I always have CNBC on in the background during the day while I work. It seems as though all of the guests and hosts on the business network are talking about these days is Artificial Intelligence aka AI. So I figured, why not try to use AI to predict what pinball machines will be released in the future? With that in mind, I used the old Knapp Arcade Google account to login to Chat GPT and began firing pinball-related questions and their 'puters.
Fortunately, in our conversation the AI did not ask me if I would like to play a game or recommend War Games as a potential future pinball machine theme, but I was able to get a few pinball machine theme suggestions by wording my questions properly.
You can't just hop into Chat GPT and just ask what pinball machines will be released in 2023. The response will come back as:
As an AI language model, I do not have access to information about products that have not yet been announced or released.
You can, however, ask what would be good themes for new pinball machines, so I started with that. It came back with a ton of themes that have already been made into pins, like Star Wars, Marvel, Game of Thrones and Queen, but it did also suggest Foo Fighters...which is rumored to be an upcoming Stern Pinball title. It also suggested Nirvana, sports themes and unlicensed games.
Given the number of movies that AI recommended in response to my first question, I got more specific and asked it "What movies would make good pinball themes?" It suggested three that already exist in Terminator (1991 Williams Terminator 2 Judgement Day / 2023 Stern Pinball Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Indiana Jones (1993 Williams and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure / 2008 Stern Pinball Indiana Jones) and The Avengers (2012 Stern Pinball The Avengers / 2020 Stern Pinball The Avengers Infinity Quest, but it also came back with some new potential pins, including Die Hard, The Matrix and Fast and the Furious. I could easily see any of those last three being future games.
Since movies is such a broad topic and nostalgia for the 80s and 90s is hot right now, I broke this category down even further into two more, 80s movies and 90s movies. The only unused suggestion from the 90s was Jumanji, but there was a bunch of good ones for the 80s, including Back to the Future, The Goonies, Karate Kid and Top Gun.
Next up, I asked AI what video games would make good themes for pinball. It suggested Super Mario Brothers (done, but I could easily see another one being made in the future), Sonic the Hedgehog (the awesome Ryan McQuaid homebrew game and possible new pin from an unknown manufacturer, The Legend of Zelda (another homebrew game, the almost theme of the 1993 Gottlieb pin Gladiators), Pac-Man (Namco released a redemption-style pinball machine that I have yet to play called Pac-Man Panic last year and it currently owns an active trademark on Pac-Man pinball), Street Fighter (1993 Gottlieb) and Doom (currently exists as a Zen virtual pinball table and runs on just about every computer, calculator and refrigerator in existence).
Next I asked Chat GPT what television shows would make good pinball machine themes. Either this computer thing is cheating and it knows what games already exist or it's really on to something, because a game already exists for every single one of its suggestions...Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, X-Files and Doctor Who.
What other subject matter could I ask AI about? How about what books would make good pins? Surprisingly, only one of the suggestions that this generated has been done yet. In the done category we have Lord of the Rings (2003 Stern Pinball). However, in the yet to be made category we have Harry Potter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (almost a game from Zidware and other companies, but not yet), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (sort of 1996 Capcom Big Bang Bar, but not really), The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hunger Games.
Here's another...possible musician-themed pins, the only unused suggestion was Michael Jackson.
Ooh, I have a good one, what about potential subjects for an unlicensed pinball machine? AI offered up the following: Steampunk, Space Exploration, Circus, Time Travel, Retro Futurism and my favorite...
Underwater Adventure: An underwater-themed pinball machine, with its schools of fish, coral reefs, and deep sea creatures, would make for a visually stunning and immersive pinball experience.
The number of possible questions that one can ask AI is endless. Pretty fascinating stuff. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to run them and see what sort of pinball machine we come up with. If you're interested, you can see my entire conversation with a computer down below.