Info Coming Out Slowly About Spooky Pinball Number #2 Licensed Theme

Spooky Pinball is an independent of boutique pinball manufacturer that was started by Charlie Emery and his family.  Charlie is best known for his Spooky Pinball Podcast which covers pinball news and info and has interviews with people from the pinball industry.

Spooky is manufacturing and selling its first pinball machine – America’s Most Haunted. This pinball was designed and programmed by electronic wiz Ben Heck.  The theme is a parody of ghost hunting tv shows.  The game is filled with Ben and Charlie’s style of humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

When the art was released before production, there were complaints about the translite having a photo image and complaints about the side art.  Charlie and Ben responded by changing the translite image and offering alternate art.

At the same time Ben Heck was working on America’s Most Haunted, Charlie was working on a game of his own called Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave.  This game was shown in a very early form and received good reviews for a unique layout and gameplay and not so good reviews for the artwork.

Ben and Charlie have made it clear in online posts and podcasts that they believe the slow sales of America’s Most Haunted (100 of 150 sold so far) are due to the fact that it is an unlicensed theme.  This is in spite of the fact that collectors at least say that they are clamoring for unlicensed themes and that they are tired of every Stern being a licensed theme.  Charlie and Ben point out that the licensed theme brings a recognizable story and characters and a pre-existing fan base wanting to purchase and play the machines.

Over the past few weeks, Charlie and Ben have revealed that the second machine from Spooky Pinball will be a licensed theme on the platform that was intended to be Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave.  Ben has also recently revealed that the artwork will be done by a well-known pinball artist who is highly regarded in the industry.

On one hand, it is exciting to see that Spooky is moving forward and confident about making sales of a second machine.  At the same time, it feels like this result is a real blow to the idea that small pinball manufacturers can successfully make unlicensed machines.

There are five more unlicensed machines on the way – Full Throttle from Heighway pinball, the unlicensed Pat Lawlor game from Jersey Jack, Magic Girl and Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland from Zidware and Lexy Lightspeed from Multimorphic.

It will be interesting to see whether the sales of these machines prove Spooky’s belief that you need a license to move games or prove that an unlicensed machine can have strong sales.


High Quality Replacement Side Rails from Reese Rails

Taylor Reese is one of the founders of River City Flippers and is a skilled woodworker.  For over seven years, he has been making replacement side rails for pinball machines.  The rails are sanded very smooth and covered in a thick, black lacquer.  There are a number of rails listed on his site that he can make upon request.  If he hasn’t yet made the rails you need, you can send them to him and he will get them made for you.  The rails are a good value at $55 shipped to most of the U.S. with CA, OR and WA requiring $5 additional shipping.

New RVA Location – Bailey’s Southside

Bailey’s Southside location in the Huguenot Village shopping center now has a Star Trek Pro and NBA Fastbreak.  These machines are operated by Games People Play, the operator at Bailey’s West Broad, and are in great shape and will be well maintained.  Let’s get out there and support RVA location pinball!  You can follow them on instagram @gamespeopleplayrichmond.

Wrestlemania Review

League member Mike O. had a chance to play Wrestlemania in Pittsburgh on his way home from a long trip.  I asked him to write up a review of it.  He did a great job of it and told me I could post it to the blog.

I stopped in at KickBack Pinball Café ( in Pittsburgh as I was passing through and had a chance to play the new WrestleMania (Pro) pinball from Stern. I think they had just installed it the week before. I should preface this by saying that I thought WrestleMania was a pretty lame theme. I’ve never been a wrestling fan and wasn’t excited to see that this was the newest pinball to hit. But I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to play the newest table out.

Surprisingly it was a lot of fun and I ended up playing it more than a few times. Not enough to know what I was doing really, but I was starting to get the hang of things. Wish I had watched a Stern video beforehand. I did manage to get a bunch of multiballs and a few replays.

The predominant feature on the playfield is a wrestling ring upper playfield that dominates the upper table. It’s not difficult to get into the ring either from the plunge or using the left and right ramps. The angle on the ramps was not difficult. Once you get in the ring, the two near ring sides have flipper-actuated bumper-ropes (the “slammers”) that allow you to skillfully hit the ring targets and pin your opponent in the top saucer. Lots of ways to exit the ring that kept things chaotic but it wasn’t too hard to keep it going in the ring. I think there are rules and wrestling skills you can gain through gameplay that will allow you to pin easier when you make it into the ring – but nothing I could figure out yet.

There’s a nice u-turn inner-loop that runs under the ring that you can hit a few times for “Ref” multiball. It’s a harder shot than the ring ramps but seems worthwhile.

It seems like you start off facing one opponent (I had no idea who he was) and the idea was to pin him and move on to more opponents (supposedly can get to famous ones like Hulk Hogan, the Rock, and Andre the Giant). I know there’s a lot more depth to get to championships and such, but it would take me a few dozen games to get there.

I liked the skillshot – a pretty steep ramp that you have to get about 80% of the way up without going over. Lots more switches that don’t seem to be activated yet – for later code releases I guess. There’s a triple drop-down target right in the mid-playfield that I couldn’t figure out a purpose for.

I would definitely play it some more to try to get in some championship rounds and to get to heavier opponents.