For the second time in 2023 we had an absolute avalanche of awesome pinball news leading up to the recent Chicago Pinball Expo. It's been fun talking about all of the recent events with everyone.
Now that all of those announcements have happened we can catch our breath a bit. I've been going through the thousands of pictures and video that Rob and I took on the Fall 2023 Arcade Trip last week. Make sure to follow the Knapp Arcade Facebook and Instagram accounts for daily pictures of some of the rarest pinball and arcade machines in the world. I love taking pictures of and sharing that stuff.
Looking forward, today I wanted to talk about one of the more persistent pinball rumors that has been out there for the past couple of years...The Muppet Show pinball. First, I have an interesting (at least to me) Muppets background story. Back when I was a young kid, we're talking pre-school or kindergarten age, I religiously watched The Muppet Show on television every week. I LOVED it. One night my parents went out to dinner and got a babysitter. I was all set to watch the Muppets as I always did when it came on at some super early hour like 7:00 PM and all of a sudden my babysitter said "Time for Bed." Despite my protests that I NEVER had to go to bed before The Muppet Show off to bed I went.
As I sat up in my room stewing about missing my favorite show, I decided to sneak back downstairs to see what was going on. I peeked through the door into the family room and Lo and Behold there was my babysitter on our couch hooking up with some guy! I was shocked, not because I accidentally learned about the birds and the bees, but because THIS was why I missed the Muppets. How dare she! LOL. Needless to say she never babysat for us again.
Anyhow, I love the Muppets. There's been rumors out there that a Muppets pinball machine is coming for years. The earliest mention that I recall hearing about a Muppets pin was a number of years ago when a disgruntled former Jersey Jack employee shared an entire list of upcoming themes up on Pinside. The post has since been deleted, but its legend lives on. The person correctly predicted Dialed In and Willy Wonka. They also said that JJP had a three pinball machine deal with Disney to make games based on Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story...and The Muppets. The first two themes eventually came true. Will the third? It's been a long time. I wonder if it's still valid?
More recently, some people are saying that the newest company on the pinball block, Barrels of Fun (BOF), may have locked up the license for Muppets pinball. We know for a fact from the awesome Pinball Profile interview with David van Es that Barrels of Fun does have two additional licenses locked up for future games. Beyond that, I think that people are leaping to conclusions that BOF has The Muppets and Fraggle Rock because they already did one Jim Henson pinball machine. If what I've heard about BOF's upcoming title is true, it's very far from being the Muppets - but it is a theme that people have been asking for a pinball machine to be made for for years.
So there we have it, two rumors about Muppets Pinball, one old and one new, both are entirely possible...or neither. I don't know for sure beyond the rumors. All I know is that for someone in their 40's like myself or 50's, I think that Muppets pinball would be a home run. You could have a topper with the two old guys in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf, heckling the player. Amazing. You could have a mode based on Beaker and Professor Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. One based on the Swedish Chef and his hilarious human hands. Pigs in Space (I still have a Pigs in Space Christmas ornament that we hang on our tree every year). Music from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem band. Oh man, I'm getting excited thinking about it. I really hope that it happens. We'll see.