Jersey Jack Pinball has brought out a newer playable version of The Hobbit to IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) trade show. This table is a tie-in with the trilogy of movies.
At first I was a little skeptical of how this table would turn out. It’s hard to see this table and not compare it to the pure awesome that is Stern’s Lord of The Rings pinball table (2003). A game that is highly regarded by pinball enthusiasts and really feels like an adventure to play.
This was the table that was playable at IAAPA that featured some of the new improvements and changes.
The metal ramps now have laser cut text that is backlit.
An LED screen that looks like a book, mounted to the playfield. This replaces a previously stationary book that just showed a printed image, and also moves it above the barrel pops. The targets the book once sat upon is also now removed and is now a lane back to the pops.
A small change was done with Smaug’s head. It has been recolored to be a brownish/red, it used to be the same gold color as the coins. While it’s a little disappointing that it’s not really an interactive toy, like the ability to bash Balrog in LOTR, it still fits in nicely on the playfield and has some head and mouth movement.
One little thing about the table seemed really unimpressive to me when it was first shown was the artwork on the playfield… sure it doesn’t seem like much and it doesn’t affect the gameplay at all, but it bored me and seemed very plain, especially in the middle of the playfield. “Oh look, Smaug is flying above the Paramount mountain”
Well Jack must have thought the same thing, or read enough comments to convince him, because they brought a playfield with new artwork along with them to the show.
What a difference the artwork makes. The new playfield shows nice deep colors, a cooler looking Smaug, and accents around the inserts. It really does change the whole vibe of the table.
JJP decided to completely throw away the retro-feeling dot matrix and just put a nice, bright, LED monitor up there. It seems logical in the evolution of pinball, yet so far they are the only ones doing it. Here is some video (Courtesy of Jersey Jack) of gameplay, that also shows some of the clips and animations on the backbox screen.
I am honestly getting more excited for this table each time an announcement is made. Whether or not it will make it into my collection is yet to be seen, because dropping ~$8k is something I can’t hide from my wife.
Oh and don’t forget the….TROLLS!!!