Big Juicy Melons was an EM re-theme which was done by Dennis Nordman and Greg Freres. In response to a recent a pinside.com post asking about buying a completed machine, Dennis Nordman post the following including a hint about a long-rumored production run of Big Juicy Melons.
Behind the melons are a couple of boobs named Greg and Dennis!
I’ve been reading through the recent WNBJM thread and realized that there are some misconceptions and misunderstandings concerning the game. I’d like to address these issues and answer any other questions people may have.
Greg Freres and I set out to build one custom game. We had no programmers, no sound designers, no mechanical engineers, and no hardware designers. We’re just a game designer and an artist with a passion for pinball who wanted to do something unique. We decided to retheme a Continental Café because I had one that needed work and had a broken backglass. We combined our interests in old fruit crate art with ‘50s pinup art (and farming!) and created a unique cabinet and art concept for the game. It was going to be a one-off work of pinball art.
Using the parts and rules from CC, I designed a completely new playfield. This is not just a “reskinning” of CC. We changed it from a 2 player to a one player, eliminated two “Gobble Holes” and moved everything around. The game now has a shot back to the top which most EMs of that era don’t have. It also has two shots back to the pop bumpers. It also now has return lanes to the flippers which EMs of the era didn’t have.
Kerry Imming saw our functioning whitewood and said he could build a solid state system to run the game. At that point we realized it would be feasible to build more games. We found 3 more Continental Café games to use as donors for 3 solid state games.
We built ONE EM version of the game. There are a few more EM versions built by fans that now exist. We built THREE solid state versions using Kerry’s hardware. The playfield is screened playfield wood with a hardcoat. We think the SS versions are much more fun to play. The rules are slightly deeper and there is great music by Speedy West in the game and also some unique sounds. The game plays much faster and snappier than the EM version. There is great pop bumper action and the flippers are powerful. This game is a perfect example of two classic pinball design guidelines; One, “The ball is wild” meaning lots of randomness in ball action. Two, “Easy to understand but difficult to master.” If you can score over 2000 on a three ball game, you’re doing good. The highest score we’ve seen is around 7500.
Here’s my analogy comparing WNBJM to modern games: Today’s pinball games are like formula one race cars, the top of the line, fastest, most highly developed cars in the world. There are very few drivers who can handle these kinds of cars. They all learned on much simpler, more basic cars, usually go karts. Experienced pinball players have grown up with simple pinball games and have learned to handle today’s more complex games. New and inexperienced players are intimidated by these games and don’t know what they are supposed to do. WNBJM is like the go kart. EVERYONE can have fun playing it because it is easy to understand. It’s just plain, simple fun. Its design “levels the playing field” for all skill levels of players. We think it will be a great bar game.
Dennis (and Greg)