Stern has been on a roll pumping out one swanky new table after the next over the last few years, and the choice of themes and licenses has been excellent. There is one media property that stands above all others, though, and that’s the original Star Wars. The theme is no stranger to pinball, including this awesome-looking 1980 Empire Strikes Back , the much better known 1992 edition that still pops up in various locations here and there, and even the ultra-fancy Star Wars Episode 1 in all its Pinball 2000 glory. Not to mention all the different tables Zen Studios has put out for Pinball FX/Zen Pinball. Basically, if you want to save the galaxy from the ravages of the Empire by batting a ball into targets you’re spoiled for choice, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another one. Stern’s latest announcement is for a new table titled simply Star Wars, and it features the original trilogy being given the same multimedia treatment that’s worked so well for Batman 66 and the Jersey Jack machines. The bigger monitor on the backglass features clips and audio from the original trilogy, the smaller screen on the playfield has a few nice effects of its own, but it’s the table layout by designer Steve Ritchie that will be the real star of the show.
The bulk of the table is devoted to six lanes and ramps, plus a seventh short lane to a kickout hole on the right, while a set of F-O-R-C-E drop targets give you something to aim for on the lower left and three solid X-Wing targets are under the small monitor on the upper right. The table is dominated by a Death Star with LEDs lighting up the laser array, plus a Tie Fighter target and the Millenium Falcon hovering over a ramp for good measure. Like most of Stern’s previous boards, Star Wars comes in three versions- Pro, Premium, and LE, and the latter two get the more ornate layout. The more budget-conscious Pro has two clear plastic ramps on either side of the board, but the Premium and LE get three metal-wire lanes, one of which drops all the way from the top of the field, loops just above the flippers, then heads straight into the Death Star for what should be a really fun shot when it hits. That seam running down the middle of the Death Star promises a nice display inside, even if it hasn’t been fully revealed as to what’s in there quite yet. The official announcement and reveal of the new table is just the start of the waiting for its release, and when it comes out Star Wars promises to be a fantastic piece for both collectors and pinball fans.