Updated: Apr 18
Now that all of the established pinball manufacturers have either announced or begun production on their next game, I've started wondering whether we will see a completely new pinball manufacturer produce a new game in significant quantities in the second half of 2023?
Now there's been rumors about mysterious new pinball manufacturers that are about to enter the market for years. I usually chalk such talk up as complete nonsense, but there has been a few companies that have made an unsuccessful run at bringing out their own new pinball machine, from larger endeavors like Deeproot to smaller ones such as Great Lakes Pinball and Circus Maximus. Pinball ain't easy.
So who are the contenders that might actually be able to accomplish the difficult task of successfully bringing a new pinball machine to market in significant numbers? The word "significant" is somewhat ambiguous, so for the purpose of this exercise let's call it 100 games, which is far from significant to the Sterns and Jersey Jacks of the world, but still noticeable.
First up we have a company that I have been writing about for well over a year, Bitronic. This established Spanish manufacturer is attempting to build and sell the Quetzal Pinball-designed game "Super Hoop." Bitronic actually seemed to be succeeding in launching production of Super Hoop until last fall when a significant fire at the company's factory set those efforts back. According to what I've heard, Bitronic used the time that it took to rebuild their factory to address some of the initial quality issues that early adopters of Super Hoop noticed. I hadn't thought much about Super Hoop lately, until last week when a UK pinball distributor named Pinball Heaven uploaded a promotional video for Super Hoop to YouTube. As soon as I saw that, I reached out to them asking if they actually had the game in stock. They informed me that the machine that they used in the video was a promotional unit and that they are still waiting for Bitronic to send them games to sell. I also sent an e-mail to Bitronic themselves to see if they would be willing to give us a status update on Super Hoop or their supposed second game Tokyo Perfect Drift. I have not heard back yet, but I will let you all know if I do.
Candidate number two to produce a new pin this year is Pinball Adventures. This Canadian company has been showing off pictures prototypes of its first pinball machine, Punny Factory, for several years. After a number of delays, Pinball Adventures announced that it is bringing its "latest machines," which likely means at least Punny factory and possibly its supposed second game Elements, to three pinball shows in the second half of 2023, the first of which is the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show (https://www.nwpinballshow.com/), scheduled to take place in Tacoma Washington starting on June 2nd.
Candidate number three to launch a new game this year is Turner Pinball. Chris Turner, former head of IT and programmer for Deeproot Pinball, scooped up a number of the defunct company's assets in a bankruptcy auction. Rather than attempting to bring out a game that Deeproot was working on as its first title, such as John Popadiuk's Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland aka RAZA or Barry Oursler's Food Truck, Chris Turner's new Company, Turner Pinball, has decided to design its own pinball machine from scratch. The name of that game is Ninja Eclipse. Turner brought an early prototype of the machine to the recent Texas Pinball Festival. During a seminar that he held at the event, Turner stated that he and his company plan to sell 100 units of Ninja Eclipse and that he hopes to have it in full production before the end of 2023.
The last candidate to produce its first game in a significant quantity during the second half of 2023 is a brand new Mystery company. Yeah I know we've all heard rumors about a mysterious new player in the pinball industry for years without anything significant ever coming to fruition, but this rumor doesn't come from me. It comes from the critically acclaimed (OK well at least self-acclaimed) Rumor Corner segment of the Eclectic Gamers Podcast. The show's keeper of rumors, Dennis Kriesel, stated the following in the podcast's latest episode:
Another pinball company that we have not seen a game from, at all ever, is planning to actually launch their first game later this year.
So will another mystery company throw its hat into the pinball arena? When I reached out to him for comment, Dennis said that he thinks it's 70-30 that it will happen. That's pretty confident if you ask me. So blame him, not Knapp Arcade, if it doesn't happen lol.
So what do you all think? Will any of these companies actually produce and sell 100 pinball machines during the second half of 2023? Have you heard any rumors about new games that you want to share? Let everyone know in the comments below, on Facebook or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Link to the latest episode of the Eclectic Gamers Podcast:
The new Pinball Heaven video of Super Hoop:
Bitronic's Super Hoop:
Quetzal Pinball's Tokyo Perfect Drift, Bitronic's supposed second title:
Pinball Adventures' Punny Factory:
Pinball Adventures' Elements:
Turner Pinball's Ninja Eclipse: