Stern Pinball made a major presence at this year’s CES 2022, introducing Stern’s Insider Connected and several new boards. Gamers Heroes got the chance to sit down with Stern Pinball Creative Director George Gomez to learn more.
Hero Gamer: CES focuses on Stern Insider Connected, which enhances player interaction and provides a powerful set of tools. What inspired this feature?
George Gomez: Connecting games is an opportunity to not only bring service-related features into games, but more importantly, to transform the way people interact with them both in-game and out of the game. . Insider Connected extends a lot of game-related interactions into any connected device; phones, tablets and computers. In our world, we interact with connected devices in many ways, especially in the game space. In the early 2000s, I was an Executive Producer of a development team at Midway Games that worked on XBox and PlayStation games. At the time, XBOX Live and PlayStation Network were coming to life. I was greatly influenced by that experience. Connecting those games has transformed the way we interact with them, and I wanted to bring something very similar to a pinball game. For me, it’s important to stay true to the game and expand the elements that make sense to expand. I have no interest in making something other than pinball. So not every feature that works in the video game space is applicable.
Hero gamer: On this note, how will this link to the Stern Pro Circuit?
George Gomez: Insider Connected is an ecosystem that will affect every element of the Stern Pinball universe, the games, the Stern Store, Stern Events, Technical Services and Operations. Pro Circuit will benefit from a full suite of tournament tools under development. The first impact of that set will be the rankings.
Hero Gamer: In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have venues like the Pacific Pinball Museum and the free Gold Watch, plus pinball events like Pin-A-Go-Go and the Golden State Pinball festival. How is Stern Pinball looking to partner with the Stern Army and other enthusiasts in the future?
George Gomez: The Stern Army is an important street team that we love because it helps grow the fan base and it enhances the social aspects of the venue ball. We’ll continue to support this effort and enhance it with Insider Connected features like Challenge Missions, event badges, and locations.
Hero Gamer: What inspired you to work with Rush on your new pinball machine and add a voice?
George Gomez: Rush is a desirable establishment to work in as Geddy and Alex both want to contribute directly. They were very involved and generous with their time and talent. That kind of collaboration makes the game so real and gives it unquestionable credibility. They also choose music; 16 songs in their incredible portfolio.
Hero Gamer: Another machine revealed during CES is the Jurassic Park Home Edition. Pinball is usually played in public areas – how do you see the home market evolving with tables like these?
George Gomez: We are very interested in developing the home market. Over the past 10 years, a large portion of our market consisted of consumers purchasing our commercial grade products for home. Family Editions like Jurassic Park and Star Wars are meant to provide lower entry prices to make families more accessible and hopefully help us create the next generation of generations. hard core character. Unique to our time is a scenario where lots of young children are playing marbles at home. This is a relatively new phenomenon facilitated by enthusiasts placing commercial machines in their homes. For me, this is exciting because this generation of kids will grow up with games, which means there’s a lot of chance it will be part of their entertainment mix throughout the season. the rest of their lives. This ensures the future of the game is unlike anything in the history of pinball. And bringing the conversation back to Insider Connected, I’ve heard many dads say the kids are more focused on earning Achievements than playing for scores, which when you think about it, this fits very well with the way it works. they interact with their other games.
Hero Gamer: Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people have bought pinball and video game machines – I have a friend in particular with two in his living room! While you have these home editions, do you see more of a market for limited edition boards for collections?
George Gomez: Our audience is very diverse; some are collectors, some are game modders, some are casual players, some are tournament players, some are club or league players. We will continue to create games, features, events, and models that try to address every element of the audience.
George Gomez: Stern Pinball has an SD Card Image for the Spike System, see regular updates. How has this changed the pinball world in your eyes?
George Gomez: With Insider Connected, these updates will appear on your device in a more modern way like the rest of the connected products you own. Updates are part of the world as we know it. Your computer, phone, car, watch, and any other connected device regularly receive updates. In our world, this power allows us to keep games fresh and enhance audience engagement with this hobby.
Hero Gamer: What would you say about a successful marbles machine?
George Gomez: Balloons are like any other form of entertainment in that it has to be fun and engaging. Engaging games provide you with multiple ways to play, they allow the progression through the game in many distinct paths. Humor plays an important role, if you can make the players laugh, you are ahead. I think players want new experiences in the familiar game. Pinball is a medium just like film or music is a medium. You want to see and experience new stories in movies and you want to hear new music. In all of these scenarios there are common elements, creative tools, musical instruments, etc., and the artists in each medium have to create and deliver new experiences for the audience.
Hero Gamer: Gamers Heroes primarily deals with console and PC titles for platforms like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. What happened to emulators like Stern Pinball Arcade that offer fully digital experiences?
George Gomez: Video pinball is a product of its own. I’ve always liked both but in different ways. Video pinball should take advantage of what it does best, which means things like fantasy and versatility should always be the focus. Both strikers are at their best when they play to their full potential.
Hero Gamer: After working with properties like The Mandalorian and Godzilla before, are there any licensed properties that you personally would like to work on in the future?
George Gomez: I think pinball will always be a reflection of popular culture and we’re always looking for interesting topics that can fit into this medium.
Hero Gamer: Which ball machine are you most proud of?
George Gomez: Honestly, right now I’m most proud of the performance of our developer studio. Manager it’s my day. I’m very focused on helping teams create amazing things like The Mandalorian, Godzilla, and RUSH. I’m very lucky that my portfolio includes a strong mix of games that people really enjoy. Of the games I’ve designed, I’m very proud of games like Monster Bash and Deadpool because I love making them as much as I enjoy playing them.
https://www.gamersheroes.com/features/ces-2022-stern-pinball-interview-with-chief-creative-officer-george-gomez/ CES 2022: Rigorous Pinball Interview with Creative Director George Gomez