Stranger Things took the world by storm when it made its debut on Netflix in 2016. Since then the sci-fi/horror show has seen countless merchandise, fan experiences at large conventions, and even a pinball machine! In 2019 Stern released their take on the upside-down with three unique Stranger Things models — pro, premium, and limited edition. Stranger Things is possibly on its way out — rumor has it this is the final run on this machine, so if you’re looking to own a new one, now is the time to do it.
But we’re not here to speculate on the value of this game. Instead, let me tell you about how delightful this pinball machine is. Recently my boyfriend purchased the Stranger Things pro. I’ve played this pin before, but it has been a while since I’ve set my hands on the flippers. Does this game hold up to the pleasant memories I have of it, or will I be taken down by a Demogorgon?
The game starts up rather quickly. Once you begin, the familiar theme song immediately sucks you in. The player must unlock the mystery surrounding the strange occurrences happening in Hawkins, Indiana — specifically, you’ll be taking down the bad guys at the Hawkins National Laboratory. You’ll be aided by the main protagonists of the show, as you shoot your ball around the stunning playfield.
This playfield offers three unique ramps, a Demogorgon toy, and two ball hideout scoops. The Demogorgon is hidden behind a shield, but once active, it’s up to the player to shoot the ball into the Demogorgon, killing it. This is a true skill shot and will frustrate new and experienced players. But the satisfaction you get from hitting the Demogorgon is real!
This game is an absolute thrill, but it is challenging. There are a number of ways to unlock the Demogorgon and don’t be surprised if a Demodog or two appears as well. The Telekinesis Multiball on this machine is downright insane but offers skilled players an ideal chance to boost their scores.
The callouts in this game are great, with some of the cast’s voices being featured in the game. The music is outstanding, setting an eerie and spooky tone as the game progresses. The music swells with intensity once the Demogorgon appears, which admittedly did make my hands a little sweaty. This game is engrossing, but just like the show, it can get intense. Stranger Things takes skill to play, but practice makes progress. Similar to video games you can “die” — usually by the ball-draining. A skilled player knows how to avoid this, but sometimes gravity will get the best of you.
The hand-drawn artwork on the cabinet and back glass is impressive, and different depending on which model you get. Our machine prominently features Eleven, as well as the light-up alphabet Joyce famously created in her home. We applied the UV Coat to the playfield, adding an even spookier vibe to this already spooky game. This is the one aftermarket item I would highly recommend for any Stranger Things owner. The digital DMD screen shows clips of the show, adding to the gameplay.
If you have a chance to play this game, don’t pass it up! Horror-themed pinball machines are my personal favorite, but this has a universal appeal for all ages.