I hope you're well rested, because things are about to get raw up in here.
Stern Pinball announced the WWE edition of its legendary pinball machine at CES 2015. If crazily flapping your flippers during a game of pinball wasn't violent enough for you, you can now pretend you're body slamming John Cena or backbreaking The Rock as you rack up points in this classic arcade game.
But that's not the only exciting news regarding Stern Pinball to come out of CES 2015. The world's oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of pinball machines has developed a new electronic software and hardware platform for its machines. Instead of the games being controlled centrally, as in the past, the game's intelligence is now distributed throughout the machine. The WWE WrestleMania pinball machine, for instance, has five computers in it that each control different parts of the game.
"What's really neat about this platform is that it's a lot like a car now," Paul Mandeltort, Stern Pinball's director of parts and accessories, told me at CES Unveiled yesterday. "Everything is being controlled directly from its particular node, just like a car does."
Not only does all of this sound super high-tech, but this software update really has practical implications. For example, if a part needs to be replaced, the pinball machine itself now tells you what's not working correctly so there's no guesswork involved.
Apparently, this update in pinball machine technology couldn't come at a better time. Although pinball machines lost a bit of their luster in the 1990s and 2000s with the rise of home console gaming, the company has seen renewed interest in the arcade game recently, Mandeltort said. In the past few years, you may have even noticed in your city new bars and arcades with the pinball machine at their cornerstone, most likely to cater to the rise of the nostalgia-crazed hipster.
Obviously, our society is inundated with technology on a daily basis, and with that, people have an abundance of games to choose from, be they on mobile or their PCs. Playing a game that is so big you can barely fit it in your house or one where you have to go somewhere else to play it seems like a big deterrent for our instant gratification-loving society. However, this influx of technology into our daily lives is actually driving people to play pinball, according to Mandeltort.
"A lot of folks, they just want to get away, disconnect, ironically almost, go and play pinball with their friends now, away from their devices, away from their phones," Mandeltort said. "What will only change is that you're not staring at a screen for a little while. You're actually interacting with something real."