Throughout the life of pinball machines, a lot of manufactures have come and gone. Don’t count the pinball machine out though, as there a handful of companies still making machines today. With advancing technology however, it is fair to wonder just how many pinball manufacturers are left.
There are a handful of pinball machine companies still making machines today. The likes of Haggis Pinball, Riot and Suncoast are all names that are set to make the popular machines of the future. Stern Pinball is another manufacturer that has been around for decades, but still makes new machines.
We will take a look at the machines made by these companies below and discuss why they are the ones to watch out for in the future. But first, let’s take a look at some of the most famous brands and machines from the past few decades.
The Most Iconic Pinball Machine Manufacturers
American Pinball has created great titles like Houdini “Master of Mystery” and Oktoberfest. Based around the Chicago area they continue on from where the roots started. Creating high quality, multi-ball games and multiple modes for endless playing.
Spooky Pinball has made Total Annihilation, receiving multiple Best New Game Show awards and 2017 Game of the Year in Pinball News. They have some horror themed games in Rob Zombie’s SpookShow International and America’s Most Haunted, while also offering a musical choice with Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, and even working with Domino’s to create Domino’s Spectacular Pinball Adventure.
Chicago Gaming Company has come out with some great new remakes of classic pinball machines from the past. Resurfacing Bally and Williams’ amazing pinball machines such as Attack from Mars and Monster Bash. They were also responsible for the rebirth of Ye Olde Medieval Madness with the help of Planetary Pinball to create an exciting new experience.
All of these games received a 21st century update with LED lights, RGB color changes, 3-D models and adjustable settings. CGC didn’t forget to improve the characters on the playfield and offer bigger display screens with HD colors. These games will definitely bring back memories for the older generations and keep the younger crowd entertained for hours.
Dutch Pinball created “The Dude” machine, better known as The Big Lebowski Pinball. This used 200 quotes from the movie and three flippers for a multi-level playfield. They also created the Bride of Pinpoint 2.0 Upgrade kit for the Bride of Pinpoint machine, allowing for more game modes and an online high score leaderboard. Also upgraded were the speaker panels and the color display.
Tilt Warning Customs is a very unique manufacturer, in that all their machines are custom ordered. Hand painted artwork, LCD displays, and playfields built to your liking where no two are made the same are exactly what Tilt Warning Customs offer, making this the ultimate brand for those looking to create their own exciting pinball experience.
New Pinball Machine Manufacturers
There are also some companies that are new to the pinball scene that are bringing out some of their first pinball games. These are the ones to watch, as they will undoubtedly be creating the pinball games of the future.
Quetzl And STR
Quetzl Pinball and STR Pinball have combined their talent to create the exciting racing themed Tokyo Perfect Drift. This machine became available to the public during the 35th annual Pinball Expo in Wheeling, IL, in October 2019. Players of this game can enjoy racing down multiple tracks with four flippers and four balls for open shots.
Riot Pinball released Wrath of Olympus toward the end of 2015, creating a monster slaying playfield. Including six flippers, fourteen stand-up targets, hand drawn art, an upper playfield and monsters to attack, this is a very exciting pinball machine.
One company looking promising is Haggis Pinball from Australia. They released their Celts pinball machine in November of 2019, and this game features a variety of different games you can end up playing within it. These games are all Highland Games themed, from the Hammer Throw to the Caber Toss and even the Highland Fling.
Suncoast Pinball released Cosmic Carnival machine at the end of 2018, with the first models shipped in 2019. They are looking to ship internationally as well, and with plenty of ramps, orbits and an overall brilliant aesthetic, this game is sure to be one of the future favorites.
Stern Pinball: One Of The Best
Some may say that most of the manufacturers discussed above are not really full-blown manufacturers as most do not ship directly to their customers. Instead, they’ll use distributors for their sales. Others may not have built a new machine in a number of years, but this does not take away from the respectable fact that they are entering a relatively small and rocky market.
But there is one brand that has been consistently providing top quality machines over the years, and that is Stern Pinball. They are a brand that has been building pinball machines throughout the years, taking themes from bands to comic book and movie titles. Stern has created too many to list them all here, but it’s worth mentioning a few of them.
Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead are some that have taken their themes from movies and TV shows. Classic rock bands such as the Beatles, Aerosmith, ACDC, Kiss and Metallica all come to life in their own respective pinball machines too. A pinball parlor filled with just Stern machines would provide hours of fun as long as your pockets are full!
Stern doesn’t forget about parts and repairs either, as they have a store with upgraded parts and replacements ready to ship out to whoever needs them. They’ve been around the block for quite some time so you can guarantee quality, and they are dedicated to providing a top-quality service.
They have a deep history dating back to the early 1930s with Sam and Gary Stern laying the foundations for modern pinball. As the game evolved so did their company, growing from buying other companies around the same market of coin operated games.
When the 90s hit and the popularity was booming, they released some of their most iconic titles with other companies in the Chicago area. Even through several recessions they still survived and thrived to supply some of the best machines, parts and accessories to this day.
There are still many different companies making pinball machines today, with names like Haggis Pinball, Quetzl and Riot bringing the iconic game to a new generation of fans. While some are creating their first machines for the market, others like Stern Pinball have been around for decades, still providing some of the best pinball machines around.