News : Alien Pinball – Ultimate Guide to Heighway’s Latest Machine : Home Leisure Direct
Home Leisure Direct has written an article about Alien pinball from Heighway Pinball. The article covers everything you need to know about the upcoming Alien pinball machine.
The wait has been long and hard, but we’re excited to say that Heighway’s second game is finally almost here! Pinball fans the world over can almost all agree that the pinball world has been waiting much too long for a machine based on Ridley Scott’s exceptional sci-fi horror franchise, so it was brilliant to see Heighway Pinball step up to the plate, and deliver a game that looks quite simply stellar in terms of theme, features, sound and of course gameplay.
Before reading on, we insist you take a look at this spectacular promotional video Heighway have produced of the game. All the Alien fans at the showrooms got chills!
Ahead of this landmark pinball release, we’re going to take some time with this blog to ensure that you’re completely up to speed on this brilliant looking new machine.
What are the Basics on Alien Pinball?
Alien is Heighway Pinball’s second game after the release of their player favourite: Full Throttle. Alien is the company’s first time handling a licensed game, and the look of the game has gotten the pinball community excited to see what can be delivered.
The game was designed in part by industry legend Dennis Nordman (Elvira: Scared Stiff, Indianapolis 500, Pirates of the Caribbean amongst others) before being primarily worked on by Heighway’s Dave Sanders (Responsible for Full Throttle). The game features numerous different toys and features (which we will cover later) and allows the player to play through the first two iconic Alien movies. The play field is brought to life with the artwork of Aurich Lawson, and the tension-building sound provided by David Thiel. The game has gone through numerous different design iterations, with previews of the whitewoods being shared as early as February 2015.
Just like the company’s first game Full Throttle, Alien uses a number of different features that are standard on Heighway Pinball machines. Features seen in Full Throttle include inductive switch technology which replaces the mechanical rollover switches which have been used in pinball machines for decades, full RGB Supernova LED lighting, that allows any of the game’s inserts to show a massive range of colours, WiFi connectivity for software updates. All these features (as well as some new ones) all carry over to Alien.
More features about the game wouldn’t be shared until August of that year…
The Grand Unveiling
The Home Leisure Direct team were actually on hand when the team at Heighway pinball unveiled some key elements of the Alien pinball machine for the first time!
The day was the UK Pinball Party, on an exceptionally warm day in 2015 at Heighway Pinball’s Factory in Merthyr Tydfil. Whilst there had been much chatter about Heighway’s latest game, nothing at all had been shown, and a group of about 40 of us (including pinball enthusiasts, journalists and more) were all escorted to an upstairs office in Heighway’s factory, all of us having been sworn to secrecy about what was about to be shown.
At the front of the room, next to the projector screen was a large pinball-shaped object, hidden beneath a thick shroud. The talk began about how Alien was developed and eventually, the big moment came. From beneath the cover, lights started to flash, and the sheet was pulled away to reveal the stunning looking Alien cabinet. We were only stood at the back of the room, but it looked incredible, with the stark, white, unmistakable Alien font and the head of the Xenomorph glaring in from the edge.
We were told about how the Alien universe and series was a huge favourite of the company’s CEO Andy Heighway, so the project was very much a labour of love, and wanted to include all manner of crazy and fun extras to really complete the theme, even going as far as thinking about including a smoke machine in the game at one point! Whilst some of those ideas ultimately remained just ideas, the final design was shown to us with a noticeable ripple of interest around the room. The play field shown was a wide body design, packed with all manner of Alien features, including the famous Xenomorphs, the Alien Queen and of course the iconic Face-Huggers.
We were eventually shown computer generated simulations of the table in action, and gave us a great flavour for what the machine could be like to play, with an intense and pulse pounding feeling whilst playing through the survival oriented Alien modes, and listening to the more upbeat and energetic tunes of the Aliens modes. Everyone left the room feeling excited, gutted that they had to keep everything that they had seen a secret, but most importantly stoked for what Heighway’s latest game may have to offer… Fast forward to now, and this terrific game is finally on the brink of being in the hands of pinball players all over the world!
What kinds of features will be on Alien?
We’ve covered some aspects of Alien’s play field above, but since that reveal, much more has come to light regarding what players can expect to see, so in no particular order, here are some of Alien’s main features.
Xenomorph Head and Magnet
The big feature right at the back of Alien’s playfield is one of the iconic Xenomorphs. Far from just being a decorative toy, this head is animated, and can in fact extend its long tongue out to snatch balls away, right off the playfield surface! We’re sure this head will end up being central to many of Alien’s modes.
Similar to The Joker on STERN’s 2008 Batman machine, the Air Lock rotates around to reveal a 5″ LCD screen.
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Thanks to Home Leisure Direct and Jona for the article and pictures.