So Spooky Pinball is the one to conclude the party of pinball releases in 2022 with a license already mentioned through different rumors.
If the company has based the concept of its brand on “spooky” universes (horrific, frightening themes…) and had already tried its hand at the world of cartoons with its previous production of the genre: Rick & Morty, it is with great satisfaction that the pinball community welcomes this newborn with a theme that could not be more in line with the “spooky” universe.
Yes, what other franchise can claim to be a cult cartoon in the world of ghosts and other monsters that haunt dark castles and abandoned amusement parks?
Ho Scooby, a gh-gh, a ghost!
The reveal of this pinball machine was a bit different from the previous ones since we didn’t have the right to under playfield pictures to raise the hype and feed the craziest rumors, but to a teasing more resembling the habits of Stern Pinball, namely :
- A teasing video on December 01 that only presents the theme and the few features of the machine.
- An official reveal video on December 07 (one day before the officially announced date. A thumbs up to the leakers?).
- A gameplay video the day after.
The overall quality of these videos leaves a little to be desired (blurred effects and approximate framing among others…). It’s a pity, especially since this is not Spooky Pinball’s first try. But what do you expect, I’d be rambling if I told you that it’s been pretty much the same for all manufacturers for years, except for Jersey Jack Pinball.
In the meantime, we were also treated to a few promotional flyers aimed at dealers/distributors that specified the different editions and therefore, the options of each.
The beautiful edition and the less beautiful edition…
At Spooky Pinball, unlike the market leader Stern, who systematically offers us 3 versions of machines (one with all the features, a second one in the same vein but in a limited version and a last one intended for exploitation, therefore with less toys), here there is no debate, we are not talking about gameplay modifications but only about options which will distinguish the different versions, judge for yourself:
And we have to admit it, even if the playfield remains the same, only the collector version has a really nice artwork and options… The two other versions simply have a box artwork with the Mystery Machine logo.
It’s simply a sadness without name and synonymous with minimum effort. Will this actually direct potential buyers to a collector’s version first? Probably…
Spooky, the small pinball manufacturer who stirs up the big ones
As we’ve seen for a few years now, innovating in the pinball industry is not an easy task. The productions are often based on the same model, with the exception of a few innovative toys which, from time to time, have their little “wow” effect. But let’s be honest, it’s not that often, and Stern won’t make me say otherwise.
But in this lazy ecosystem, which is not very prone to constant innovation, Spooky Pinball regularly tries to shake things up with its little batch of nice novelties, let’s mention in bulk:
- A double themed machine with Halloween/Ultra Man
- A triple upper playfield on these two pinball machines
- A bumper instead of a slingshot on Rick and Morty
- A completely crazy sound rendering on the neo retro Total Nuclear Annihilation game
This Scooby Doo is no exception to the rule since it offers 3 quite nice and innovative features in their approach:
- Mobile bat wings that bring your balls from the apron to the board
- An upper playfield with a “specific” flipper in the shape of an open book on the left, which seems to offer new ways to control (or not) your ball and even to act as a diverter to choose the path to take
- A “false wide body” format. If the shape is indeed that of a widebody, the playfield remains that of a classic pinball machine, the additional space is only there to allow the 5 ramps to fit without spoiling the visibility of the board.
It’s always amusing (or sad, as the case may be) to see a small manufacturer trying to invent new approaches to our hobby, which is already quite retro in its conception. If only the big manufacturers could learn from them…
A ghostly world under glass
Visually, the playfield of this machine offers a first rather convincing view, the colors are bright and well chosen, the main artwork respects the franchise (in homage to the 1969 cartoon) but with a recent graphic touch (the nostalgics of the old Hanna-Barbera era may not always find themselves there, this said) and the in-game features seem numerous even if almost exclusively concentrated on the background.
The ramps are legion and seem to represent the 5 characters of the franchise if we believe their numbers and colors. The figurines present look well made and are rather well chosen. The ruins remind us of the castle of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, released by the same company a few years ago.
We will note the presence of a great villain to bash from the upper playfield, the ghost of Captain Cutler, whose hands can block your marbles thanks to magnets under the board. There are also two rows of 3 drop targets, one in front of the other, a fact rare enough to be highlighted.
As for the gameplay, it seems to be classically oriented on the hunt for the great villains of the saga, all represented by a lot of inserts in the middle of the board.
To go into more detail, we will have to put our hands on it, we hope very soon.
However, from what we could see on the first videos, it seems quite dynamic despite a “tunnel” effect specific to games equipped with an upper playfield since you inevitably lose sight of your ball at the bottom of the board before it can reappear one floor higher.
Show me the money!
If the franchise attracts you and you are European, now several European distributors offer Spooky models for sale, which was not necessarily the case until recently.
This Scooby Doo model is limited to 1,969 units (in homage to the cartoon, released in 1969) and is available in 3 versions:
- A standard version without options at around 10,400€ (depending on the distributor) or 7,769$ in the US
- A “Blood Sucker” version around 11,700€ (depending on distributor) or 8,769$ in the US, equipped with :
- Plastic protectors
- A speaker light kit RGB
- Target decals
- Lighted pinball buttons
- Different paint finish
- Laser cut custom speaker grills
- Case protectors
- 5 additional figures on the board
- A numbered plate
- A Collector’s Edition around 13 000€ (depending on the distributor) or 9,769$ in the US with :
- All the elements of the previous version +A new case artworkA topperA custom launcherA custom armor kit, laser cut and painted in green
- Additional figures and scenery on the playfield
- And at the risk of repeating myself, this one is clearly the prettiest of the three.
You should also know that you can opt for the “Butter Cabinet” option, which consists of a direct printing of the artwork on the box.
Regarding the availability, as usual since the post COVID period, it is complicated to have an exact date for the moment. A deposit is required from the distributors for the version and options chosen in any case.
For the rest, you will have to be patient before being able to play this Scooby dooby dooooo game!