‘Jaws’ pinball table from Stern is fan service at its finest


The thing about Jaws is it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. So, when someone decides to make a big table that does Jaws things loudly and repeatedly, I’m all in.

Luckily, that’s exactly what we’re getting from pinball machine manufacturer Stern. The latest license from the folks behind Jurassic Park and Godzilla and countless other pinball classics got announced last week, and was available for hands-on play at CES 2024.

After a brief hands-on session, my verdict is that Jaws is still great, and anything that reminds us of the greatness of Jaws is also cool.

It’s a pinball shark, there has to be a twist

I have to be clear about something up front: I’m more of a Jaws guy than a pinball guy. I’ll indulge in the odd game or two at a bar every blue moon, but video games are more my bag.

So it’s hard for me to critically evaluate Jaws as a pinball game. My time with it was brief and took place on a cacophonous show floor where learning the mechanics involved was next to impossible. It’s got all kinds of flippers, spinners and ramps and other things that make pinball fun. That much I can tell you.

I can also tell you that the shark emerges from the top of the playing field to wreak havoc, and that’s rad. This happened often enough to be fun but not so often that it got old.

Jaws pinball table

There’s a lot going on here.
Credit: Stern

Perhaps more importantly, the Jaws side of Jaws is respectful to the original. John Williams’ iconic score is included, as are beautiful portraits of Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. They actually got Dreyfuss to record some new voiceover for the game, too, though I couldn’t exactly hear it. Did I mention the CES show floor is noisy?

Still, the play field is immensely fun to look at. Quint’s boat, the Orca, is included, as are references to the film’s July 4th setting and various kinds of sharks for all the finheads out there. It’s a delight.

Now for the bad news: Jaws costs a lot of money if you want to actually own it. It starts at $6,999 for the starter edition and goes all the way up to $12,999 for all the bells and whistles (which I was told are cosmetic in nature and don’t affect gameplay).

I can’t exactly recommend the table at that price point, but maybe you have a friend who owns a pinball arcade, or a movie fan with space in their garage. Kindly and gently cajole them into buying it. Just don’t yell to the neighbors about it, or you’ll have a panic on your hands.

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