NOTE: This is just an initial “first impression” and I reserve the right to change my mind – the code is very early and obviously unfinished.
I’ve had a chance to put a dozen or so games onto the new James Bond in both the pro and the premium and I thought I might jot down my first impressions because that is also what casual players are first-time players might experience. so here are my thoughts.
Also, after I did this video, I probably put another 40+ games on both the pro and the premium versions. I still think my initial first impression holds… HOWEVER, I seem to recall I had some similar concerns with Gomez’ design on Deadpool (specifically the cross-playfield katana shot that I thought was going to be very difficult to achieve and frustrate players — however, that shot ended up NOT being a critical shot in the game’s progress so even though it was difficult, it wasn’t required). This may be the same situation with the far left ramp shot (that feeds Jet Pack Multiball) but it also seems that this shot may be needed to qualify some of the modes — not sure, but if that’s the case, it becomes more difficult. I do know that Gomez can turn around things like this with tweaks to the ruleset, but I continue to feel, the feed from the plunger/pops to the slings creates a high degree of drains without getting flippers on the ball. This will be a game to watch to see if they can address this via the ruleset… I just don’t know.
In summary, here are some of my concerns:
Upper skill shots are very predictable and consistent
Pop bumpers are like Avatar… the ball can get stuck up there longer than is probably ideal
Pop bumpers feed ball to the outlane or the slings – meaning like Avatar and Ghostbusters, you can lose the ball without ever getting a flipper on it
To compound the previous issue, the lower left kickout will throw the ball back into the pops regularly
The left ramp shot is very difficult to make – not only is it very tight, but it requires maximum velocity and if you miss it can go SDTM or to the slings
It also appears that the left ramp shot may be required to qualify modes – a hard shot that will frustrate players
The lower left kickout area just looks and feels “unfinished” from a design standpoint – it covers a large area and the ball often falls into it and then kicks up to the pops — it just seems like an odd playfield feature that might have been a cheap compromise instead of something more expensive like a subway entrance or exit
The upper left flipper has a number of shots to make, but they’re not easy and those right ramp shots appear to be necessary for various modes
The right outhole shot feels even more difficult than the one on Godzilla (and Godzilla has a pop bumper to help you hit it) and it appears to be very important in starting many modes, so a lot of key shots are particularly difficult
The center loop shot appears to be easy but it’s much more difficult to hit due to the switch that registers the hit being at the top of the orbit. It has a very narrow feed and not a very wide opening, and it’s slightly angled. This is the lock shot for Bird multiball – the most obvious and easiest multi-ball and it’s frustratingly difficult — and if you miss, it can go SDTM
It seems obvious the software has a LONG way to go, and can fix some of these problems, but I’m concerned it can’t fix others. We’ll have to see.
We’ve been having a lot of fun with this game lately – I’m still not qualified to do a “pinball showcase” because the ruleset is so complicated (and partially unfinished) that I’m not ready to do that, but I can comment on what I think of the game and which version is the one you might want depending upon your priorities?
After having this game on location for awhile, I thought I might report on what types of wear and tear and damage I’m running into, and what was wrong with the game. I think we’ve found a few “weak links” relating to parts that probably should last a little longer. Check it out:
This is a very cool game that is surprisingly rare. A 2008 Stern “NBA”. Rumor has it the game had a very low production and was mainly made for the Chinese market.
I had a chance to get one of these games that had been stuffed in the back of an operators office for many years. It needed quite a bit of work. Here is the whole video series from first look, to the repairs, to the showcase of gameplay:
On many pinball machines like early solid state Bally and Stern games, you’ll often see little capacitors on most of the playfield switches. Sometimes they’re there but a leg is cut off. Why are they there? What do they do? And are they important? We’ll talk about that.
After getting my Trident operational, I installed the BSOS system and have been working on fine-tuning the custom code and sounds. Here’s a short demo of what the new Arduino-based controller does to a standard Bally 18/35/Stern early solid state game.
Resources (courtesy Dick Hamill):
The code is all available on GitHub. It’s broken down into a base library and then machine-specific implementations. Rewriting other games requires a moderate knowledge of C/C++. https://github.com/BallySternOS
Here’s a suggested parts list. If you bought all these things, you could create 6 of these boards. If you don’t need that many boards, you might find cheaper ways to source smaller quantities. I haven’t done any work to figure out if this is the cheapest way to source any of this stuff.
Cheap Arduino knockoff x6 ($20.99) – needs CH340 driver for programming / has to be ATmega328P https://www.amazon.com/ATmega328P-Controller-Module-CH340G-Arduino/dp/B08NJNJCTX/
0.1″ 40-pin connector (40 pieces for $7.99) https://www.amazon.com/Honbay-Single-Female-Connector-Arduino/dp/B06Y4S6G29/
32-pin Prototype PCB (2 pack for $9.99) – this won’t work for Alltek or MPU-200 because they have a 34-pin connector https://www.amazon.com/Prototype-Snappable-Arduino-Electronics-Gold-Plated/dp/B081QYPHHP/
Wire ($7.99) – tons of wire https://www.amazon.com/REXQualis-Breadboard-Assorted-Prototyping-Circuits/dp/B081H2JQRV/
Boot switch – x2 ($8.99) this switch will work for activating the Arduino board and toggling the speaker (see the writeup here to find out why: https://ballysternos.github.io/install.html) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XMH174C/
I found this old video the other day and realized I didn’t have a post on my main site showcasing this video so I wanted to add it (also, this was before I learned the proper pronunciation of “Bally” LOL…. bah-lee).