3 Best Classic Pinball Machines From Stern
Classic pinball machines are the pinnacle of arcade gaming. Playing a game of pinball on an arcade machine launches the player into a mesmerizing world of adventure, action, and mystery. Every second of the game is thrilling and unpredictable, with its own ups and downs, and the player has to use his wits to bounce back.
The player has to tap his mental and physical skills to keep the ball afloat, hit the targets, advance through the gripping story, and beat the highest score.
Every detail in a classic pinball machine is hand-crafted and lovingly combined with sights, sounds, and lights to create a unique artistic experience that’s easy to learn but hard to master. Solo players and socialites alike find that classic pinball machines provide an unsurpassed gaming experience, making it the best possible way to weave a story into a memorable history.
Stern Pinball Machines
One of the most renowned classic pinball machines manufacturers is Stern Pinball Machines, with a memorable history of its own. Originating in the 1930s as Williams Electronics, owned and led by Sam Stern, the company shaped the pinball game we know and love today with the help of two other innovative companies, Bally and Gottlieb.
Over the course of years, pinball grew in popularity and complexity. Multiplayer capability was added alongside art packages and score reels, prompting pinball aficionados to go on a treasure hunt for that elusive pinball machine they haven’t played yet and beat its highest score.
During the 1980s, pinball machines became massively popular, with coin-operated games becoming a staple entertainment fixture across the nation.
At that time, Sam passed the torch to his son, Gary, and stepped out of the picture. Gary founded Data East Pinball and sold it to Sega but then bought it back and renamed it Stern Pinball Inc. Under Gary’s leadership, SPI weathered the 2009 recession while continuing to expand, experiment, and elate pinball enthusiasts around the globe.
No matter the economic and entertainment trends, classic pinball machines have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.
Stern Pinball, Inc. is today a lifestyle brand producing pinball machines, accessories, replacement parts, video games, merchandise, clothing, and much more. Headquartered in the U.S., within earshot of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, SPI employs engineers, marketers, and designers for a complete in-house, all-American experience delivered to pinball fans across the world.
Stern Pinball, Inc. is constantly innovating to produce a fully fleshed out pinball experience with a distinct style for each machine. Each SPI pinball machine is instantly recognizable by its theme, art, and visual appeal.
Three new pinball machines, in particular, were recently produced by SPI, showing their timeless charm and enchanting beauty to pinball fans worldwide.
Black Knight Pinball Machine: Sword of Rage
This classic pinball machine confirms the adage that the best things come in threes. Stern Pinball, Inc. proudly presents the third entry in the Black Knight series that started in the 1980s. After Black Knight and Black Knight 2000, the world is blessed with another one of Steve Ritchie’s masterpieces, Black Knight: Sword of Rage.
The Black Knight action figure features in the center of the board, equipped with a spinning flail and a shield to block the player’s shots. The Black Knight will send his minions against the player, including the Hydra and Devil’s Hand, with the animated fight appearing on the backboard.
Magna Save is a returning feature, with extra flipper buttons on the cabinet to stay in the battle for just a bit longer. Black Knight will respond to the player’s actions with taunts, one-liners, and laughter. Once again, Steve Ritchie provides the voice to Black Knight while the music is composed and performed by ANTHRAX’s Scott Ian.
Black Knight: Sword of Rage was released in three versions:
Limited Edition includes distinctive art on the cabinet, an HD speaker with a 3-channel amplifier, shaker motor, and much more.
Beatles Pinball Machine
If a time machine existed that could send one back to the 1960s, this would be it. Featuring Ed Sullivan’s actual introductions as sound bites and classical music from the legendary Liverpool band, this classic pinball machine is a precious slice of a different era. Nine Beatles’ songs total can be heard during play on this machine designed by George Gomez.
The center of the board features a spinning vinyl record with magnets on it. The machine itself has five modes, completing all of which start the Wizard Mode, where multipliers can be boosted. The loop is perfect and the magnet on the top breaks up the game flow just right. There are three different skill shots.
The color palette is pastel and poppy, reflecting the 1960s mood and art style. Rich wooden details peek through the surface of the playing field. Memorabilia, including painted lunch boxes and ticket stubs, are strewn across the cabinet.
Every inch of the surface was meticulously detailed for the Beatles collectors, with masterful composition. For example, this pinball cabinet displays licensed instrument names, which no other Beatles merchandise has. Plastics on the backboard give the 3D effect to the leaping Beatles, adding to the beautiful, soft retro feel.
The Munsters Pinball Machine
Everyone needs a family, even monsters. Zany antics of scary monsters welcome the player to the world of Munsters, a classic 1960s TV show. The lead designer for this board is John Borg, who presents Munster’s references galore.
The board features a big mono-target, Dragula, next to the Eddie and Marilyn rollovers to help win the jackpot. A snakehead emerges from under the ramp to block the shot, and it’s a solid obstacle that cleanly bounces the ball back.
It’s fairly easy to clear the ramp if the ball makes it past the head, with the ball circling around the backboard and exiting on the right side from the Sewer and down the diagonal wireform. Center-left on the board is a massive bash toy of Herman that has a magnet, allowing the player to enter a multiball mode.
A small standup target to the right of Herman is Kitty, who is responsible for score multipliers. To the right of the Kitty is an entrance to the pops. There’s a Grandpa Shot next to it, which is a scoop shot with the possibility of triggering Munster Madness and an extra ball mode.
Further to the right is the Marilyn ramp that inverts the ball up and down another wireform. The orbits and ramps are easy to hit but are lightning-fast.
Stern: The Name For Classic Pinball Machines
Enjoying classic pinball machines is a timeless hobby that will never grow old. Whether it’s for your home, your place of business, or otherwise you can’t go wrong with a Stern pinball machine.
Where To Buy A Vintage Pinball Machine
Stern Pinball, Inc. offers many of their quality pinball machines on Amazon.com. You can find the three classic pinball machines we listed above there as well as many others. You can click on the photo links throughout the article or find their products on the Stern pinball page.