Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pinball looks like a radical blast of '90s nostalgia
Stern Pinball's latest creation just screams cowabunga.
Jeff BakalarEditor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Just try and look at pictures of Stern's newest pinball machine and not hear that classic '90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon theme music pop in your head. You can't do it.
The pinball maker's newest table screams out that nostalgia, especially for players who grew up on the cartoon series from the '90s.
TMNT pinball looks as if it was ripped out of the cartoon style of the '90s, and may take cues from the classic arcade cabinet from the same era. There're all the usual suspects represented on the playfield: the turtles, Splinter, Shredder, April O'Neil and more, but even some deeper cuts like Baxter Stockman and the mousers. (Editor's note: TMNT is owned by Nickelodeon, a property of ViacomCBS, which also owns CNET.)
If you haven't been paying attention, pinball has come a long way since its heyday in the '90s, with virtually all games now utilizing an LCD screen for scoring, objective information and more mounted in their backglass.
It's been a massive evolution for the medium and adds a completely new element to the overall experience, and in my opinion, improves the readability of pinball in general -- something that casual players have lamented for years.
TMNT pinball will be released in the company's traditional three varieties: Pro, Premium and Limited models, starting at retail prices of $6,099, $7,699 and $9,099 respectively. The features, toys and bonuses grow as you move your way up in cost. For example, the turtle glider that rests on top of the two rails in the center of the play field and working turtle van door are only available in the Premium or higher versions.
While the coronavirus pandemic does mean that many arcades, bars and other businesses where the TMNT table could possibly appear are currently shuttered, there has been a rise in home ownership of pinball machines lately thanks to a passionate online community.