Why Hexa Pinball

Christophe André and Alexandre Mak founders of Hexa Pinball

An association that’s been going strong for over 20 years!

Christophe André and Alexandre Mak are long-time associates. Hexa Pinball is the joint project of two people with complementary skills, one passionate about IT and development, the other about pinball. Committed to offering innovation, quality and service while respecting the game, they have succeeded in combining eco-responsible development with French know-how in a rapidly expanding international market. Read also

Christophe André, co-founder of Hexa Pinball, a Martillac-based company specializing in the manufacture of pinball machines. Radio France – France Bleu Gironde France 3 Nouvelle Aquitaine

Interview with Christophe André, co-founder of Hexa Pinball on France bleu Gironde on March 15, 2024 without ” Eco d’ici “

France Bleu Gironde : A small event in “Eco d’ici” this morning: our guest is the only manufacturer of pinball machines in France, and maybe even in Europe. Based in Martillac, Hexa Pinball has been designing and selling its own pinball machines since December 2023. There are only 10 companies in the world in this niche, and one of its two partners is with us this morning.

France Bleu Gironde Hello Christophe André, thank you for joining us this morning. We thought pinball was out of fashion!

Christophe André : There was indeed a dip, in the 2000s there was only one pinball machine manufacturer left in the world, and that was in the USA, but since 2010 the market has seen a major rebound.

France Bleu Gironde France Bleu Gironde: There are two of you behind this venture. Why did you take on the crazy challenge of designing pinball machines?

Christophe André Christophe André: My partner Alexandre Mak and I have been working together for some twenty years in different companies. We’re both computer scientists by training, and it just so happens that Alexandre has been a fan of pinball machines for 15 years, buying, selling and repairing them. So when we found ourselves looking for a new project, we thought why not do what Alexandre is passionate about.

France Bleu Gironde And it works?

Christophe André : Absolutely, we started 2 years ago. We’ve had quite a long R&D phase, about 1.5 years, which is the time needed to perfect and test the model, and we’ve been on the market since November 2023.

France Bleu Gironde How much does a pinball machine cost at Hexa Pinball?

Christophe André Our pinball machines cost between €8900 and €11,000, depending on the variant.

France Bleu Gironde : I saw the video trailer for your “Space Hunt” pinball machine on YouTube, which is very well done by the way! 9000€ is not for everyone, is it the price of passion? French-made prices? The cost of a whole host of professionals and craftsmen involved in making these arcade games?

Christophe André : Yes, it’s all of the above. A pinball machine is a highly complex piece of equipment requiring a wide range of skills. From carpentry to electronics, computer science, electromechanics and ironwork, it involves many different trades. The materials we use are expensive: for example, we use very expensive wood and quality materials, which means that manufacturing costs are quite high.

France Bleu Gironde : Who are your customers, Christophe André? Are they the bars like in the old days? or is there a change in clientele?

Christophe André Today, the vast majority of buyers are private individuals, and what you describe as “pinball in the bar” is enjoying a renaissance, although it had unfortunately fallen into disuse for some time.

France Bleu Gironde Are the pinball machines the same as before, the same melodies, the same lights flashing everywhere?

Christophe André Compared to fifteen years ago, pinball has become more digital. Today’s pinball machines feature a computer and a screen on which animations are displayed, so we’re somewhere between the pinball machine you once knew, which was mechanical or electromechanical, and the video game.

France Bleu Gironde You were telling us about the craftsmen who work on each of your pinball machines. Are they local craftsmen?

Christophe André : Yes indeed, we have a pinball machine that is completely neo-Aquitaine. The carpenter is in Martignas, the ironmonger works directly for us in Martillac, the artist who made the music is in Saint Médard d’Eyrans and the one who made the animations is in Arveyres. Then, for certain profiles, we were obliged to look a little further afield because there’s a real specificity. For example, the electronics technician lives in Nice, but he’s the best electronics technician in Europe, so we weren’t going to miss out on such a skill.

France Bleu Gironde How many orders do you expect to sell?

Christophe André We sold about a dozen, but it was our first series and we had to get used to production. Today, we’re projecting around ten pinball machines a month.

France Bleu Gironde And finally Christophe André, “don’t tilt the pinball machine”, in the 80’s this expression was heard in bars, what does it mean?

Christophe André : There’s an element in the pinball machine called the Tilt, which prevents people from shaking the machine too much. Sometimes we get a bit nervous when we’re playing, and we tend to throw a few punches. To avoid damaging the machine, a small element cuts the pinball machine if you shake it too hard.

France Bleu Gironde Thank you very much, Christophe André, for being our guest. I’d like to remind you that you are the co-founder of Hexa Pinball, based in Martillac, the only company to produce pinball machines Made in France.


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