Lord of the Rings (Stern, 2003)

Lord of the Rings

Pinside rating

This game received 1069 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.682 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks 1st in the game group "Lord of the Rings ". The group itself ranks #5 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.896

Artwork: 8.376

Sounds/Music: 8.373

Other Aspects: 8.77

Rating comments

There are 586 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 8 of us have rated this game.


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This game is part of a group

Note! There are multiple versions of this game!
This is "Lord of the Rings ".
The other version is: Lord of the Rings Limited Edition

Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 586 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 586 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 24.

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1 day ago
I'm still not understanding why so many games like this get so much love. Once you play JJ Hobbit how can you really think this game is a top 5 type game? To me the playfield is totally cluttered and so many awesome opportunities went missed. The game isn't that much fun after playing it for about an hour you'd get bored pretty fast. Whereas the Hobbit you'd never want to stop playing. The Hobbit is only about 100 times better.
1 day ago
First, the negatives. This is one of the worst multi player games in existence. Ball times can be a bit long (although everything is adjustable) and switching players breaks up the epic journey feeling of the pin. Also, the playfield artwork is a little muddy and some of the sound clips seem to be sampled at a lower quality rate.

The positives? Everything else. This game is immersive in so many ways. It's an epic journey and the "on a quest" feeling that the game gives you is unrivaled. The music enhances the theme and it fits the action perfectly. This game also has great voice work and some of the best custom call outs in pinball. The code is deep, the modes offer plenty of variety, and playing thru the movie themed multi-ball modes is the perfect balance of challenging and fun. The game is also loaded with great shots and nailing the center ring shot never gets old. Great custom dot animations round out the package and make a ColorDMD a must have on this title. Overall, this is a top tier pinball machine that arguably offers the best immersive experience in pinball.
65 days ago
After years of ignoring this game (I’m not familiar with the movies, but I love the 1977 animated Hobbit), I decided to read up on this game and started to play it in local bars. I was immediately struck by how inspired it feels. The ramps are unique. The playfield is complicated but tasteful. Artwork, music and callouts are very good. The code is excellent and deep. Plenty to do. You don’t have to be a fan of the movies. This game stands on its own. Maybe the best long-ball adventure game I’ve played. I soon wanted to own one. Now I see why this game is so highly regarded. It’s not really that hard, but it depends a lot on your settings. Just a really unique game designed and built by a lot of talented people. Probably Stern’s crown jewel.
3 months ago
This machine is an epic and immersive adventure with fantastic themed rules and modes coupled with a number of excellent and challenging shots and some very good speed and flow. The multiballs on this game are fantastic and although the main three cannot be stacked, you can combine Gollum Multiball and the active modes with them. Destroy the Ring is fantastic.
Probably not the best for Multiplayer because the game is just so immersive and there can be longer ball times (but there can also be very short games too). One of the best machines for home use enjoyment.
3 months ago
Have owned this for several years and will never part ways! As everyone familiar with the rule set, it is as deep as it gets! Fun for the novice player and the ultimate challenge for everyone else! Love this game!
3 months ago
One of the best pins ever made. First game I ever played I made it to Destroy the Ring and I was hooked since then. Fan layout but some good variations of shots and toys. This was during the period of Stern producing long playing games with deep rules like Spider-Man, POTC, etc which is still the golden era of Stern for me.
4 months ago
LOTR is a classic. This is the second one I’ve owned and it’s never leaving again! Great theme and well integrated.
4 months ago
Super fun, nice layout, one of my faves!
5 months ago
Lord of the Rings has some, if not THE best theme integration of any machine. The crazy deep ruleset and large number of shots really suit the goliath films. Music is good, lots of callouts from a variety of characters too. Sound quality isn't as great as subsequent releases but not a deal breaker. Machine looks great, and the layout is good. One of Gomez's last brilliant layouts (sorry, still bitter about the hideous Avengers game). I wouldn't want to own it, I think the ball times would be just a little too long, but I really enjoy playing it on location, at shows, and in tournaments.
5 months ago
I have owned this game for several month. I currently have ten machines. Half of them being 80/90s Bally/Williams and the other half modern sterns. Sometimes I enjoy a brutal game that has simple rules, flow, and satisfying shots. Other times I enjoy playing a game that takes a little bit more time to understand and has more depth. This game is of the second variety. At first I didn't really gravitate towards the game because I didn't quite understand the rules, but after spending some time figuring out the rules I realized how great this game is. I think it's ridiculous and uninformed when someone creates a review after playing any pin for '30' minutes at a local bar. In my opinion these reviews should be instantly disqualified, because no one can understand the rules of a pin after 30 minutes of play. I have almost half of the top ten pins and IMO this game is definitely a top 10 pin.
5 months ago
I grew up with this game. I purchased it from my father recently. I have probably played this pin over the decades more than any other.

Look I love this game. But even I can admit that is largely due to my love of the LOTR. As a pinball game, this machine is very good, maybe even great. But a top 10 pin this is not.

Look the music, artwork, callouts, sounds and overall theme are really second to none. Many of the callouts are not only custom, but are from the actual movie actors! I have yet to see a game do better with licensing other than maybe the hobbit. The animations are only rivaled by the new lcd screen games. The modes are different, challenging and fun. But the design of the playfield is lacking.

First, the magnetic ring rarely works right even in the best of machines. A shot up the middle is supposed to start modes, but it really is a design flaw where even on the best of machines, a perfect shot up the middle does not always work. Also the right ramp is a bit of a joke. It is not at a correct angle for the flippers to reliably target. Even for great players, the bad layout of the right sword ramp is more of a luck shot.

The toys affixed to the playfield also are pretty cheap. They are quite literally the same boxed action figure toys that were sold at Toys R Us back when the movies were hot. How do I know this? Because I owned a lot of the same toys. Even the main Balrog toy is nothing more than a mass produced action figure.

The tower up kicks are cool, but the path of the dead upper playfield is pointless, luck driven, non-interactive garbage that severely hinders the flow of the game.

Reading this, you would think that I don’t love the game, but the truth is I do. I love it for the depth of the rules and the modes. I love it for the callouts, the music and the theme, which it probably got better than arguably any other game out there. But, the playfield layout and the toys leave much to be desired — so much so my kids prefer Star Wars Episode I over this pin.

A top 100 pin this is, a top 10 pin this is not.
6 months ago
Great game!
6 months ago
One of the best Stern games. Love this game. Has great flow. Deeper set of rules. You can achieve your multiballs kinda easy, but they are great! Love the animations, the music and the theme. This is a keeper!
6 months ago
What is there to say? Great game.
6 months ago
As a pinball fan but not a big LOTR fan, I really enjoy this table. The theme doesn't do anything for me personally however it is integrated in the table extremely well. The real draw to this table for me are the rules. There are 3 main multiball modes and several gameplay modes to be played. There is so much to do on this table, including one of the most difficult to reach wizard modes in all of pinball. Decent shots and an interesting layout. Not the best art, but it could be worse. Overall an great pinball experience.
6 months ago
Lord of the rings is a cool game it has great sounds and callouts it also has cool toys. The one thing I don't like is the game takes too long even after taking rubbers off I still have one hour long games.
6 months ago
One of the best of Sterns all time pinball machines!
7 months ago
Still no where close to beating it...
8 months ago
I used to not appreciate this game at all! Every location game was always in poor condition and was in disrepair. Then I played one in good condition with someone who gave me a good strategy to play! It completely opened my eyes to how great this machine is!! Such great, deep rules!! I ended up buying it! It's a great machine in the home environment with the deep rule set!
8 months ago
What a cool pin. Lost in the gameplay, sounds and slowly getting into the world of this perfect machine, suddenly the Ballrog lights up, growls to you and the machine shakes. The balls are coming down as a Ballrog attack and are screaming to be punched back as fast as possible to hit and the Ballrog over and over. YES, this is pinball at his best.
8 months ago
This game is soooo much fun the music the gameplay is all awsome to play fun for hours
8 months ago
This is our favorite pin. Deep rules, great connection to the movies. I recognize our love of the movies may have biased us on this one, but who cares. Love the voices from the movie and some that are for the game only. The various video modes are numerous and good and the various multi-balls really get your pulse moving. This one is a permanent in our game room.
9 months ago
A classic in all respects. You can really feel that the designers of LotR wanted the game to succeed. The rules are wonderfully thought out and fine tuned. The shots are very satisfying. And the theme is presented in a way that only a few games in history have managed to achieve.

The game does have its flaws: the Gimly VUK, the Path of the Dead, pixelated art and flippers that get weaker during a longer game come to mind. To me, they are overshadowed by all the goodness of the game.

To me, LotR was the game that put pinball in general back into the saddle. This was at a time when the public had nearly forgotten about pinball and fans were wondering if it would survive the modern age of gaming. It turned pinball's tide. Clearly Sterns best effort up to date, it was proof that pinball could move on after the decline of Bally/WMS. And so it has. There and back again.
9 months ago
One of the greatest pinball machines on this planet. Deep ruleset and long lasting gameplay. Must have even if you are not a fan of the movies
10 months ago
At a location I frequent, This is one of those titles I continue to go back to. I still suck at it and don't really understand every 100% yet, but after playing it I have to say its a title I would get in a heartbeat if they did a vault edition of it. Something about the flow of the game and the amount of shots you get to make to complete the different tasks made this game for me. I'm not a huge LOTR fan, good movie but the game more then makes up for choosing a theme that I could of done without.

That being said I could really care less about theme, The game could have Barbie theme and if it was fun enough I would probably be looking to buy one. Seems for a lot of people it's a deal breaker. I hope to own one someday, but for now I'm content with playing the one on location. Great title
There are 586 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 24.

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