"Sopranos Pinball" Makes The News
By Peter Genovese
Newhouse News Service
There's a new pinball machine that has the makings of a hit.
Make that a mob hit.
"The Sopranos" pinball machine, a spinoff of the popular HBO drama, makes it debut this month amid enthusiasm from pinball dealers and distributors.
"I got an order from a guy in Germany who never heard of 'The Sopranos' but played the game at a trade show there and loved it," said Andy Kline, owner of Tampa, Fla.-based www.homegameroom.com . The machines retail for $4,495.
"We've had interest from customers in Croatia," said Gary Stern, owner of Melrose Park, Ill.-based Stern Pinball, the game's manufacturer. "They're going to put the machines in bars and restaurants over there."
The game, like the show, is colorful, comical, crazed and a little risqué. The back and side panels show off the cast — Tony, Carmela, Paulie Walnuts, Silvio, Uncle Junior, Chris and others.
The playing surface features signs for the Meadowlands, a replica Pulaski Skyway, two miniature go-go dancers from the Bada Bing, a talking fish (a detail from a Season Two episode involving Big Pussy), and a tractor-trailer marked CHASE (a reference to show creator David Chase).
Rack up points, advance up the family ladder — associate, soldier, acting capo, capo, consigliere, underboss. There's also a space labeled "RIP." Landing on that can't be a good thing.
Several of the show's stars, including Steve Van Zandt (Silvio), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi), Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy), Edie Falco (Carmela) and Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior) recorded lines from the show for the pinball machine. And, naturally, you hear the voice of Tony (James Gandolfini).
"For all of us who go into a 'Sopranos' withdrawal between seasons, the pinball machine is like having our own Dr. Melfi," said Tim Ferrante, publisher of GameRoom Magazine, devoted to home game-room enthusiasts.