Pedretti Gaming, now part of Euro Pinball Corp since its merger with Pinball Brothers, is in the news again with the announcement of a new kit for the Whirlwind pinball machine.
For the record, Pedretti is an Italian manufacturer to whom Pinball Brothers has delegated the manufacturing of its pinball machines. It also produces accessories, as we will see.
A kit for an old pinball machine? What is it?
The business concept is rather new, and Pedretti is making it its specialty. It’s about offering a kit of accessories and replacement parts to modernize an old pinball glory. Specifically:
- The pinball code is enriched with new missions
- The sound system is completely changed
- The sounds themselves are revised
- The initial alphanumeric screen is replaced by an LCD screen
- At the same time, animations are added
- The artwork of the front and side blades (the decoration of the inner sides of the box) is replaced, as well as the speaker panel
Basically, only the playfield and the decals of the body remain original. And still, some more or less official options sometimes offer to change the visual of the box as well. If the machine is well maintained, it is easy to mistake a pinball machine equipped with a kit for a recent model.
By the way, Pedretti sells these kits legally because it is a partner of Planetary Pinball. The latter holds the rights to manufacture and sell spare parts for Williams, Bally and Midway pinball machines.
Whirlwind: another alphanumeric pinball machine from Pat Lawlor
FunHouse was the first pinball machine to benefit from a Pedretti kit, named: FunHouse Rudy’s Nightmare. Whirlwind Total Chaos is the 2nd kit proposed by the manufacturer.
It should be noted that both games were designed by Pat Lawlor, one of the greatest pinball designers. Both of them lend themselves well to the remake exercise because they are both very appreciated collector’s items, but suffer from a technological delay with their alphanumeric screens.
Indeed, alphanumeric lasted only a few years, and both Whirlwind and FunHouse games are among the last of their generation. At the same time, the first pinball machines with Dot Matrix Display screens were released, which were much more fun, especially thanks to their video modes, i.e. small interactive video games using buttons.
Also, the sound system of the time was not perfect. Adding a more recent system, especially with more bass, clearly adds to the pleasure of playing.
A great designer, a recognized and innovative board for the time, a techno that deserved a dusting: here are the ingredients that Pedretti seems to look for to propose a kit. And it’s pretty smart.
The price, always the price
The kit is advertised on pinballremakes.com (Pedretti’s commercial website) at 2 200€ before tax. In absolute value, it’s a lot of money, but compared to a second hand pinball machine or a modular pinball machine like the P3 from Multimorphic, the price is worth it.
In any case, so far we haven’t heard any criticisms about the quality of Pedretti’s kits, and the pictures support the impression of careful work. We can’t wait to see one!