Goonies Never Say Die! But They Do Make Rad Pinball Machines

 Goonies Never Say Die! But They Do Make Rad Pinball Machines
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 Goonies Never Say Die! But They Do Make Rad Pinball Machines
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 Goonies Never Say Die! But They Do Make Rad Pinball Machines
Published on
January 11, 2024
Updated on
January 11, 2024
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We’re becoming big fans of the work that Brian Soares is doing with custom pinball machine builds through his company, Gameroom Pinball. Late last year, we covered the release of Happy Gilmore pinball, the epic multi-year project he recently completed with his creative partner, Reby Hardy. Prior to that project, some of you may be familiar with his releases of Ferris Bueller pinball and Matt Hardy’s Expedition of Gold.

There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing an old machine (in that case, Stern’s Mustang) turned new. With Brian’s games in particular, what we’ve appreciated is the level of creativity used to bring these loved IPs to life in pinball form, as well as the extreme level of detail that’s involved in the builds themselves. From visuals to toys to code, everything that can be adapted to the theme typically is, even down to accessory items like Chubbs’ memorial in Happy Gilmore, or, in the case of The Goonies pinball, Chester Copperpot’s wallet (complete with social security card, library card, Lou Gherig baseball card and photos). 

We got a chance to see an in-progress version of his latest release, The Goonies back when we visited him prior to the Happy Gilmore launch, and were impressed with the work then, but it wasn’t quite finished yet. Flash forward a few months, and we were excited to receive a note from Brian that The Goonies was finished and he had some new photos to share. 

But first, some details about the build, and a quick interview with Brian. Then we’ll share all the awesome photos of this project.

The Goonies Pinball Details

  • Donor game: Gottlieb Cactus Jack’s (1991)
  • 2 WAV triggers for audio with mixer and amp
  • Standalone power supply
  • Pioneer speakers
  • Boston Pinball Company displays
  • Custom Goonies LumaLegz with banana yellow powder coating
  • Banana yellow prismatic powder coated trim
  • 3 randomized multiball songs
  • 2 Goonies instrumental background tracks
  • 100 movie quotes
  • Movie quality props: Copper Bones skeleton key, Chester Copperpot’s wallet (with social security card, library card, Lou Gehrig card, photos), Spanish doubloon, One Eyed Willie’s eye patch

Interview with Brian Soares about The Goonies Custom Pinball 

Kineticist: How long did this project take you to complete? 

Brian Soares: Just under 6 months from the client's 1st email to completion.  

Kineticist: What part are you most proud of?

Brian Soares: That I was able to capture all the elements the client wanted and then also included little extras (movie prop quality toys and custom light up legs) and the audio sounds terrific!

Kineticist: What was the most challenging part of this project?

Brian Soares: The overall graphic design. I felt like there were so many ways to go with it.  In the end I tried to simplify it so the playfield focus was the map and then scattered in some movie stills as vintage type photos. I used colored stills on the plastics.  A nice ultra glossy black cabinet with simple graphic design and a banana yellow powder coat for the metal trim.

Kineticist: The donor game for this project was the 1991 Gottlieb game Cactus Jacks. Can you talk a little bit about why you chose this particular game?

Brian Soares: I've used Cactus Jack's about 6 times in the past.  It's an easy, fun game with lots of little things going on.  It was always a draw when non-pinball family and friends played the one I owned so it's always a "go to" option for me.

Kineticist: In one of the photos, you have 3 additional copies of Cactus Jacks, alongside the finished Goonies pin. Did you need to use multiple copies to create the best version of this particular project or are those pegged for future projects?

Brian Soares: Those are actually already assigned to other upcoming projects under agreement.

Kineticist: Was anyone else involved in the production of this game or is it mostly a solo project for you?

Brian Soares: For the most part it was really just myself with input from the client.  He would provide some must haves and I would take it and run! 

Kineticist: Any lessons learned from this project that you might apply moving forward?

Brian Soares: I have my process and supply chain down pretty well at this point.  I did use one new supplier, Lumalegz, which I highly recommend.  She went above and beyond for me to make sure I liked the custom legs. 

Kineticist: Compared to working with a DMD-era Stern, like some of your previous efforts (Happy Gilmore, Ferris Bueller, Matt Hardy's Expedition of Gold), what are some things you liked/disliked about working with an older Gottlieb game?

Brian Soares: The "programming" is very minimal as compared to the DMD-era games.  It's really only the displayed text.  Audio is included, but is independent of the pinball machine.  I've done many of these now so I have my own method to include it for the client.   Wiring for the audio can get complex at times so when it's already included like in a Happy Gilmore or Ferris it eliminates that extra step.

Kineticist: What are your favorite easter eggs from the film that you were able to incorporate into the final project?

Brian Soares: I'm not so sure if they're considered easter eggs, but having movie prop quality toys produced I thought was pretty cool.

Kineticist: Who is your favorite Goonies character?

Brian Soares: It has to be Data .... I love all of his gadgets / inventions!

Kineticist: Do you think we'll ever get a fully licensed Goonies pinball machine from a major manufacturer? If so, which company would you like to see take it on?

Brian Soares: I'd like to think we will at some point as it's a great classic family friendly theme.  All of the manufacturers would probably do a fine job on it, but I think Jersey Jack may be the best option.  From a theme standpoint, it seems as if it would check his box and he's probably done the best job overall with the playfield toys. Based on past games I'd bet he would be most willing to go the extra mile and include things like the movie props in his version of the game.  

The Goonies Pinball Photos & Gameplay Video