Pinball rumor week continues here at Knapp Arcade. When looking at Stern's Production schedule earlier here this week, we got into a brief discussion about potential Stern Pinball Vault games. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term "Vault," in pinball it means to bring back a game that production has stopped on, often a while ago, and often with slight improvements. Stern has "Vaulted" Spider-Man with the Comic version of the game, vaulted Iron Man and Vaulted AC/DC with new Luci's and Pros without the horrendous playfield face in the past.
The consensus amongst those who commented on the posts was that people want to see vaults for three specific games, TRON, Lord of the Rings and Ghostbusters. There has been some mentions about a potential Spider-Man Vault (again) as well.
I'm hearing that the machine that Stern wants to Vault the most is...Ghostbusters. The theme is amazing, more Ghostbusters movies are coming out and Zombie Yeti's art on the game is incredible. There's two problems with Ghostbusters though - the playfield's massive flipper gap and the game's association with the disgraced designer John Trudeau, particularly if selling Ghostbusters again would lead to Stern having to pay royalties to him (I don't personally know how that part of Stern's pact with designers works). That's the rumor part.
Now here's the speculation part. Stern could fix both problems with Ghostbusters with one genius move...have their legendary designer and Chief Creative Officer George Gomez redesign the Ghostbusters layout, or at least improve it so that darn flipper game is narrower. A Gomez redesign of Ghostbusters with basically the same art, code, etc... would eliminate the tainted association with its former designer and fix the aspect of the game that players hate the most. Stern already established somewhat of a precedent for this happening when George Gomez redesigned Deadpool, which Trudeau had initially started for Stern (I think that was a complete redesign from scratch though).
Will this happen? It seems like kind of a stretch to me, but it sure is fun to talk about. The move makes a lot of sense. The question is would George Gomez want to undertake another design when he's perfectly happy overseeing everything, particularly after putting in so much work on his recent James Bond pinball machine (speaking of which, I'm hearing that Code version 1.0 is going to be fantastic)? Stern did Vault Iron Man after it had already switched to LCD displays, so the vaulting a DMD game in this era has been done before. Ghostbusters actually was Sterns' final DMD game so it would be easier to redo than an older DMD game.
Would you be interested in buying a Ghostbusters Vault? I personally would be more interested in a TRON or LOTR Vault, but that opinion might be in the minority. A Ghostbusters Vault probably would sell like hotcakes (why do people say that, do hotcakes really sell that well?).
Other Stern Odds and ends:
- I've heard that the Brian Eddy design for Venom is fantastic and plays the best of his Stern games thus far.
- John Borg definitely is definitely not designing the Indiana Jones pinball machine that Stern was working on.