Stern Pinball today finally announced details of their upcoming Batman game based on the original TV series rather than any of the numerous big screen variants, and they have brought in the original Batman, Adam West, to voice it.
The new Batman 66 game is named after the year when the TV series first aired on the US network ABC. That makes it 50 years old, and the game is being released to coincide with Stern’s own 30th anniversary year.
This is a landmark game for Stern in several ways.
To start with, it will be the first game to feature a full-colour LCD display instead of the traditional single-colour dot-matix display. The LCD display has been in development for several years and is expected to also herald the arrival of the Spike2 control board with more memory and processing power to drive the display.
Stern game have had LCD displays before of course. Whoa Nellie! – Big Juicy Melons has a less than big and juicy display built into the apron, while WWE Wrestlemania’s LE and Premium models had a more impressive panel showing wrestling clips. Ghostbusters LE and Premium also had a small LCD for the Ecto-Goggles feature, but this is expected to mark the end of the DMD panel for all but Vault Edition releases.
Not content with one LCD, Stern have also added a second smaller panel on the playfield for Batman 66.
This emphasises the point that this is not a simple re-branding of Stern’s 2008 Batman – The Dark Knight game in the same way the recent Spider-Man Vault Edition remake was re-branded by applying comic book artwork and characters to Steve Ritchie’s original design.
The Batman 66 will keep the crane toy from George Gomez’s Dark Knight design but other areas of the playfield will be changed.
Also new is how Batman 66 is squarely aimed at collectors rather than operators. In fact there will be no Pro level game at all, with only Premium, Limited Edition, and a new Super-LE to wring even more cash out of uber-collectors.
240 LEs will be available, each one requiring a $2,000 deposit now. An unlimited number of Premiums can be built, but a $500 deposit is needed to get Stern to actually send one of them down the production line.
30 Super-LEs can only be bought by invitation, although it’s not clear who will be invited or who will be inviting them.
The existence of the Batman 66 game has been known for some months and it was confirmed when Stern announced their Epic 30th Anniversary Extravaganza party during Pinball Expo in October. Entry to a special VIP meet-and-greet with Adam West and a Batmobile was said to only be open to buyers of the Batman 66 game, although no details were known about the game at that time.
The final point of interest is how Batman 66 is being produced with Ka-Pow Pinball which is a new company set up by Gary Stern’s former partner at Data East and Sega Pinball, Joe Kaminkow.
Head of Raw Thrills, Eugene Jarvis, is also apparently working on the game alongside George Gomez and Lyman Sheats from Stern.
Batman 66 is expected to be available in November and we’ll bring you all the latest details and pictures of the new game just as soon as we get them.