Friday, 26 October 2012

Hot Hand By Stern

Today we’re taking a look at another game from my collection.  Hot Hand from Stern Electronics released in 1979

Designed by the late Harry Williams, it had a production run of 4117 and quite a few of them made their way down here to Australia.

I picked up the game as a non-working project off eBay back in late 2007.  It was a spur of the moment thing as it was relatively close, the price was OK, and it was one of those games that I remember playing as a kid when it was brand new.

A tragic memory of mine was back in 1981 or their abouts, I remember playing this game at the local “Pinny Parlour” as it was known back then, and Juice Newtons “Queen Of Hearts” was playing on the Jukebox.  Why that sticks out as memorable, I have no idea!

Anyway, back to my project game.  I got it home and of course it didn’t fire up.  Turned out to be a flaky 5101 RAM on the MPU.  Once I got it to boot, I had to troubleshoot the lack of sound, which turned out to be the MPU to sound board wiring, which was toast.  So once we had sound, it was just a matter of replacing rubber, repining the J1 rectifier board connector which was hard wired to the pins, and general switch adjustments and all the little things you do to make the game play as best as it can.

The main objective in Hot Hand is to complete the 4 Royal Flush hands that are represented in the middle of the playfield as a bonus grid.  The slingshots, left bumper and spinner will change the suit on the bonus grid.  Ten, Jack, Queen and King are pretty easy to get by just keeping the ball in play.  The real challenge is to light the Aces, which can only be spotted by the middle drop target from the bank of 5.  Sure, the target isn’t hard to hit as such.  It’s just that you need to have the suit selected for the unlit Ace before you knock that middle drop target down, otherwise you will have to knock all the drops down and reset them and try again!

Visitors and especially my wife really enjoy this game.  It’s very relaxing, and that huge rotating flipper up the top really makes for some hypnotising ball action.  I like the game too, but it’s not a game that grabs me enough to play more than a couple of games at a time.  I think that’s because as I mentioned earlier, you can just bat the ball around and score pretty well without thinking about it too much.  Where as I tend to like games that kick your arse if you’re not concentrating.  I usually run my early SS games on 5 ball.  I think I might switch this one over to 3 ball for a while and see how we go with that.


Friday, 19 October 2012

First Post - 1978 Stern Stars

Ok so here we go!.  First post of many I am sure.

Lets have a look at this Stars machine from Stern Electronics.

This is actually my game which I have owned since the late 90's., and I really do rate it highly. I mean, it's just a generic space theme and the art is OK at best.  But man, what a great player it is!.  

Designed by the late Steve Kirk, who went on to design Meteor and Nine Ball for Stern, it's one of those machines where "one more game" is the order of the day, as most times it kicks your arse and you'd be lucky to score over 100k.

But once you get into a groove and start using that centre post between the flippers to your advantage, the tables will turn and you'll hopefully hear the deep 10k chime ringing out loud when you achieve Special from either the drop targets or roving special from the 5 coloured star stand up targets

Speaking of the chimes.  I really am a fan of the early solid state games with the chimes.  I guess at the time when they started changing over to electronic sounds it was a big deal. Kinda like going from electro mechanical score reels to digital displays.  But 30 years down the track those new fangled electronic sounds are pretty lame.  To be fair the Bally and Williams offerings at the time are tolerable, but I wish there was a way to convert the early Stern SB100 games to chimes, that would be sweet!

OK, so we will leave it at that.  Feel free to post your thoughts on the game, or pinball in general.  I will be back next week with another video :)