I was never much good at pinball (although the Spousal Unit was) and always cheered for the Witch in the Wizard of Oz. But I kinda want one of these:
Much (much) more at Slate:
… When you’re creating a pinball machine from scratch, somebody, somewhere has to craft or acquire every mechanism and fixture. Jersey Jack Pinball licenses its flippers from Planetary Pinball Supply, gets its wiring assemblies from a company in New Jersey, and builds its soundboards in partnership with Massachusetts’ Pinnovators. A woodworking firm in Illinois fashions the Wizard of Oz cabinets and playfields, then sends them to another company that adds the game’s specially designed artwork using a $300,000 inkjet printer. Jersey Jack tested more than 10 different playfield finishes, rolling and shooting hundreds of thousands of balls before determining which one worked best. A pinball-crazy sculptor designed the plastic trees and munchkin huts.
In aggregate, these decisions reveal Jersey Jack Pinball’s grand plan: In every way that matters, the Wizard of Oz is a refutation of how modern pinball machines are designed and built. Rather than choose a bro-friendly theme centered on robots and/or guitars, Guarnieri acquired the pinball-ization rights to Dorothy, Toto, et al. Instead of the standard static back-glass art and dot matrix display, Jersey Jack’s machine is topped by a 26-inch widescreen monitor that displays full-color, cinema-grade animations. The game has no conventional, burn-out-able light bulbs—it’s illuminated by RGB LED lights that can generate any hue. And perhaps most significantly, the Wizard of Oz is the first “widebody” game since the mid-1990s. The fatter-than-usual apparatus means there’s room for an oversize load of eye-catching doohickeys: a spinning house, a winged monkey, a melting witch, and a video-displaying crystal ball that Guarnieri sees as his coup de grâce. “When you look into the crystal ball and see a moving image,” he explains, “you say, Holy shit, how much more could you put into this game?”…
Not for nothing, Tolkien geeks should cross our fingers, because the next game from Jersey Jack is based on The Hobbit…