Date: 22nd November, 2020

Pictures: Fliptronic

On Saturday 21st November, Deeproot Pinball placed two prototype models of their upcoming Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland (RAZA) game in the What’s Brewing coffee shop in San Antonio for guests to play.

The promotional poster for the event
The promotional poster for the event

Jordan and Becca from Fliptronic asked Deeproot if it would be OK to stream the game and they agreed, with Robert Mueller and Steven Bowden from the company taking part in the presentation.

Setting up the live stream
Setting up the live stream

This was the first public showing of the game since the Houston Arcade Expo one year earlier, and it demonstrated some of the changes made since the abortive public launch of RAZA in September 2020. It wasn’t any kind of official launch event, just an opportunity for Deeproot Pinball to show their progress to date and demonstrate some of the gameplay.

There were two games set up at What’s Brewing; one base ‘Arcade’ model and one top-of-the-range ‘Extra’ variant.

The Extra RAZA game on the left, the Arcade model on the right
The Extra RAZA game on the left, the Arcade model on the right

The Arcade model features a more traditional hinged backbox design but includes the novel wrap-around translite artwork we saw previously. The artwork design is different from the higher-end models, lacking the game credits found on the Extra version.

The Arcade edition of RAZA
The Arcade edition of RAZA

One of the most innovative and discussed features of the RAZA design is the Pinbar – the touchscreen display panel built into the lockbar. The original design had sharp corners where the player rested their hands, but this has now been rounded to make it more comfortable.

The rounded corners on the new Pinbar lockbar
The rounded corners on the new Pinbar lockbar

The stream from Fliptronic included Steven Bowden demonstrating some of the Pinbar’s features – both the in-game choices and the service menus. The latter includes the diagnostics and set-up options to fault-find and adjust the game’s settings including connecting it to a Wi-Fi router to upload scores and download updates. The in-game options included starting the game, seeing the features currently available or coming up, activating the magnasave, purchasing items or starting modes from the Atomic Shop, and entering your details for high score tables.

The basic instructions are shown on the Pinbar
The basic instructions are shown on the Pinbar

The second game was the ‘Extra’ model, the top-end variant which includes the stacking backbox design, a retro-styled illuminated topper and backlit side-panels.

The RAZA Extra model
The RAZA Extra model

It was clear that these prototype games are still very much work-in-progress. No release date has been announced and no manufacturing facilities or partners revealed. However, company head Robert Mueller did say he though they would be able to produce all the planned RAZA games in around three-and-a-half months once they started building.

Arthur the cat makes an appearance in the playfield artwork
Arthur the cat makes an appearance in the playfield artwork

Perhaps one unintended reveal was shown on the main display. This was a URL to a website to find out more about the game: pinapi.turnerlogic.com. This appears to have been a testing website used by Deeproot Pinball to access their API for in-game internet connectivity, along with drpb.turnerlogic.com which was a full website for the company. Although the content on this latter website no longer exists at that URL, Google did manage to archive it.

The website was last modified towards the end of September and so it may well be outdated by now due to design and manufacturing delays together with increased costs, but the archived site describes a price of $4,999 for the Arcade model, together with a list of upgrade options including a $50-a-month (one year minimum term) ‘rootAccess‘ subscription plan to buy insider access, branded merchandise, preferential shipping rates and additional downloadable digital content such as software upgrades, exclusive modes and assorted power-ups.

Part of the archived website's pricing details
Part of the archived website’s pricing details

A lower entry price – which would heavily undercut Stern Pinball’s Pro model price point – together with upgrade options for additional in-game content would be a new pricing model in the pinball industry, even though it is the norm in computer, mobile and console gaming. Even there though, bug fixes and updates to the core game code are generally published free-of-charge in order to make sure everyone is running the latest version, which makes support easier for everyone.

The pricing and any subscription models remain speculation until Deeproot Pinball published confirmed details and pricing, but it’s clear the company has addressed several of the concerns raised about RAZA just before their aborted launch and have many more ideas planned for this game and their new platform.

You can watch the Fliptronic stream on their Twitch.tv channel here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/811329223

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