Juaney from TecnoPinball reports from Stockholm, Sweden.
I've had the good fortune to spend some weeks in Stockholm and I enjoyed it greatly. What can be done in Stockholm at Christmas? Well lots of things: Museums, bobsled, ice skating, getting frozen, live a different Christmas Eve, with no turkey, nougat nor cider but with typical Swedish Christmas goodies; quite exotic for our taste, watching the sunset at 3pm (in Spain the earliest the sun sets is about 6pm), have a drink at the Icebar (see picture) and of course, playing some games of that great sport called pinball.
Pinball looks in good health in Sweden and I could see things that unfortunately we've lost in Spain. Pinball is one of the stars at arcades, even more than videos. Swedish people have good taste in pinballs and the available machines are mainly hits, many of the Williams successes like Medieval Madness, Indiana Jones, plus the most recent Stern releases. Machines tend to be in good condition, clean and fully working, but with much too slope for my taste.
Another point that gives an idea of the enthusiasm Swedish have with pinball are the high scores tables. Without doubt, one who register his name may be proud of being a pinball wizard. One of the moments that took my attention was looking at a group playing TSPP in a 6(!) players match. In short, many pinballs in great condition.
One thing I noticed was people under 18 are not allowed into arcades. In Spain, this happens only in the slots zone, but in Sweden that includes the whole arcade. Anyway they don't seem to care a lot about this rule; in fact I was playing with my 13 and 15 sons and no one told us anything about it.
The normal prices are 10SKR for 1 play, 15SKR for 2 and 20SKR for 3 (1 Euro is about 9 SKR). Not cheap, but living in Sweden is more expensive than in Spain.
This place is located in the very middle of the city. On the upper floor, accessible from the street, there are 3 pinballs from Stern: The Simpsons Pinball Party, Terminator 3 and Roller Coaster Tycoon.
TSPP is a fun, anti-depressively colourful table, one of the best from Stern to my mind.
Regarding T3, I did not have the opportunity to play it before and when I did it gave me a good impression, although it doesn't reach the level of TSPP. The best thing in this machine is inside the backbox: The RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade), a very nice toy. A pinball with quite simple rules that deserves some playing.
RCT is not one of my favourites and I didn't pay much attention to it.
On the lower floor, 8 more pinballs: Indiana Jones, Medieval Madness, Scared Stiff, Congo, World Cup Soccer, The Addams Family, Theatre of Magic and the latest pinball from Stern: The Lord of the Rings.
About the Williams, I just spent some time on MM, an impressive pinball, even when this one had two glitches that marred the game: A huge slope and two very misaligned flippers.
On the other hand, LOTR and I now know each other very well. I was charmed by that machine. The first nice surprise was the sound, much better than any other Stern, and that managed to make me think of DCS from Williams.
Artwork is fantastic, better in the reality that in pictures. The table has two fantastic toys: The Balrog, looking spectacular when lit in the battles, and the ring, which can hold the ball 'suspended' in its midst. The Towers are not bad, but they're nothing sophisticated. One of them has movement, but is an easy effect and the other one is absolutely static.
Maybe the most disappointing feature is the mini-playfield, where the player can only interact with the ball by nudging the table.
The gameplay is fluent with good shots, mainly I love central ramp shot, even when you feel that reaching the top is only possible with flippers at their full strength. 4 multiballs, 6 modes, special... and well-balanced rules. The final mode is very exciting, one of those that gets you hooked, but don't ask me to tell you anything more about it, I don't want to 'break the magic' of discovering it by yourselves ;-))
IMO we are before the best pinball from Stern to date and I even think it is at the level of the best Williams (or near)
Another Arcade with a good number of good pinballs; here I could not spend too much time. Here come the pictures:
Addams Family, Medieval Madness, T3, Monster Bash, Indiana Jones
Theatre of Magic and The Lord of The Rings
Terminator 2 and Scared Stiff
Stern have not 'landed' in this arcade yet. Among everything they own, I'd want to mention 'Attack from Mars' and 'Scared Stiff'. The first because it was the first time I ever played it and the second because made me feel great in a game where I reached the final mode twice and that allowed me to enter my initials in the scoring table.
Don't get fooled by the pictures; when I took them the arcade was just open. After one hour, the hall was full with people and the ambient sound was pure pinball.
Theatre of Magic, World Cup Soccer 94, The Addams Family, Twilight Zone and
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Scared Stiff, Corvette, Cirqus Voltaire, Attack from Mars, Indiana Jones
I did not take any pictures from them but I'd like to mention another two pinballs I had the opportunity to play: The rare 'Cactus Canyon' and Sega's 'Harley Davidson'. I had never played the last one before and the impression it gave me was good, in spite of being a Sega.
Finally I want to recommend to you a very useful web page if you ever visit Stockholm and want to play pinball:
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© Pinball News 2004