Monday, 26 October 2009

Cleaning, chapter one - stripping down the playfield

Finally, I got to the job I managed to postpone for months. Although the display still isn't working, I decided that it's time to get my hands dirty and begin with hideous task of cleaning the Whitewaters playfield. And boy did I get my hands dirty. It seems that this one is even dirtier then the Star Trek was.
Here are some pics that I took, so that I'll be able to put the thing back together.

Filthy upper playfield

Filthy stripped bottom playfield

Filthy right side


Filthy ramps

More filthy ramps

Removed filthy upper playfield

Filthy whirlpool lamps


More filth

Even more filth

Filthy secret passage

Filthy removed parts

Entire playfield, filthy

Sunday, 25 October 2009

R.I.P. Pinball ?

On this very day, exactly 10 years ago, Williams abruptly terminated it's pinball division. As it was the only remaining mayor player in the pinball business at the time, this move actually meant that over 90 percent of pinball market suddenly ceased to exist.

Many people declared this day as "The day that pinball died?"

Do I agree with them?
Unfortunately I must say that I do.

Although that new machines still get made by STERN, with every new pinball announced I keep asking myself: "Where's the progress?". Every new machine could as well be built in 1995 and no one could tell a difference. We all know what happened with the technology in the last 10 years an nothing of that reflects in any of the new pinball machines. Here's some stuff that could be well used in new pinball machines, but it's not:
  • LCD displays; the only step forward here in the last 20 years was pinball 2000 platform. Instead of hi res graphics that could work as both, backglass and display , there is a 128x32 4 color dmd.
    Tiny, gsm like displays could even be integrated into playfield itself, instead of archaic lamps.
  • Connectivity; new machines could easily be connected to the internet where global scoreboards could be published.
    Machines could notify operators about earnings or problems with machine via gsm or email.
    Operators could mark machines with location data, that would be published online, so the players could easily found the desired machines.
    Entire online community could be built around machines, where players could communicate with operators or each others.
  • Lasers; just remember with happened to the pc mice in a last couple of years. I'm sure laser motion sensors would be quite useful in pinballs
  • Moore's law; Imagine the cpu/memory capacity could be put in machines these days. What sort of games or self diagnostic tools could be built with that.
  • New materials; I'm not sure about this one, but i bet, that there's tons of new stuff that could be used
So. I guess Now I just have to wait until some STERN guy stumbles upon this blog and convince his boss to invest into Pinball 3000.

Until then I'll just play with with we got, although it's build on 15 years old technology.