Date: 29th March, 2011


Stern Pinball has confirmed the announcement made at last weekend's Texas Pinball Festival that Lyman Sheats has returned to work at the company.

While many may not have realised he ever left, Lyman has been working at WMS Gaming for several months, writing software for their slot machines.  He left Stern last year as part of their downsizing, but is now back as part of Stern's growing design team.

I’m looking forward to working on games again and bringing innovation to the pinball world,” he said, “because of my passion for the game, the opportunity to work with the best pinball machine makers in the world is quite an honor.

While not referring to the fact he was let go last year, Gary Stern said of Lyman's return," Lyman is a natural fit for Stern’s pinball team. Lyman’s talent and vision for pinball engineering has always been ahead of the curve. Our team is happy to have yet another pinball industry mover and shaker on board.


While much of the news around today focuses on future pinball developments, existing games still need spare parts and none more so than 1930s games from Rock-ola such as World's Fair Jigsaw, World's Series and Army Navy.

These used to be available from Hal O'Rourke but his untimely death in 2010 resulted in a shortage of these parts in recent months.  But now production has resumed thanks to a new startup company based in Colorado.

Buckwerx has continued the work begun by Hal, purchasing his parts inventory and marketing a whole new range of Rock-ola parts, with subcontractors manufacturing new labels, marquees, castings, legs, locks, leg plates, springs, carriage bolts, balls, wire forms and wood parts for Rock-ola pinball machines.  In addition, some of the existing parts have been redesigned to improve the operation or make them more like the original product.

Buckwerx is run by the Thompson family of Boulder, Colorado (Nate, Dana, Buck, Summerlyn and Wyeth Thompson) and they own five Rock-old games, their first being a World's Series which had been restored by Hal.

Susan O’Rourke, Hal's widow said, “I’m really pleased to see Hal’s work in developing parts and techniques for the restoration of these wonderful Rock-ola pinball machines continued.  Nate Thompson and his family are very enthusiastic about taking on this interesting business/hobby, and I'm sure they will make a great success of it."


In what is being seen as a response to Jersey Jack Pinball's plans for top end, fully-featured games, Stern Pinball has announced it will introduce more hardware features and deeper software on future Premium (or Limited Edition) versions of its models.

Speaking at the Texas Pinball Festival, Stern Pinball founder, CEO and chairman, Gary Stern said, "We are reviewing our game concept and we are changing our design concept... Not everyone wants the same thing." 

Revealing details of the Premium version of The Rolling Stones, Gary said the game would have chromed trim package, an illuminated bottom arch, a mirrored backglass, additional magnets on the playfield, a 'Powerball' for enhanced scoring and ball save posts over the outlanes and between the flippers, operated with additional flipper buttons - just like the old UK all-skill posts fitted to Sega and Stern games destined for the UK market, from X-Files until The Sopranos.

The Premium edition of The Rolling Stones will also have new side art on the cabinet and an additional song in the soundtrack, taking the total up to 14 songs.

Gary said "The Premium will be more expensive (than the Pro version) but will have more things in it.  We're just feeing out what that will be, and that will be changing over time."


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