Friday July 19, 2013

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

As many of you on the east coast are no doubt aware, we’ve been struck by a rather nasty heat wave – one that has made the main floor of my house less than comfortable to work in. But on Wednesday, I decided enough was enough – I simply had to get my brand new Wizard of Oz from Jersey Jack Pinball unpacked!

Pinplay Photo #10
Pinplay Photo #11
Pinplay Photo #12

First, I must comment on the impressive packing materials. Not only did my cardboard box survive the journey by truck completely unscathed, but there are numerous well-thought-out touches in the packaging design that make this a pleasure to unpack. From the unboxing instruction sheet that’s actually on the outside of the box, to the extra layer of cardboard lining the inside of the top (just in case your knife goes through a little too far), and to the separate parts box neatly containing the legs, topper, manual and other goodies. Even all the little bits and pieces are heat-sealed into multiple compartments of a long plastic goodie bag, keeping your spare plastics from scratching your extra decals.

The only item left rattling around, as it were, was an extra mini light board inside the coin box (since these seem to have an issue with early failure). Notably absent in the goodie bag were any extra bulbs (none needed since this uses LEDs exclusively), fuses, rubbers, or other miscellaneous items like flipper links.

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 7/19 at 7:07 AM
Tuesday July 16, 2013

Two and a half years later, the dream has become reality.

Pinplay Photo #1
Back on January 1st, 2011, industry veteran and owner Jack Guarnieri shocked both the pinball and arcade worlds by announcing the formation of Jersey Jack Pinball on the Spooky Pinball podcast. In this announcement, he revealed that his new venture – which was quickly abbreviated to JJP – would design and manufacture full-sized coin-op pinball machines in an industry that has been dominated for the past decade by a solitary player, and was in visible decline. On top of this, Jack had no plans to uproot and move to the pinball capital of the world (AKA Chicago, Illinois), and would instead build his games in Lakewood, New Jersey. Where? Exactly!

For years, much of the general public has been under the impression that pinball was all but dead – an image bolstered by nostalgic news articles glorifying the heyday of pinball... and then, almost like an afterthought, briefly mentioning that these olden-time games are, in fact, still being made. Industry veterans rightfully called Jack crazy for wanting to jump into that kind of situation head first!

Pinplay Photo #9
But as someone seemingly driven by an irrationally optimistic desire to prove that the game of pinball could not only survive but indeed thrive in this modern world of iPhones and Xbox, Jack didn’t plan to start off small and see how it went. No, his first project would be the Emerald City Limited Edition Wizard of Oz, a super-deluxe pinball he promised would be loaded with mechanical features and built like no other game ever produced. And, of course, priced to match! Pinball collectors everywhere salivated at the previously unthinkable notion of there once again being a second pinball manufacturer – something once discussed only in wistful “if I won the lottery”-type threads on RGP (the Rec.Games.Pinball newsgroup).

Then, after an overwhelmingly positive response to the announcement, on the afternoon of January 9th Jack opened his website to preorders for his upcoming limited edition “WOZ” game. Preorders were done not only as a way to allow buyers to secure a place in line, but also to gauge market interest – was there really enough desire for a premium pinball to make the project worthwhile?

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 7/16 at 8:06 AM
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My WOZ machine had that random issue of failing to load a ball when I needed to. I dreaded and dreaded because I couldn't find anyone in Kelowna to fix it. I did so much research t- that's how I know it's a common problem, and finally I found an...
This looks so incredible. I'd pay $20 to play on this table for 2 minutes right now!
Thanks for the inspiration,