Midwest Pinball

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April 2017 – Chicagoland Coin-Op Show Recap

This year’s Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot-Machine and Jukebox Show (a.k.a. the Chicagoland Coin-Op Show) was well attended. There was a fantastic turnout, especially since the Midwest Gaming Classic was held this year on the very same weekend in Milwaukee, WI. The Coin-Op Show boasted over 315 booths, replete with interesting jukeboxes, slot machines, gumball and popcorn machines, beer signs, mechanical scales, and…of course…pinball machines.
Midwest Pinball was one of only two companies selling pinball machines at the show. Our booth featured Gottlieb’s Big Indian, Gottlieb’s Sheriff and Stern’s Spider-Man. We sold both Big Indian and Sheriff on Saturday. Rich was happily able to talk face-to-face with a lot of our current and potential customers and answer any questions related to pinball and service. He enjoyed seeing familiar faces, so thanks for coming by our booth!
If you didn’t have a chance to stop by the show, we still have fun pinball machines available for sale including: Stern’s Spider-Man, Sega’s Harley Davidson, Data East’s Star Trek, Bally’s Captain Fantastic and Gottlieb’s Flipper Clown. You can check out our current inventory on our website here:

Pinball Machines for Sale


The next Chicagoland Coin-Op Show is November 10-12th. Information about dates and times can be found on the Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot-Machine and Jukebox Show’s website at


Check our future blogs for more details.

Also, please don’t hesitate to give Rich a call if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a visit. Midwest Pinball is grateful for all of the pinball enthusiasts out there who support our business and keep the game alive. Thank you!

March 2017 – Have Gun Will Travel

This week we picked up three Western-themed games. Gottlieb Big Indian (1974) and Sheriff (1971) are pinball machines. And Williams Bonanza (1970) is a gun game with moving targets.

 Gottlieb Big Indian - Upper Playfield Detail

One of the most popular games of the 70’s, Gottlieb Big Indian is a four-player game featuring a range of classic features – drop targets, vari-target, and pop bumpers. This game has a great playfield with new drop targets and pop bumper caps. The cabinet is in excellent shape with bright colors and new legs.

 Gottlieb Big Indian - Middle Playfield

Gottlieb Sheriff is another great four-player game from the 70’s. Sheriff was also produced as a two-player game (Lawman) and a single-player game (Texas Ranger). The playfield has a single row of ten drop targets along the left-hand side and two parallel lanes of rollover switches along the right-hand side. The cabinet on this game is in excellent shape with bright colors and clean lines.

Gottlieb Sheriff - Middle Playfield Detail

Gottlieb Sheriff - Middle Playfield

Gottlieb Sheriff - Cabinet Left

We also picked up a classic gun game – Williams Bonanza. The game features sounds of galloping and whinnying horses with an occasional gunshot ricochet. The cabinet is in great shape with bright green and brown imagery.

October 2016 – New Pinball Explosion

Over the past couple of years, several new pinball companies entered the market and developed many different pinball formats. New titles include traditional pinball machines, multi-game units, virtual pinball, and customizable units. Advances in technology, including programmable electronics and 3D printing, simplify the development of new platforms and reduce the cost of the prototyping process.

This was clearly evident at this year’s Pinball Expo in Wheeling, IL (outside Chicago). Jersey Jack Pinball brought the newest version of The Hobbit (the Black Arrow Special Edition) named after the arrow that defeats Smaug in the fantasy film trilogy. Special features include Black Arrow attract mode animation, Black Ink body armor, black pinballs, and black flipper bats.

Jersey Jack Pinball also brought Dialed In, a new game designed by Pat Lawler (designer of Addams Family, Twilight Zone, and Whirlwind). Dialed In integrates smartphone connectivity and a camera. By laying your smartphone down on the glass, it can activate a special mode during multi-ball. The game also features 5 magnets, “3 flying drones”, a “3-D interactive projected image”, and an animated robot.

VPCabs brought several virtual pinball cabinets capable of playing both classic arcade games and pinball tables. The Vertigo features a very large main display and color dot matrix display at the top of the cabinet. The control panel has the buttons, track ball, and joystick needed to play video games and buttons mounted on the sides of the cabinet for use as flipper buttons when playing pinball.

Multimorphic showcased its P3 Pinball Platform a dynamic modular pinball machine. The company develops new games for its platform that combine traditional pinball and new technologies. Lexy Lightspeed – Escape from Earth is Multimorphic’s first game and Cosmic Cart Racing will be the second.

During Pinball Expo, Stern Pinball held its own event to celebrate Stern’s thirty years in the pinball industry. At the event, Stern had a number of Ghostbuster pinball machines. Ghostbusters, Stern’s latest release, features the characters and elements from the original 1984 movie and 1989 sequel. The playfield artwork explodes with color and is packed with features. The Limited Edition (LE) version uses Ecto Glasses to project holographic ghosts onto the playfield that react to ball hits.

We expect pinball to continue to evolve and incorporate new technology that enhances the player’s experience. Pinball is back and with a great future.

October 2016 – Keeping the Ball Alive: 30 Years of Stern Pinball

For over a decade, Stern Pinball was the world’s only major manufacturer of pinball machines. Many new companies have emerged in the past few years, but Stern remains the biggest and most stable. Stern Pinball has thirty years of experience and a seasoned staff committed to producing pinball machines.

Now PaperFlock is running a Kickstarter to publish a coffee table book to commemorate three decades of pinball containing prototype designs, artwork, and diagrams highlighting Stern’s range of pinball machines. The book will also include interviews with the game designers and other Stern employees.

The kickstarter is running through early December 2016. If you are interested in pinball, please check out the kickstarter and help make the project a success. Here is a link to the project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paperflock/keeping-the-ball-alive-30-years-of-stern-pinball

September 2016 – Star Trek 50th Anniversary

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series, BBC America ran all the original episodes in the order they aired. I recorded them all and have been watching two or three per night (still have 40 to go).

We currently have two of the four Star Trek themed pinball machines for sale. The first one was produced by Bally in conjunction with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. This game is similar to most of Bally’s titles from the late 70’s and early 80’s. It has nice ball flow with a good range of shots. Since it is not digital, all the sounds are produced by chimes. Below is a photo of the Bally Star Trek we have for sale.


The second title was produced by Data East in 1991. This game has more features on the playfield and ramp shots that make the game faster. It also has a transporter effect in the backglass that makes it look like the characters are beaming down to a planet. The game includes both speech and music. Below is a photo of the Data East Star Trek we have for sale.

DE Star Trek - BackglassDE Star Trek - Playfield MiddleDE Star Trek - Playfield Lower

Please call or e-mail us with any questions or for more photos of either game.


The third title is Williams Star Trek: The Next Generation, from 1993, which features characters and scenarios from the 90’s TV series. As a much newer game, it features a wide range of shots, video modes, full speech and sound and elaborate game play. We do not currently have one for sale, but would be able to locate one.

The fourth title is very recent. In 2013, Stern produced three models of their Star Trek pinball machine. Stern’s standard edition is the Starfleet Pro and its two special editions are the Enterprise and Vengeance editions (named for the two star ships). We do not typically sell new games, but would be able to handle delivery, installation and ongoing service.