Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Pro edition), 2021, Stern.
It took close to 75 pinball posts for me to get to a Star Wars property, which is really an accomplishment considering how many different ones exist.
It’s still a Stern machine and it’s still a licensed property, so yes, the backglass looks more like marketing material than anything else, but at least now that we’re in the 2020s, we’re getting a little more artistic about it again. This is an illustration, not a photo still or mashup. The Mandalorian stands center stage with the child in front of him, one of the Fetts to the right and a woman I recognize but don’t know the name of to the left. A bunch of other characters are milling around, they’re on a desert planet, and typical Star Wars ships hover in the far background.
(Look, I only watched like two episodes, cut me a break.)
It’s very orange and charcoal, but in a way that’s in line with the show’s aesthetic. Yeah, it’s advertising. Gotta sell machines somehow.
Deadpool (Pro edition), 2018, Stern
We’re back in this century and it’s a branded backglass so you know it’s going to be, well, marketing. Deadpool, center, is punching Colossus (I think it’s Colossus, been a while since I picked up a comic book) while a bunch of other characters including Wolverine and Mystique lurk in the red background. There’s a taco truck in the top left corner. The Hell House and mini-Deadpool also make appearances. Everything is very red.
The comic is better.
Batman 66, Stern, 2016.
There are a large number of Batman pinball games and as of this writing, Batman 66 is the newest one. While most of the other machines are tie-ins to the movies, Batman 66 is a tie-in/homage to the 1966 TV classic. It’s filled with cut scenes from the TV series featuring Adam West.
The glass is typical of its time. Batman is centered in his blue costume with his cape billowing behind him. To our right, Robin runs beside him in red, yellow, and green. Both are masked. To the left, mini portraits of Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, and Penguin are painted. The bottom right corner contains a painting of the absolute land yacht that was the 1966 Batmobile. We can barely make out a city skyline and the bat signal in the background, because so much of the space is filled with comic word balloons of the sound effects from the show: sock, wammm, biff, zap, etc.
While I’m not a fan of the “look we made a movie poster” style of tie-in, this one is particularly good at capturing the clean bright colors of the show as well as the zany sound effect bubble special effects. It’ll do quite well.
So I guess John Cena didn’t get his start in acting, then?
Wrestlemania, 2015, Stern Pinball.
The 2010s really had a thing for branded machines and boring backglass. John Cena stands front and center without a shirt. A bunch of other wrestlers, shirtless, though at least one has a hat, stand behind him in various poses.
Wild Fyre, Stern, 1978. Just your typical chariot race in a coliseum in the mountains where a man is about to be trampled to death and everything is on fire. Nothing to see here.