Suncoast Pinball “Most Definitely” WILL Ship Cosmic Carnival To Europe
There’s a lot of talk about pinball being easy. Whilst I am not so sure about that, as I don’t have the experience in pinball, producing anything in quantity, i.e. manufacturing (where my career stems from). That isn’t easy. What’s really not easy, is the legislation of manufacturing in one country to distribute in another. NSF, CE, ERP, EnergyStar – these are all terms that send shivers down engineers and salespersons spines. I have a bit of a habit when it comes to new manufacturers and pinball machines. I want to know if I am going to get to play them here in the UK. So when I heard that Suncoast Pinball were currently manufacturing Cosmic Carnival, I wanted to know if there was any chance they will ship Cosmic Carnival to Europe. The answer was a resounding yes. Suncoast pinball would be seeking CE certification soon. I will get to play it.
The Carnival Is Revealed
July 14th 2018, as if from nowhere, a Facebook post appeared from Suncoast Pinball and Arcade with the following information.
Cosmic Carnival is a new pinball machine being released by Suncoast Pinball and Arcade. We hope to have it ready to show off at Free Play Florida in November and ready for production early next year. We will add more photos of our progress as we get further along.Suncoast Pinball, 14th July 2018
The pictures that accompanied the post showed that work was well underway with the game. Stirring a level of excitement.
Whilst many were probably blown away by the level of work that had gone into Cosmic Carnival, the team were not overly taken aback with their work. In an interview you can see on the Suncoast Pinball Website, it was discussed as being just par for the course.
The actual build for prototype machines has not been a big deal, since we already have a manufacturing facility in place. We already had 2 4’x 8’ CNC machines, an industrial table saw, routing tables, sanding tables, drill presses etc. Almost all the tools needed to build a pinball machine were already in place, along with the staff capable of building them. One area we had no experience in however was vacuum forming. We did buy a vacuum forming machine so we could prototype our own ramps in-house and we learned how to do it as we were going. It turned out to be a great investment.
A No To Preorder Money
In that very same interview linked above, it was stated that no pre-order money would be taken. In the modern pinball world, where promises are made and money can be taken. Suncoast put their OWN money where their mouth was. Only when the game was in manufacture, would money be taken. A rule Suncoast stuck to.
This really is the benchmark for a new manufacturer. In my opinion, no matter the theme, or the promises. Only drop your money on a game when it’s coming down the line. Pinball doesn’t need any more heartache on that front.
Hitting Deadlines – The Ringmaster Prepares
Texas Pinball Festival (TPF), 22nd – 24th March 2019 – Cosmic Carnival arrives along with its new art package from Dirty Donnie. It has to be said, that this games artwork is incredible, and if ever there was a time for people to appreciate it. TPF was the space. One pinside comment summed it up perfectly.
Bwoah, the art is nothing short of amazing on this machine and I dig the theme too!DJODARS, Pinside
The game was in a state that meant it could be flipped, but without any code to go through.
I caught up quickly with Neil McRae who was at TPF, as I remembered him at the time stating that the flipped well, but the ramps needed improvement. So I asked him for a note on what he thought of the game at the time.
The game was a prototype when I saw it at Texas Pinball Festival. It shot really nicely and had some real potential. Whilst the ramps weren’t great, that’s something I know they have since worked on. All in all I am really positive about the game. I think it will turn out great.Neil McRae, Domino Arcade
Honing The Acts
In preparation for the carnival to open, all elements have to right. As a teaser to the ongoing works Suncoast Pinball released the following video.
One thing that is more important than hype, even more important than visuals and callouts, is how a game feels. Sure the previous elements play a part, but ultimately, the game has to shoot. Suncoast Pinball clearly took the feedback from the show on board. Especially around the ramps. This visual of the game was then released.
This speaks volumes about a manufacturer. Taking on board real players advice and making the game better before launch. If there is a right way to launch a pinball machine. It’s this coupled with no pre-order money. As you can see, the game had gone through a lot of iterations, art packages, updates and code (with visuals being added and music) in but a few short months.
Take Your Seats For The Pre-Show
On the 8th May, 2019 – Suncoast Pinball released an early view of Cosmic Carnival in action. You can watch the entire video below.
I can instantly see that the game is fast. I mean, it looks REALLY fast. I like fast.
The layout seems to consist of 7 major shots from left to right:
- Bank of 4 targets
- Ramp through back board and return to left flipper
- Inner Orbit Left to Right
- Center Target With Magnet
- Inner Orbit Right to Left
- Ramp return to right flipper
- Bank of 3 targets
What was really exciting around this video was the fact that whilst the code was stated to be at a preview state. The polish on the playfield and overall look of the game with animations etc, was fantastic. Earlier criticism of the toys being unfinished, or not good enough were dispelled. It was becoming ever increasingly clear. Cosmic Carnival was shaping up very nicely indeed.
Roll Up, Roll Up
As more details were released, the excitement around Cosmic Carnival grew, however more details came, there was no mention as to whether Suncoast Pinball would ship Cosmic Carnival to Europe.
The Carnival Opens
As promised Suncoast Pinball have begun manufacture and the game is now ready to be ordered. With machine number 1 coming off of the line in July 2019, as promised.
If you want one in the U.K. right now, you would have to get in touch with the Suncoast team directly and arrange a way to order and get the game here yourself. The team can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. The game is currently selling in the U.S.A at $5,995 – that’s £4,790 – which with shipping and tax could push the game up to £6,000 with shipping, VAT and import duty. Which depending on how much you can get shipping for, could well be below the £6,500 you would spend on a Pro Stern and much below the cost of a JJP.
The Carnival Will Tour
I reached out to Suncoast Pinball just two nights ago and have been having discussions with both Jon and Brent. The response was incredible. Very forthcoming and very positive about what they are doing at Suncoast Pinball. However, let’s cut to the chase. Will they be shipping internationally?
We are most DEFINITELY going to be shipping internationally in the near future.Brent Ponder, Director – Business Development, Marketing and Sales
I think that cleared that up.
I am trying to read between the lines here, perhaps that means that someone has put themselves down for a game that they are arranging shipping. Perhaps it just relates to the fact that they are going to be getting CE marked for the EU market. What I can say is a positive step and shows what a new manufacturer can do when they put their mind to something.
Of course there are further details that need to be addressed regarding the launch of Cosmic Carnival internationally. The highlights from the conversation are as follows.
75 Games out of the 250 signed and numbered machines have been set aside for CE approval.
That’s a great number of games to be set aside for the EU market, sat at 30% of the total signed and numbered stock. Not only showing that the EU market is on the radar, but that it is a good proportion of business.
Approval will be within 3 – 6 months
The CE approval process has been started by Suncoast Pinball. This process is expected to take three to six months. Given their track record with timing, I would be inclined to believe it too.
Distributors have been in contact, but Suncoast Pinball want a product to sell before committing to supply routes.
Once again, sticking to what they have done previously and not over promising and under-delivering. Suncoast Pinball will be setting up distribution channels here in Europe, with seemingly discussions already ongoing. However, as there is no “product” yet to ship, nothing has been launched. Reading between the lines once again, I imagine it won’t be long before something breaks here. Allowing distributors to ship Cosmic Carnival to Europe and eventually the U.K.
The Ringmaster Isn’t Ready Just Yet
So whilst it is confirmed that Cosmic Carnival will ship to Europe, it isn’t just yet. The timescale of 3 to 6 months means that it is probably just too soon for Cosmic Carnival to make it to the 2019 Pinfest seeings as that is just over a month away now. However, what a launch to the U.K. market that would have been.
What can we say at this stage? Well. Simply. Suncoast Pinball have at every step of the way delivered what was expected of them. They set deadlines. They hit them. They wanted to make a game. They’ve done that. As a first pin, they could have turned their noses up at the “other markets” (than the USA), but have not done that. I look forward o Cosmic Carnival hitting our shores.
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Looking forward to Cosmic Carnival making it to the U.K? Have any comments on the game? Post your comments below.