special” outfit for the occasion!

In the Women’s NACS tournament, Amy Kesting won the day with Kassidy Milanowski coming in second. Zoë Vrabel, Crystal Cory rounded out the top finishers in 3rd and 4th.

Kudos to Ypsi Pinball for running an excellent stream all weekend!

A couple of folks got their feathers ruffled by one of our February issues, Does Weed Smoke Affect Pinball Machines, so now it’s officially a thing and makes this week’s sponsor appropriate.

Most people prefer to smoke cannabis but that isn’t an option if you’re at work or in public. That’s why we were so excited when we found out about Mood’s new Rapid Onset THC Gummies. They can take effect in as little as 5 minutes without the need for a lighter, lingering smells or any coughing. Nobody will ever know you’re enjoying some THC.

We recommend you try them out because they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. And for a limited time, you can receive 20% off with code FIRST20.

Creator Highlights of the Week

Meme of the Week

It's not exactly a meme, but thanks to Erin Seiden for pinging me about this synergistic cartoon from a recent issue of The New Yorker. Is Office Jargon pinball the worst table design ever?

Poll of the Week

Will you go down the rabbit hole with DPX?

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Last Week’s Poll Results

Which of these Barry Oursler games is your favorite?

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ Space Shuttle (19)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Phoenix (3)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Fire! (10)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Doctor Who (28)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Barracora (3)

🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️ Jack*Bot (24)

“Space shuttle is the game that saved Williams pinball they were nearly going out of business before that.”

Selected: Space Shuttle

“Not only is it the best Oursler game, it's the best game from the 1990s”

Selected: Jack*Bot

“love this table.”

Selected: Doctor Who

Weekly Feedback

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