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Stern is the name of two different but related arcade gaming companies. Stern Electronics, Inc. manufactured arcade video games and pinball machines from 1977-1985, and was known for 1980s Berzerk. Stern Pinball, Inc., founded in 1999, is a creator of pinball machines in North America.
Stern Electronics, Inc.
Stern Electronics was formed when the Stern family bought the financially troubled Chicago Coin in 1977. Chicago Coin's assets were purchased at bankruptcy sales forming the core inventory of Stern Electronics, Inc.; however, as a separate company, they did not assume any of the debt Chicago Coin had amassed.
The first two games made by Stern were Stampede and Rawhide, both originally made by Chicago Coin, which only had changes made to their branding and logos. After a weak start, Stern Electronics' sales started picking up by the end of 1977. By 1978, they had switched over to fully solid-state electronics for their games. In 1979, Stern acquired the jukebox production assets of the bankrupt Seeburg Corporation, and the company became known as Stern / Seeburg. Coincidentally, Seeburg also owned Williams in the 1960s, when Sam Stern was its president.
When arcade video games became popular in 1980, Stern Electronics produced Berzerk. In 1983, Stern became one of many victims of the amusement industry economic shakeout that occurred. In 1985, Stern Electronics left the amusement industry. Personnel from Stern Electronics formed a short-lived venture known as Pinstar, producing conversion kits for old Bally and Stern machines. Gary Stern was the president of Stern Electronics, Inc, Pinstar Inc, and Data East pinball.
Stern Pinball, Inc.
By 1999, the pinball industry was virtually dead and Williams stopped manufacturing pinball machines and focused on gambling devices as WMS Gaming. During the same year, Sega left the pinball industry and sold its pinball division, previously purchased from Data East in 1994, to Gary Stern, the son of Sam Stern. In October 1999, Sega sold the pinball portion of its company to Gary Stern, who had been running Data East/Sega pinball since 1986, and Stern Pinball was born. Stern Pinball, Inc. is based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
As of 2020, longtime designers Steve Ritchie, Brian Eddy, John Borg, and George Gomez are designing pinball games at Stern Pinball, alongside former professional player Keith Elwin.
Rolling Stones Limited Edition (350 units) Includes a real screened backglass, white powerball, shaker motor, 2 under playfield magnets, up-post and 2 outer post ball savers activated by 2 additional flipper buttons.
Transformers Limited Edition (500 units combo edition) Includes a shaker motor and additional features, added Megatron drop target and firing cannon, upper Ironhide mini playfield, moving Starscream moving platform as well as powder coated crimson and violet trim and legs.
Transformers Limited Edition (125 units Decepticon version) All the same features as the combo except an exclusive art translite and all violet trim.
Transformers Limited Edition (125 units Autobots version) All the same features as the combo except an exclusive art translite and all crimson trim.
AC/DC Premium A full featured design geared toward the enthusiast with all the features that the designer intended
AC/DC Limited Edition Back in Black (300 units) Same features as the Premium but with added shaker motor, a larger 12" subwoofer, as well as a distinctive cabinet art package with black/chrome trim and legs, and exclusive real screened backglass.
AC/DC Limited Edition Let There Be Rock (200 units) Same features as the premium but with added shaker motor, an exclusive real screened backglass art, a larger 12" subwoofer and red/yellow trim and legs.
X-Men Limited Edition Wolverine (300 units) Same features as the Pro with these additional features, real screened dedicated backglass, 2 added pop up targets, moving iceman ramp, added spinning disc/magnet. Blue powdercoated trim.
X-Men Limited Edition Magneto (250 units) Same features as the Pro with these additional features, real screened dedicated backglass, 2 added pop up targets, moving iceman ramp, added spinning disc/magnet. Red powdercoated trim.
Transformers The Pin (2012) (intended for home use)
Avengers The Pin (2013) (intended for home use)
Metallica (2013) (designed by John Borg, art by Dirty Donny)
Metallica Premium Hammer smash toy with disappearing ball to under playfield coffin lock, Moving grave marker cross, inline 3-bank drop targets, Ball-eating snake mouth animated, "Sparky" figurine animated on an electric chair.
Metallica Master of Puppets LE (500 units) Platinum trim, screened backglass, John Borg's signature under hard coat.
Star Trek (2013) Steve Ritchie (designer) First Pro debut with all LED lighting as standard.