Jersey Jack Pinball recently unveiled a full playfield schematic of The Hobbit Pinball (click the link in the linked article), their newest licensed pinball game. The company is expecting to release the game within a time frame as the third Hobbit movie, around mid-2014, as the game will encompass events from all three movies.
The theme is set heavily around Smaug, the dragon, and his “...extreme interaction...” with the player, cites pinball industry veteran Joe Balcer, The Hobbit Pinball’s playfield designer. That statement may well conjure up memories amongst pinball aficionados of the delightfully snarky Rudy, of William’s Funhouse. In any case, it’s not likely that Smaug will achieve the same level of notoriety as Rudy. But, it will remain to be seen what the team at JJP will be able to pull off with Smaug’s sheer presence as the main attraction.
Judging from the layout of the table, The Hobbit will not be multi-tiered as in JJP’s previous game, The Wizard of Oz. There will be four flippers, two ramp entrances, a kickback in the left outlane, numerous drop shot banks, a captive ball center shot that’s flanked by the two ramps, and the orbits will also feed the bumpers and a hole with help from magnets. The skill shot will likely be the drop targets in front of Smaug, who may be a target, himself.
A couple curiosities remain, however, which will possibly be revealed at a later time. First is the mechanism at the top of the field. It looks to be a control for a gate for the ramps. When in place, the gate will shoot back down the opposing ramp. When up, the left ramp will feed the bottom-right flipper and the right ramp will send the ball circling around Smaug once, on it’s way down to the bottom-left flipper. Second, are the axes on the slingshots above the flippers. They may very well be toys that swing when the slingshots are activated. An amusing toy if it’s finalized, but let’s hope it doesn’t impair visibility.
Overall, the playfield looks to be a faster-paced table than The Wizard of Oz, albeit with more precision required. The potential for combo-driven play and varied game modes is definitely there. An LCD monitor will be used in The Hobbit as well, no doubt to highlight game statuses, modes, and score with rendered graphics as well as showcase clips from the films. RGB-LED lamps will also be used in the playfield for dynamic lighting effects, such as those lauded in The Wizard of Oz which already is known to dazzle and mesmerize all who has played it.
As with The Wizard of Oz before, preorders for the Limited Edition version The Hobbit Pinball are available through pinballsales.com. The cost for an LE unit is $8000 before tax and shipping. Better start hoarding that gold now, folks.