Surprising as it may seem, Stern Pinball’s Jurassic Park pinball machine test is published by Pinball Mag. more than three years… after its release! In our defense, the release of this mythical pinball machine (yes, the tone has already been set) dates back to the Paleolithic era. An era when your favorite digital magazine didn’t exist!
The surprise announcement of a 30th anniversary edition, scheduled for the end of this year, gives me the unexpected opportunity to don my paleontologist costume and go and do some archaeological research to satisfy homo pinballiscus’ thirst for knowledge.
Everybody in the chopper, I’m taking you to Isla Nublar! Don’t worry, everything should be fine! I got my pilot’s license by correspondence last week! Enjoy the view! Houlà, I’m gonna straighten up a bit!
- 1 Welcome to Jurassic Park!
- 2 Life will find a way
- 3 Jurassic Park pinball: Spared no expense.
- 4 The playfield, zone by zone
- 5 I am totally unappreciated in my time.
- 6 Jurassic Park pinball: easy to play, hard to master
- 7 A mission in each enclosure
- 8 Boy, Do I Hate Being Right All The Time.
Welcome to Jurassic Park!
Released in 2019, the Jurassic Park pinball machine is Keith Elwin’s 2nd pinball machine as designer at Stern Pinball. And, for once, as soon as it was released, this pinball machine created a unanimous craze among players as much for its design as for its gameplay.
I’d like to thank John for a lovely weekend.
Right from the start of the game, you’re literally transported to the heart of Isla Nublar, home to the world-famous amusement park: Jurassic Park! The only problem is that the dinosaurs have escaped from their enclosures and are wreaking havoc all over the park!
You’ll have to save the park staff and capture the dinosaurs in the chaotic environment unleashed by villain Dennis Nedry’s computer virus. But be careful! Not all dinosaurs are equally dangerous, and players will have to contend with raptors and even the mighty T. Rex!
As you can see, the game plunges you into the heart of a strong, intergenerational license. An immersive adventure full of action and twists and turns.
Life will find a way
To date, there are 4 versions of this pinball machine available from Stern, even 5 if you count the homepin version made by Jack Danger. In any case, the beast doesn’t leave anyone indifferent, and Jonathan Bergeron aka Johnny Crap is responsible for the artwork.
Originally from Montreal, Canada, where he lives and works, Johnny Crap has made a name for himself with his merchandising work for international bands such as Slayer, Guns ‘n Roses, Alice Cooper and Anthrax.
His figurative style, inspired by comics, science fiction and heroic fantasy illustrations, perfectly matches the atmosphere of Jurassic Park pinball!
From the box to the topper, via translites, backglass, artblade and playfield, Johnny’s sublime artwork is packed with detail and precision, and sums up the universe of the franchise wonderfully well.
Personally, he’s one of my favorite illustrators. And he’s even worked for Nike, which gives you an idea of the man’s talent!
Jurassic Park pinball: Spared no expense.
The playfield is undoubtedly this pinball machine’s strong point! It’s original, with simple and complicated shots to suit all player profiles.
It’s also well supplied with flippers, toys, ramps, up posts and spinners, all divided into 5 distinct zones. And for once, the differences between a pro model and the Premium and LE models aren’t too noticeable.
The playfield, zone by zone
On the left is the first zone, containing the control center and the raptor cage. The control center will play a role in triggering secondary sequences in the scenario. It features a fixed target in the background and an up post to lock a ball.
The second element of this zone is the raptor cage. A configuration for precise shots that can hit either the two side targets or the fixed target in the background which, on the premium, LE (Limited Edition) and 30th anniversary versions, will activate the raptor figurine located just above the cage. An up post will lock the ball and then the motorized door will rise. Release the ball by lowering the fence until it gives way and releases the ball to launch the multiball.
The second zone, and a particularly tricky one, is the guard tower! Located just above the raptor cage, the guard tower is the gateway to a scoop that leads to the upper ramp accessible via the upper right flipper. For me, this is the most difficult shoot in the game, along with the one in the lane next to it, which allows loops to be made for the most gifted among us!
The most important zone is, of course, the T-rex zone! This is the third area of the pinball machine, providing access to the main ramp on the left and allowing you to lock balls in the T-rex’s mouth. In the premium, LE and 30th anniversary versions, the T-Rex keeps the ball in its mouth, shredding it in all directions before spitting it out! A real animated delight. Coupled with the shaker in these same versions, it’s a real pleasure!
The fourth zone is the one with the most interactive elements. Vertical spinner, up post, bumper, Newton ball with 4×4 toy, fixed targets and the Pteranodon ramp take up all the space on the top right-hand side of the board. No less than seven different shots are possible in this area.
The last area of this pinball machine, where I left my helicopter, is the helipad. Used both when putting the ball into play and in the game itself, the helipad scoop is used to operate a horizontal spinner via a ramp, representing the paddles of a helicopter, the last toy in this rather well-stocked pinball machine!
I am totally unappreciated in my time.
The code on this machine is simply phenomenal! The few who have managed to reach the very limits of this monstrous depth of code can be counted on the fingers of one hand, well mutilated by a velociraptor!
With its 11 enclosures to explore, visitor center, museum mayhem, secure control room, Wizard mode escape Nublar, missions and secondary modes, there’s plenty to do with this pinball machine and its park to traverse from end to end!
What’s more, with the recent update to celebrate the 30th anniversary release, Stern has graced us with additional modes accessible directly from the home screen.
By pressing both pinball machines simultaneously from the home screen, you can navigate between the different modes on offer, and select the one that interests you with the lockbar button.
For the brave, you can even spoil the end of the game by launching the wizard mode: the Nublar escape, and I wish you the best of luck in overcoming it!
When we have control again…
You never had control, that’s the illusion!
Jurassic Park pinball: easy to play, hard to master
In the words of former Stern Pinball CEO and founder Gary Stern, “Jurassic Park is a classic featuring what everyone loves: dinosaurs! The game is designed to be easy to play, but hard to master”, so honestly, yes… You’re in for a real treat!
Jurassic Park is a pinball game that boasts both rich and accessible gameplay. In reality, it’s the length of the code and the multitude of objectives to complete that make the task complex!
Right from the start of the game, you’ll need to take 3 shots at the lit white inserts in order to spell out the word MAP located in the back panel. Once you’ve done that, use the 4×4 and its newton ball to determine your progress on the map, and confirm with a shot at the T-rex. This is how you trigger the main enclosure missions in Jurassic Park.
A mission in each enclosure
In each enclosure, you’ll have to rescue a set number of park staff, represented by the red rescue inserts, and, of course, you’ll also have to deal with the dinosaur whose position is indicated by the green inserts. You set a trap for it with the fixed “set trap” targets and finish with the yellow inserts to capture it. For some difficult dinosaurs (those in red), you’ll need to use the helipad to get help with your task.
What I particularly like about this pinball game are all the secondary modes, such as :
- collecting dinosaur DNA via combos,
- obtaining supply drops,
- collecting fossils, triggering smart missile operations or center room operations.
All these actions add rhythm to the various situations. They can sometimes be combined with the main objective, adding consistency to the narrative and constantly renewing the enjoyment of the game. And if you’re a multiball fan, believe me, you won’t be outdone!
Boy, Do I Hate Being Right All The Time.
Now you know why this pinball machine is so popular with players, and why it’s so sought-after on the second-hand market! So don’t hesitate to buy this pinball machine. It’s a hit! And for those who can afford to treat themselves, go for the 30th anniversary version: a real gem!