theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

National and World

January 22, 2013

Slate: Can this man save pinball?

(Continued)

LAKEWOOD, N.J. —

But around 1986, the arcade bubble burst. And though pinball had a brief resurgence a few years later — 1992's "The Addams Family," the game I played obsessively in my college rec center, sold more than 20,000 units, making it the most-popular machine since the 1930s — that market collapsed again in the mid-1990s, leading the majority of manufacturers to abandon the business for good.

Pinball succumbed to the same forces that killed the video arcade. In the 1970s, arcade games far outclassed the entertainment competition, which consisted primarily of three channels of lousy network television, staring contests and throwing rocks at cars. But with the spread of home consoles and cable TV (and eventually ubiquitous Web access and smartphones), paying to play video games at some retail establishment felt inconvenient and outdated, like carrying a boombox on your shoulder or using an outhouse.

Pinball in particular became a relic from a pre-modern age. Compared with simple video games, which require little maintenance, pinball machines are loaded with mechanical parts that inevitably break down. Video games also generally take up less space than bulky pinball cabinets, and the advent of multi-joystick (and multi-steering-wheel) play allowed operators to earn more than they ever could from a one-player-at-a-time, flipper-based machine. As pinball lost its cachet, then, arcade owners happily shoved aside the less profitable, more aggravating machines in favor of reliable revenue generators such as driving games and games involving spine ripping.

With pinball largely banished from public spaces (unless you live in a hipster haven like Portland, Ore.), most of today's machines end up in the hands of collectors. Chicago's Stern Pinball — whose website declares it "the only maker of REAL pinball games on the planet!!" — produces three new titles each year, with recent games including Transformers, AC/DC, X-Men, and Avengers. According to company president Gary Stern, his firm sold more than 5,000 games in 2012. Though Stern says business was up last year, those numbers are bracing — that means an entire year's run of today's machines adds up to 25 percent of the sales of a blockbuster like The Addams Family.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National and World
  • Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia

    Scientists have linked more than 100 spots in our DNA to the risk of developing schizophrenia, casting light on the mystery of what makes the disease tick.

     

    July 23, 2014

  • 2008 law unexpectedly at center of border debate

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls turning on her television and seeing a young Chinese girl crying before a judge, without even an interpreter to help her after surviving a harrowing journey to the U.S.

     

    July 23, 2014

  • Contrarian's case: Why US could dip into recession

    Just as the U.S. economy is strengthening, other countries are threatening to drag it down.

     

    July 23, 2014

  • Police probe other attacks after transients killed

    Three teenagers accused of fatally beating two homeless men beyond recognition with cinderblocks, bricks and a metal fence pole may have been terrorizing transients around Albuquerque for months, police said Monday.

     

    July 22, 2014

  • Dozens injured as explosions rock Boston Marathon

    At least two explosions occurred at 2:50 p.m. Monday near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, injuring dozens of spectators.

    April 15, 2013

  • Saturday for Now Saturday delivery will continue — for now

     

    People who check their mailboxes for magazines, catalogs and bills on Saturdays can continue that part of their weekend routine — at least for now.

     

    April 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • Officials warn of salmonella dangers from baby poultry

    Easter and the spring season is the time of year when baby poultry, including chicks, ducklings, goslings, and baby turkeys are given as gifts or put on display in stores for children to touch and hold. 

    March 26, 2013

  • Tom Cole Republicans submit budget

    House Republicans presented our annual budget blueprint last week, followed the next day by Senate Democrats.  The contrast between the two plans could not be more stark.

    March 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Norovirus Doctor warns norovirus spreads easily

     

    With the country in the midst of a record year for influenza cases, doctors at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are warning Oklahomans to watch out for another violent and virulent illness called the norovirus.

     

    February 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • 19 killed in fiery air balloon accident

     

    The terror lasted less than two minutes: Smoke poured from a hot air balloon carrying sightseers on a sunrise flight over the ancient city of Luxor. The balloon burst in a flash of flame and then plummeted about 1,000 feet to earth. A farmer watched helplessly as tourists trying to escape the blazing gondola leaped to their deaths.

     

    February 27, 2013

AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Stocks
Poll

Who do you blame more for the trouble in Gaza?

The Israelis
Hamas
     View Results