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Pinball / Star Trek (Stern)

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Premium Edition pictured.

McCoy: "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a pinball wizard!"

Star Trek is a Physical Pinball Table designed by Steve Ritchie, illustrated by Greg Freres, Kevin O'Connor, and John Youssi, and programmed by Lonnie Ropp, Tanio Klyce, and Waison Cheng. It was released in 2013 by Stern Pinball, making it the fourth licensed Star Trek pinball machine.

Based on the J. J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot, this game focuses on various highlights from both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. Players will battle the rogue Romulan Nero and destroy his planet-busting drill, rescue Spock from an active volcano, battle Klingons alongside the mysterious John Harrison, then perform a Space Jump to the Vengeance and Save the Enterprise. The playfield itself is dominated by the Vengeance, which launches pinballs at the player, along with color-changing LED indicator lights, a Warp ramp, and a torpedo-launching Fire Button for the player. Make it through the Kobayashi Maru, the Klingon Multiball, battles with the Vengeance, and all eighteen game modes, and you'll have a chance to prove your worth in the Five Year Mission.

Despite some initial skepticism, Star Trek is generally well-received by many players, who find it to be a fun, fast-action game for all skill levels — the color-coordinated indicators, forgiving layout, and initial rules make it easy and enjoyable for beginners and casual players, while the higher Modes offer more challenge and rewards for experts. The biggest criticism is that the various game Modes come across as too similar, with variations that feel more like Fake Longevity rather than distinctive challenges.

A digital version is available for Stern Pinball Arcade.

The Stern Star Trek pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Barrier Change Boss: The requirements for "Vengeance Multiball" changes depending on which encounter it is. For example, the first time is a standard multiball mode, while the second time is a Timed Mission where it shoots at the player.
  • Big Red Button: It's not red, but the big Fire button on the center apron certainly qualifies.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Seen in the first "Prime Directive" Mode.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: As with many modern Sterns, each series of modes has a corresponding color that the playfield inserts will light up with.
  • Combos: Shooting a shot in quick succession after another one will award double what that shot is normally worth.
  • Creator Cameo: Steve Ritchie provides the voice of Admiral Stevens.
  • Faceless Mooks: All of the Klingons are wearing face-covering helmets in the "Klingon Battle" Mode.
  • Fantastic Slurs: One of the game's callouts has a Klingon who yells "Your mother has a smooth forehead!"
  • Finishing Move: After finishing some of the Modes, there is an optional "Victory Lap" shot that, if hit, is worth significantly higher points.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: The translite for the "Vengeance Premium" model features the characters' heads floating above and around the Narada and the Vengeance.
  • Gameplay Grading: In the form of bronze, silver, and gold medals based on performance in each mission. Starting any of the three Wizard Modes will give something of a Score Screen where the player will be awarded points for the medals they have collected up to that point, with full sets of 6 medals getting an extra bonus.
  • Hit Points/Life Meter: During "Vengeance Multiball", the Vengeance is shown with a Life Meter showing its strength; it takes damage based on how many points the player scores.
  • Lava Pit: Spock gets stranded inside the volcano during the "Prime Directive" mode.
  • Level Grinding: Each of the six main game Modes must be completed three times to reach the final Wizard Mode.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: In addition to the basic "Starfleet Pro" model, the game is also available in "Vengeance Premium" and "Enterprise Limited Edition" tables. The more advanced models include different backbox translites, more elaborate metalwork and cabinet molding, metal trails instead of plastic ramps, more elaborate LED lighting, color-changing playfield inserts, a vertical up-kicker and a kickback, and a Starfield laser projector.
  • Literal Metaphor: Since the Warp ramp is a Ramp Jump, that makes it literally a warp jump.
  • Match Sequence: A Gorn steps into a turbolift, the doors close, then open again to reveal the match number.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Level 1 modes initially had savvy players letting the time run out, since there was nothing to lose from not scoring anything but the final shot after the time reached 0. This pinball machine underwent no less than three patches to prevent this behavior: The Spring 2014 patch increased the values for Kobayashi Maru Multiball to become proportional to the points obtained in the Level 1 modes. When many players insisted on timing out the Level 1 modes anyway, as it's risk-free, the Fall 2014 patch froze the timer if the game detected the player is attempting to let the time run out. This caused people to stop timing the modes out but felt like it was punishing the player. The Spring 2015 patch added in medals, and the player was awarded a bronze, silver, or gold medal in each mode, the gold medal being worth a lot of points, depending on how many shots were made during that mode. Shots during Level 1 modes were also greatly increased in value in this third patch, making Kobayashi Maru Multiball comparatively worthless if the player put in minimum effort to reach it.
  • Ramp Jump: The Warp ramp, which catapults balls clockwise back to the upper-rght flipper.
  • Score Multiplier:
    • The Mode indicators are arranged in a triangular pattern; completing three Modes in a line increases the score multipliers for one of the game features. Similarly, completing all three levels of a Mode doubles the value of the corresponding shot.
    • The Warp Factor awards include temporary Double Scoring.
  • Shout-Out: Getting on the high score list occasionally prompts Admiral Stevens to say "You are champion", a quote from Steve Ritchie's earlier game Black Knight 2000.
  • Skill Shot: Surprisingly enough, there's no normal Skill Shot available for the top lanes, as Steve Ritchie felt there was no actual skill involved. Instead, there are two Secret Skill Shots available by depressing either the "Fire" button or the left flipper when launching a ball. Some versions of the game do have a standard top-rollover type of skill shot, however.
  • Smart Bomb: The Photon Torpedoes, which score a hit on the Vengeance each time one is fired.
  • Spiritual Successor: Though the game itself is an obvious successor to Ritchie's earlier Star Trek: The Next Generation, many players aso see the layout and rules as a Spiritual Successor to his 2007 Spider-Man game.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Hitting the Vengeance drop target causes it to shake; on the Premium and Limited Edition tables, destroying it causes to list forward and "crash" into the playfield.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Used to materialize bonus multipliers.
  • This Is a Drill: Nero's planet drills, seen in the "Destroy the Drill" mode.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Some ROM revisions, especially early ones, would randomly glitch and set the number of shots required to complete a mission to unrealistically high numbers such as 65,535. This may as well be considered unwinnable since either the mission would time out or the flipper coils would probably burn out by the time that many shots were made. Subverted by some accounts on being just a display bug which would be fixed by making a shot.
  • Unobtainium: The Red Matter, which must be collected to activate the Black Hole random reward.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Getting enough Red Matter enables the Black Hole, which awards a mystery prize.
  • Wizard Mode: Completing each set of Modes awards the "Captain's Chair":
    • The first Sub-Wizard Mode is the "Kobyashi Maru", which is available after completing all of the Modes once.
    • The second Sub-Wizard Mode is "Enterprise Amok", available after finishing all Modes twice. The player must hit each main shot twice, each one worth an escalating value starting from 500,000 points.
    • The actual Wizard Mode is “Five Year Mission,” which is activated by finishing all Modes three times. This is a four-ball multiball, and the player must hit all targets to collect the Super Jackpot.

Admiral Stevens: "Get out of that chair right now!"

Alternative Title(s): Star Trek 2013