13 Most Recent Stern Pinball Machines Manufactured Ranked By Play Fun Factor

By Todd Russell Aug28,2023

The 16 most recent Stern Pinball machines made as of this writing have been ranked with my personal play comments below. Venom is the biggest oversight on the list, keep reading on that. (Update: 10/17/2023 – Venom has been played and added!)

Let’s go down the list and I’ll rank them by my personal least to most favorite in terms of play fun factor. The only machines not listed/ranked will be Venom (not out where I can play it yet) (Venom added 10/17/2023), Star Wars Comic Art (2019) and Jurassic Park for home making the ranked list below 13. Will add/update this post when Venom is out in the wild more and can actually play it. Seems like it’s only been playable in shows to date. My gut feeling for Venom is it will end up middle of the list to possibly higher based on videos I’ve watched, but maybe I’ll really dig this one after playing it more.

  • 14. Led Zeppelin (2020) – have not played the Pro, only the LE, which should mean it’s the more feature-ful version, but it all just feels boring playing it. Try to get into it, but the only thing I really like is the music. The shots are off.
  • 13. The Mandalorian (2021) – such a great IP, but feels empty and hampered by too much space to an upper playfield that seems to take up too much space and yet is a really smaller right corner minigame. The other Star Wars newer game is much more fun. I keep flipping this hoping for it to grab me, but it never does.
  • 12. Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles (2020) – the spinning pizza feels cliched unlike the use of the spinning record on The Beatles, the shot into the van is tricky, maybe too tricky to get right, and that’s what unlocks the multiball. The DMD animations are really cool, kind of like Foo Fighters, but what’s happening on the table is a bit plodding and it is challenging to score larger. Good IP, but like The Mandalorian, this one doesn’t grab me like hoping it would.
  • 11. Rush (2022) – kind of cartoonish art style and a bit of a one trick pony shot going through the time warp. When you get better at making that shot, higher scores are possible, but it plays like there could/should be more to do. Am sure there are, playing through the various song modes, but it feels kind of monotonous, which is so weird, because I’m a huge Rush fan.
  • 10. James Bond 60th Anniversary LE (2023) – this one is sort of a sleeper for fun for me. At first didn’t really care for it, but after playing more, there is some strategy in knocking out the right targets and hitting the hole to unlock multiball and bigger scores. It’s a very low scoring game, but has a classic table with modern vibe flow which is unique.
  • 9. Heavy Metal (2020) – this is one probably few reading have been able to play, since only 300 have been produced. It’s at Next Level Pinball and Museum I really like the flow on this more simplistic design table, but it has a similar magna-grab ball feature to Godzill, which came after this, and if you hit the balls they come out and give you a multiball, also the music from the classic adult animated movie is there. It’s one of those more open table designs with a lot of longer shots and good side lanes that feel good to shoot. I wish there were more of these produced so many others could play. It might seem to others like it should be down the list for other tables, but this one has charm and I feel like it’s better utilyzing the IP better than say TMNT and The Mandalorian.
  • 8. Stranger Things (2019) – this one is hampered to me by the half table shots when the ramp falls and Demogorgan mode is fun to shoot and play but it has been frequently broken the few times we’ve played it. Kind of reminds me of the toy box in Aerosmith that has a lot of mechanical problems. When it works and is fully functional, I’d rate this higher up the list, but due to personal experience, given only on one machine, but at a place with multiple skilled mechanics, it had issues.
  • 7. Elvira’s House of Horrors (2019) – this is my favorite of the Elvira tables. Some satisfying modes, easier, good flowing shots in the middle to unlock the movie modes and then very clear lit objectives. It’s not a deep rules game like The Avengers but feels like there is a lot to do. It feels good like most pins when you flip it longer.
  • 6. Avengers Infinity Quest (2020) – the more I play this table, the deeper the modes grabe me, including the multiball mode (I’m a fan of multiball and deeper rule sets, and this one has both). The artwork screams Marvel, this is easily my favorite modern Marvel Stern. I feel like this has so much more for me to learn, but gravitate back toward it.
  • 5. James Bond 007 (2022) – this one I did really well on the Pro the first few flips, scoring over 200 million on one game at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, and yet in plays since on the LE, I haven’t scored anywhere close. I like the way it blends various Bond movies into the game and is more fun to play than the 60th anniversary (although that one is growing on me, as said earlier). This one has charm and feel like the more I continue to play and explore it, the more I’m going to enjoy it.
  • 4. Venom (2023) – played both the LE and Pro version several times and feel like this doesn’t quite flow as well as the top three mentioned, but it’s a little better than James Bond, especially with the fast locks. The LE is easier than the pro, with the added ramps and thus easier ability to add multiballs. I really, really like the animation on the DMD and the addition of the wizard and level progression that is remembered by Insider Connected. Hope more new machines going forward have/use this feature.
  • 3. Foo Fighters (2023) – I’m a bigger fan of Rush music, but this one is like the polar opposite play-wise of Rush, it’s more smooth-flowing, with some cool mechanics like that ball save on the left, the DMD animation seems the brightest and highest quality of any Stern and the concept is alluring. I need to play this much, much more, but what I’ve played of it so far, I really like. And it grows on you after multiple plays.
  • 2. Jurassic Park (2019) – shooting the T-Rex with the shaker motor is everything in this game. I’m disappointed they didn’t use the actual actor voices for callouts, but the gameplay is too much fun to ignore in this one. It just flows and flows and flows. Great pin and one of Stern’s all time best.
  • 1. Godzilla (2021) – there is a reason so many pinheads rank this #1. It’s got some great modes, awesome sound effects and use of shaker motor, the magna grab and destroying the building by hitting with your ball is seductive, the loops are satisfying. Could go on and on praising this one, but it’s easily Stern’s best and one people are always playing, so can be harder to get in and play.
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