benbethel's ratings

Pinsider benbethel has rated 8 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms benbethel's personal top 8.

Rating comments

benbethel has written 8 rating comments:

1 year ago
This is definitely one of the best, most playable, longest lasting pins that could have ever been created. I'll start with the few negatives of this pin: 1) It's standard body, not wide body - this is just a disservice to this pin, as it really deserves to be wide body. 2) It needs more bass - there's something tinny to the sound, but I bet they'll update this in a future release. 3) There's a bumper on the right side that often just goes haywire in certain modes, this is intentional but they need to tone it down a bit. Other than that, pure perfection.

On to the game - it's fantastic, always a joy, and I never get tired of it. I'm likely going to pare down my collection and this one will be one I'll regret selling if I sell it. The play, the rules, the movie scenes, the voices, the lights - everything about it is great and I can play it for a long time. I prefer keeping my rules on easy settings so that I can enjoy as much of this pin as possible. It's my new #2 after Pirates of the Caribbean CE, and if I didn't have that it would be my #1 but very very close in rankings with Wizard of Oz.

I look forward to seeing more creations from Jersey Jack Pinball - they really have created something special with their pins, and I have had all of their pins except Dialed In. They should be a long-lasting company who weathers the current storm - after all, if you have to stay at home why not have as many pins as possible!
1 year ago
I cannot imagine a more perfect pin.... after searching for this pin for over a year and finally finding one, purchasing it, and waiting months for it to be shipped to me I think I have finally found the absolutely most perfect pin money could buy. Granted it ended up costing me almost $19,000 once said and done, but it was money well worth spending.

The exterior of the machine in itself is a beauty, the artwork, the barnacles, the backglass, everything is beautiful. The ship in a bottle topper is the best I've ever seen in a pin.

The playfield layout is full of twists and turns and ramps and multiple levels of targets to achieve. The Black Pearl upper playfield is challenging to play as it sways back and forth and you attempt to launch a ball to a hole in a ship that's clear across the playfield. The pirates chest (I have the mod) is easy to get to, but it takes just the right amount of force to get the ball to land inside, unlike Hobbit where you are always going up the ramps. The magnetic mechanism in the upper playfield that starts shooting cannons is awesome to watch, the upper flipper hits so many additional targets that it is like playing a second pinball machine. The spinning disc does amazing things and prevents the lower playfield from becoming mundane. The left shots require timing and skill, including the maelstrom shot which harkens back to another one of my all time favorites Whitewater.

On to the video - this is an amazing component of the pin, and thanks to Jersey Jack for having the pinballs to make this happen... instead of sticking with the status quo, this brings a level of entertainment to the industry never seen before, and is a reason why I also love my Wizard Of Oz and Hobbit and Wonka so much. Video that is this well thought out, this stylish, this gorgeous really completes the game.

For gameplay, I am incredibly challenged yet never frustrated. I need to understand the ruleset more, but it is so nice that between balls I'm shown which shots do what, and this correlates with the video screen by blinking the lights for the shots on the playfield. Brilliant! I would have gone a step further and included actual videos above on exactly what needs to be done to achieve what goal.

Personally, this is absolute perfection and with this pin my life is complete. Jersey Jack, please keep taking my money away, please keep up with the themes... as long as you're making pins, you'll likely be taking my money. If it's $20K, so be it. This is playable art, perfect pinball, bringing pure joy to anyone who comes across this pin. But good luck finding one - there are only 200 of these and it will never be made again... and I won't be giving this up anytime soon, that's for sure... so now there are just 199 of this on Planet Earth, best of luck finding one... but if you do find one, know that you have a true treasure (and investment) on your hands!
1 year ago
I have had the Hobbit Smaug Gold Edition since it started shipping.... I find that the game makes everyone happy and surprises and delights them with the color-changing LEDs, the movie cut scenes, the challenges, the pop ups, the playfield that seems really empty until everything pops up and starts getting in the way. I do find a few things confusing and feel like there should be a much more clear set of guidance instructions as you play through the game. So many players don't know what a certain ramp or loop or whatnot is, don't know what to do next, don't know what their goals are. I think this is the biggest crutch of all pinball games... if you're going to have a complicated rule set, hold the player's hand and let them know what those rules are. Even a few years in, I don't know really how to get certain dwarves, what they mean, what it means when using the flippers to select between different ones, etc. I don't even know what the 'postpone mode' button does... postpone what mode? multiball? For a very, very expensive game there should be some things that work even better - launching the ball is the weakest ball launch in the history of pinball, so I enabled the setting to have both flipper buttons launch the ball. While 95% of the game is absolutely stunning to look at and play, the two main ramp targets in the back could have been so much more fun and unique! What's this 'book mode' do? I still don't know. Overall, it still ranks in the top pins I've ever had the chance to play and this is due to the pretty lights and colors and toys and pop ups and movie scenes. In the future, I'd love to see even bigger screens that are 8K, perhaps a lower and upper playfield, more interesting ramps, a thinner backbox and shallower cabinet to shave some inches off these machines. I think if machines started to get smaller but had the same playfield size you'd start to see more people transitioning to the 'new gen' cabinet sizes for sure. Hobbit is incredible... it should be in every collection. Jersey Jack keeps being a cutting edge company, and I love it.
5 years ago
I wanted to love this game but found it so annoying and repetitive and the call outs just bothered me to the point of irritability.... I found myself playing it quite a bit but never feeling very satisfied, and having friends and family play it was a chore to explain the rules... they loved it because they were just banging balls around. I'm not sure why this gets such high ratings, but it must be from people who love to play a game and figure everything out, but if the pin is challenging then the rules need to be much more obvious.
6 years ago
I currently own, in order - Bride of Pinbot, White Water, Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition, and now Road Show. I bought this on a whim at ZAPCON in Phoenix, Arizona (a really great annual show!), just because so many people were coming up and playing this, saying they've dropped tons of quarters in to it, and just had such energy and sparkles in their eyes reminiscing over this game. It was very interesting, because there were so many great games around it. So, I did some research, found that it had high ratings in the past and did the math on its ratings today - really dropped because of a few really bad reviews that I felt were unfair.

The game shakes a LOT - intentionally, and in a fun way... the audio-animatronic Red and Ted heads are just great, and that they swallow the balls and make for targets is great. I can't complain at all about this game... and I live in a pretty communal situation where I've combined 4 high rise condos into one giant place for about 10 people to live. And let me just say, this game gets played more than all other games... and probably will for a while!

With the unique characteristics and features, great lighting, easy but also challenging-at-times goals, and a feeling that you can get all the way to California pretty easily (but you really can't, at least we can't, but have enough times to captivate us when it happens), I think this is a wise investment, will keep its theme fun forever, plays to the times nicely, and will be timeless...

Great, great, great game...
6 years ago
I cannot give a game a higher rating at this time than Wizard of Oz... at least for a game I own. Next to my Bride of Pinbot and White Water, both excellent games, this one just captivates everyone who comes to my house. Everything about it is amazing, starting with the color-changing LEDs to the playfield, crystal ball, witch, spinning house, etc. The video screen is a new thing for me... quite frankly at first I didn't like it, but now I love it, especially when someone else is playing their ball. I only think that pinball machines' backglass should be replaced by a vertical 4K monitor... with no artwork, just make it *all* screen and keep it thin. I'm hoping that as future pins are developed, we start to see pins that act like murphy beds, with a thin screen mounted to the rear legs, and front legs and a playfield that just spring up and against the wall. The only reason I say this is so that I can get more pins in my house. I can see myself turning into a collector for sure... and bet that within the next two years I'll be spending around $100K on pins. Hopefully we can control costs and keep them around $5K each with lower costs for processors and monitors and other items... only the price of this pin had me waiting a year to buy it, but I finally did. I think if it was $5K (I paid twice as much with shipping... I know, it takes a while to get the component and development costs down), I'd be buying pins left and right.
6 years ago
I love this game - only my 2nd pin after owning The Machine Bride of Pinbot... and I have to say that this is an addictive game that I enjoy, my friends enjoy, and all of their friends enjoy. It probably gets played about 20 hours a week, no exaggeration, and people just keep wanting to play it. So, with that in mind, the rules are great, the music is great and not repetitive, it has just the right balance of ramps and gadgets and gimmicks, and it has extremely strong lastability. A definite keeper and perfect for any collection... my only critique initially would have been the backglass, but I now appreciate it for the 70s camp it is... even though the game didn't come out until the 90s.
7 years ago
This is a classic game that has great playability. It's almost as if they took the magic of the disco era of the 1970s with the early gadget era of the 1980s and mixed it in with a futuristic theme that reminds me of the movie "The 5th Element" when the robot sings. I have always wanted this pin and now that I have it, it's a keeper that will be played again, and again, and again. It's a true piece of art...