Pinball Renaissance is not just a repair/tech service for pinball. We appreciate every aspect of pinball. That admiration also embraces both the artistic and the historical perspectives of pinball; including pop-culture. We believe that it is this public pop-nostalgia which largely keeps pinball alive.
As with modern digital movies, we at PinRen reminisce about the many remakes of modern solid state pinball machines. The following is a listing of those games we decided could be grouped together as originals and their directly associated remakes.
Even though two or more pinball machines may share more than one similarity, we haven't necessarily directly compared them. We tried to be specific without likening every pinball machine to every other for any reason of which we could think. For instance, we did not directly compare the WMS Whirlwind to the Sega Twister.
We have, however, listed some other more closely-considered likened games. Our ideas are more specific and less general. So we can talk specifically about Michael Jordan as opposed to generally referring to basketball.
Lethal Weapon 3 and Maverick are two different games featuring the same actor. But our next two exhibits are the same game with different celebrities attached.
Sylvester Stallone is associated with three pinball machines: Gottlieb’s Rocky, unofficially (but through a later movie tie-in) in Bally’s Judge Dredd, and again - this time officially - by WMS in their Demolition Man.
And Arnie wasn't happy to leave it there. Between the two Terminators he added Last Action Hero to his portfolio of pinball games.
We'll be seeing more from Mr Ford a little later.
Firepower, one of our favorite solid state games, was made thrice: the original by WMS, the WMS follow-up Firepower II, and a third (but solitary) Firepower Three was made by Tom Callahan, who also supplied the picture of it below.
Not including copies or conversion kits, Playboy was produced in pinball form three times by three different manufacturers: first by Bally, then by Data East, and lastly by Stern. Interesting fact - WMS twice started producing, but never finished, their versions of this theme.
Not including similar names or themes, Star Trek, was produced three times by three different manufacturers: starting off with Bally, moving on to Data East, and then finally ending with our favorite, but now gone, manufacturer WMS.
Let’s not forget that Harley Davidson was produced five times by three different manufacturers. Bally started off, Sega followed next, after that was the first version by Stern, followed by Stern's second version, and lastly Stern's final version of the same game. While listing these Harley machines, we wondered if perhaps all of the copies from Stern should have counted as one game.
Perhaps the most universally copied of all pinball themes - Star Wars - was also produced an incredible five times - but by five different manufacturers: Hanken & Co started off with The Empire Strikes Back, Sonic followed with Star Wars, next was the version by Data East, followed by the Trilogy offering from Sega, lastly and poetically coincidentally listed as the final WMS pinball machines ever built, Star Wars Episode I. Just this section alone made us recall that maybe the old saying is true, “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” - CCC.
Data East's Star Wars and Sega's Star Wars Trilogy both feature Han Solo, and so see the return of Harrison Ford in a second franchise following his Indy success.
Writing this article not only forced us to group specific games together, doing so also caused us to bring to mind how seemingly countless playfields were modeled one from another.
Surly this article gives incomplete coverage, or even completely missed some: actor, character, game, movie, or theme.
So, Pinball News wants to know what your favorite reoccurring pinball pop-culture icons and/or pinball machine repeats are. Perhaps you can even make a chain linking numerous related games together?
Chime in and send us your ideas, and we'll publish the best of them here.
© Pinball News 2011