JAPAN GAME MUSEUM UPDATE

The Japan Game Museum (JGM) was the final destination of my Osaka-Nagoya trip in September 2016.

The Japan Game Museum
The Japan Game Museum

Major changes had been taking place at JGM. They were:

  • JGM had been closed since January 2016.
The closed sign
Closed since January 2016
  • The JGM has become a warehouse of video games and pinballs.
A warehouse full of games
A warehouse full of games
  • However, the JGM is still open to VIPs like me. \(^o^)/
Only open to VIP guests
Only open to VIP guests
  • The JGM keeps on acquiring new games, including a new Grand Lizard (Williams, 1986)
The JGM's new Grand Lizard
The JGM’s new Grand Lizard

The chief of JGM, Mr Tsuji, is now planning a huge project to build a new and bigger JGM.   I hope that his dream can come true in the near future.

Describing plans for the new JGM to VIP guests
Describing plans for the new JGM to VIP guests

EAG INTERNATIONAL 2017

The show hall

The first major trade show of the year is traditionally held in London and now goes by the name EAG International. It is held at the ExCel London Exhibition Centre which is in the Docklands area of East London.

The ExCel London Exhibition Centre
The ExCel London Exhibition Centre

The exhibition last three days – Tuesday to Thursday – with a welcome party held on the Wednesday evening. We visited for just the first day, getting there around 10:30am at which point hall N2 was still relatively quiet.

The empty aisles at the show on Tuesday morning
The empty aisles at the show on Tuesday morning

Things certainly got busier as the day wore on, but the show did seem noticeably quieter than previous years. That may have changed on the second and third days, and the number of exhibitors seemed consistent with last year.

The EAG International 2017 show
The EAG International 2017 show

Despite the plethora of amusement machines on display, we were at EAG International for the pinballs, and the show was a good opportunity to play the latest titles.

We’ll start at the Electrocoin stand where Stern Pinball – represented by Gary Stern and Dave Peterson – were showing three machines.

The Electrocoin stand
The Electrocoin stand
The Stern Pinball distributor had three pinballs
The Stern Pinball distributor had three pinballs

The newest of the three was Aerosmith which was having its European premiere at the show.

Stern Pinball's Aerosmith Pro model
Stern Pinball’s Aerosmith Pro model

We have several high-resolution pictures of the game below, plus we have a five minute video of the game being played, showing you the shots, the basic rules and the new LCD animations.

The Aerosmith translite
The Aerosmith translite
The display and speaker panel
The display and speaker panel
The opening song selection screen
The opening song selection screen
The back of the playfield
The back of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The long right ramp
The long right ramp
Visitors from across Europe were enjoying the games
Visitors from across Europe were enjoying the games

Next door to Aerosmith was a Premium Batman 66. From talking to players, they unanimously preferred the Aerosmith to the Batman 66, with the latter feeling more like a Pro-level game than a Premium model.

Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium

The Batman 66 did have a number of nice touches to it though, especially in the display animations.

If a player gets a high score, the information is shown as a newspaper front page.

Player two gets a high score
Player two gets a high score
Once the name is entered
Once the name is entered

The match sequence is then shown on the Bat Computer, using old-style Nixie tubes for the digits.

The match sequence
The match sequence

Batman seems to be an enduring theme, with the Caped Crusader popping up in all kinds of places at the show, including on slot machines.

Batman slot machines
Batman slot machines

The third machine was a Ghostbusters Pro.

Ghostbusters Pro
Ghostbusters Pro

Before we move on though, Gary Stern took time out to show us what’s inside the new backbox of Stern Pinball’s games. We see the new Spike 2 board, the LCD panel design, the backbox lighting and much more.

At the front of the hall was the Heighway Pinball stand, where they had two Alien games and three Full Throttle machines.

Full Throttles on the Heighway Pinball stand
Full Throttles on the Heighway Pinball stand
The two Alien games
The two Alien games

The Alien machines were not playable while we were there, although they could be played later on the second day and then on the third day too. However, we did take some pictures of the playfield.

The Xenomorph head and third monitor
The Xenomorph head and third monitor
The pop bumpers area
The pop bumpers area
The mid-left area
The mid-left area
The upper part of the playfield
The upper part of the playfield
The central part of the playfield
The central part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The whole playfield
The whole playfield

Heighway and Stern were the only companies exhibiting real full-size pinball machines. As usual though, there were several pinball-like games on display at vendor stands around the hall.

Here’s our round-up of them.

Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games

Then there were the larger games with flipper bats.

UFO Ice Hockey, with flippers
UFO Ice Hockey, with flippers
Yours for a just £1,995 plus tax
Yours for a just £1,995 plus tax
This Rockin' and Rollin's game also had large flipper bats
This Rockin’ and Rollin’s game also had large flipper bats

The Hazel Electronics stand next to Heighway Pinball also had a pinball reference, along with a few couple of ideas which might be useful on a pinball.

Get yourself a pinball sign for the game room
Get yourself a pinball sign for the game room
Although intended for slot machines, this could be good on a pinball too
Although intended for slot machines, this USB charger would be good on a pinball too
These LED buttons could be good for pinballs with launch buttons
These LED buttons could be good for pinballs with launch buttons

The overall theme of the show seemed to be ‘bigger is better’ – an attempt to provide the kind of large-scale entertainment which game players can’t easily enjoy at home.

Giant Galaga and Space Invaders
Giant Galaga and Space Invaders
Big screens turned up everywhere, even on photo booths
Big screens turned up everywhere, even on photo booths
Big multi-player driving games are always popular here
Big multi-player driving games are always popular here
The classic Daytona racer is back with an updated version
The classic Daytona racer is back with an updated version
The prize for the biggest product goes to this inflatable go-kart track
The prize for the biggest product goes to this inflatable go-kart track
Even the ice creams were oversize
Even the ice creams were oversize

Finally, what are the chances of two guys wearing the same Pac-Man suits at the same show on the same day at the same stand?

Pac-Men
Pac-Men

That concludes our look at the EAG International show for 2017, but you can take a detailed look around for yourself with our exclusive Pinball News Twenty-Three Minute Tour video of the show.

 

PIN-‘UINO

Using an Arduino in pinball projects

What is a pin-‘Uino? The term is a portmanteau of the words pinball and Arduino. As you are probably reading this article in Pinball News’s Learn How section, you may be familiar with pinball machines. However, you may not be familiar with the Arduino.

Arduino is an open-source platform for ATmega 168 and 328 microcontrollers. You can use the microcontroller as part of your own custom pinball add-ons, modifications and toppers.

Arduino is the American-branded version. Genuino is the version branded for the rest of the world. Save labeling differences, both boards are very similar. An Arduino UNO board and Genuino UNO board are juxtaposed, below.

The Arduino and the Genuino
The Arduino and the Genuino

For more information about using an Arduino microcontroller, see the instructions put together for middle schoolers, Intro to Arduino. Be sure to read this instruction article before continuing with this project article (pin-‘Uino).

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the instructional article or this project article. Some very complex programs (sketches) can be run on most Arduino microcontrollers and their clones. In fact, entire pinball machines have been built using the surprisingly powerful Arduino and clever programming.

Old vs. New

In a set of previous Pinball News articles, we shared with you relay controllers you could use to make your own custom pinball add-ons, modifications, and toppers.

Note: See these articles for information, description of discrete electronic parts and where to purchase those parts.

As in the previous two articles, although we are still going to use a light dependant resistor (LDR), this third article moves on from using a simple relay controller to a microcontroller; namely the Arduino UNO (R3, 5 Volts).

Note: See the end of this article for additional parts and purchasing information.


Relay vs. Microcontroller

The discrete electronic component known as a relay is considered a ‘dumb’ device. We will be using a ‘smart’ (programmable) device; a microcontroller.

Though not capable of handling high power like a relay, with the 40 milliamp maximum peak (per pin) current handling capabilities of the UNO we can safely run a handful of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to add new lamps to our pinball machines or pinball projects.

For the learning purpose of this project and as to NOT overload the microcontroller, we will be using a single indicating Light Emitting Diode (LED). An alternate sketch and additional add-on method for using a UNO microcontroller to light multiple LEDs are both mentioned later in this article, but they are not covered in much detail. If you want to light multiple LEDs see the links in the Intro to Arduino article and at the end of this article for more information.

In this primer article, we will be using either a single T-1 3/4 (ø5 mm) or T-3 1/4 (ø10 mm) radial leaded discrete electronic component. One of several colors will work. This type of LED usually requires about 20mA of direct current. Unfortunately, you can’t just plug an LED straight into your +5 Volt UNO. You must use a dropping resistor in series with the LED.

General +5V Rules for Indicator LEDs and their Dropping Resistors
LED Color RED ORANGE YELLOW GREEN BLUE WHITE
Nominal LED Voltage (DC) 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5
Calculated Dropping Resistor Value (Ohms) 175 150 150 125 100 75
Nominal Dropping Resistor Value (Ohms) 200 150 150 150 100 100

The LED/resistor table was made specifically for use with +5 Volt Arduino boards. From the table, you can see that the smaller the voltage for a specific LED, the larger the Ohm value for its dropping resistor. The larger Ohm value of the dropping resistor, the greater voltage ‘dropped’ across that resistor.

For our purpose, a 1/4 Watt axial leaded resistor should work just fine. This dropping resistor needs to be rated at a 1/4 watt to handle the electrical power going through it. And, its lead thickness is good for plugging into the headers of the UNO.

Look back at the LED/resistor table, notice there are five different calculated dropping resistor Ohm values. From an electronics engineering viewpoint and in practical use, only three nominal Ohm values are needed: 200, 150, and 100 Ohm. This is because the calculated Ohm values are close enough to the nominal values when lighting discrete indicator-type LEDs.

From a literal human viewpoint, due to the way we humans perceive brightness it is hard for us to even notice the slight change in brightness; when we use a near value resistor versus the calculated value when lighting a LED. This is an example of the inverse-square law of light in effect with human eye physiology.

The LED/resistor table shows both actual calculated values and nominal values. The calculated values are real values, whereas the nominal values are easily chosen close values, either for convenience or practical availability. In this case, calculated resistor values are based on useful nominal voltage values for each LED color.


Calculate Dropping Resistors Values for Your Own LEDs

HINT 1: Remember, even if you calculate the actual dropping resistor value, you may only be able to easily purchase a close nominal value.

HINT 2: In the case of round-up to the neared available nominal value, you can see from the LED/resistor table and its explanations that an increased difference of even 25 Ohms won’t make any practical difference.

HINT 3: We’ve had great luck and even better results with (and l-o-v-e) ‘Gumdrop LEDs’. Use your favorite search engine if you want to find them.

You may either use the table provided as a practical reference, or you may choose to calculate the actual dropping resistor value (Rdrop) for your own LED. If you wish to calculate the actual value of you own dropping resistor, start by using the operating voltage of your UNO. Additionally, you will need to know the following:

  • Voltage In (Vin)
    This value is 5.0 for five volt UNO boards.
  • LED Voltage (Vled)
    See the seller’s specifications.
  • LED Current (Iled)
    See the seller’s specifications.

The following formula is based on Ohm’s Law. Use the actual values above in the formula below:

Rdrop = (VinVled) / Iled

When reviewing manufacturer’s specification, you many need to substitute the following technical names in the formula below:

  • Voltage In (Vin)
    This value is 5.0 for five volt UNO boards.
  • LED Voltage (Vf)
    See the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • LED Current (If)
    See the manufacturer’s specifications.

R = (VinVf) / If

If you chose to perform the dropping resistor calculation (Rdrop or R), why not use your UNO?

Enter the following sketch into your UNO to easily calculate the value of Rdrop or R.

NOTE 1: This program has been released under GPL. Freely use and modify the CalcLEDDropResist sketch.

NOTE 2: In order to use communication via the Serial Monitor window, you will need to keep a USB cable connected between your computer and your UNO.

The Calc_LED_Drop_Resist.INO sketch is a simple Ohm’s Law calculator/solver for single resistor/LED combinations.

Open the Arduino application and copy/paste the following sketch over the entire staring program in a new sketchbook window. Save the sketch as Calc_LED_Drop_Resist.INO. For information on how to do this, see Intro to Arduino.

/* CalcLEDDropResist.INO
Todd Andersen
06-JAN-17This sketch requests users to enter specific values in the Serial Monitor
Those values are used to calculate the value of the LED Dropping ResistorDropping Resistor Value (Rdrop)
Voltage In (Vin)
LED Voltage (Vled)
LED Current (Iled)
R = (Vin – Vled) / Iled
*/#include “math.h” // Include the Math Library
float Vin;
float Vled;
float Iled;
float Rdrop;
char junk = ‘ ‘;void setup(){ // Setup sketch
Serial.begin(9600); // Serial Terminal baud (9600 bps)
Serial.println(“”);
Serial.flush();
}void loop(){ // Calculate Rdrop
Serial.println(“Calculate the value for your Dropping Resistor, ‘Rdrop'”);
Serial.println(“Enter the voltage for ‘Vin’, Press ENTER”);
while (Serial.available()==0); // Wait here until input buffer has a character
{
Vin = Serial.parseFloat(); // Input Vin
Serial.print(“Vin = “); Serial.println(Vin,DEC/10);
while (Serial.available()>0) // Serial.parseFloat(), User input
{junk = Serial.read();} // Clear keyboard buffer
}Serial.println(“Enter the voltage for ‘Vled’, Press ENTER”);
while (Serial.available()==0);
{
Vled = Serial.parseFloat(); // Input Vled
Serial.print(“Vled = “); Serial.println(Vled,DEC/10);
while (Serial.available()>0)
{junk = Serial.read();}
}Serial.println(“Enter the milliamps for ‘Iled’, Press ENTER”);
while (Serial.available()==0);
{
Iled = Serial.parseFloat(); // Input Iled
Serial.print(“Iled = “); Serial.println(Iled,DEC/10);
while (Serial.available()>0)
{junk = Serial.read();}
}Rdrop = ((float(Vin-Vled)/Iled)*1000);Serial.print(“Dropping Resistor = “);
Serial.print(Rdrop,(DEC/100));
Serial.println(” Ohms”);
Serial.println(“”);
Serial.println(“”);
}

You should see something similar to the following:

The CalcLEDDropResist.ino sketch
The CalcLEDDropResist.ino sketch

Use your UNO to calculate dropping resistor values:

  • Click the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the sketchbook window
  • A Serial Monitor window will open
  • Follow the on-screen instructions
  • Enter the requested values in the top line
The Serial Monitor window
The Serial Monitor window

Use the specific values from the Manufacturer’s specifications:

  • Enter all the requested values: Vin, Vled and Iled
  • The dropping resistor value will be given with the last ‘Press ENTER’

NOTE: The sketch will then automatically reset; for you to calculate as many dropping resistor values as you need.

The dropping resistor value
The dropping resistor value

Making your Connections

In the end, programming comes down to just ones (1s) and zeros (0s). Due to limitations such as these, programmers must find creative solutions to complete their projects.

One creative solution can save us from having to solder. That solution is to use a clever combination of (2.54mm / 0.1 inch DuPont connector) male and female jumper cables.

The right combination of a variety of jumper cables works surprisingly well, using a little hot glue to shore up each junction.

The following pictures show such DuPont jumper cables, on their own and in use.

Dupont jumper cables
Dupont jumper cables
Male and female jumpers
Male and female jumpers
Using jumper cables to connect the LED
Using jumper cables to connect the LED

UNO Board LED/Resistor Jumper Cable:

  • Plug one end of your dropping resistor into the ‘GND’ pin, near pin ’11’
  • Plug the other end of your dropping resistor into one end of a jumper cable with female to female ends
  • Use a second jumper cable with male to female ends to connect between the first jumper cable and one lead of your LED
  • Use a third jumper cable with two female ends to plug into the other lead of your LED
  • Use a fourth jumper cable with two male ends to connect between the third jumper cable and pin ’11’

TROUBLESHOOTING: If your LED does not light after you run your UNO sketch, simply turn around the LED.

LED connections to the UNO
LED connections to the UNO

LDR on the UNO board:

  • Plug one end of the LDR, into the ‘GND’ pin
  • Plug the other end of the LDR, into pin ‘AO’
  • Plug one end of the 10 KOhm resistor into pin ‘AO’
  • Plug the other end of the 10 KOhm resistor, into pin ‘5V’

NOTE: You may also remotely mount the LDR on jumper cables, although it may be best to keep it on the UNO board.

Mounting the LDR and 10K resistor
Mounting the LDR and 10K resistor

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you are all done with wiring and programming, be sure to put your microcontroller LDR into a project box or use some other means to ensure your UNO project and its components don’t short to anything.

Upload the pin_uino.INO Sketch

NOTE 1: This program has been released under GPL. Freely use and modify the pin_uino sketch.

NOTE 2: In order to use communication via the Serial Monitor window, you will need to keep a USB cable connected between your computer and your UNO.

The pinUino.INO sketch turns on a single LED when the value read from the LDR is above a certain threshold, eg. during normal game play, when all the GI lights of your pinball machine are lit.

Open the Arduino application and copy/paste the following sketch over the entire staring program in a new sketchbook window. Save the sketch as pin_uino.INO. For information on how to do this, see Intro to Arduino.

/*
pin_uino.INO
Todd Andersen
01-JAN-17This example demonstrates the use of an “if (then) / else” statement.
It reads the state of an LDR (an analog input) and turns on a LED.
It prints the analog value regardless of any software or hardware inputs.The circuit:
The LDR is connected between AO and GND
The 10 KOhm Resistor is connected between AO and 5V
The LED is connected, through a dropping resistor, between pin 11 and GND
*/// Constants to set up sketch parameters
const int analogPin1 = A0;   // Pin that the sensor is attached
const int analogValue;          // Value from sensor pins
const int ledPin1 = 11;          // pin that the LED is attached
const int threshold = 500;     // threshold level in the range of the LDR in usevoid setup(){
// initialize the LED pin as an output
pinMode(ledPin1, OUTPUT);
// initialize serial communications
Serial.begin(9600);
}void loop(){
// Read the value of the LDR
int analogValue = (analogRead (analogPin1));// If the analog value is high enough, turn on the LED
if (analogValue > threshold )
{digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH);}
else {digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);}// print the analog value
Serial.println(analogValue);
delay(250);
}

You should see something similar to the following:

The pin_uino sketch
The pin_uino sketch

LDR practical values:

  • Upload the program to your UNO
  • Click the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the sketchbook window
  • A new Serial Monitor window will open
  • Change the amount of light falling on the LED
  • Vary that the readings change in the Serial Monitor window

NOTE: These reading can give you some idea of the useful range values of your specific LDR.

The LDR readings
The LDR readings

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you are all done with wiring and programming, be sure to put your microcontroller LDR into a project box. Or, use some other means to ensure your Arduino project and its components don’t short to anything.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If your LED doe not light after you run your UNO sketch, simply turn around the LED.

Software vs. Hardware

One advantage of using a microcontroller is the ease of using software changes over hardware changes.

Keeping the same hardware configuration, you can make the LED turn off when a certain value is read from the LDR. eg. during ‘blackout’ mode, just before multiball mode. Simply change one number in your software. Unlike in the other two articles mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no need to rewire components.

To change from Light Sensing to Dark Sensing, simply change the greater-than sign in:

if (analogValue > threshold )

to a less-than sign:

if (analogValue < threshold )

 

Don’t forget to also change your comment from:

// If the analog value is high enough, turn on the LED

to:

// If the analog value is low enough, turn on the LED

 

Is the LED changing states not quite as you expected?

Simply change the number value of the threshold in:

const int threshold = 500;     // threshold level in the range of the LDR in use

to adjust the event threshold.

  • A lesser value will create a lower threshold (trip point)
  • A greater value will create a higher threshold (trip point)

NOTE 1: The values from the Serial Monitor can help you select a useable threshold.

NOTE 2: Almost any LDR can be used with an adjustment in software.


Boring . . . what else can I program my microcontroller to make the LED do?

You can make the LED blink, flash, fade, and perform other visual effects. Use the built-in examples of the Arduino software, and the built-in LED of the UNO board to see some of the ways you can light an LED. Be sure to explore all the built-in examples, not just ‘Blink’.

Navigate (drill down) to: File Examples 01.Basics Blink

The 'Blink' example
The ‘Blink’ example

Where do I get programs to use with my project?

Now may be the time for you to start writing your own sketches. However, one last sketch is included with this article:
Conditional_If_Statements_with_Hysteresis.INO
.

This sketch lights two LEDs, one for each of two different conditions.

NOTE 1: The potentiometer may be replaced with a LDR

NOTE 2: Move the jumper side of the LED in the previous set up from pin ’11’ to pin ‘9’.

NOTE 3 In order to use communication via the Serial Monitor window, you will need to keep a USB cable connected between your computer and your UNO.

NOTE 4: Use the resources previously mentioned in this article for help.

NOTE 5: This program has been released under GPL. Freely use and modify the Conditional_If_Statements_with_Hysteresis sketch.

Put the following sketch in a new sketchbook window. Save the sketch as Conditional_If_Statements_with_Hysteresis.INO and view the Serial Monitor window as previously shown in this article.

/*
Conditional_If_Statements_with_Hysteresis.INOThis example demonstrates the use of if (then) / else statements.
It reads the state of a potentiometer (an analog input) and turns on LEDs.
It prints the analog value regardless of the level.The circuit:
* potentiometer connected to analog pin 0.
Center pin of the potentiometer goes to the analog pin.
side pins of the potentiometer go to +5V and ground
* 1st LED connected, through a dropping resistor, from digital pin 9 to ground
* 2nd LED connected, through a dropping resistor, from digital pin 13 to ground
* Note: On most Arduino boards, there is already an LED on the board connected to pin 13, so you don’t need any extra components to use that LEDcreated 17 Jan 2009
modified 9 Apr 2012
by Tom Igoe
modified 19 Oct 2016
by Todd AndersenThis example code is in the public domain.http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/IfStatement*/// These constants won’t change:
const int analogPin = A0;    // pin that the sensor is attached to
const int ledPin1 = 9;          // pin that the 1st LED is attached to
const int ledPin2 = 13;        // pin that the 2nd LED is attached to
const int threshold = 500;   // an arbitrary threshold level that’s in the range of the analog input
const int hysteresis = 5;      // an arbitrary hysteresis levelvoid setup() {
// initialize the LED pin as an output:
pinMode(ledPin1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(ledPin2, OUTPUT);
// initialize serial communications:
Serial.begin(9600);
}void loop() {
// read the value of the potentiometer:
int analogValue = analogRead(analogPin);// if the analog value is high enough, turn on the 1st LED:
if (analogValue > threshold + hysteresis) {
digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH);
} else {
digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);
}// if the analog value is low enough, turn on the 2nd LED:
if (analogValue < threshold – hysteresis) {
digitalWrite(ledPin2, HIGH);
} else {
digitalWrite(ledPin2, LOW);
}// print the analog value:
Serial.println(analogValue);
delay(250);        // delay in between reads for stability
}

Luckily for us, Arduino is open source. Just use your favorite search engine to search for example programs, additional help and other useful resources.


Must my UNO Stay Plugged into my Computer?

Once programmed, your Arduino can continuously run a loaded sketch without your computer. Just apply the proper power.

To power a project needing 1 Amp or less of peak current, you can use a spare USB cable (like you used to program your UNO) and an AC/DC (+5 Volt DC @ 2 Amp) USB phone charger. See the following picture of a custom holiday pinball topper.

USB Phone Charger to Project:

  • Plug the charger into: an extension cord, a nearby wall outlet, or your pinball machine’s utility jack.
  • Plug the USB cord between the charger and your UNO project.
“It’s a major award!”
“It’s a major award!”

To power a more power-hungry project, use a Positive 9 to 12 Volt Direct Current (DC) power supply; rated at twice the estimated peak current of your project. For several Arduino boards, including the UNO, that power supply will need to have a 2.1 mm center-positive plug; which friction fits into the board’s power jack.


So where can I get one of these awesome microcontrollers and make my own pin-‘Uino project?

This article introduced you to the Arduino/Genuino UNO. This microcontroller has several different ‘flavours’ and ‘shrinkified’ versions. Use your favorite search engine and the links at the end of this article to learn about different boards and where to purchase them.


Add-ons

There are many useful add-ons for the UNO. These add-ons may help you in the learning and prototyping stages, and may even keep you from having to solder your final project.

A board which plugs directly into the UNO main board is called a ‘shield’. To name just a few, there are: Breadboard Shield (for directly plugging in discrete components), LED Shield (for multiple and/or multi-color LEDs), Motor Shield (for driving different motors), and Relay Shield (for controlling power to other devices).

Use your favorite search engine and the links at the end of this article to learn about different shields and where to purchase them. Any type of shield can usually be purchased preassembled. If you buy your shield as a kit, you can assemble it yourself and use the experience to practice soldering.

Pictured below is a Breadboard Shield.

The Breadboard Shield
The Breadboard Shield

What Else is Available for my UNO?

There are learning kits, project cases and various modules available for many Arduino/Genuino boards; not just the UNO.

This next example shows a 5 Volt Arduino/Genuino compatible module; a discrete RGB LED called NeoPixel. The NeoPixel has its own built it microcontroller and it can utilize ‘Libraries’. Libraries are sketches, put together by people from the Arduino/Genuino community to help make programming easier. The NeoPixel and Libraries are only mentioned in this introductory article to show just a tiny bit more of what you can do. Use your favorite search engine and the links at the end of this article to learn about different modules and where to purchase them.

Pictured below is a UNO/NeoPixel cycling through different colors and brightness levels. As the peak current requirements of this combination are only about 80 mA, a battery powered 1 Amp phone charger can easily power this set up for an entire night.

The UNO driving a NeoPixel
The UNO driving a NeoPixel

Built-In Help

Lucky for us, the Arduino software has built in help. Also, be sure to ‘Visit Arduino.cc‘.

Navigate to: HelpUser Chosen Section

The Arduino Help section
The Arduino Help section


Buy and Learn About Microcontroller Stuff from the Usual Suspects


Your pin-‘Uino Projects

Sorry, but Pinball News does not provide Arduino/Genuino support. However, we’d love to hear about and see your projects.

INTRO TO ARDUINO

An Arduino microcontroller

WHAT IS AN ARDUINO?

Great question! There are several versions (different board configurations) of the Arduino. An unofficial Arduino board is called a clone. We will be using a Five volt, ATmega328, Arduino Nano clone.

An Arduino is a standalone computer based on either the ATmega168 or ATmega328 microcontroller (µC); the 328 being the more recent and powerful.  The ATmega328 is a micro-chip using 32 Kbits of flash memory and 8 bit AVR processing.

We “talk” to the ATmega328, via USB, on computers using Windows or Apple software (among other software types). To program the ATmega, we use a simplified version of the C/C++ programming language. Fortunately, we don’t have to be programmers to use Arduino boards. We can use the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to create and upload our programs (sketches).


AN ARDUINO CAN’T REALLY BE A COMPUTER, CAN IT?

Another great question and yes . . . yes it can!

The requirements for a machine to be a computer are:
– Clock [Crystal oscillating at 16 MHz (16,000,000 cycles per second)]
– Input (Mini-B USB Jack)
– Output [On-board Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)]
– Power Source (+5 Volts of direct current provide by the computer’s USB port)
– Processor [ATmega328 Microcontroller (AT328)]
– Random Access Memory (RAM) [2 kilo-bytes (2,000 bytes) SRAM]
– Read Only Memory (ROM) [32 kilo-bytes (32,000 bytes) EEPROM]


WHERE IS ALL THAT STUFF?

Yet, another great question. Here’s one in return. “What did you have for breakfast, a great big bowl of great questions?”

Look at the two following pictures to see different parts of the “5 Volt Nano”:
– 16 Mhz Crystal (SMD Crystal)
– Analog Pins (A0 through A7)
– Digital Pins (D2 through D13)
– Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
– LED Pin (D13)
– Microcontroller – ATmega328 (µC)
– Other Pins (Various)
– Reset Button (RST)

Source: https://wiki.eprolabs.com/images/6/67/Nano.jpg
Source: https://wiki.eprolabs.com/images/6/67/Nano.jpg
Source: http://www.pighixxx.com/test/portfolio-items/nano/?portfolioID=314
Source: http://www.pighixxx.com/test/portfolio-items/nano/?portfolioID=314


WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THIS THING?

We can do simple projects, like we are going to do, flash an LED. Or, even make complicated machines.

HOW DO WE GET STARTED?
To program our ‘Duino, download the free software from Arduino. (But, feel free to donate.)

Link: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
Link: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

Remember where you saved the programs and if there is a shortcut.

Follow these instructions for your computers.
Link: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/HomePage

Follow these instructions for our boards.
Link: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/ArduinoNano


WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE FUN?

Soon, let’s plug in our Nano boards.

First, plug the USB-A to Mini-B cable into your computers. Next, touch the metal of the mini-end. This will help make your Nano safe from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).

ESD is the shock we sometimes feel when we touch a metal door knob during the winter. Most of us don’t like the winter zaps. Imagine how our poor little Nano boards feel.

Let’s load the first program, the “blink sketch”. Hold your Nano by the edges of its breadboard and connect it to your computer via a USB cable. Push or pull the connector end. Never wiggle the connector or pull the cord.


OPEN the ARDUINO SOFTWARE 

Open the Arduino software and wait for the welcome (splash) screen to finish.

After the welcome screen we should see a window similar to the next picture.

Navigate (drill down): File Examples 0.1Basics Blink

We should now see a second window, with the new one overlapping the first one; similar to the next picture.

Select: Tools Board: (“Arduino/Gunuino Uno”) Arduino Nano

Select: Tools Processor: “ATmega328” ATmega328

Select: Tools Port Com (As usually automatically chosen by our computers.)


BLINK (On Board LED)

Go back to or reopen the Blink window. (Select: File Examples 01.Basics Blink)

The Blink window should be in front showing something similar to the following.

Either maximize the window or use the scroll bars to view the sketch “Blink”.

Click the rightwards arrow (→) to upload and run the Blink sketch.

Observe the built in light (LED on pin 13.) blinking.


NEW WINDOW

We can copy and paste the sketch we are working on, in a new window. Just, do the following.

Select: File New (As shown in the following picture.)

When the new window appears, select and copy over the entire existing sketch. (See the picture.)


FLASH the LED (Don’t save at this time.)

Copy and paste the following “FLASH” code into a new sketch window and upload that new sketch.

void setup()
{
pinMode(13,OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
delay(1000);
digitalWrite(2,LOW);
}

void loop()
{
}

The Arduino software will automatically try to get us to save out new sketches. For now, we will cancel out of this action.

While our sketches are being uploaded to our Nano boards, observe the RX and TX LEDs flashing.

If we missed the flash of the LED just after loading the sketch, we can quickly press and release the reset button. What happens each time we press the button?


BLINK the LED (Don’t save at this time.)

Copy and paste the following “BLINK” code into our open sketch windows and upload that new sketch.

void setup() // one-time setup
{
pinMode(13,OUTPUT); // define pin 13 as an output
}

void loop() // continuously loop
{
digitalWrite(13,HIGH); // p13 HIGH (LED ON)
delay(500); // wait 500 ms (Wait 1/2 second)
digitalWrite(13,LOW); // p13 LOW (LED OFF)
delay(500); // 500 mSec delay (Wait 1/2 second)
}

Now what happens each time we press our reset buttons?


NEW WINDOW with OLD SKETCH

Multiple sketchbook windows can be open simultaneously. We can use this to our advantage by copy / paste the sketch we are working on in a second window. The first window is used to save our progress. The second window is used to troubleshoot (edit) our code. Once we have selected our entire program to be edited, do the following.

Select: File New (As shown in the following picture.)

Then, when the new window appears, select and copy over the entire starting sketch. (See the picture.)


FLASH CHANGED to DOUBLE BLINK

Paste the “BLINK the LED” sketch into to new window. We can identify our new and unsaved window / sketch by observing its tab. The tabs of new windows are labeled “sketch_(current date)(letter)”. The letter increments for each new window opened.

  1. So, our first new window is “sketch_(current date)a”.
  2. Our second new window is “sketch_(current date)b”.
  3. Our third new window is “sketch_(current date)c”.
  4. And, so on . . .

Use this new window technique and add two forward slashes (//) to “BLINK” just before the second “delay”. This is called “commenting out” code. It is very useful for troubleshooting our sketches.

void setup() // one-time setup
{
pinMode(13,OUTPUT); // define pin 13 as an output
}

void loop() // continuously loop
{
digitalWrite(13,HIGH); // p13 HIGH (LED ON)
delay(500); // wait 500 ms (Wait 1/2 second)
digitalWrite(13,LOW); // p13 LOW (LED OFF)
//delay(500); // 500 mSec delay (Wait 1/2 second)
digitalWrite(13,HIGH); // p13 HIGH (LED ON)
delay(1000); // wait 1000 ms (Wait 1 second)
digitalWrite(13,LOW); // p13 LOW (LED OFF)
delay(1000); // wait 1000 ms (Wait 1 second)
}

We will use the reset button to try the sketch with one line (//delay(500); // 500 mSec delay (Wait 1/2 second)) commented out and without being commented out.


SAVE THE SKETCH

The tab of our saved sketch will have the name we chose to call the sketch. When we open the Arduino software, the most recently used program will load.

Add two forward slashes (//) to the very top of the “FLASH CHANGED TO DOUBLE BLINK” sketch.  After the slashes, name the program something that is meaningful. We will save the sketch as named. If we add “.ino” to the end of the name, it will be easier to look for in the future; as Arduino sketches are “.ino” files. Copy the entire name and “Save As” . . .”.

The sketch we just saved should look something like this picture.


SAVE LOCATION

Arduino sketches automatically get saved to a “sketchbook”, in the following default location, on Windows machines.

Computer C: Users (User Name) Documents Arduino


TWO LIBRARIES and TWO SKETCHBOOK FOLDERS

Try not to confuse Arduino Libraries (Sketches to be included in other sketches.) with your Library of sketches. Not to make things more confusing, this is the Library folder in the Sketchbook folder. Each sketch will have its own sketch folder; as well.


PLAY TIME!

Now that we have saved programs, and know how to work on them without losing what works, try: duplicating the “digitalWrite” commands, or changing “delay” times, or adding delays. Have fun!

WHAT RESOURCES ARE AT OUR DISPOSAL?

ATmega328 Datasheet Summary
https://wp.pinballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/learn/pin-uino/Atmel-42735-8-bit-AVR-Microcontroller-ATmega328-328P_Summary.pdf

Arduino Nano User Manual, V2.3
https://wp.pinballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/learn/pin-uino/ArduinoNanoManual23.pdf

Arduino Microcontroller Guide, Ver. Oct-20
W. Durfee, University of Minnesota
www.me.umn.edu/courses/me2011/arduino/

Arduino Programming Notebook, V 1.1, First Edition August 2007
Written and Compiled by Brian W. Evans
https://wp.pinballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/learn/pin-uino/arduino_notebook_v1-1.pdf

AEROSMITH PINBALL ANNOUNCED

Aerosmith playfield

Stern Pinball today revealed details and pictures of their next rock band-themed pinball, Aerosmith.

Aerosmith backglass artwork
Aerosmith backglass artwork

Like earlier Stern Pinball games based on The Rolling Stones, Metallica and Kiss their new Aerosmith model is designed by John Borg, and features a lavish art package by ‘Dirty’ Donny Gillies. It also incorporates the company’s new colour LCD panel driven by the Spike 2 board system.

As usual, there are three models – a top-end Limited Edition of 500 machines, an unlimited Premium and a base Pro version which lacks some of the nicer playfield features. Each model sports slightly different cabinet artwork and colour schemes – dark blue for the LE, purple for the Premium and light blue for the Pro. The LE also features a numbered plaque above the left backbox speaker.

The Aerosmith Limited Edition model
The Aerosmith Limited Edition model
The Aerosmith Limited Edition model
The Aerosmith Limited Edition model
The Aerosmith Premium model
The Aerosmith Premium model
The Aerosmith Pro model
The Aerosmith Pro model

So let’s take a look at the playfield, and it’s a mix of the familiar and a couple of new, unique mechanisms. The LE and Premium both have the full-feature playfield, so let’s look at that first.

The Aerosmith LE playfield
The Aerosmith LE playfield

Bearing a certain similarity to the Kiss playfield, Aerosmith‘s two main toys are the toy box and the upper mini-playfield.

The toy box on the Aerosmith LE playfield
The toy box on the Aerosmith LE playfield

The toy box works like the Ark of the Covenant on Stern’s Indiana Jones – keep shooting it to add toys (locks) and then shoot the lock lane. The lid of the box is lifted and ball is ejected up and into the box.

As with Mustang, players can choose whether to start a 2-ball multiball, or lock more balls to increase the mayhem and the jackpot values.

When they take the multiball, the locked balls are lifted up inside the toy box Ark-style, and dumped onto the playfield.

The toy box on the Aerosmith LE playfield
The toy box on the Aerosmith LE playfield

The other key feature is the upper mini-playfield.

The upper mini-playfield
The upper mini-playfield

The is a single full-size flipper on the mini-playfield, along with an orbit lane, five standup targets and the Love in an Elevator exit to the lower playfield.

The toy box on the Aerosmith LE playfield
The upper mini-playfield

The mini-playfield is only available on the LE and Premium models. In the Pro only the metal ramp and wireform remain, while the Love in an Elevator toy moves down onto the main playfield.

No mini-playfield on the Pro model
No mini-playfield on the Pro model

Here’s the whole of the Pro playfield.

The Aerosmith Pro playfield
The Aerosmith Pro playfield

The through-the-bumpers and scoop shots are there from Kiss (albeit with the scoop slightly repositioned), as are the centre and ramp shots. The de rigueur lock bar action button is also present, while we get two inlanes on the left side which mean a thin metal shooter lane ball guide.

Inner cabinet art also seems to be available
Inner cabinet art also seems to be available

Nine Aerosmith tracks are included in the game, with each mapping to a feature in the ruleset. The nine are:

  • Toys in the Attic
  • Love in an Elevator
  • Rats in the Cellar
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady
  • Back in the Saddle
  • Sweet Emotion
  • Walk This Way
  • Same Old Song & Dance
  • Last Child
The game's nine tracks
The game’s nine tracks

The feature matrix shows the differences between the three models of the game.

The game's feature matrix
The game’s feature matrix

Here’s how Stern Pinball announced their Aerosmith game:

Stern Pinball Gets Back in the Rock and Roll Saddle With Its Release Of Aerosmith Pinball

Leading Pinball Manufacturer and Global Brand Management Firm Epic Rights Announce Newest Addition to Rock Lineup

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL – January 4, 2016 – Stern Pinball, Inc., the world’s oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball machines, and Epic Rights, Aerosmith’s global licensing agent, jointly announced today the availability of a new line of pinball machines that honor the classic and iconic rock band, Aerosmith.

Stern Pinball’s Aerosmith machines reflect the high-energy and excitement that accompanies the experience of a live Aerosmith concert. Players will rock to nine famous Aerosmith hits in the concert arena playfield and embark on an exhilarating pinball experience. Players score points and finish game objectives to raise the audience’s levels of energy, thrill and enjoyment. Higher scores amplify the experience–the higher the energy level, the bigger and louder the show–resulting in an Aerosmith pinball experience that cannot be matched.

The hard-hitting feisty American rock group best known for their powerful fusion of rock and blues has reached fans for more than four decades. This colorful band includes the much loved pop culture personalities of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. With sales of more than 70 million albums in the United States and more than 150 million albums worldwide, Aerosmith is one of the world’s all time best-selling American rock bands. To date, they have been awarded 25 gold albums, 18 platinum albums and 12 multi-platinum albums.

“We’re thrilled to have Aerosmith join the ranks of Stern Pinball’s rock and roll line-up,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball. “Aerosmith is an iconic band with a devoted fan base. Fans of both the band and pinball will be able to appreciate the extraordinary experience that the Aerosmith pinball machines provide.”

The Aerosmith machines all feature original hand-drawn art provided by “Dirty” Donny Gillies, who has produced work for bands including The Hellacopters, The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, The Wildhearts, Electric Frankenstein and the 5.6.7.8’s, but is most noted for his work with metal band Metallica. In addition, the machines feature custom speech from Brendon Small, creator of Metalocalypse, the American animated television series centering around a death metal band. Players will be mesmerized by the interactive “Jacky on the Box” mechanical feature on the playfield. Jacky sits on a toy box allowing players to launch pinballs through the air and slam dunk the steel ball into the box. The more balls launched into the box, the higher the opportunity for a player to earn multiballs.

“The Aerosmith pinball machines are an ideal way to expand the band’s global brand because they provide a unique and fun experience for fans and consumers of all ages,” said Lisa Streff, Executive Vice President, Global Licensing, of Epic Rights.

In addition to the heart pounding music and game experience, the machine features a full-color high-definition display. In conjunction with Stern Pinball’s new SPIKE-2 electronic platform, the display enables high-definition graphics and innovative animations. The game includes a highfidelity 3-channel audio system that is three times more powerful than audio systems of previous generations. Aerosmith Pinball entertains with an amazing array of modern and classic features, making it suitable for all skill levels.

Pricing and Availability:

  • Pro Model: $6,199 MSRP
  • Premium Model: $7,899 MSRP
  • Limited Edition Model: $8,999 MSRP

Aerosmith Pinball is available through authorized Stern Pinball distributors and dealers around the world.

About Stern Pinball, Inc.
Stern Pinball, Inc., headquartered just outside Chicago, Illinois, is the oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball games in the world. Stern Pinball’s highly talented creative and technical teams design, engineer and manufacture a full line of popular pinball games, merchandise and accessories. Recent Stern titles include Batman ‘66, Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, WWE WrestleMania, The Walking Dead, Mustang, Star Trek, Metallica, The Avengers, X-Men, AC/DC, Tron, Transformers, Avatar, Iron Man, Batman, Spiderman and many more! All of Stern Pinball’s’s games are crafted by hand and assembled by Stern Pinball’s expert team. A broad range of players enjoy Stern’s games from professional pinball players that compete in high-stakes international competitions around the globe to novice players who are discovering the allure of the silver ball for the first time. To join the fun and learn more, please visit www.sternpinball.com.

About Epic Rights:
Epic Rights is a full-service merchandise, branding/licensing and social media marketing company focused on building music artist and entertainment brands via its broad global network of retailers, licensees and agents. Working with a roster of top clients and brands, Epic Rights services include licensing/branding, music merchandising, official website and social media management, VIP ticketing and official fan communities. Epic Rights also oversees sponsorships and endorsements, digital archiving of all creative/photo/media assets and manages worldwide e-commerce for its clients in addition to providing in-house legal resources for trademark registration and audit management. For more information visit Epic Rights.

###

All trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.

So prices have risen slightly since Ghostbusters – up $200 for the Pro, $300 for the Premium and $200 for the Limited Edition model – but remain significantly below the Batman 66 prices.

We’ll be back with much more on the new Aerosmith game soon here at Pinball News, but in the meantime Stern Pinball have released a preview video showing parts of the gameplay on their Facebook page.

PINBALL IN THE ‘ZOO

Pinballs in Kalamazoo

After doing a self-guided tour of the majority of the locations in the Kalamazoo, Michigan metro area, I came away with the feeling that a person could easily make the case that on a per-capita basis, Kalamazoo might just be the pinball site capital of the USA.

I was able to confirm eight sites with a total of sixteen games, a single arcade with 19 games and five unconfirmed sites with one game each, serving a population of 75,400 (2013 census).

The most unexpected things I found during my rounds were how many games on site were 50 cents per credit, and the number of games that were set for five balls per credit.

The majority of the games that I found were located in dive bars, gastropubs and brew pubs; each site had its own character and unique bill of fare that I will do my best to describe to you later in this article.

Unless otherwise noted, the games were found to be in good to excellent working condition. It would appear as if there is a real effort in the Kalamazoo area to keep games well-maintained and playable.

So without further ado, let’s begin an excursion through what I was able to discover during my trip.


Kalamazoo Beer Exchange
211 E. Water Street – Pinballs located on lower level.
Bar food, micro-brew beer and cocktails, beer flights available

The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange building
The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange building

Possibly one of the most unique concepts in adult beverage sales I have ever experienced. The Beer Exchange is modeled after the New York stock market with electronic tote board displays on the walls.

Beer prices on the tote boards
Beer prices on the tote boards

Prices for beer change every 15 minutes depending on if people are buying that beer (price goes up) or not (price goes down). It’s easy to see the ‘trends’ as the name of the beer will be in red if the price is falling and green if the price is rising.

Several times during the evening the beer market will ‘crash’ and people will rush to the bar to get bargain prices on their favorite beverages.

Are you a beer bull or a beer bear?
Are you a beer bull or a beer bear?

In the lower level, there are pinball and pool tables. They have a change machine and a nice area to set your drink while you are playing.

The pinball games are Kiss (Stern, 2015), Monopoly (Stern, 2001) and Game of Thrones Pro (Stern, 2015).

Pinballs on the lower level
Pinballs on the lower level

All were in excellent condition and apparently serviced regularly. Kiss and Game of Thrones had dollar bill acceptors while Monopoly took quarters only.

Kiss and Game of Thrones are $1 per credit or 3 for $2, where Monopoly is a flat 50 cents per credit.

Prices for Kiss and Game of Thrones
Prices for Kiss and Game of Thrones
Monopoly is half the price
Monopoly is half the price
Game of Thrones Pro
Game of Thrones Pro

It’s a shame in a way that the games are in the lower level since the upper area was where most people congregated during our visit.

Inside the Beer Exchange
Inside the Beer Exchange

The flip side of this is that the games are visible through the windows at ground floor level and even have a stylish neon ‘pinball’ sign in the window to let passers-by know that there are pinballs there for their enjoyment.

Play pinball here
Play pinball here

When we visited there was no waiting to play and in fact very few people in the game area whatsoever. I am told the area around the pinballs fills up to capacity on weekends.

Beer flights and sliders
Beer flights and sliders
Mushroom crepes
Mushroom crepes
Food Tip: Mushroom Crepes
Beer Tip: Southern Tier Brewing Choklat Oranj
Cocktail Tip: Ginger Peach Julep

Green Top Tavern
250 E. Michigan Ave.
Typical bar food, cheap macro-brewed beer, full bar

The Green Top Tavern
The Green Top Tavern

The apparent slogan of the Green Top Tavern as published on their whiteboard is “We Have Beer as COLD as Your Ex’s Heart“.

This is a popular place with locals, the university crowd and pinball players. It was one of the few sites that I visited where there was a wait to play pinball.

The Ghostbusters at the Green Top Tavern
The Ghostbusters at the Green Top Tavern

I spoke with several people here who said they were regular pinball players and got some leads on sites that I didn’t initially have on my ‘to-visit’ list.

There is a twist to the play at the Green Top; there is a list behind the bar titled ‘High Bowler Club’. As you might imagine, this list isn’t about bowling. If you get a high score on their Ghostbusters LE pinball, have the bartender add your name to the list. At the end of each month a name is randomly drawn from the list and that person wins $50.

Enjoying the Ghostbusters game
Enjoying the Ghostbusters game

The kitchen isn’t always open, so ask before ordering. I didn’t try them but I was told they have one of the best cheeseburgers in the area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Food Tip: Fried battered fish basket with fries
(4 large pieces)
Beer Tip: 16oz Pabst Blue Ribbon cans – $2

Rupert’s Brew House
773 W. Michigan Ave., since 2013
Nano-brewery with other micro-brews on tap
Pinballs located in room with pool table and piano

The logo for Rupert's Brew House
The logo for Rupert’s Brew House

Rupert’s is housed in a 90+ year-old historic building on ‘Campus Corner’ that once was home to Boogie Records. The new owners chose to keep the original greeting near the entrance to the building from May 1926: “Where Good Friends Meet“.

Located on the eastern cusp of the Western Michigan University campus, Rupert’s attracts what appeared to be a mix of student, counter-culture, wannabe and genuine hipster clientele. I would describe Rupert’s as “A Brewery with Soul”. Patrons as well as staff were very friendly and helpful.

Inside Rupert's Brew House
Inside Rupert’s Brew House

Rupert’s is a little grungy or rustic looking inside like you might have stumbled into the party room of the Delta fraternity house. Rupert’s boasts a house dog which is a 197 pound (that’s over 14 stone), a Great Dane named Capt’n Stooby.

Capt'n Stooby
Capt’n Stooby

He is very mellow and mostly can be found chilled-out in his area of the main bar, but I am told that sometimes the dog will get up to bark at the live band with great comedic effect.

Speaking of bands- Rupert’s features live music five-nights-a-week with no cover charge and occasional stand-up comedy, which is good since they do not have a juke box.

In addition to their in-house nano-brews (the fermenting tanks are clearly visible from the pinball area), there is a tempting array of beverages from other local micro-breweries.

The beer list
The beer list

The particular day that we visited all pints were $3.50. Rupert’s house brews had somewhat tongue-in-cheek names such as Blacker the Berry, Match The Drapes and Deep In Cider.

If you can’t decide what to order, Rupert’s has beer flights available at reasonable prices. The bartenders are happy to fill your growler or you can purchase a glass growler for ‘take away’ use.

Beer flights
Beer flights

The games at Rupert’s are Game of Thrones Pro (Stern, 2015), Indiana Jones (Stern, 2008) and The Simpson’s Pinball Party (Stern, 2003) located in the back room with the pool table, upright piano and chandelier.

The three pinballs
The three pinballs
Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
The Simpsons Pinball Party
The Simpsons Pinball Party

The day we visited a coed attempted to play the piano. It was clear that she desperately needed more lessons.

Rupert’s games are all set for five-ball play and are 50 cents per credit. All were in excellent condition and well-cared for. There was no change machine but the bartenders are glad to give change for bills or coins as needed.

Rupert’s apparently takes pinball history to heart with a few classic pinball backglasses on their walls as ‘art’.

One of the backglasses used as decoration
One of the backglasses used as decoration

Rupert’s offers T-shirts and other souvenir items with their logo emblazoned on them if you want to take home a memory of your visit.

Food Tip: No kitchen but bring your own food or delivery allowed
Beer Tip: (tie) Rupert’s Peanut Butter Porter / Deep In Cider

Shakespeare’s Pub
241 E Kalamazoo Ave., since 2003
College sports bar with a huge selection of micro-brews from around the country

Shakespeare's Pub
Shakespeare’s Pub

You could be forgiven if the name of this pub conjures up memories of the Bard of Avon, but the name actually comes from the pub building being a part of the former Shakespeare Company manufacturing facility.

Shakespeare Company was founded in 1897 and produced fishing rods and reels including the famous ‘Ugly Stick’.

The fishing rod reference in the pub sign
The fishing rod reference in the pub sign

Unfortunately Shakespeare moved their facility from Kalamazoo to South Carolina in 1970 and re-branded themselves as K2 Inc. in 1996. It is somewhat lucky that the elaborate art-deco building that is now Shakespeare’s Pub was saved from the same destruction suffered by the manufacturing plant.

The draws to Shakespeare’s are the 44 beers on tap, and the daily food and drink specials. Shakespeare’s also features stand-up comedy in their lower level which has been repurposed as a informal arena.

Shakespeare’s is somewhat unique in that they have a ‘traveling tasting room’ that they drive to local events and fairs during the summer months. I can imagine that it is effective in helping to educate the public’s palate about micro-brewed beer.

They have The Avengers Pro (Stern, 2012) which is in a somewhat awkward area of the first floor near the entrance to the room with the pool tables.

The Avengers pinball
The Avengers pinball

It is nice that they have a table near-by which is about the height of the game glass to have your drink at the ready in-between plays. There is also a change machine if you need it.

I got the ball stuck under the Hulk toy once while playing the game, but was able to gently work it loose without tilting. The lower slingshots also seemed a bit weak. A five-ball credit is $1.

Food Tip: Free Gourmet Popcorn
Beer Tip: (tie) Lagunitas Brewing Aunt Sally / Atwater Brewing Dirty Blonde

Old Dog Tavern
402 E Michigan Ave., since 2010
Quirky gastro-pod with entertainment

This site, like many others in this report, is in a building recently repurposed from manufacturing space. Old Dog Tavern now occupies the building that was formerly part of Star Paper Company’s manufacturing plant near the railroad tracks that bisect downtown Kalamazoo.

Old Dog Tavern is the new home to the former ‘Club Soda’ bar which was THE place to go for live entertainment in the late 1970s and through the 1980s. Old Dog continues the tradition with live music most days of the week (check their website for the schedule) and have preserved many of the fixtures from Club Soda.

Club Soda at the Old Dog Tavern
Club Soda at the Old Dog Tavern
A Cantaloupe sangria
A Cantaloupe sangria
The beer list
The beer list

Apparently graffiti in the men’s room is a tradition in bars anywhere near campus, and Old Dog Tavern is no exception. I guess it gives you something to read while you are returning the beer you “rented”.

Reading material in the men's room
Reading material in the men’s room
More reading material
More reading material

The Cornish ‘Pasty’ is a meat or vegetable filled pie originally prepared as an easily portable lunch for miners, fishermen and other laborers of Northern Michigan. It is unusual to see them on the menu as far south in Michigan as Kalamazoo, but Old Dog has them in three varieties and they are deliciously authentic; having just the right texture and slightly-sweet flavor to the crust.

Cornish Pasties are served at the Old Dog
Cornish Pasties are served at the Old Dog
Page one of the food menu at the Old Dog Tavern
Page one of the food menu at the Old Dog Tavern
Page Two
Page Two

The Big Buck Hunter Pro (Stern, 2009) and Game of Thrones (Stern, 2015) pinball games are located in the table tennis room to the right as you enter the pub. I was told that GOT was recently serviced and it certainly played like a brand new machine.

Big Buck Hunter Pro and Game of Thrones
Big Buck Hunter Pro and Game of Thrones

Both games are $1 per five-ball credit.

Food Tip: Authentic Michigan Pasties and home style soups
Beer Tip: Ballast Point Brewing Company Grapefruit Sculpin
Pro Tip: Park in the nearby paved medical center parking lot after 6pm instead of the muddy hole-filled unpaved parking lot next to the tavern


One Well Brewing

402 E Michigan Ave.., since 2014
Craft beer gastropub catering mostly to suburban families

One Well Brewing
One Well Brewing

This site was definitely on my ‘to visit’ list because I was told that they had five pinballs. Unfortunately one had been taken out, but four on site is certainly not bad for in a brewpub.

Quite a selection on hand of micro-brews and flights available for those indecisive among you.

Some of the drinks available
Some of the drinks available
A beer flight sampler
A beer flight sampler

One Well also has their version of the ‘mug club’ popularized by coffee houses in college towns – only with beer!

The One Well mug club
The One Well mug club

It was nice to see that school age children were interested in the games at One Well Brewing. They even provided booster stools for the younger kids to better be able to see what they were doing. I do wish that the kids were in the habit of putting the stools under the machines when they were done but a kick put them out of the way of we adults fairly easily.

The evening that I visited the house was packed and the pinball games were popular with both young and old. One Well Brewing also has over 150 classic board and card games (including the popular Cards Against Humanity) for patrons to use for free.

Board games at One Well
Board games at One Well

The star of their menu is the brick oven baked deep-dish pizza described with entertaining names such as All Choked Up , A Plant Named Egg, It’s Me Mario and Meat Me In The Middle to cite a few.

The games are located along the back wall and include: Demolition Man (Williams, 1994), The Addams Family (Bally, 1992), Kiss (Stern, 2015) and Metallica Pro (Stern 2013). F-14 Tomcat was in the house when they opened, but has been replaced in the last year.

All games are in excellent condition with the exception of The Addams Family which had a right drain lane that would trap the ball; it was necessary to tilt the machine to loosen the ball. The floor under the Addams Family was also uneven and distracted me when trying to play the game.

All games were 50 cents per credit.

Food Tip: Under Construction build your own pizza
Beer Tip: Sweet Water Street (ABV 7.1%)
Pro Tip: Avoid the dinner hour crowd on weekends unless you like that sort of thing

CJ’s Pub
1027 Schuster Ave.
Rocking and Rolling Sports and Game Bar

I didn’t have CJ’s originally on my list of sites to visit but I was told by a local that they had pinball so I checked them out.

CJ’s is apparently where the so called Woodstock Generation that you see at classic rock shows or festivals hang out. There’s another phrase that would more accurately describe this particular bar crowd having something to do with mobile homes and refuse.

That having been said- CJ’s has a brand new Ghostbusters LE (Stern, 2016) pinball in excellent condition as well as a Golden Tee next to it and a change machine. $1 per credit with a dollar bill acceptor.

The Ghostbusters machine at C.J.'s
The Ghostbusters machine at CJ’s

CJ’s has pool tables, and electronic darts are available also. The bar area prominently featured electronic Keno games which apparently is the latest attempt by the Michigan lottery to pick your pocket.

During my visit there must have been some sort of a party going on because between the volume level on the jukebox and the hooting and hollering of the patrons it was nearly impossible to concentrate on playing pinball. I ended up playing two games before making a hasty retreat to more serene surroundings.

I didn’t check the menu or bar, but from what I could see it looked like typical macro-brewed beer, a full bar and the usual fried foods.

Pro Tip: There’s an outdoor beer garden area available in the warmer months

I did not visit these sites on this trip, but information presented here was gathered from locals:

Fletcher’s Pub
3013 Oakland Dr.
Typical sports bar

  • The Lord of the Rings (Stern, 2013)

Stadium Discount Coin Laundry and Cleaners
3313 Stadium Drive
Who remembers when nearly every coin laundry had a Gottlieb pinball machine?

  • Metallica Pro (Stern, 2013)

Kalamazoo / Battle Creek International Airport
5235 Portage Road
Transportation center

  • Sharkey’s Shootout (Stern, 2000)

Main Street Pub
4514 West Main Street
Typical sports bar

  • Avatar Pro (Stern, 2000)

Papa Pete’s Pizza and Taverna
502 S. Burdick St.
Live music and good pizza. Student crowd on weekends.

  • Fish Tales (Williams, 1992)

VIDEO CLIPS & PINBALL STREAMS

Pinball News Videos

Pinball News isn’t restricted to words and pictures.

We have almost 100 videos in our YouTube channel with over 175,000 views so far, covering shows around the world, news reports and first looks at the latest games.

The Pinball News Videos YouTube channel
The Pinball News Videos YouTube channel

Almost every day pinball enthusiasts around the world share their games and thoughts on live pinball streams. We bring you a list of the most popular pinball streams, most of which also have recordings of their earlier streams.

If you have a pinball stream or know of one you think we should include, just fill in the form at the bottom of this page and we’ll look right into it.

Akmpinball
twitch.tv/akmpinball

Streams technical and casual play on a handful of home machines on Friday and Saturday nights. Will occasionally stream during the week on random occasions as well.

Buffalo Pinball
twitch.tv/buffalopinball
Home of the Buffalo Pinball League. Streams on a weekly basis, Thursdays in particular. A mixture of casual, competitive/tournament play, and live tutorials/guides.

CaptainBZarre
twitch.tv/captainbzarre
Digital pinball only, primarily The Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball. Alternates each month with Pinballwiz45b streaming after FarSight does.

Coast2Coast Pinball
youtube.com/user/coast2coastpinball/videos
Various pinball streams.

DavidBatman1980
twitch.tv/davidbatman1980
Streams real pinball & arcade games.

Dead Flip
twitch.tv/buffalopinball
Nearly nightly streams of pinball on- and off- location.

End of Line Pinball Streaming
twitch.tv/alchy999
With David Mainwaring and friends from the UK.

FarSight Studios
twitch.tv/farsight_studios
The Pinball Arcade developers. They frequently show off tables from TPA.

Flipoutnh
twitch.tv/flipoutnh
Founder of FlipOUT Pinball Group (meetup) and Granite State Pinball (FB). Streaming ‘real’ pinball and sharing with the internet.

Free State Pinball Association
twitch.tv/fspapinball
Streams their Volleyball House League that meets on Wednesday nights in Elkridge, MD. Sometimes streams their Town Hall League in College Park, MD on Thursdays. Hasn’t streamed in a while, but they have some saved highlights from prior months that can be watched.

fz-berz
twitch.tv/fz-berz
I enjoy playing games in my spare time, even if I’m not that good at them. I’m also a member of the Flaming Zonkey podcast (in the unlikely event that means anything to someone).

GA Pinball
twitch.tv/gapinball
Georgia Pinball Organization. Streams events and casual play on a weekly basis.

German Pinball Streams
youtube.com/channel/UCxORvveCyHwoByQ4VbVM8lw/videos
Competition streaming.

Inland Empire Pinball Association
twitch.tv/iepinball
Streaming competitions and other tutorials.

Lethalfrag
twitch.tv/lethalfrag
Streams mostly video games, but also fits in pinball – both real and digital – quite frequently.

Maine Competitive Gaming
twitch.tv/mainecompetitivegaming
Maine Competitive Gaming is dedicated to bringing together gamers from all corners of the state and providing a healthy, safe and fun environment to compete in.

Mcsirtuna
twitch.tv/mcsirtuna
Pinball! and video games.

Me_Etc
twitch.tv/me_etc/profile/highlights
Pinball Streaming channel Alien Poker and many others.

NH Pinball Streams
twitch.tv/nhpinballstreams
Competitive and casual play in the New England area. Appears to stream regularly.

Oslopinball
twitch.tv/oslopinball
Oslo Pinball Club: Monthly tournaments in Oslo and a place to hang out and play pinball.

Owlnonymous
twitch.tv/owlnonymous
Streaming real pinball.

PAPA Pinball
twitch.tv/papatvpinball
Needs no introduction – it’s PAPA! Streams their PAPAtv Live show on certain Wednesday nights, as well as other major PAPA events.

PaulyB18
twitch.tv/paulyb18
Pinball streaming and pinball restoration live.

Pinball Joe
twitch.tv/pinballjoe
Home of Pinball Done Quick (PDQ). Also streams competitions/ tournaments as well as casual play.

Pinballlife
twitch.tv/pinballlife
Various Pinball Streams. Order a T-Shirt for those who Eat Sleep and Play Pinball.

Pinballwiz45b
twitch.tv/pinballwiz45b
Regular digital pinball streams.

QueenCityPinball
twitch.tv/queencitypinball
Various pinball streaming.

ReplayMuseum
twitch.tv/replaymuseum
Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs Florida! Join us as we play different pinball and arcade games from our museum as well as tournaments we host.

River City Flippers
twitch.tv/rivercityflippers
League for Richmond, VA. They will hopefully chuck up some content soon.

StashKid13
twitch.tv/stashkid13
My name is Eric, but call me Stash. I stream live pinball. Planning on doing some retro game play in the future.

StephiePie
twitch.tv/stephiepie
Come have fun with us while we chat and play games. I’ll play what you want me to and try to make it entertaining.

Tablecam
twitch.tv/tablecam
Streams pinball tournaments and events in the DC/MD/VA areas. Intends to dabble with other types of gaming as well, like table top games. No consistent stream schedule yet, no past broadcasts or highlights currently available to see as of March 2015.

TenseSpence
twitch.tv/tensespence
I have been streaming from the PS4 since Nov 2013. Now you can see multiple camera angles from my PC/pinball streaming rig.

Texas_Pinball
twitch.tv/texas_pinball
Brought to you by the same pin heads that help organize the Texas Pinball Festival, we’re just playing pinball and chatting with folks around the internet.

VooVoof
twitch.tv/voovoof
Pinball Arcade Digital Streams

Wicked Pissa Pinball
twitch.tv/wickedpissapinballpit
“Home of the Wicked Pissa Pinball Tournament, Holiday Pin-travaganza, and a few other events throughout the year.” Looks like he streams on his own as well, and has a wide variety of games.

This list is maintained by David Mainwaring. Got more streams for him to include? Let him know about them here.

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