Date: 19th February, 2012


Pinball Designer John Popadiuk has been busy working on his second low-run game - Ben Heck's Zombie Adventureland - and has launched a website to help promote it.

Promotional material for Ben Heck's Zombie Adventureland
Promotional material for Ben Heck's Zombie Adventureland

The $9,995 game features an LCD screen, believed to be positioned at the back of the playfield as the DMD is in Cirqus Voltaire, but on a larger scale. A DIY kit option is also available where John and Ben can visit the purchaser's home and help them build their own game.

John is keen to promote the customisation options available during the design and build process, allowing each purchaser to ensure their game is unique.

John and Ben have released a couple of promotional videos for the game as well, one featuring Ben and the other more conceptual than factual.

You can watch these on John's Pinball Inventor website, where he is also promoting the concept of a pinball design school, where student can learn the way of designing a pinball machine, and create their own designs to take home with them.


Replacement pinball boards designer Brett Davis has announced the formation of a new company to design and manufacture a new range of products.

XPin is the name of the new company based in Phoenix, Arizona, and you will soon see Brett's products appearing at shows and on his distributor's websites.

The X-Pin logo
The XPin logo

Brett previously worked with Marco Specialites who produced and marketed Brett's designs for LED displays, driver and controller boards, and power supplies under the PinScore brand.

Now though, Brett has branched out on his own and set up the XPin brand to design, manufacture and market a new range of next-generation products.

Brett Davis
Brett Davis

Brett described his new XPin range to Pinball News as, "the next step in the evolution process for replacement products." He said all the designs have been re-engineered from those he created for the PinScore range and are unique to XPin. He continued, "XPin products utilize the latest technology advancements and components, produce a lot less heat, and showcase the most alluring aesthetics of any product on the market today."

He aims to produce the same types of boards as before, where he was probably best known for his multi-coloured LED replacement displays, but also created many power supply and driver boards.

"A big part of my product focus is still displays, but I will not be limited to them. I have been making substantial investments to bring more colors to the display market and will continue to do so. I am also putting... time and energy into power systems and driver boards. I have many new products planned that have never seen the light of day. In general, our plan is to be making regular announcements every 2-3 weeks."

X-Pin products will be manufactured in the United States and be available direct from Brett or through his distributors who are currently Bay Area Amusements and MyArcadeRepair.

The first of the orange XPin LED displays have just become available from BAA. They are suitable for Williams, Bally and Data East machines, with some also available as blue, green and red versions.


Back in 2005 we reviewed a new plastic protector for The Lord of the Rings which was designed to protect the game's plastics and playfield as the ball fell off the Paths of the Dead mini-playfield into the Hobbiton upkicker.

Points where damage occurs in The Lord of the Rings
Points where damage occurs in The Lord of the Rings

Two runs of these were produced by PinWest's David Eisner with the second addressing all the issues we had the first time around. However, PinWest closed down several years ago and although they were good, these protectors didn't last forever.

Now help is at hand for anyone with a broken protector, or who want to prevent any further damage to their game, thanks to a new version being manufactured in Australia and sold by Scott Milgate.

The new Lord of the Rings protector
The new Lord of the Rings protector

Scott bought the rights to the protectors from David Eisner and set about improving the design.

The new protector is made from a much thicker 3mm clear plastic which also has corners and edges made by heat-bending rather than the grooved construction used in the original version. The changes should make the new protectors much stronger and resilient.

The new protector
The new protector in place

Scott's Lord of the Rings protector is available directly from him by e-mail, or through his Ebay listing where the price is AUS$49.99 plus shipping. (£34 or US$53.90)


Canadian listings and review site blogTO reported recently on the battle a Toronto café owners is having with the city over the zoning by-laws, as originally reported by Toronto Life.

The problem is over the Pinball Café's eight pinball machines which sit alongside the coffee drinkers and provide a haven for those in need of a fix of both ball and bean.

five of the cafe's eight machines
five of the café's eight machines
(picture: Toronto Life)

The General Zoning By-law No. 438-86 states that a "'pinball or electronic game machine establishment' means a portion of a building containing more than two pinball or other mechanical or electronic game machines operated for gain, excluding any machines used for the purpose of gambling."

With eight machines, the Pinball Cafe is designated as such an establishment, which is specifically disallowed in that part of the City.

While owner Jason Hazzard applies for a variance to the Zoning By-law following the rejection of his application for a business licence in January, he is determined to remain open and is unconcerned about the possibility of receiving a fine.

"I'll put it in a folder, give it to my lawyer, and keep my doors open", he said.


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