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Pinball / KISS (Stern)

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Back to the Stone Age.

In 2015, a KISS-themed table was released by Stern. Designed by John Borg with hand-drawn art by Kevin O'Connor, the game is a Spiritual Successor to the 1979 Bally table using modern production values.

Once again, there isn't too much in term of plot, and the goal is to rock out with Gene, Paul, Eric, and Tommy in a fire-and-smoke-filled cavalcade. While Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley give instructions, play through ten songs, including "Hotter Than Hell," "Black Diamond," and "Lick It Up," and complete the associated location for each one. Collect the band's instruments, join the KISS Army, then use the Backstage Pass for a random reward. Complete the Starchild's playfield to activate the Love Gun, or lock three balls and have the Demon spit them back at you. Good players will get to play KISS Army Multiball, but only the best will complete the band's demanding requirements and get the Rock City Super Jackpot.

This game demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • A post-release patch provides players with a brief ball saver whenever the ball is locked in Gene Simmons's head once it's returned to the player, due to complaints about it randomly traveling straight into the center drain.
    • In a more subtle example, the playfield multipliers for each pair of songs completed will pick up where they left off if activated again on a different ball. For example, if the player completes two songs on a ball, they will have 2x playfield multiplier on that ball. If they drain and complete another two songs on a separate ball though, the progress is remembered, and they will be awarded a 3x playfield multiplier instead of 2x again.
  • Call-Back: As mentioned above, the game deliberately parallels the 1979 Bally game in many ways:
    • Stern's KISS is decorated with hand-drawn art by Kevin O'Connor, who illustrated the original.
    • The bottom half of both playfields feature a four-by-four grid of indicator lights and an exploding mushroom cloud.
    • The pop bumper caps use the same art style and design as the ones on the Bally game.
    • Both games have a "Colossal Bonus" multiplier.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: The playfield shows the band members riding on top of an exploding mushroom cloud.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Almost everything is either on fire or exploding.
  • Match Sequence: As Gene Simmons waggles his tongue, a pair of digits flash to his right. He then turns and breathes fire, igniting them to the match number.
  • No Swastikas: Once again, tables shipped to Germany replace the band's double-S lightning typeface (which resemble the Schutzstaffel logo) with Serif Bold "S"es instead.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: A model of Gene Simmons' "Demon" head sits on the playfield, complete with tongue.
  • Pinball Scoring: Prevalent since the 1.28 code update, which added a boatload of potential Score Multipliers without changing any of the base scoring. Prior to the update, this was one of the lower-scoring Sterns of the time. Billion-point games were practically unheard of prior to the 1.28 revision.
  • Score Multiplier: Ubiquitous in the 1.28 code update. Each pair of songs completed will start a 2x, 3x, 5x, and then 10x playfield multiplier for the rest of the ball. Demon Multiball can give a 2x or 3x playfield multiplier by locking balls back in the Demon head's mouth. Double Scoring can be given as a Backstage pass award. Additionally, after completing each song, all of the major shots will be lit, and the next will be doubled for the rest of the ball. Finally, the Combo bonus of doubling a consecutive shot from Stern's Star Trek returns. All-in-all, it is possible to get a 60x multiplier on a shot.
  • Spelling Bonus: K-I-S-S and A-R-M-Y enable the Hurry-Up bonuses on the outer orbits, while S-T-A-R enables the Love Gun Multiball mode.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Demon Multiball begins with Gene Simmons' head spitting pinballs at the player.
  • Wizard Mode:
    • The first sub-Wizard Mode is "KISS Army", which is available after collecting all four band members' inserts. This is a multiball mode with most of the shots lit. Make all of the lit shots, then hit the Demon for a jackpot.
    • The second sub-Wizard Mode is "Heaven's on Fire", which is available after completing the center playfield grid. This is a four-ball multiball where all major shots relight part of the grid. Completing the grid will light a Super Jackpot.
    • The final Wizard Mode is "Rock City", and is only available by getting all of the inserts solidly lit. All shots are initially lit, and hitting them raises the Super Jackpot value. Make each shot enough times to enable the jackpot for that shot; complete all of them to light a Super Jackpot at the Demon.

Alternative Title(s): Kiss 2015