Stern Pinball unveiled its Ford Mustang-themed games at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 6 and 7, during media preview’s prior to the show’s public opening on Feb. 8.
Ford spotlighted its eagerly anticipated 2015 Mustang 50th anniversary model at the show. The exhibition was open to the public through Feb. 17 at the North and South Halls fo the McCormick Place exhibition center. The new Mustang was also displayed at January’s national auto show in Detroit.
At the media preview, six brand-new Stern “pro-level” Mustang pinball machines were on display, alongside the new Ford Mustang. Top-ranked competitive pinball player Zach Sharpe will demonstrate the game.
Ford announced the redesigned 2015 Mustang on December 5, 2013, with showings in major cities around the world. Stern announced its plans for a line of pinball machines commemorating the automobile around the same time.
The Mustang was first introduced at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.
Developing the new Stern flipper game was an important project for designer George Gomez.
“The first car I ever bought was a 1970 Mustang Sportroof with a 302, and I’m currently restoring a 1969 Mach 1,” said Gomez, Stern’s vice-president for game design. “In designing these new games, we wanted to celebrate the freedom and fun of driving a Mustang.”
The Stern-Mustang line includes three models: the pro-level machines, the premium edition and the special limited edition. The pro-level is designed for arcades and features Mustangs from the past five decades. The premium edition focuses on Mustang Boss 302, Boss 351 and Boss 429 of 1969 to 1971 and 2012 to 2013. The limited-edition model features the 1965 original and the new 2015 Mustang.
The new games incorporate a mix of classic pinball play features and modern technology to let players “go racing” with the Mustangs and even assemble a dream collection as they progress, Stern reported.
Different interactive playfield sections and shot sequences permit players to go drag racing, rallying, drifting and road racing in pursuit of a high score. For example, hitting specific targets with the ball enables gear shifting.
The games incorporate video on the backboard and audio with real Mustang sounds. The goal is to recreate the experience of driving a Mustang.
Steve Ling, car marketing manager of Ford, welcomed Stern’s celebration of the iconic Ford “pony” car.
“For five decades, Mustang has represented some of the best of American culture, inspiring a feeling of freedom and independence for people around the world,” he said. “We’re excited to have Stern Pinball join us here in its hometown of Chicago with its brand-new games featuring Mustang.”
Stern recalled that the first Ford Mustang was the theme for a pinball machine introduced in 1964 by Chicago Coin, a postwar pinball machine manufacturer that failed to overcome the competitive threat of videogames that arose in the 1970s.
Stern was founded to fill the resultant void, and is committed to creating games that combine the original play action of classic pinball machines with modern design and mechanical systems to challenge contemporary players.
“The beauty of pinball is that there is no set outcome, and it can’t be programmed like a videogame,” said Gary Stern, founder of Stern Pinball. “That makes pinball a perfect match for Mustang, taking drivers anywhere they want to go.”