STERN OF THE UNION ADDRESS – JANUARY 2021
The Stern of the Union Address will be presented on the first Tuesday of every month (holiday and vacation excepted). Without further ado my fellow pinheads:
In one of the most significant game launches to date, Stern Pinball rocked not only the pinball world, but the entire globe! As an opening act, Led Zeppelin themselves dropped the teaser video across their official social media channels without anyone seeing it coming. Their audience and platform of fans is absolutely massive with a combined reach of over 15 million dedicated and rabid followers. To date, the total views across channels on this video surpassed 200,000 just for a teaser video! Without a press release at that time, rock radio stations and media outlets were picking up the news, reaching both domestic and foreign press as the anticipation kept building.
As the headliner, Led Zeppelin didn’t disappoint when they dropped the official game trailer across their channels and the hits kept racking up! Since premiering, the game trailer video has amassed over 500,000 combined views making it one of the most viewed and popular pinball videos in history! With it has been an overwhelming onslaught of press and media exposure notably from Blabbermouth, Fox News, Louder Sound, HYPEBEAST, Best Classic Bands, and Metal Injection to name a few.
Visit the official Led Zeppelin game page for full details on this pinball rock concert experience including the official game trailer, Pro model game features, Premium/LE model game features, and accessories trailer!
Led Zeppelin Premiere Livestream Replay:
Available for all Stern Insiders, watch the full replay of the reveal stream of Led Zeppelin with the design team and Jack Danger of Dead Flip right here! https://sternpinball.com/account/
Not an Insider? Not a problem! Sign up for FREE today at https://sternpinball.com/stern-insider/
Stern Insider Pinball Podcast:
Available now for all Stern Insiders, listen to this panel discussion with the Led Zeppelin team including lead game designer Steve Ritchie, lead software programmer Tim Sexton, lead mechanical engineer John Rotharmel, mechanical engineers Elliot Eismin and Robb Blakeman, and lead artist Stephen Jensen as they dive into their collaborative approach in bringing this iconic rock band to life in this pinball concert experience on episode 10 of the Stern Insider Pinball Podcast!
All episodes can be listened to here: https://sternpinball.com/account/
Led Zeppelin Livestreams:
Check out these additional streams of Led Zeppelin including an unboxing and interview with Steve Ritchie and Tim Sexton on MarcoTV, and this reveal gameplay video and a 400+ million game on Dead Flip!
IGN Unboxing – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Premium:
IGN unboxes a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Premium machine highlighting all the cool, goofy features of this radical game! Check out this exclusive IGN pinball unboxing video. COWABUNGA!
Happy New Year All-Access Members:
We heard it on the internet so it must be true! Stranger things have occurred…
Star Wars Comic Art Pin Production and Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide:
Our new Star Wars Comic Art Pins are in full production just in time for the holidays! Check out this video of the game on the line as well as being featured in the official Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide!
Do you have a PlayStrongTM pinball story to share with the world? Send your inspirational message and pictures to Insider@sternpinball.com for a chance to be featured across Stern’s social media channels in addition to winning exclusive Stern swag and merchandise! Check out these incredible #PlayStrong stories featuring actor/comedian (and script writer on our Deadpool game!) Brian Posehn, actress Riki Lindhome, Fluke Skywalker during his Project Pinball Charity ceremony donation, and a unique pinball campaign via Ray Ban!
Da Realist Sports Show:
Da Realist Sports Show had Stern’s Director of Marketing, Zach Sharpe, on the show discuss competitive pinball including the most recent TMNT Stern Heads-Up Pinball Invitational and more! Listen to the full podcast interview here.
George Gomez Interview:
Check out this special interview with Stern’s Chief Creative Officer, George Gomez, on the Pinball Television YouTube channel here!
Gameroom of the Month:
Congrats to Dan Pelkey of Maine on being named the recipient of Gameroom of the Month! Do you have a special home gameroom you want to share with the world? Leave a photo comment on our Facebook post and you may be our next winner! Not on social media? Not a problem! You can submit your incredible gameroom directly to Insider@sternpinball.com for your chance to win an exclusive Stern Swag Pack!
Pinball Rental Program:
Stay entertained by staying inside with the latest Stern Pinball machines! Even if your local bar or arcade is temporarily unavailable, there are plenty of opportunities to play the newest Stern games. Contact your local authorized Stern dealer for more information on renting your very own Stern pinball machine where available! https://sternpinball.com/find-a-dealer/
Stern Army Updates:
The Stern Army continues to grow with members spreading the gospel of pinball across the globe.
Congratulations to the following Stern Army members on their promotion from Private First Class to Specialist:
- Specialist Michael Hosier of California (Coin-Op Sacramento)
- Specialist Lucas Bardin of Australia (General Public)
- Specialist Will Long of Ohio (Cartridge Gaming)
- Specialist Donavan Stepp of Colorado (1up Greenwood)
Congratulations to the following Stern Army members on their promotion from Private to Private First Class:
- Private First Class Bryan Caudill of North Carolina (Boxcar Bar + Arcade)
- Private First Class Michael Centini of Ohio (Vaporosity Retro Arcade
- Private First Class Pete Hellsten of California (The Flipper Room)
- Private First Class Lane Hill of Washington (Airport Tavern)
- Private First Class Jared Neible of Indiana (High Score Saloon)
- Private First Class John Monkus of Arizona (Pinpoint Fayetteville)
- Private First Class Ian Thorley of Colorado (CO Bar)
For more information and to join the Stern Army, please reach out to SternArmy@sternpinball.com
Stern Insider All-Access:
Congrats to Marc from Florida, December’s Stern Insider All-Access winner! Marc received a Led Zeppelin playfield autographed by lead game designer Steve Ritchie and lead game developer Tim Sexton! Do you have All-Access? To register and become a Stern Insider, please visit https://sternpinball.com/stern-insider/
IFPA Challenge Rankings (ICR):
In order to provide a competitive alternative in the current climate, the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) announced the implementation of the IFPA Challenge Rankings (ICR) for all players leading to the inaugural IFPA Challenge Rankings Championship! For full details, standings and prize information, please click here to learn more and connect with other players around the world!
Status of Code:
We are continuously working to update and improve software for our machines. There are always code updates and bug fixes in various stages of development; we will release them upon update completion. Here are some of the latest updates and the status of things in the works. If you would like to join our mailing list for code updates, please send an e-mail to Code.Updates@sternpinball.com. If you do encounter any bugs please feel free to provide information to firstname.lastname@example.org
This Code-mas Holiday season Stern Pinball posted new code for the following SEVEN games!!! Make sure you are up to date with the latest and Happy Holidays!
- Avengers: Infinity Quest – For all Avengers owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v0.95.0). Be on the lookout for a new code update later this month.
- Stranger Things – For all Stranger Things owners, please make sure you have updated your game to the most current code version (v1.01.0). This code contains numerous game enhancements including a brand new Final Showdown Challenge mini-game, additional polish, adjustments, system updates and bug fixes.
- TMNT – For all TMNT owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v1.41.0). This code update includes numerous game enhancements including a new Half Shell Challenge mini-game, additional polish, game adjustments, system updates and bug fixes!
- Iron Maiden – For all Iron Maiden owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v1.08.0). This code update includes numerous game enhancements, additional polish, game adjustments, bug fixes, system updates and the DJ Mixer feature!
- Star Wars – For all Star Wars owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v1.10.0). This code update includes numerous game enhancements, additional polish, game adjustments, bug fixes, system updates and the DJ Mixer feature!
- Pabst Can Crusher – For all Pabst Can Crusher owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v1.02.0) now including the DJ Mixer feature!
- Primus – For all Primus owners, please make sure you are up to date with the most current code version (v1.04.0) now including the DJ Mixer feature!
Christie’s recently had a “Behind the Box: 1994-2020” auction with many items including a Supreme pinball machine. Check out the full auction listing here, where the pinball machine sold for an astonishing amount of $81,250!
Check out our Stern Shop for all accessories, collectibles, clothing and more including this month’s featured items, Stern pinball eGift card and the Stern Insider All-Access Membership! Free domestic shipping on orders of $50 or more on all Stern merchandise and accessories.
All Stern Pinball accessories are also available to purchase from your local authorized dealer – https://sternpinball.com/find-a-dealer/
Stern Spotlight – Chuck Bleich:
“Hi, my name is Chuck Bleich, and I am the Manager of Electronic Engineering at Stern Pinball where I oversee the electrical and electronics used in the games. The Electrical /Electronic Engineering people function behind the scenes of the game creations and are little known. If you have been playing coin-op games then you have touched some of my creative work unknowingly as I have created the electronics behind many game features envisioned by the game designers. I have worked in pinball (most of my career), video, novelty, and slot machines. I am the guy behind the magic curtain that is unseen.
Many years ago, when I graduated college, I was looking for work in the ‘industrial controls’ field or animatronics. By chance I interviewed with a pinball company and was hired into the coin-op world by Williams Electronics and have ever since called it home. I had two goals of what I wanted to do with my career; one was to see direct results of my efforts and second was to put a smile on people’s faces. I think my goals have been accomplished over and over every year. My career has since spanned 42 years (still going strong!) and I continue to enjoy designing electronic systems.
I have done design work for all the great coin-op companies; Williams Electronic, Midway Games, WMS Gaming, and now Stern Pinball. Some of my major accomplishments include many of the Williams Pin Electronics systems, Midway Touchmaster, Williams video games (Defender, Robotron, StarGate), Will-Telco Payphone, WMS slot machines, novelty games and now Stern Pinball electronics.
Professionally, I have always been surrounded by and worked with very talented, creative, knowledgeable and energetic people/designers. Personally, I am not widely known but have been the ‘enabler’ to many of the greats in coin-op to bring their thoughts to reality. The people in the coin-op world that I have worked with are more family than co-workers.
I have always had the freedom to work, actually play, with every kind of electrical and electronic device. I am always looking and playing with new technology to understand how it might be used in pinball. Bringing new technology to the designer’s attention provides fuel for thought and helps them to accomplish the feature they are trying to conceive. The technology spans from very simple electrical designs, LEDs, switches, solenoids, motors, processors, displays, and sensors, to full system architectures. I have worked on pinball control architectures, video games architectures, intelligent pay phone systems and slot machines electronics. A fair amount of the work has involved keeping the companies going and functioning. I am also involved with regulatory requirements (UL, FCC, RoHS) and component selection, as well as assisting the factory with manufacturing methods and testing for vendors and factory. Daily tasks can be of the more mundane, however, I find each day is always filled with other tasks that are challenging and creative.
When I am not working, I am always looking for and investigating various electronics, trying to find creative ways to be used other than originally designed for. I also find time to enjoy taking hikes in the forests, camping, and watching science and technology shows – to the annoyance of my family. I pride myself on the ability to look at electronics and find new and different uses.
My advice to others is to just keep learning, enjoy what you do, look at the bright side of life and think out of the box. I hope you all have enjoyed my efforts and creations from behind-the-scenes.”