Our topic this week, nicknamed The King of Flow, the bestselling pinball designer of all time, my favorite designer, and the reason why you know or will know what Meniere’s Disease is: Steve Ritchie.
This episode reviews the early life of Steve Ritchie until his first break from pinball in 1982 which includes his early life, how he became a designer, his first years in the industry at Atari Pinball, moving to Williams and designing some of the biggest modern sellers and most innovative pinball machine in this history of the hobby.
Before Stern Pinball Inc., which dominates the pinball landscape today, there was Stern Electronics, our second episode’s topic. We cover where Stern Electronics came from, Sam and Gary Stern’s early years, Dave mispronouncing names, the change from electro-mechanical pinball to solid state, the sketchiness around that transition, legendary designer Steve Kirk, Stern’s wild art, and the death of Stern Electronics.
Our Previous episodes have all been from the early solid-state era. The last 70’s and early 80’s was where the industry went though some of its largest shifts, we call that ‘disruption’ now-a-days. The exit of electro-mechanical pinball and the entrance of solid-state was a watershed moment in the hobby.
Some companies excelled in the new market and some fell almost immediately. Gottlieb well… they became zombies, just refusing to die and walking on and on and on… hanging in there… Somehow…
Today we’re going to review their final years of Gottlieb in the System 3 era.
Python Anghelo was an eccentric, passionate, charming, classically educated,
combative, spiteful, and caring individual. He gave his all for pinball. Python is a
guy who added social commentary to his back-glass art, added Easter eggs to his work, drank a lot, fought with leadership over creating unique worlds under glass.
Python burned bridges, tossed insults, and pulled no punches along his life’s journey. He was a nut for sure.
Join us this month as we discuss Python’s upbringing, joining the coin-op industry,
getting into verbal fights with co workers, drinking on boats, Steve Kordek, cows,
more butchering of names, a poll joke and Python’s legacy.
Gottlieb was a giant in the pinball industry. Some would say that they created some of the most fun in the Electro-Mechanical era than all the other manufacturers combined. When the sea change of the Solid-State Era appeared on the horizon, Gottlieb the industry giant began stepping on rakes and never fully recovered.
Come hang out with a slightly bitter Dave and an always chipper Ron as they chat about Gottlieb’s EM dominance, the industry transition to solid-state, what each companies technology was like, their favourite System 1 machines, vari-targets and the industry’s worst piece of garbage spinner!
Join David and Ron this week as they ride on a dirt bike made of quarters and fueled with pinball players’ tears with Steve Ritchie. Through this awesome time in pinball, the bestselling designer ever, continued to build his legacy and as you’ll see in this episode, redefined pinball as the industry struggled to survive.
Come listen about Steve’s iconic Williams System 11 and WPC machines. There is high praise for Larry DeMar, the alternate theme for Rollergames, Dave and Ron fan boying about T2 and Star Trek: TNG, and Steve Richie being cooler than Dave.
David and Ron are here again this month to use an audio medium to talk about visual art… will it work?
Art sells Pinball machines. There was no better team ever in pinball as the Art Team at Bally. From 1975 until Bally was sold to Midway in 1983 an eclectic, creative and dedicated team of artists made some of the best art pinball had ever seen.
Come listen to Ron and Dave chat about Dave Christensen, his strange art choices, why was it so cold at Bally in the 1970s, hear Dave consistently miss pronounce more names, the amazing Paul Faris Bally art team, orbit spinners and Gene Simmons’s package.
David and Ron are going to finish what they started last month. As mentioned in the previous podcast, from 1975 to 1980 Bally were breaking sales records. It seemed that Paul Faris’s art team could do no wrong but by 1981 the gaming industry’s footing was feeling shaky.
In an effort to hold ground and boost sales Bally push out some of their most creative works ever. The Class of 1981 was, and still is, the pinnacle of pinball art.
Join us as we talk about Xenon’s tube shot and sound package, polaroid pictures, Kevin O’Connor’s jeep, Claude Fernandez stealing design ideas from Steve Ritchie, Margaret Hudson being a trail blazer for woman in pinball, annoying in lane/out lane designs and the peak of Bally’s stunning art design. Also, did you know Kevin O’Conner had a jeep?
John Borg or as he’s affectionately known as ‘Borgie’, entered the industry as a mechanical engineer building ramps and ended up being a designer on some of the fondest remember nostalgia pins of the 1990’s.
Join Ron and Dave as they chat about Borgie got to hang out with movie stars, review some cool mechs, discuss Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman, designers getting scripts to some of the biggest 90’s blockbusters in advance of the film, chat about a cougar attack (like the animal) and watch as the industry flamed out.
Pat Lawlor is a pinball statesman. He has a long lumbering and detailed way of explaining himself. This deep and controlled thought process is why Pat’s pinball designs and mechanical toys are so detailed and dedicated to being exciting. Some would call Pat a pinball academic, others say he’s a prickly fella.
Join us this month where we talk ramps, ramps, Dave talks about his Tron a bunch… in a Pat Lawlor episode (?), more cool ramps, Stern’s 2000s, Pat’s move to Jersey Jack and the strange Shrek/Family guy pin!