Thursday, April 11, 2013

For whom the ball rolls: Stern unveils its upcoming Metallica pinball machine

Posted By on 04.11.13 at 02:24 PM

The limited edition Metallica pinball machine
  • The limited edition Metallica pinball machine
Rock musicians are one of the leading demographics of pinball players, probably because of the fact that they spend an inordinate amount of time in clubs and bars, where pinball machines usually reside, with plenty time to kill between soundchecks and set times. And, you know, because they refuse to ever stop acting like teenagers.

Metallica are among the more outspoken rock star pinball fans around. A couple of years ago front man James Hetfield went so far as to commission a one-of-a-kind custom Metallica table from designers Wade Krause and Tanio Klyce and retro-lowbrow visual artist Dirty Donny. Now the band has partnered with Melrose Park-based Stern Pinball to bring a full-on Metallica-licensed pinball machine to market.

Over the course of the week Stern's been posting photos and videos of the upcoming machine to their Facebook page, and it looks incredible. The game was designed by the legendary John Borg, who's responsible for a number of incredible games in the past, including the legendary Guns 'n' Roses machine, and Dirty Donny's returned to contribute its fantastically lurid artwork.

The Metallica machine comes not too long after Stern's successful AC/DC machine, which I wrote about for the Reader prior to its release last year. "Licensing can mean everything for a company like ours," Stern marketing director Jody Dankberg told me at the time. "We like to try to do what we call A-plus licenses, something that has a lot of history to it and has exposure all over the world, since we ship to almost every country. So it's really important that something that's popular here is popular in Australia, popular in China, in Europe. Superheroes work real well, big title movies, big rock bands, stuff like that." Metallica definitely qualifies.

Like AC/DC, the Metallica game will be available in pro, premium, and limited edition configurations, with the Master of Puppets-themed limited edition coming in at a hefty $7,595 that Metallica diehards will likely be happy to pay. The machine also has a soundtrack of classics from the group's catalog that thankfully leans heavy on their early, prehaircut material. I can't wait.

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