WPT Pinball Game to Light Bowling Alleys and Bars Everywhere
by Bob Pajich
The World Poker Tour (WPT) has quickly become a pop-cultural phenomenon in America since the day the season premiered in 2002. Now, the television show my have reached the penultimate level of pop-cultural status with the release of a WPT-themed pinball game.
Stern Pinball, Inc., the Chicago company behind “The Simpsons Pinball Party,” “NASCAR,” “Harley Davidson,” and “The Lord of The Rings” pinball games, has designed and released the game.
Pinball connoisseurs will recognize the name of the man who designed the WPT pinball game, Steve Ritchie. He’s a former Williams pinball designer and the creator of Stern’s “Elvis,” among many other famous pinball machines.
Keith Johnson, software engineer for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Simpsons Pinball Party,” created the software for this machine. Brian Rood, established comic book artist and illustrator, created his first complete pinball art package and Chris Granner, well-known sound engineer, produced his final sound work before retiring from the industry.
By manipulating the silver ball, players travel from city to city in hopes of making it to the WPT final table. A dot matrix display is located in the center of the playfield, showing players their holecards, as well as the flop, turn, and river cards.
The player gets the flop, turn, and river cards successively by making ramp shots located on the left and right sides of the playfield. WPT pinball also features five card stud, where the player needs to hit cards on sixteen drop targets to get all the poker hands, such as two of a kind, three of a kind, all the way up to a royal flush.
The WPT pinball game also offers a second level playfield and a “mousetrap” that holds and releases balls for multiball play. The playfield includes an innovative “Ace In the Hole” ball lock feature and 16 drop targets and is choreographed with many effects.
Card-themed pinball machines have been around nearly since pinball was invented. Pinball manufacture Gottlieb came out with “Gin Rummy” in 1939 and followed with “Easy Aces” in 1955, “Aces High” and “Royal Flush” in 1957, “Spot a Card” in 1960, “Sweet Hearts” in 1963, and “Jacks Open” in 1977, among others.
The licensing relationship between Stern Pinball and WPT was developed and negotiated by Brandgenuity LLC, WPT’s strategic product licensing and merchandising agency of record.