Story dated 31st October 2001.

Stern Pinball Inc has launched a new service for pinball enthusiasts, collectors and those in the amusements trade - a newsletter. The first of these newsletters is shown below and the bulk of it comes from a brief interview with Pat Lawlor about the Monopoly pinball game.

The plan is to send out these once a month to their "Preferred Customer" list, whatever that means. You too can receive the newsletter by registering at the Stern Pinball web site.


The best-selling board game in history is now the
hottest pinball machine on the boardwalk.

The MONOPOLY pinball game is Stern Pinball's first collaboration
with Pat Lawlor Design. Pat Lawlor, designer of The Addams Family and
Twilight Zone and several other of the most successful pinball
machines of all-time, along with his team of Mechanical Engineer John
Krutsch and Software Engineers Louis Zoziarz and Greg Dunlap, have put
together a pinball machine worth its weight in $$$. Featuring Free
Parking, Electric Company, and Break the Bank ramp shots, a MONOPOLY
game board in the center of the playfield, and the voice of MR. MONOPOLY
making all sales final, MONOPOLY pinball is classic and modern pinball
all wrapped up into one.

In this, the first Stern Pinball Newsletter, we have interviewed
Pat Lawlor on MONOPOLY pinball and a few other things as well. Let's
hear what he had to say.
STERN NEWS: Pat, what led you to become a pinball designer?

PAT LAWLOR: I had been working in the coin-op business since 1980
when I was hired by a group that was part of Bally to do video games.
That lasted until the industry's video collapse in 1984. In 1986, I met
one of Williams' premier software designers, Larry DeMar, and we built a
prototype for what was to become Banzai Run. Larry sold the idea to
Williams and I began my career as a pinball designer at that point.

SN: What do you feel are some of the key elements that go into
making a great pinball machine?

PL: Great coin-op games by definition are those which collect the
most money for their operators. Everything we do is designed to enhance
the player's experience so that he is willing to spend as much time as
possible with the game. The game MUST be challenging, but not
intimidating. It must also be accessible so that a great deal of time
need not be spent learning its basic elements. Once those elements are
learned, however, the game must have enough depth to earn for its
operator for an extended period. All of this is a balancing act that is
carried out with the goal of a fun game that hopefully translates into a
strong collecting career for the piece.

SN: Having been the designer of such classic hits as The Addams
FamilyAE and Twilight ZoneAE, how would you characterize the MONOPOLY
pinball? Is this a continuation of your past work, or is MONOPOLY
pinball something new altogether?

PL: Everything that is done in Pinball is a continuation of the
games that have come before. The game (Pinball) has been in its current
form, more or less, for 50+ years. I have been lucky enough to work with
and learn from some of the pinball greats. People like Steve Kordek,
Steve Ritchie, Larry DeMar, and others. So yes, MONOPOLY pinball is a
continuation of mine and other peoples work.

SN: Could you tell us a little bit about your newest game,
MONOPOLY pinball?

PL: It isn't often that a game designer has the opportunity to do
a variation on a classic theme. MONOPOLY pinball allowed us to do a
three-dimensional representation of the items contained in the MONOPOLY
board game. Railroads, the utilities, rolling the dice, and the very
concept of passing GO are all included in our pinball machine. The
challenge in the design of the game was to keep the game simple enough
for a casual player, yet deep enough for the dedicated street player. We
think we have accomplished that to a large degree. The shots and rules
are such that just shooting the ball around the playfield will start
various fun things. But to be really good at the game a player must come
back again and again. This translates to strong earnings for an
operator. It was an honor to design for the MONOPOLY license and we hope
players have as much fun playing as we did making the game.

SN: Thank you Pat for taking the time to speak with us and much
success with MONOPOLY pinball and any other future projects you have in

PL: Well thank you for this opportunity to speak with you and
everyone in the pinball community.



From the MONOPOLY pinball onward, you will notice that there is a
level located on the lower right side of each playfield. This level
allows for accurate pitch adjustment of the playfield. And without
proper playfield pitch, the game can either play too fast or too slow.
The bubble level will, therefore, help you maximize revenue and keep
your pinball machine challenging and fun for a longer period of time.


"The ball is wild!"

-Harry Williams

MONOPOLY AND MR. MONOPOLY are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.



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