Updated August 30, 2004

Location: Bournemouth is in Dorset on the south coast of England. Road access is by the A338 and A35.

Pinball News reader Andy Davies sent us this report.

Coming from a sleepy little coastal town, and not getting out much, I was ashamed to say that I was until yesterday a STERN virgin! Bournemouth was my destination and to be more exact the pier. A relatively small arcade on the shore end host 4 fine tables, 3 of them Sterns!

Picture courtesy Bournemouth Tourist Board

The fourth and the first I played, was a very good example of Scared Stiff. A classic, fast table with everything in complete working order and a reasonably low replay score. Very entertaining and it made a change to play a very fast table.

The first of the three Sterns that I played was Terminator 3. I was a bit disappointed with this table for a few reasons. First, the mini game in the backglass didn't work at all. So when it was awarded you just sat there looking at your 10 million points count down not being able to do anything about it. (Yes I was clicking the gun!) Secondly, 75% of the time after you hit the target in front of the ball lock hole it returns straight through the middle of the flippers. Lost ball!

The other thing about this table is it's just a game of ramps! Sorry didn't like this one!

Next was Lord of the Rings. (Another movie tie-in) and I was pleasantly surprised! Good features, good strong playfield and I thought everything was going well, until it came around to hit the toy that moves over the middle ramp. It did not work which means you could not advance in the game.

(This is where I rant at arcade owners: If any other machine in your arcade isn't in full working order, it gets fixed! From bulbs on Fruit machines to guns on video games, to steering wheels on racers, if it's broke it gets fixed. Why does this not go for pinballs? All these machines are set on £1 per credit, so each machine I put at least £2 in so me and the misses could play. Tables that are not in full working order really p*** me off. Out of the 4 tables here only 2 were in fully working order. That's a bit shoddy to say the least)

Sorry rant over! Saving the best for last! The Simpsons I'm pleased to say was the 4th and final machine and also in full working order. Which was a surprise because looking at the playfield, this must be the most played out of the 4 tables. (O hang on - the pair of flippers on the mini table the right on weren't strong enough to push the ball up the ramp)

As this was my first play on this table I found it most enjoyable and entertaining. Strong
flippers, good sound and again a low reply score - just 6million. On reflection a good table, the best of the 3 Sterns but maybe a little "busy".

A quick tip if you do visit Bournemouth, find a parking space and put £6 in the meter and your car can stay there for 24 hours.

I won't go out of my way to visit Bournemouth again as Southsea is much closer and the 4 tables there are more entertaining than the ones at Bournemouth. Worth the visit if you are a Stern fan, I did complain that the tables were not in complete working order, but just the usual blank look from the bloke in the change box.


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