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What happened to Stern (SEI) in 1980?

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Anonymous
August 25, 2005 7:33:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

Hi, I'm hoping top find out from you guys why Stern's business had a
down turn at the end of 1980. In October Flight 2000 was produced and
sold 6300 games, than in December Nine Ball (2300 games), and in
January Freefall (1300 games). Why the sharp decline in numbers?

1. Is this just because pinball was going through a bad patch?
2. Did the software problems with Nine Ball damage Sterns reputation?
3. Was the competition from other makers "too hot".
4. Was Flight 2000 just a much better machine?

or is it a combination of all of them??
I would particularly appreciate the opinion of anyone who can recall
things from that time.

I'm a Stern fan based in the UK and own Flight 2000, Lightning and
Meteor and have owned Big game(also off to try and buy a Freefall
tomorrow!).

Eddie
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 8:27:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

1> yes, pinball was slumping around that era - everyone's numbers
started to go down. F2k was stern's 2nd best seller after Meteor if I
recall correctly.

2> Very likely didn't help it - I've never seen a nine ball so they are
fairly rare on the east coast of the US

3> Stern always had a bad reputation, even amongst players in my area.
(Although better than SS Gotliebs). Today I appreciate Sterns much
more. Also, Williams, Bally and Gottlieb were trying to get their
distributors to only handle one MFG, so stern got squeezed a little
that way.

4> F2k is fun but it's not one of the best sterns IMO, I like big game
better. I like Gamatron too and am going to put one next to F2K so
people can see wide body vs. narrow on similar design.

I have a freefall in project status which unfortunately has a super bad
playfield (peeling - I may have to mylar the whole field to save what's
there). Anyone have a playfield in restorable shape?
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 10:45:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

Buy the FreeFall you'll like it. Make sure the speech works. Mine has
some PF wear also but not to bad.

zTim
Related resources
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 11:17:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

I will, I'm told it looks good and hasn't been working for years but I
will know for sure when I see it tomorrow.
I have a speach chip (no offers please as its not for sale).

Lightning is my favourite Stern by the way and in my all time top 6!

Eddie
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 1:24:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

For my business Stern was hot, for a brief period. Meteor and Flight 2000
were ahead of their time, they buried the competition. I don't know if it
was when Harry Williams left or not, but all of a sudden the other
manufacturers caught up and passed Stern. LTG :) 

"EDI" <edwinmole@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1124965982.246509.307830@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Hi, I'm hoping top find out from you guys why Stern's business had a
> down turn at the end of 1980. In October Flight 2000 was produced and
> sold 6300 games, than in December Nine Ball (2300 games), and in
> January Freefall (1300 games). Why the sharp decline in numbers?
>
> 1. Is this just because pinball was going through a bad patch?
> 2. Did the software problems with Nine Ball damage Sterns reputation?
> 3. Was the competition from other makers "too hot".
> 4. Was Flight 2000 just a much better machine?
>
> or is it a combination of all of them??
> I would particularly appreciate the opinion of anyone who can recall
> things from that time.
>
> I'm a Stern fan based in the UK and own Flight 2000, Lightning and
> Meteor and have owned Big game(also off to try and buy a Freefall
> tomorrow!).
>
> Eddie
>
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 3:31:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

End of 1980 is when Black Knight and Flash Gordon came out- first 2
double-level playfield games. 1980/81 were about the height of pin
popularity/success during that era- games like Centaur, Eight Ball Deluxe,
Fathom, Xenon, BK, Firepower, Blackout, Haunted House, Black Hole, Space
Invaders. Wow!

And I think it was BK that introduced 50-cent play? Although Tom Cahill at
Wms said it was widebody games that were built & introduced to help warrant
the increase in price-per-play (to keep up with costs and inflation at that
time). So pricing may have been a variable in those days, too. Production
costs were definitely pulling down total production numbers and eliminating
some features from games in 1982-up (like Firepower 2 with no speech, and
several games with only 2-ball multiball instead of 3-ball (Cosmic
Gunfight)).

77-82. Those were good years...

Ray J.
--
Action Pinball & Amusement, LLC
Salt Lake City, Utah USA
Web: www.actionpinball.com

We're serious about pinball. Anything else is just for fun!



"Lloyd Olson" <ltg@ssbilliards.com> wrote in message
news:o _SdnQfr3--0SZDeRVnyrA@skypoint.com...
> For my business Stern was hot, for a brief period. Meteor and Flight 2000
> were ahead of their time, they buried the competition. I don't know if it
> was when Harry Williams left or not, but all of a sudden the other
> manufacturers caught up and passed Stern. LTG :) 
>
> "EDI" <edwinmole@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:1124965982.246509.307830@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> > Hi, I'm hoping top find out from you guys why Stern's business had a
> > down turn at the end of 1980. In October Flight 2000 was produced and
> > sold 6300 games, than in December Nine Ball (2300 games), and in
> > January Freefall (1300 games). Why the sharp decline in numbers?
> >
> > 1. Is this just because pinball was going through a bad patch?
> > 2. Did the software problems with Nine Ball damage Sterns reputation?
> > 3. Was the competition from other makers "too hot".
> > 4. Was Flight 2000 just a much better machine?
> >
> > or is it a combination of all of them??
> > I would particularly appreciate the opinion of anyone who can recall
> > things from that time.
> >
> > I'm a Stern fan based in the UK and own Flight 2000, Lightning and
> > Meteor and have owned Big game(also off to try and buy a Freefall
> > tomorrow!).
> >
> > Eddie
> >
>
>
Anonymous
August 25, 2005 7:25:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

Thanks for all the above. It paints a complicated picture with a whole
lot of pressures bearing down on all manufactures. Looking back at
Stern games now you would think they should have been more successful
but from what you all say I can see how they must have been under
pressure.

With all those great games around it must have been hard to get buyers
to pick a stern if the others had a better reputation?

Eddie

Ray Johnson - Action Pinball wrote:
> End of 1980 is when Black Knight and Flash Gordon came out- first 2
> double-level playfield games. 1980/81 were about the height of pin
> popularity/success during that era- games like Centaur, Eight Ball Deluxe,
> Fathom, Xenon, BK, Firepower, Blackout, Haunted House, Black Hole, Space
> Invaders. Wow!
>
> And I think it was BK that introduced 50-cent play? Although Tom Cahill at
> Wms said it was widebody games that were built & introduced to help warrant
> the increase in price-per-play (to keep up with costs and inflation at that
> time). So pricing may have been a variable in those days, too. Production
> costs were definitely pulling down total production numbers and eliminating
> some features from games in 1982-up (like Firepower 2 with no speech, and
> several games with only 2-ball multiball instead of 3-ball (Cosmic
> Gunfight)).
>
> 77-82. Those were good years...
>
> Ray J.
> --
> Action Pinball & Amusement, LLC
> Salt Lake City, Utah USA
> Web: www.actionpinball.com
>
> We're serious about pinball. Anything else is just for fun!
>
>
>
> "Lloyd Olson" <ltg@ssbilliards.com> wrote in message
> news:o _SdnQfr3--0SZDeRVnyrA@skypoint.com...
> > For my business Stern was hot, for a brief period. Meteor and Flight 2000
> > were ahead of their time, they buried the competition. I don't know if it
> > was when Harry Williams left or not, but all of a sudden the other
> > manufacturers caught up and passed Stern. LTG :) 
> >
> > "EDI" <edwinmole@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
> > news:1124965982.246509.307830@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> > > Hi, I'm hoping top find out from you guys why Stern's business had a
> > > down turn at the end of 1980. In October Flight 2000 was produced and
> > > sold 6300 games, than in December Nine Ball (2300 games), and in
> > > January Freefall (1300 games). Why the sharp decline in numbers?
> > >
> > > 1. Is this just because pinball was going through a bad patch?
> > > 2. Did the software problems with Nine Ball damage Sterns reputation?
> > > 3. Was the competition from other makers "too hot".
> > > 4. Was Flight 2000 just a much better machine?
> > >
> > > or is it a combination of all of them??
> > > I would particularly appreciate the opinion of anyone who can recall
> > > things from that time.
> > >
> > > I'm a Stern fan based in the UK and own Flight 2000, Lightning and
> > > Meteor and have owned Big game(also off to try and buy a Freefall
> > > tomorrow!).
> > >
> > > Eddie
> > >
> >
> >
Anonymous
August 27, 2005 1:43:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

Stern of 1980 (SEI) can be summed up like this: Stars burn brightest
just before they burn out.

1980 was the best year for Stern pinball machines with them turning out
wonderfully different machines practically every month!

More info on these Classics in this thread:

http://tinyurl.com/86j7z

Enjoy!

DR
pinballdoctor.com
Anonymous
August 27, 2005 10:10:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

I think it is pretty simple, all the pin makers had a few tough years
there, it was caused by a little game called PACMAN and those that
followed.
Paul
Anonymous
August 27, 2005 6:07:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.pinball (More info?)

Not really. Asteroids was 1979, Pacman 1980. Video fad buble burst was 1981.
The pinball manufacturers got a shot in the arm right then. Their sales
increased during this time because of a lot of new arcades and other
locations springing up all over the country. Then when things settled down,
pin sales were still there, and a year or two later took off. While the pins
built were no where near the numbers of pacman, there was an increase that
pinball would have never gotten without all the new places to put games over
night. LTG :) 

"pjpin" <pauljreno@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:1125148240.245786.225410@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> I think it is pretty simple, all the pin makers had a few tough years
> there, it was caused by a little game called PACMAN and those that
> followed.
> Paul
>
!