What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

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What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by Sparky »

Hey guys,

Well, as pinball changes and advances, it is interesting to think what the future will bring for pinball. I am not talking necessarily about the market or accessibility, but more in regards of technology. Will there be paradigm shifts...

In late 1976, Bally released their first solid state pin, Freedom, followed by NIght Rider and Evel Knievel, forever changing the landscape, and labelling EMs as relics (we still love them lol)

In 1979, Williams released Flash, introducing us to electronic sounds, and then Gorgar, the first to talk, blowing our minds

In 1980, Firepower wanted us to go for more than 1 ball

In 1982, Gottlieb gave us not one, not 2 but 3 playfields on Haunted House.

In 1985, a pin called High Speed started giving us messages through alphanumeric displays

In 1991, the DMD made it's debut on Slugfest, and was a staple until just recently

Then, LCDs started showing up in pins...

So... with all this said... what do you think will change in the next 10 years in pinball? 20 years?

Here is what I would like to see:

1- A.I.
Yup... I want to go beyond deep rulesets... I want to see a machine try to actively beat you. I want to see a machine literally adapt to how you play, trash-talk you (not just preset phrases like in Centaur (bad move human)), and actively try to make you lose your ball, not just relying on physics.

Maybe even push it further... have the possibility to link with an opponent's machine, have the settings automatically match, and square off against each other.

I play Among Us against strangers on the web... why not pinball?

2- Different materials
Since the beginning, it has been a steel ball (other than a couple of exceptions) and a wood playfield. And we see the damage. Steel beats wood every time. So... maybe it's time that we change things a bit. A lighter composite ball, combined with lower-powered components to balance the speed out, and a more resistant and interchangeable playfield material. This is almost already here. But I believe that Bally was on to something in 1982 with Elektra. Have a plastic playfield cover, but that can be very quickly replaced. The base can still be wood. Doesn't matter. Reverse-print on the composite.

Result? a possible quick retheme, with a rule-change, and you have a different pin. Again, not a new concept, but would be fun to see it more mainstream...

3- Why always 21x43....same cab layouts...
One near-constant has been the 21x43 glass with standard playfield size. Cabs are nearly the same they have been for decades, other than the blip on the radar that is Pinball 2000. As much as I get the whole idea of a display in the head, giving a view to all people (except the player...), we are now more and more into tournaments, and individuality. Heighway's Alien did have the display in the playfield, and I LOVED that. On the opposite spectrum, I find myself utterly disappointed playing a JJP pin because you can't take your eyes off the playfield to look at the LCD, or risk losing your ball. I would love to see the info more at eye level.

As much as this was HATED in the late 70's / early 80's Atari pins with the displays in the apron, times have changed. There needs to be an interaction on the playfield, or just above it, à la Cirqus Voltaire. But I like the dual screen idea that Alien did.

But I digress with the displays... the cab itself could be something different. The head could change, as technically you cound have just a lighted translight or LCD, and speakers. Early Ataris were just that... an empty box with a light and a backglass. Boards can all be in the cabinet in a box, protecting them.

And playfield sizes... BRING BACK the widebodies. Make them more interactive. Even change the flipper layout. Companies play it WAY too safe...

Just a thought. I think the first 2 are possible shifts. The 3rd is wishful thinking.

And if I were to add a fourth... bring back videogame interaction... like a better Baby Pacman with a real playfield, or a non-boring Caveman.
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Re: What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by cait001 »

On the tech side: more LCD screens everywhere. They're so cheap and we're now seeing them on lockdown bars and playfields. Ball tracking like on the P3 is something I think will get integrated into other systems eventually.

I see Spooky's model of dual themes sticking around, appealing to less widely popular themes.

It's not tech but I would like to see South Korea and Japan develop a flourishing pinball scene. I have hopes Ultraman kindles things in Japan.

I think eventually a manufacturer will make a pin without normal playfield glass, and instead the top glad will be a translucent LCD screen, putting graphics OVER parts of the playfield.

In terms of the hobby:
More DIY ingenuity: so many first gen solid-state games are getting rewritten. 2nd gen are getting tweaks, but BoP 2.0 is a classic example, and the Whirlwind rewrite
Data East machines are having their rules evened out and bugs fixed. I wouldn't be shocked if in 5 years someone did a ground-up rewrite of Wheel Of Fortune to finally finish it.
I predict this trend only accelerating.
And this goes hand in hand with the Maker revolution of the last decade making machines easier to fabricate parts for, less unobtainium, and all of this comes together to make full DIY pin builds more accessible than ever.

I see this as integral to staving off the death of pinball for the next generation, though not the biggest component of that.


Aside from all that? I'm thinking big...
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Re: What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by cap »

cait001 wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:39 pm
Aside from all that? I'm thinking big...
14 BALL MULTIBALL
Multimorphic has the infinity trough. I'm guessing more than a hundred balls in the tray, though no games have come even close to that yet. Heist has the record with a 15 ball multiball for the final wizard mode.
This is where I saw it for the first time: https://youtu.be/JltJPH4sFQs?t=498
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Re: What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by Fifty »

P3 is the way forward I believe, but they need a solid theme to get pins to sell. It needs to be something everyone knows.

I've been following the Sonic Spinball homebrew on Pinside and it has some fantastic ideas. The homebrewer is basically taking the Sonic video games (all of them) and making them into a pinball machine. You need to advance through the different zones to get to the next level. The game rules write themselves, but then he has added bonus sections and is even matching up the LCD screen to show the different zones you are in. It really is great, and there is no reason other video games couldn't be adapted into pinball machines.
Here's the thread: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... st-6322687

One thing that NEEDS to happen... One of these pinball companies needs to partner with Nintendo. It's a no-brainer for theme selection. Pokemon, Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, hell... Animal Crossing, Starfox, there are so many and that's JUST Nintendo.

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Re: What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by HPR Pinball »

The video game i want to play is always the one i don't have :FP:
Les arcades, j'suis tombé d'dans quand j'tait pti !! :-)

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Re: What do you see in the future of pinball! (Time capsule thread)

Post by Sparky »

cait001 wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:39 pm

In terms of the hobby:
More DIY ingenuity: so many first gen solid-state games are getting rewritten. 2nd gen are getting tweaks, but BoP 2.0 is a classic example, and the Whirlwind rewrite
Data East machines are having their rules evened out and bugs fixed. I wouldn't be shocked if in 5 years someone did a ground-up rewrite of Wheel Of Fortune to finally finish it.
I predict this trend only accelerating.
As much as BoP 2.0 was cool to play, I don't consider this to be the future, but more like, as you wrote, "rewriting" the past. No new machines are produced... only old ones modified. So technically, we can't call that a new machine.

Compare it to cars... a 1969 Firebird with a new engine, brakes, transmission and suspension is still a 1969 Firebird...
cait001 wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:39 pm
I see this as integral to staving off the death of pinball for the next generation, though not the biggest component of that.
Elaborate on other factors... because I see one big problem with the evolution of pinball...

The consumer.

Most of us are into pinball for one of two reasons, or a combo of both... nostalgia and competition. And unfortunately, both kind of are a hindrance to evolution. Pinball 2000 was a huge step forward, yet was shunned upon at first. Nostalgic players will stick to their classics or rehashes like BoP 2.0, as there is a degree of familiarity.

Competition players don't seem too enticed at anything creating an element of randomness. I have heard many times throughout the years... "This is not a tournament game as multiball can be stolen.... the spinning disk makes it too random.... the pop bumper between the flippers is wrong.... the ball doesn't roll the same way on lexan..." I would hate being a designer today as the market now is mostly competitive play, less fun or casual play. But I get it... and I think that's why we don't see more Multimorphic games out there. It needs to be the future... but we players have to be open to it.

I dare even dig up old concepts and add today's technological twist to it...

Varkon 2.0... why not.... a pinball in an arcade cab, once again. But this time, make multiple levels and use cameras that make a player visualize a playfield on an LCD screen.

There are so many things that can be done today...

But where to start... and who will be daring enough to do it... because of the 2 factors, nostalgia is one that will die off with time. Because most people born between 1995 and 2005 will not care much about pinball. They are no longer out there much.
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