JAWS Pinball Interview

Ned Jordan
In Short
We had the chance to speak with Stern Pinball's Zach Sharpe about some of the features of Stern's news pinball machine, JAWS, based on the original iconic shark movie trilogy.

One of the announcements that came out of CES this year was the reveal of Stern Pinball’s next table, JAWS.

We caught up with Zach Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Stern Pinball to ask him a few questions about gamers can expect from JAWS…

GT: What attracted you to the JAWS franchise as an inspiration for your next table?

ZS: Because sharks are awesome! Also, because it’s such an iconic and evergreen theme. Everyone knows who/what JAWS is and we create games on a wide range of licensed properties. It was only natural for us to create a pinball machine based on the original blockbuster film. Plus, it doesn’t hurt the natural battle of man versus beast is perfect for a pinball gaming experience.

GT: Did you add an extra-large subwoofer to the cabinet to really add some punch to the “dun-dun” JAWS theme song?

ZS: The Limited Edition model does come included with an upgraded audio system and shaker motor installed, so you can definitely feel and hear all of the tension battling sharks will bring you along with John Williams’ famous music!

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GT: The table promises to let players experience the original trilogy, yet you play as Quint who, spoiler alert, died in the first film. Does the game take an alternate look at events, or do you have something else in store for players once they complete the storyline of the original film?

ZS: Depending on what modes you are playing in the game, you are not only playing as Quint, but also as Hooper and Brody. There’s key scenes and moments you’re navigating, but there’s also a broad storyline of being a bounty hunter, trying to tackle other sharks outside of the great white, collecting shark teeth among other fun experiences within the JAWS universe.

GT: What was it like working with Richard Dreyfus? What did he think of reprising the role of Matt Hooper after all these years to record new lines for a pinball game?

ZS: He was an absolute pleasure to work with and collaborate on the custom speech. He had a blast recording some fun pinball-centric lines, but through the lens of Hooper. Definitely a unique and memorable experience for everyone involved.

GT: Will the storyline continue across plays for Insider Connected players like it does in the Venom table? Will there be a speed run challenge?

ZS: It will be slightly different from how Venom incorporates “game progress”. That being said through Insider Connected, the game will save the progress you make on your bounty hunter rank as you go shark hunting, collecting shark teeth and unlocking special features in the game. Not to mention, you’ll be able to flip the script and play as the shark and terrorize beachgoers!

GT: How challenging was it to implement the shark bash toy attack on the table? It seems like it would be a “must have” feature, but at any point did you think that you might have, ahem, bitten off more than you could chew?

ZS: The design process overall is very iterative and ultimately, we want to produce and create the most fun product on the planet. Just like the movies, the element of the shark ominously looming out of sight creates instant tension and anticipation and we wanted to incorporate that same kind of feeling within this world under pinball glass. It was certainly a challenge that we blew out of the water!

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GT: Will the table make use of the backboard for any gameplay elements?

ZS: I think you mean the LCD screen when saying the “backboard”, but absolutely. The gameplay experience ties directly into what we showcase on the screen through custom animations in addition to full audio and visual assets from the original films! And did I say there’s a special 3D video mode based on the Shark Hunter game from the film?!

GT: What would you tell a Stern collector about this table that makes it different than other tables in their collection? What’s the “you need this table” elevator pitch?

ZS: If you’re a fan of sharks or any of the JAWS movies, this game is an absolute no brainer. If you’re a fan of pinball in general, this game truly brings a unique and exhilarating experience. Hitting the chum bucket to put ‘blood in the water’ to lure the shark out and attempting to shoot the moving shark fin target always keeps you on your toes. Trying to navigate the Orca upper playfield is not only challenging, but offers innovative directions the ball can transport to. And let’s not forget the big great white, busting out from underneath Ben Gardner’s fishing boat ready to attack and be attacked. This game truly has it all!

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Transmitted: 6/19/2024 7:40:31 PM