A Peek at Pinball Design with Stern’s Jurassic Park Mini-Feature

Pinball is very obviously a complicated machine to design.  This was true when everything rattled, buzzed, and dinged, remained accurate when electronics took over from the purely mechanical designs, and hasn’t gotten any simpler with each new table wanting its own show-stopping feature.  As every machine has gotten progressively more ornate so has the work necessary to make all the flashy parts work together nicely.  One of Stern’s newest tables is Jurassic Park, which already had a high bar set from the 1993 Data East pinball.  The t-rex eating the ball was an incredibly memorable table toy, right up there with Thing coming out of its box to grab the ball in Addams Family, so Stern knew there was a big job ahead to match that.  The company just released a video of lead designer Keith Elwin and lead engineer Harrison Drake talking about the work that went in to creating a memorable table design, from the spinning blades on the helicopter to the new t-rex head that picks up the ball and flings it.  There’s also a walk-through of the factory floor, and while the inflatable t-rex is deeply distracting it’s well worth still-framing here and there just to take in all the tools, circuitry, and half-built machinery in the background.

Jurassic Park was announced back in July and should be shipping fairly soon.  While waiting for it to show up in a pinball hall near you, here’s the look at the making-of.