IRON MAN LITE
Date: 13th October 2010
Back in May, Stern produced a cost-reduced home version of their popular Batman game in a trial to see whether the technique could be applied to other models.
Although reports suggested sales of the 'lite' models were slow at the 16 Costco stores where they were on sale, reaction has apparently been positive enough for Stern to take the idea further.
Iron Man is the next game to get the cost-cutting treatment. Already pretty light on mechanical features, Iron Man Classic - as Stern's marketing department prefers to call it - no longer includes a number of mechanisms and devices found on the original, while other areas have been re-designed to make them cheaper or more-suited to a home environment.
The cabinet construction has been changed, so it is less robust (apparently it is made of MDF instead of plywood), uses bolts to hold the cabinet together and has decals for the artwork instead of printing directly onto the cabinet.
While there continues to be a door on the front, it can no longer be called a 'coin door' as it doesn't include a coin mechanism.
The backbox now uses round speaker cutouts on the display panel, but otherwise looks to be largely unchanged.
Inside the backbox though, the game uses new code which is locked to free play and - according to Stern - is not upgradeable.
The main changes have taken place on the playfield. While you might think the most obvious cost-reduction would be to get rid of the Iron Monger toy which rises up out of the playfield, this has been kept and it is the other characters who have gone under the knife.
Whiplash no longer has a magnet to 'whiplash' the ball around when his targets are hit. The Whiplash toy has gone too.
Whiplash isn't the only one to lose his magnet. The Iron Monger's magnet has gone too, replaced with a flash lamp insert like Whiplash's.
This should result in the ball's movement being less random and lead to longer ball times.
Another feature which could result in loss of ball control has also been taken out. The War Machine kicker is no more, making that feature somewhat impotent.
Minor cost savings have been achieved by removing the flasher domes and associated flash lamps from the playfield.
This has left round holes on the ramps where the flashers once sat.
With all these changes, you might expect to see a significant reduction in the price of the product. Stern say their price will be $3,799 plus shipping and tax.
Stern have produced a promotional video for the new version and issued a press release which you can see below.