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Stern To Partner With Whizbang on Whoa Nellie
(Posted on October 17, 2014)

Stern Pinball says it will partner with Whizbang Pinball LLC to build and distribute Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons pinball in the spring of 2015. Pinball mavens Greg Freres and Dennis Nordman founded Whizbang Pinball in 2009 as a design studio that presents boutique pinball as a new art form by integrating its extensive pinball industry experience with its artistic vision.
 
Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons pinball takes players on a journey through the Mellon Family farm renowned for abundant produce. Players shoot for and score points on the farm operated by the lovely Melony Mellon and her twin sisters while avoiding the wrath of their over-protective shotgun-wielding father. The colorful easy-to-learn game features a fun classically-styled pinball playfield tuned for a balance of randomness and skilled shooting challenges that rewards players of all skill levels.

"We wanted to create a game that everyone can enjoy, so we started with a more accessible layout from a classic era of pinball," said Nordman, a pinball industry design veteran. "This is the first new electro-mechanical style game in over 35 years."

Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons features real bells, mechanical score reels, a solid state control system, and a digital soundtrack. This unique blend of classic and modern technologies creates a new breed of pinball machine that presents pinball as an art form while maintaining the reliability and serviceability of modern commercial pinball machines. The playfield, backglass, and cabinet art and styling, central to the game's unique visual quality, feature detailed original characters and fresh hand-drawn artwork that blend elements of mid-century pin-up art and classic pinball themes.

"Stylistically, this is a mash-up of fruit crate labels, classic pinball and retro pin-up art," said Freres, co-founder of Whizbang. "We're very excited to be working with the professional team at Stern Pinball on this project."

 Other game features will include:
  • Original throwback-style playfield
  • Original hand-drawn graphics featuring fresh fruit, a cool truckand the robust Mellon family
  • A unique, durable, weathered fruit crate cabinet design
  • Illuminated mechanical score reels
  • Retro-style bumper caps and flipper bats
  • Dual-action bullseye melon targets
  • Two old-time pinball bells and a real cow bell
  • Crushed beer cans included for the perfect playfield angle

"This game is an entertaining unique blend of vibrant art, classic pinball, and modern technology that's sure to stand out in any collection" said Gary Stern,  CEO of Stern Pinball. "If you want something different in your line-up, this is it!"
Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons pinball games will be produced by Stern Pinball in the spring of 2015.
 

AMI Jukes Offering Halloween Playlist
(Posted October 17, 2014)

A spooky soundtrack is haunting jukeboxes nationwide as AMI Entertainment Network releases its 2014 Halloween playlist, just in time for the witching season. The new list blends contemporary with classic, featuring thrilling tunes ranging from Lady Gaga's Monster to Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash and Michael Jackson's Thriller. The playlist can be found on AMI digital jukeboxes nationwide through the end of the month.  For more information on AMI's products please visit www.amientertainment.com.


Dave & Buster’s Stock Opened Strong

(Posted October 16, 2014)

The LBE chain Dave & Buster’s went public Oct. 10 for the second time in the company’s history, and investors welcomed the move, trading shares on the NASDAQ up from an opening price of $17 to as high as $18.43 at one point during the opening day. The stock trades under the ticker symbol PLAY.

The New York Times reported that the IPO raised $94.1 million for the company, giving the firm a total valuation of $625.4 million. Dave & Buster’s says it will use the proceeds of the stock sale to reduce its debt, which stood at $529 million two months ago.

“The successful debut most likely comes as a relief for Oak Hill Capital Partners, the private equity firm that bought Dave & Buster’s for $570 million in 2010 and will continue to be its majority shareholder,” the Times reported. “The restaurant chain made an earlier attempt to go public in 2012, but those plans were scrapped because of continued volatility in the markets.”

Founded in Dallas in 1982, Dave & Buster’s now operates 70 stores in the United States and Canada. The company reported a $2.2 million profit in its fiscal year that ended in February.

Valley Dynamo Acquires Rowe Changer Biz
(Posted October 16, 2014)

Table game maker Valley Dynamo of Richland Hills, Texas, has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Rowe Changer, which produces bill changing equipment. Valley Dynamo will acquire those assets from Megatouch LLC.
 
Valley Dynamo topper Kelye Stites says the changer business will operate as a separate entity. "Rowe is an industry leader with a proven and well established reputation in the money handling industry," said Stites. "We welcome all the Rowe distributors and operators to the Valley Dynamo family of companies."
 
Rowe Changer VP Tom Kozlik said: "This transaction offers many significant benefits to Rowe bill changer owners, distributors and stakeholders. Valley Dynamo is infusing excitement and financial investment that provides compelling new opportunities for Rowe now and in the future. Together we will continue to support our customers and provide innovative solutions for the money handling industry."

Study Shows Bowling Top Family Attraction
(Posted October 16, 2014)

A survey of 4,000 adults conducted by the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group concludes that bowling continues to be the most popular attraction for community-based entertainment venues. The survey examined participation in major attractions at family entertainment centers.

“As far as we know, this is the first national participation survey that has been conducted about the family entertainment center industry in the last decade,” said White Hutchinson founder Randy White.

The survey found that 18- to 24-year-olds showed the highest participation rate. Over three-quarters of participants were occasionally bowlers, having bowled four or less times during the previous past year. “These results are clearly attributable to the fast changing nature of bowling,” said White. “At one time, league bowlers dominated bowling.  Today, the primary customer base is the casual social bowler.  Their numbers are growing as old run down alleys are either closing or being renovated and/or replaced by new upscale hybrid entertainment centers with multiple attractions.”

One of the survey’s surprise results was that miniature golf came in second as the attraction adults participated in at least once during the past year. White Hutchinson speculates that the majority of miniature golf play takes place on vacations.  Billiards came in third as the most popular attraction, followed by go-karts and laser tag.

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