Pinball games have been a classic in arcade gaming. Certain notable franchises on the entertainment and media industry were used as the art and themes of pinball machines; such as classic rock bands, superheroes, cartoons, and worldwide hit movies. The peak of turning films into a pinball machine theme dates back to the era of late 1980’s to early 1990’s. That’s when arcades invaded malls and shopping centers, where every single blockbuster movie have received their magnificent silverball adaptation.
Up to this date, it is never impossible for pinball machine designers to utilize the movies as a theme for their pinball game. Whether it is new or a classic hit movie, it will still be on the list as long as it will bring excitement and adventure for the pinball lovers.
The Wizard of Oz Pinball’s Wonderful History
Though pinball games have made its way through the peak of arcade gaming for decades, its profitability still declined along with other games featured in the arcade. Thus, immensely affecting its user and popularity rate and making it vanish from the lairs of fun and entertainment. Video games became the new attraction, and players were more enchanted by its adaptability, flashy graphics and wide variety of game selection. On the other hand, arcade operators were lured by video games’ convenience, compactness, and profits.
With the fact that pinball was just barely alive, Jack Guarnieri, an arcade entrepreneur, has figured that there was only one thing to do, and that is to create history’s most phenomenal pinball machine. Further, the goal is to reintroduce the pleasure of pinball gaming into this modern generation. He held onto his belief that the machine that will bring back pinball into its track is The Wizard of Oz pinball.
Released in April 2013, The Wizard of Oz pinball became the Jersey Jack Pinball’s debut game. It is a widebody pinball machine designed by Joe Balcer, artwork by Jerry Vanderstelt, Greg Freres, and Matt Riesterer, with music and sounds by Chris Granner and Rob Berry, and programming by Keith Johnson.
The game was based on the spectacular film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Being the Jersey Jack’s first pinball game, it gained some very high expectations. However, most players believed that it fulfilled all of its assumptions. The Wizard of Oz came up as very innovative, as it smashed the walls of a usual pinball game into a more fascinating one. It possessed a set of distinct game features that keep players engaged to the game, hence, escalating the pinball game into its next golden age.
12 Things You Should Know About The Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine
Dazzling as the 1939 film appeared, The Wizard of Oz pinball did not fail to amuse its players. It portrayed a mixture of nostalgia and modern gaming, thereby making it more appealing to the gaming community. So, here are the twelve things you should know about The Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine:
1. Cabinet: This machine’s cabinet was made to be sturdy and less prone to wear. The designs were printed directly on the wood, then clear-coated. It stretches horizontally to allow an ample amount of space for toys, gadgets, and other machine parts. Its wide body allows the design, which features the Wizard of Oz characters, to be a striking one.
2. Lighting: The Wizard of Oz pinball machine is the first game to support color-changing RGB LEDs, which means that it allows the playfield to sport a thousand of different light colors. It generates up to 32 million of unique colors that will illuminate the whole playfield. Operated by the software, it put a fairly profound impact on the overall appearance of the game.
3. Widebody: This is considered as the first widebody pinball machine since 1994. A widebody pinball machine offers more playfield space and more parts to be packed in, plus the increased fun and challenge difficulty. However, being a widebody pinball machine can also be costly.
4. Upper Playfields: Having two upper playfields is an attribute that other recent pinball machines also have. The Wizard of Oz pinball machine features a two completely fleshed out upper playfields. This means that there is an increased level of fun and surprise every time a player scores consecutive loops and series of combos!
5. Toys: This Wizard of Oz pinball game might give other contemporary pinball games some decent competition when it comes to its “toys”. Unlike any other pinball that has only one or three toys in it, the Wizard of Oz pinball has a fair number of toys to make the whole machine attractive and to keep the players and the bystanders entertained. These toys include the popular rudiments of the film such as ruby slipper flippers, Munchkin huts and roofs, the Wicked Witch of the West trapped under a house, the angry apple trees, a hot air balloon, and a crystal ball. Moreover, this game sports a lot of mechanical extras such as spinning house, disappearing witch, and flying monkey assemblies, making it even more packed.
6. Electromagnets: Some machines feature electronically operated magnets in certain places of the playfield–whether to trap the ball and affect the ball’s speed or trajectory in accordance to the state of the gameplay. Magnets were used to make every ball’s movement unpredictable, or control the ball by non-mechanical means. It can also be placed above the playfield, in order to grab and move the ball to somewhere else. Therefore, electromagnets were placed in the machine mainly to add difficulty to the gameplay. For the pinball fans who loves magnets in their game, you would love this Wizard of Oz pinball. It sports two magnets, armed in the Wicked Witch.
7. LCD Screen: On the top of the cabinet is a 26-inch widescreen monitor that displays full-color scores, animations, attract mode, backglass artwork, vibrant cinema film clips, and more. This monitor is different from the pixelated orange glow from the screens of the previous pinball games. The bright LCD Screen of this machine adds new possibilities for the gameplay awareness. It can keep the player in full alert and give him some hints when close to game objectives.
8. Peculiar Rule Set: Pinball games nowadays have too much interest with having increased complexity in its rule sets that will require its players to have the right strategy and plans in order to have a maximum score. Keith Johnson, the Wizard of Oz pinball game’s programmer, has promised to deliver a rule set for the ages. He wanted the game to be groundbreaking, but still in the same way. Considering the new board set used for the game, assume that the computing ability is going to be as tough as any other pinball machines to date.
9. Tricky Flippers: Since this game wanted to spice up everything, The Wizard of Oz pinball game is going to trick your mind when you play it. The upper left playfield flipper that was placed on the left side, yet aligned like a right-hand flipper. Most likely it will be controlled with the right flipper button. However, the upper right playfield flipper is aligned like a left-hand flipper. There is also a mode called “Reverse Flippers” where tapping left flipper buttons will trigger the right flippers, vice versa. This pinball game can clearly mess up a player’s mind!
10. Sound System: The music and sounds in a pinball game will definitely boost the emotion of the game and climax of the frantic action. As Wizard of Oz being a thrilling, adventurous classical movie, its music and sound was supposed to be enthralling. Chris Granner, the one who made the game’s music, stated that the sound system is incredibly awesome, and breathtaking at the same time. The Wizard of Oz’ sound system supports stereo and have 600 watts of power.
11. Pinball Machine Parts: The Wizard of Oz pinball machine will be infused by Williams pinball parts. With that, it will be the first new game since Williams’ own last games. The parts of Williams are easy to be obtained from different pinball vendors. Also, it is one of the most used pinball machine parts due to its convenience.
12. New Board System: According to Jersey Jack Pinball, the new board has been designed with serviceability as its primary feature. It still features traditional through-hole components that will ensure minimum down time. It also offers a one year warranty and much longer periods can be offered by JJP authorized distributors, based on the needs of the customers.
The Wizard of Oz really called an innovation of pinball gaming. It stepped out of the traditional way of bringing out the silverball fun. It does not only try to entertain people, but at the same time, bring back the good ol’ times of a pinball fun. Through its manufacturing all the way to its gameplay, this pinball game has surely fulfill every player’s expectations. The game is available as a standard model, and has two limited editions, the Emerald City green, and 75th Anniversary red.
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