If you can’t find the stairway to Heaven, maybe you can at least get there through the center ramp.
Stern Pinball, the makers of such notable recent pinball machines as Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, and The Beatles, is tackling the classic rock canon once again. This time they’ve landed quite the whale: Led Zeppelin, a band you’re probably familiar with if you’ve lived at any point in the last 50 years. The new machine will, in typical Stern fashion, come in three different models—Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition—and will include a variety of high-tech toys and gizmos to simulate the overwhelming sensory experience of a rock concert. The lead designer on it is Steve Ritchie, a pinball legend responsible for games like Black Knight, High Speed, and AC/DC.
Here’s how the company describes it in its press release:
In this high energy rock and roll pinball concert experience, pinball and music are fused together. Players are transported back to Led Zeppelin’s early days and tour the world from 1968-1980. As if players were members of the band playing its music, their play updates game features at the start of each verse and chorus of ten iconic Led Zeppelin songs.
What are the songs in question? Well, here they are. It’s these 10 songs.
“Good Times Bad Times”
“Whole Lotta Love”
“The Song Remains the Same”
“Rock and Roll”
“Trampled Under Foot”
I have no idea how “Misty Mountain Hop” isn’t on this list.
All three models will be slathered with Zep imagery and references, including a “custom-molded” toy of the Hindenburg. All three models have three steel ramps, a three-bank of drop targets, and three flippers throughout the field. They also all have a toy of the Swan Song Records Icarus, which will apparently leap about the machine whenever a ball hits it. The Pro model’s cabinet and backglass art are based on the cover to Led Zeppelin III, while the Premium model’s art comes from the first album. The Limited Edition will have its own unique graphic design featuring the band’s Icarus logo. All three will come with a
The higher-end models both come with extra goodies. Both the Premium and Limited Edition models come with an “Electric Magic” toy. Stern describes this trademarked device as “a unique motorized toy which rises from below the playfield to create different magical pinball experiences.” Depending on what mode is activated, this toy will capture balls, make them disappear, and both lock and launch them around the machine.
Those models also boast Stern’s Expression Lighting System, a fancy light show whose “96 intelligent RGB LED’s enable full color spectrum control.” Basically this will let the machine have a stadium-worthy light show that reacts to both the specific song that’s playing and also your own actions within the game. As a moderate Zep fan, at best, I’m still really excited to see how this part of the machine works—there’s a unique kind of synesthesia you can feel in pinball, one that’s not just about lights and music but also the physical feel of the machine itself, and Stern’s already proven they can provide it in spades with that awesome Iron Maiden machine.
The Limited Edition model also comes with a variety of unique visual flourishes—custom artwork and art blades, a mirrored backglass featuring the Icarus logo, “custom high gloss Paradise Shimmer Blue powder-coated armor”—along with an upgraded audio system. There are only 500 units of those being manufactured, and they’re kinda pricy, so if you’re a Zep superfan get ready to dig into your life savings.
The Pro model will set you back $6199. The Premium is going for $7799. And the Limited Edition costs $9199. Definitely high, but not as high as The Beatles machine from a few years back.
For more about the Led Zeppelin pinball machine, check out Stern’s website. Also, here’s a short trailer.