Pinball machines may no longer be the ubiquitous arcade toys they once were, but there are plenty of collectors out there that continue to keep the classic analog game alive. Stern Pinball continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers in the category and they do it by cranking out elaborate machines based off popular pop culture themes. Their newest one, for instance, the Stern Pinball Jaws, draws inspiration from the 1975 summer blockbuster.
The Stern Pinball Jaws looks like a traditional pinball machine with a cabinet decked in the familiar art from the 1975 movie. Out front, you get a large marque sporting the classic Jaws poster, along with a pair of speakers flanking a color screen below it. The screen actually plays footage from the original movie, mixed in with hints and instructions for what you’re supposed to do in the game. It also includes recorded dialogue and, of course, the original movie’s classic soundtrack, so you get the same suspenseful musical accompaniment that thrilled fans of the franchise for generations.
The playfield actually recreates the iconic battle that happens when Quint, Hooper, and Brody take their boat to seek out the killer shark. If you’ve seen the film, you know that led to quite the epic showdown that sees the shark ramming the boat’s hull to capsize it while the trio attempt to shoot at it with harpoons. Eventually, the boat starts sinking, at which point the shark leaps aboard to devour Quint before Brody is able to blow up the shark using a scuba tank. That’s right, the whole playfield is meant to recreate that scene, making you feel like you’re harpooning the shark who’s circling the water and trying to figure out a way to wreck your vessel.
The Stern Pinball Jaws’ playfield has plenty of little details that really bring the film alive. For instance, there’s a shark fin moving ominously back and forth in one area that you can target for extra points, as well as a blood-soaked chum bucket that’s hanging above the playfield. There’s also a motorized shark that suddenly pops out of the center area in a manner that’s similar to the way the shark slams against the bottom of the boat in the movie, which is an extremely nice touch.
It supports Stern’s Insider Connected system, by the way, which allows players to track their progress, show their achievements, and find new quest on a companion app. Yep, Stern actually figured out a way to bring digital play elements to the classic pinball machine, which, we guess, is one of the reasons they continue to thrive in the video game era.