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More Remakes of Classic Pinball Machines Are Coming

I've written a number of articles about remakes of classic pinball machines here over the past year. So I figured that I'd put together a post to consolidate all that we've learned about the remakes of pins from years past. So far, we've the following remakes of classic Bally / Williams titles have happened:

1) 2015 Chicago Gaming Company Medieval Madness

2) 2017 Chicago Gaming Company Attack From Mars

3) 2018 Chicago Gaming Company Monster Bash

4) 2021 Chicago Gaming Company Cactus Canyon

5) 2021 Haggis Pinball Fathom

That's five remakes thus far and by all accounts the rightsholder for Bally / Williams games, Planetary Pinball, has every intention of continuing to remake games. The question is...what's next? Let's knock out the obvious one first...Haggis Pinball.

Haggis has already officially stated and sold reservation spots for the remake of five classic solid state Bally pinball machines. It is in the process of building the first game, Fathom. The Company stated in its latest update that it plans to announce its next game (most likely another Bally remake) this summer, most likely at an Australian pinball show in mid-July. No one knows for certain what the next title will be yet, but the early betting favorite is Bally's 1981 game Centaur with its iconic art, but again no one knows yet for certain.

OK, so we've likely got a new Bally solid state remake being announced this summer with production starting in early 2024. What about DMD games? Based on recent Trademark filings by both CBS Broadcasting and Planetary Pinball that I've found in my searches, two of the most likely DMD remake candidates are Bally's 1993 game Twilight Zone (TZ) and Capcom Pinball's 1997 game Big Bang Bar (BBB) (which was subsequently remade in a small quantity by Illinois Pinball). To me, the trademark filings alone almost guarantee that these are happening at some point, but they are bolstered by people who have reached out to me with additional information.

If TZ and BBB are next, the next question is, what company is going to manufacture them? Historically, that answer would have been easy, Chicago Gaming Company (CGC). However, I'm not so sure about that now. CGC is still grinding away at producing all of the ordered Cactus Canyon machines, plus it recently committed to build a new Pulp Fiction pinball machine in conjunction with Play Mechanix. Given CGC's notoriously slow build rate, those two games could tie up CGC for quite a while.

Given what I've been told, I think that it is very likely that we will see a completely new player building remakes within the next year or so. Planetary Pinball was clearly frustrated with the pace of production at CGC, so why not diversify some? I was told recently that a European manufacturer is throwing its hat into the remake ring, without any specific names. So that could mean an existing player like Pedretti Gaming, which has newfound capacity through its Euro Pinball Corp factory and an existing relationship with Planetary Pinball from developing 2.0 Kits, like the ones it did for FunHouse and Whirlwind.

There's no guarantee that TZ and BBB are the next remakes. So what other games are possible candidates for to be reproduced today? A great place to start looking for that is a statement made by Rick of Planetary Pinball, over five years ago now on Pinside...

"All ... a little clarification ... we have at least 7 (MM, AFM, and at least 5 more) remakes coming, all are products of Chicago Gaming, and licensed through Planetary Pinball. PPS is in constant contact with CGC on the games in development, we provide the approvals, as well as the blueprints, some parts, and review feature sets/pricing. But in general. the games are Chicago Gaming product (product support, warranty, etc) and of course we spend alot [sic] of timme feeding them with input, highlighting any issues, etc - all to try to make the best game possible. PPS also happens to be one if not the largest remake game distributor. What I can tell you is that the list of likely remakes are CC, MB, TOM, BBB"

Editor's Note: Of the four potential remakes mentioned five years ago, two - Monster Bash and Cactus Canyon, have already happened. The other two are Big Bang Bar, which we addressed above, and Theatre of Magic. TOM makes a ton of sense as a remake, but I have not heard any specific rumors about it yet. Back to the quote...

"...that list may change as other games become more interesting to add in based on desirability, etc. We also have the source code for these games, so any deficiencies in the original code could be addressed with a couple of different approaches. Each game is getting new core features (like the Large Color display of AMFR) that will be incorporated into future releases, and game #3 will have additional features as well..."

I know for a fact that Planetary Pinball was recently negotiating on doing more remakes with Chicago Gaming Company. What I don't know is what the outcome of those negotiations were. The quality of CGC games is outstanding, but I do think that Planetary has been a little frustrated with the pace of production. That may have lead Planetary to branch out production, with CGC still getting remake titles but other companies getting some as well. Planetary is interested in generating as much revenue as possible from the Bally / Williams licenses, and rightfully so, so look for many more remakes to come.

Below are links to a couple of my articles that I mentioned earlier:

CBS Broadcasting Filed Specific Trademark for Twilight Zone Pinball This Month

Planetary Pinball Filed Trademarks for Big Bang Bar at the End of 2022

Haggis Pinball Fathom Revisited Production Update; Next Game is New Remake; New Classic Upgrade Kit

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Kanti Dinda
Kanti Dinda
2023년 6월 27일

Just with MM / AFM/ MB /PF and CCr, CGC could easily triple sales if they had some production capacity!

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