Sure, CES isn't all fun and games, but, well, sometimes it's exactly that. Like when Stern Pinball CEO Gary Stern pays a visit to our CES stage and brings along his company's latest, the Transformers Pin. This isn't just any old pinball machine -- it's a home unit, aimed at the large portion of the pinball-buying audience looking to bring silver ball to their humble abodes, available though outlets like Amazon with a price tag well under those of the company's pro units.
It's also noticeably smaller than those machines -- in fact, if you give it a bit of the old body English during play, you can actually scoot the machine a bit. The back glass is also not quite as grand as those on its professional siblings, but it's still got a working display for scrolls and the requisite text crawl. The playfield, meanwhile, is pretty close to the real deal. Stern's clearly expert in making flippers, bumpers and the like, and many of those components went into the making of this machine.
Stern Pinball's Transformers Pin home gameSee all photos
The most discernible distinction during gameplay is the plunger, which just doesn't quite have the snap of the machines we grew up with. It's unfortunate, but it's a small complaint in the long run for a game that ultimately retains much of the fun of its full-sized brethren. At the end of the day, the machine's asking price is still quite the investment. But if you've been eyeing a new machine, shaving a few thousand off the price of a pro unit might just be enough to push you over the edge.