Rumours are currently floating around that Stern may be about to release a Back to the Future Pinball Machine.
While there have been many video games released based on the successful Back to the Future trilogy, accommodating platforms from Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 through PlayStation 3 to iOS, only one Back to the Future Pinball Machine has ever been released, and that was a whole 30 years ago.
1990 Data East
The 1990 Data East “Back to the Future: The Pinball”, designed by Joe Kaminkow and Ed Cebula featured a tuned bass ported cabinet, a high fidelity digital stereo sound system and four songs from the trilogy, including classic hits from ZZ Top and Huey Lewis and the News. However Michael J Fox refused to allow his image to be used on the game.
In 2017 a virtual pinball adaptation of the film trilogy was developed and released by Zen Studios as one of a set of three add-on tables for Pinball FX 3, but to date there has been no remake of the original 1990 Data East game. So, could a new Back to the Future pinball machine by Stern be just around the corner?
From Data East to Stern Pinball
The lineage for a new Back to the Future pinball machine by Stern is all there.
Managed by Gary Stern, Data East produced innovative pinball machines using high-profile properties from 1987 to 1994, including Guns N’ Roses, Star Wars and Back to the Future. In 1994 Data East sold out to Sega, who just four years later decided to withdraw from the pinball market altogether. Then in October 1999 Gary Stern bought the business from Sega and renamed it Stern Pinball. So, the lineage is certainly there. And considering that Data East’s Back to the Future co-designer Joe Kaminkow recently worked with Gary Stern to produce the Beatles pinball machine, it is not inconceivable that the Stern/Kaminkow line-up could be the driving force, 30 years on, behind a hi-tech Back to the Future remake. So what is it going to look like?
Video Projector Innovation & Michael J Fox?
You would certainly expect Stern to make use of the films’ most striking features, such as deploying a huge flux capacitor in the middle of the playfield to trigger a bonus play. The video projection innovation recently deployed in Stern’s Stanger Things pinball could be used to make the most of Doc Brown’s DeLorean achieving the 88mph. And a raised Marty McFly hoverboard level could also create an immersive feature. But, could Stern convince Michael J Fox to allow them to use his image this time? With no pun intended at all, that could be the game changer.
Hi-Tech Back to the Future Pinball Machine Remake
All pure rumour mill at the moment, but in the current market a hi-tech, LED driven Back to the Future remake by Stern Pinball would make a whole lot of sense. And if Marty and the Doc get to cover Biff in manure, then I for one would buy one!