“Well, the night’s begun and you want some fun. Do you think you’re gonna find it?” If you’re a fan of pinball then “shout it out loud,” because you certainly will. Hot on the heels of their newest WWE Wrestlemania machine, last week Stern Pinball, Inc. announced a new arcade-quality KISS pinball table. Following the success of their other recent rock ‘n roll pins Metallica and AC/DC, Stern hopes to deliver another action-packed music theme.
If you’re scratching your head and thinking, “Isn’t there already a KISS pinball machine?” you’re right. The original KISS pinball game was released in 1979 by Bally and is considered one of the top-selling and most iconic games ever designed. This new creation from Stern taps right into that history most notably by securing the artistic talents of Kevin O’Connor who created the iconic artwork of the original game and has now supplied the visuals for this game’s playfield as well. Aside from the eye-catching artwork, Stern also threw in a little nod to the retro game with identical pop bumpers featuring the faces of the world-famous band members.
When looking at a newly announced pinball machine, after the theme, the most important information to dissect is the game’s features. Just like the band’s guitars, this game’s features are explosive! In addition to all the regular pinball stuff like pop bumpers, spinners, stand up targets, and ramps, this game has a giant Demon head that locks balls, a levitating ball feature to kick off “Love Gun Multiball,” custom speech from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, and ten famous fully-licensed song tracks performed by the band!
This game also marks a technical shift from the manufacturer with the inclusion of the new SPIKE electronic system which controls the gameplay features. Long gone are the multiple circuit boards to activate the chimes and knocker like those used the original Bally game. Instead, the lone SPIKE board controls everything though a multi-node network. Also absent from the game are the old alpha-numeric LED displays. Instead, the standard dot-matrix display (DMD) fills any score keeping duties, but leaves me wondering when we’re going to ever see an advanced LCD display rather than the same 25-year old technology. Though the theme and some of the features are retro, the selling price definitely isn’t with the KISS pinball game priced at $5,995, $7,595, and $8,795 MSRP for the Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition versions of the game.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the choice of KISS as a theme, with the purchasing power of the KISS Army and rabid classic pinball enthusiasts, this game is sure to be a success for Stern! In fact, business is already booming so much for the Chicago-based company that they just moved in to a new 110,000 square foot facility. Just like the band KISS, pinball never went away, it was just waiting for its next big explosion to rock your socks off!