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Pinball Odds & Ends: New Hires at Stern & Jersey Jack, New Digital Pinball

Here's a couple of news items that I've seen over the past several days that I didn't really get excited enough about to write an entire article on, but collectively are pretty interesting.

First up, yesterday Jersey Jack Pinball announced that it has hired Tom Kopera as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO). The interesting part is that they hired him away from Stern Pinball. He had been Stern's Director of Mechanical Engineering since 2021.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Tom, he is an industry veteran who worked previously with George Gomez at Midway Games and Bally / Williams. He has created pinball mech such as the glove in Johnny Mnemonic and the basketball shooter in NBA Fastbreak, co-designed Cactus Canyon and designed Stern Rolling Stones.

Tom's hiring at JJP explains why last week Stern Pinball announced that it has hired Kevin Payne as it's new Director of Mechanical Engineering. Kevin has mechanical engineering experience in a number of industries, including a stint with George Gomez at Incredible Technologies, the maker of Golden Tee.

On the digital pinball side of the hobby, yesterday Zen Studios teased a new horror pinball collection that it is working on. Its upcoming "Pinball M" is a collection of original "tables" each of which is "a unique, fresh creation from the darkest, goriest franchises." No word yet on when these new tables will launch.

Last up, the sequel to the fairly well-known virtual pinball game Demon's Tilt from 2019 - which itself was the spiritual successor to the iconic TurboGrafx game Devil's Crush, XENOTILT has launched. Available on most platforms, XENOTILT: HOSTILE PINBALL ACTION is a unique Lovcraftian digital pinball creation that you really have to see to understand. I'll place a link to its Steam page below for anyone who wants to check it out. Its fun, I bought it to play on my Steam Deck.

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