Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend an “unboxing party” for a shiny new The Hobbit pinball machine. Limited edition no less! This is Jersey Jack’s second entry¬†into the scene, with Wizard of Oz preceding it. I’m a huge fan of Woz.. If there’s a lineup that includes it, I will pick it over all others. It has a magical chaos to it and plays fast. That’s often the criticism levelled against the machine – that there is too much going on. I can understand why people say this and may be the reason I like it.

The Hobbit is a different beast. In some ways it does feel like Jersey Jack calmed down a bit after Woz. ¬†For starters, there is far less going on on the playfield. But the four popups hidden underneath can change that pretty quickly. It feels like a direct tip-of-the-hat to Medieval Madness and that’s a good thing. The lights are bright and the playfield artwork is high quality.

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The other thing you’ll notice right away is that the size of the LCD scene is much larger than Woz. I didn’t think this would make a big difference, but it turns out it does. They’ve built some fairly detailed missions into it to take advantage of the realestate. The graphics are bright and detailed.

Another key development is the quality of the sound system. I was genuinely surprised by the bass response and the fidelity. It’s heads and shoulders above anything else I’ve played.

This is a great release, even if it was a bit late. As I didn’t have any skin in the game (and for Australian customers, it’s a significant amount of skin!) I wasn’t following the details of the development and delays so it didn’t really matter to me.

If you see this machine, play it!