You probably played it at the arcade as a kid and again at a brewpub as an adult. Pinball is one of those games that follows us through the various stages of life and never loses its shine. The people at Stern Pinball understand that and have brought a full slate of activities to San Diego Comic Con this year to celebrate the classic game. 

Stern Pinball is one of the only producers of arcade quality pinball machines in the world. They have been operating for well over 30 years and Zach Sharpe, the director of marketing, was born into the world of pinball. 

In an on-site interview standing amidst the Pinball Lounge in the Marriott Marquis Pacific Ballroom he shared that his father was partially responsible for legalizing pinball in the United States. According to Zach, pinball was illegal until the 1970’s due to its negative association with gambling as the old machines used to give out money.

Needless to say, Zach knows his stuff and Stern Pinball has carried on the legacy of those in the industry who came before. 

As we walked around the lounge it came out that he is actually the number two ranked pinball player in the world. If you come by the pinball lounge maybe he’ll show you a thing or two. 

At the lounge this year con goers can take a break from the crowds and the heat in the dimly lit, well air conditioned room where there is a respectable space between machines. It is open from 10am – 10pm Thursday-Saturday (they close at 2pm on Sunday) and you do not need a badge to attend

On display at the convention is their newest licensed machine based on the work of Iron Maiden. Anyone can come and try their hand at claiming the high score. The top scores of the day will be invited back to pit their pinball skills against each other to win some awesome prizes. 

If you’re interested, Zach can also tell you more about the history of the pinball machine. In our short conversation he shared that from conception to final product, a machine takes anywhere from 12-16 months to produce. Stern Pinball produces three machines a year, and three versions of each of those machines. 

I wanted to know, in a world of technology, why Zach thought pinball has become so timeless. He said pinball is something that can’t be replicated. It is an analog, physical device and because of that you will never have the same experience twice. “You’re battling actual physics,” he said, “it is tactile […] you’re trying to control the chaos.” 

And? At the end of the day pinball is freakin’ fun and that’s what Stern Pinball wants to do: build fun. 

So don’t miss out on your chance to have some fun both on and off the convention floor. You can check out the press release below for a full list of Stern Pinball events happening this year at San Diego Comic Con. 


Stern fans set sights on exciting tournament play, live music, booth signings, limited edition prints, comics and more!

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. and SAN DIEGOJuly 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Stern Pinball, Inc., a global lifestyle brand based on the iconic and outrageously fun modern American game of pinball,  proudly announced today its return to San Diego Comic-Con International as both an exhibitor and a second year partner of this massive event. Stern Pinball is slated to have its biggest Comic-Con presence yet with limited edition show exclusives for its newest game, Iron Maiden, and the return of the Pinball Lounge at the Marriott Marquis.

Attendees can find Stern Pinball with promo partners Nuclear Blast America and JSR Merchandising at booth #501 in Hall A of the San Diego Convention Center. Fans eager to meet Kerry King, Testament, El Hijo Del Santo and more are encouraged to pick up a signing schedule at the booth.

“We are setting out to have our best and biggest Comic-Con yet,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball. “There will be more games at the Pinball Lounge, Iron Maiden exclusive prints and comics, and a Comic-Con after-party. This is one of our favorite events every year.”

Stern Pinball is also an official sponsor of Nuclear Blast America’s Comic-Con After Party featuring trash metal band, Testament. The show is slated to take place on Thursday, July 19th at the House of Blues. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster

Show Exclusives

Stern Pinball and Iron Maiden have teamed up to bring fans some exciting San Diego Comic-Con International 2018 show exclusives. Be sure to come by Stern Pinball’s booth for your chance to purchase the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast comic book (for $6.66 USD), Issue 5 of 5 with a special variant cover featuring artwork directly from the new pinball game. Fans can also set their sights on one of 100 available limited edition Eddy prints signed and numbered by artist Zombie Yeti (for $66.66 USD).

Pinball Lounge 

Attendees will have their chance to play the hottest titles from Stern Pinball at Comic-Con International’s official Pinball Lounge located directly next door to the Convention Center at the Marriott Marquis Pacific Ballroom 14-16. Come with friends for the free play games and stay for the daily high score tournaments with prizes!

Free Play

Casual players are encouraged to stop by the Pinball Lounge between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Thursday through Saturday, or between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Sunday for free play. The Pinball Lounge is a great place to hang out, relax, and regroup while getting to play arcade-quality pinball with friends.

Tournament Play

Everyone is welcome to enter, but only the top four contenders will qualify to compete in the finals each day. Interested players who would like to take part in this high score tournament should visit the Pinball Lounge between 7:00-9:00 PM Thursday-Saturday or between 2:00-4:00 PM on Sunday for qualification.  Finals will be held immediately afterward on those days (9:00-10:00 PM Thursday-Saturday and from 4:00-5:00 PM on Sunday).  Each finalist will walk away with prizes.

More Fun in the Pinball Lounge

Twitch pinball super star, Jack Danger (AKA Dead Flip), will be live streaming all week from the Pinball Lounge. Come down to cheer him on or tune in from home.

2 thoughts on “SDCC 2018: Get Your Flipper Fingers Ready for Stern Pinball”

  1. “Stern Pinball is the last of its kind, the only producer of arcade quality pinball machines in the world.”

    This is not true, there are a few other companies: Jersey Jack Pinball, American Pinball, and Spooky Pinball. A few other companies are in the process of developing and manufacturing machines.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment – I went ahead and changed the line to “one of” the only producers…I wondered about others. I wonder if the “only” came from the longevity of their brand and the fact they’ve outlived a lot of others. They did mention some start-ups, but that they hadn’t gotten very far. I will look into these other companies!

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