Crile1's ratings

Pinsider Crile1 has rated 24 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms Crile1's personal top 24.

Rating comments

Crile1 has written 24 rating comments:

67 days ago
This is a game that I initially did not like very much. I drank the Kool-aide that the shots were too tight. But Houdini kept drawing me towards it. I found myself always spending a lot of time on it at shows or on location. I watched some videos and learned the rules. Then finally, I took the plunge and made a trade. Wow! What a great decision.

Theme: OK, I'm not a big Houdini or magic fan. I enjoy watching magicians, but really a magic-themed game never appealed to me. However, I really appreciate how the team decided to go all in regarding this theme. The game encompasses Houdini's best known tricks, his famous jail escapes, his fascination with the occult, and even his film career. Honestly, I had no idea about much of this stuff, but the game is like a living documentary.

Gameplay: Man this game is fun! On my first game once I set it up, I started Séance multiball and trunk multiball. Modes are easy to start. There are super smooth orbits and ramp shots. The spinner is fantastic. The key lane and alley shots are a bit tighter and the inner loop/trunk shot is an easy backhand or a challenge from the left flipper. But boy is that left flipper shot smooth and satisfying. The milk can is easy to repeat off the tip of the right flipper, but still a challenge if trying to make it on the fly. Hitting the shots makes the game flow. Miss a shot and recovery is pretty likely.

Code: Boy is this where the game shines. Super deep and varied. Lots of modes between films and tricks. Fun jail escape hurry ups. Nice combo challenges are available. Multiballs are fun to start and can be stacked. Modes are very unique and this game has best shaker integration of any game I've ever experienced. The game shakes every time the elephant takes a step towards the crate giving you a physical countdown to the end of the mode.

Toys and gimmicks: The game has a 2 foot catapult shot. 'nuff said. Plus the stage, plus magnets, plus chains and locks, and plus a second shorter catapult. This game is loaded.

Lighting: very good and varied. Nice and bright GI compared to other current games

Music/callouts/animations: I can get where this is criticized. I didn't like the appearance of the animations when I would play at shows and locations. But it is serviceable and I appreciate it more at home. I really like the music and enjoy how it progressively gets more intense with each ball. Callouts are fun and let you know what to do.

Build: Game is solid. I would rate it just beneath JJP in terms of how solid it feels...and the weight. Definitely can't toss it around like a Stern. I really like how they incorporated the lcd into the backglass.

Conclusion: I'm in the honeymoon, but this game won me over slowly over time and I can't stop playing it. Don't let the comments about the shots throw you off. By your second game you will be hitting them consistently, if not on your first. And a miss usually hits something else that keeps your progression going. I never thought that I would say Houdini would be bolted to the floor, but it might just be.
74 days ago
Finally going to rate this game since I have gone from enjoying on location, to wanting, to owning, and now to trading it. Dialed in is a great game that is fun and has lots of flow. It is mode based. And that is my biggest issue. I found the scoop shot to start modes very frustrating (even after swapping the cliffy for a mantis protector). But this is a problem I have with a lot of Lawlor's games. I just hate the backhand to scoop shot to start a mode. But on Dialed In, I found the backhand to still miss or bounce out more often than not. And that was the main reason I traded it. The theme is a bit dull, but the game is quirky fun. I wish the announcer voice was a bit more lively. I think that and some more intense music during the modes would have really made this game more immersive. The video on the back is amazing once you realize all the little things going on. The shots have great flow. The sim card shot is tough and if I was playing for point or ever thought I had a chance at the final wizard mode, I can see where it would be frustrating. The toys are fun, especially the theater. It is a very fun game and I'm glad I had a chance to have had it in my collection. But over time, the frustration with the scoop shot and the lack of immersion finally got to me.
7 months ago
Owned this game for 6 months and have no regrets letting it go. This is a great game to play on location, but not good for home use. It is just too repetitive. The music and callouts are super fun and the Topper is the best (would rate it as a 10). But the gameplay and lack of shots are what brings this game down. Modes do not feel at all unique. It is the epitome of shoot the flashing lights. With the upper playfield stand up that spots a shot, there is no reason to hit anything but ramp, stand up, ramp, ball lock. Seriously, it makes this a 3 shot game. The throw back modes are great, but once again, there is no clear objective once you start it. Hearing the BK2K music every few games is not worth owning. If you love the theme, I would recommend owning either BK or BK2K or both instead of this game. So disappointed. I really enjoyed this game on location, but couldn't wait to get rid of it from my home.
9 months ago
Review after 1 week of ownership and if my impression greatly changes I will update. If I had to summarize this game it would be with one word, "fun". It is just fun to play. The theme immediately evokes the joy of playing with cars as a kid and the game brings it to life with races, battles, crashes, speed, and curves. The layout is really nice. It is not cookie cutter as you can see in little details like stand up bank of targets being in a stair step set up and variety of shots. The shots are not too tight and easily feed each other for lots of flow. The ramps and orbits are super smooth. There is a magnet to vary things up as well as a vicious kick-back. Not much for traditional toys on this game. This one uses more of creative gimmicks, like the magnet use in loop crash multiball similar to hitting the ball in Lord of the Rings. The rotating car is a visual cue to let you know how your tach is doing. Seems silly at first, but you kind of get used to keeping your eye on it. If it stops moving, you aren't scoring. Rules have lots to do. There are races, battles, track building, loops, epic features, all available at any time. You can focus on one thing, but during a long game you get around to playing it all. There are some cool moments, like the crazy shaker going off to start modes or the pretty cool Red Line Mania multiball. Plus winning a race and then trying to beat your best time is really challenging and exciting. Music, callouts, and animations are great and I perceive will improve with updates. The ability to swap out your own cars is like having a built in mod. I've already swapped one and will at least swap another. It is a small thing, but makes your game feel personal. The automatically included side art is very nice. I also enjoy the use of the Hot Wheels City show clips. It is very childlike and again, just fun. This game is approachable and easy to play for beginners as they will instinctively figure out how to start something. Very fun game and highly recommend it.
12 months ago
This is the game that changed the modern pinball machine. First use of color changing LED's and LCD. Insane amount of mechs on this game. Crazy deep code. Animations and sounds are top tier. This game is gorgeous. I will admit, when I played it on location, I didn't understand the appeal, even though I'm a huge WOZ film fan. But made a trade for a Ruby Red version because my wife loved the game and everything changed. Having this in the home environment (with better lighting) makes all the difference. Once you figure out the ruleset and get the shots down, it becomes an amazing game to play. So much to do and lots of strategy. Melting the which feels iconic and amazing if you can get to it. It is hard, but not unreachable. Kind of like destroy the ring in LOTR. I don't think I will ever get to Somewhere over the Rainbow, but I can try. Love this game. only negative is despite all the amazing lights, it is dark. This is the only game I have Pinstadiums in (and I don't generally like these), and it makes a huge difference.
1 year ago
This review comes from a former premium owner. Played this game first at a fellow Pinsider's house (he had an LE) and had a blast. Was able to easily hit all shots. Hit the demogorgan, locked the tk balls, etc. Thought the projector was awesome and had amazing potential. Knew the code was primitive at the time, but had room to mature. Bought a premium and went through 3 code updates.

The Good: My game had no mech issues. The TK lock is cool and on mine with a good shot worked 100% of the time. A slow shot that made it over the diverter was still counted as a virtual lock. Re-locking balls on multiball was a cool idea, but never really implemented well. The left orbit to right ramp return shot is fun. The projector is really an innovative idea.

The Bad: This game is boring. The base code is just a grind. I don't think it will improve greatly over time. The soundtrack is dull with no "adrenaline pumping" moments. The callouts are bland. Hopper's dull and undertone voice works on the show because it is paired with they hyperkinetic voices and actions of the kids and Joyce that surround him. It works there, but not here. Hitting the Demogorgon gets old fast. If you can easily one-shot it in the mouth (my game worked well), then those modes are over without fanfare quick. The Demodog modes are just awful. Nothing interesting. Just killing the dogs by first hitting posts (yes, posts) and then by hitting colored arrows. The projector has not as of yet been fully implemented. To really work, you would need to code 2 different games. One code for pro and one for premium/LE. A different code where you implemented an entirely new set of visuals for upper screen and lower screens. I just don't see them doing this. What they have done is great, but is just not using the potential. The shots are clunky. Even clean ramp shots bounce around. The left orbit clunks and clanks and is paired with the tinny spinner sound. The right orbit into the pops is one of the most unsatisfying shots in pinball. The Total Isolation mode is dull as well. A shot gives a little sound effect, but that is it. There is no sense of story telling or immersion in a game that should be totally immersive. None of the modes drew me in or got me excited.

All in all, I had some huge buyer's remorse for this game. I would rate it as a game that I would like to play once or twice on location or at a show, but is just stale in the home environment. If you do get this game, the UV kit is a must and truly an awesome add on that works well. Just not enough to save the game for me. Hope the code gets an overhaul. My only hope was that with the projector, you could update (with a cost) to Season 3 clips/callouts. But with the inserts all printed, this won't happen.
1 year ago
Clunk fest. Horrible implementation of a great theme. Prefer the Data East version.
1 year ago
I own the LE model, so this review is specifically for it. I bought this mainly out of nostalgia for watching these with my son. He is now a teenager and we remember watching the first three films together, the last one in the theater. Even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the films, they still hit well with the Transformers nostalgia from the '80's that I grew up with. But that, coupled with watching my son enjoy the movies, characters, and toys made these a great time and memory. This game brought it all back for the both of us. And I have to say, it is really fun. The rules are pretty basic, hit the flashing light. And I don't think I will ever make it to the wizard mode...just too much to do on this fast game. But the shots are satisfying and not too hard to hit. You can get some good flow going. The music and callouts are where this game really excels. David Theil is just the best. The music and voice callouts for the movies work perfectly. The lighting effects are cool and not just generic. The toys are fun as well. I like the Star Scream and Optimus bashing. Ironhide is a little quirky, but fun. But the biggest "wow" is when Megatron blasts you with the pinballs out of his cannon to start multiball. So cool. The art package is taken from the films and is basic 2000's Stern. But because these aren't actor shots, they don't look as cut and paste. Overall, this is just a simple, fun, fast game with great lights, music, and callouts. I'm really enjoying this one. And the LE armor (I have the combo version) is just gorgeous. Great game and underrated. At the price for a used LE, it is a great deal!
1 year ago
This game is a blast! Played one on location a few years ago and never got into it. But my daughter loved it and when a project one showed up for sale, I grabbed it. Now it is fixed up and is amazing. I never realized how deep, yet simple the rules are. With the back legs up and rebuilt pops, this game plays fast. Getting the multiball going is a real challenge and I only get to it every 10 or so games. But when I do, it is magic. I love that if you don't fully qualify the multiball, you have to sit and watch your locked balls drain. So cruel. The backglass (with motor running) is stunning...just stunning. The artwork on the playfield and cabinet are functional and work with the theme. Music, sounds, and callouts are typical 80's and work well. But the rules and lower playfield are what make this game shine. I love the two ways to qualify an extra ball. G-force multipliers and regular bonus multipliers are available. But the best rule is that the bonus is earned solely from the lower playfield. Total risk vs reward, because if you don't complete one of the two target banks, you won't be coming back alive and will just watch your ball drain. Don't understand what I'm talking about, then drop a couple of quarters and find out. One of the most fun, yet frustratingly cruel games out there...makes you hit start over and over. Pure it!
2 years ago
I've now had the chance to put a lot of plays on this at shows, location, and now home use. This is a great game. It is a unique game. And it is a beautiful game. First, let's get the beautiful part out of the way. The art package is amazing, especially in person. Pictures just do not do this pin justice. The colors and art just pop in person and you will swear that the backglass is 3D. Second, the animations are perfect. The comic book, animated panel type art just works for this game. The amount of detail and humor and creepiness is perfect. Lights and sounds...c'mon it is Spooky and Danesi. The original music for the game is great on its own, plus you get the signature Alice Cooper songs during modes. I was not even very familiar with his work before this game and now I am a fan. The sounds are great and go from rattling chains, door slams, screams, and electric surges. The speaker system is fantastic. At volume level 2, it rocks my basement and shakes the room with bass. Does this game have toys? Some point just to the Frankenstein monster toy, but I would count the entire upper playfield with its 7 shots, guillotine mech, Monster lock mech, Danesi lock, and the super cool magnet save below the flippers as well. Ok, now to talk about shots and layout. Shots are tighter than most games. After about 3 games the first time I played it at a show, I had them down. Even though a lot of shots will hit posts, it is fairly easy to recover and try again. This is a shooter's game, but eventually you can get some flow going with 3 and 4 way combos pretty common. My 12 and 14 year olds are hitting shots without complaint. The layout is pretty great in that it is a fan layout, but uniquely so. The usual fan shots are put in different trajectories. Some easier to hit from both flippers, and some not so much. Really makes you think about your gameplay. Plus there is an inner and outer orbit shot that is pretty exciting as it disappears and reappears from under the castle. Oh yeah, there is a huge castle on the game. It really adds to the whole theme and style. I like the mixed use of scoops (3), orbits (4), standups (5), Ramps (2)and Danesi lock (1). But, the best thing about this game is the code and gameplay. Bowen's first effort as rules designer along with Fawzma, Charlie, and Scott Danesi really shows originality. Each monster has its own unique set of rules, some which I've never seen in pinball. I like that you have to try to "hide the ball" from the Pit creature by hitting shots that make it disappear from view (like in a scoop or under the castle). Then it counts down a timer for the amount of time it is hidden from view. So cool! Plus there are other little things like getting points for stretching the guy on the rack in the Dungeon. I hope that as code progresses, each room has a little mini-game in itself like the dungeon. The music and art are woven seamlessly into the code as well as little things like having the drop targets up or down to help with a mode. Oh, yeah, there are three mutliballs (Frank, crypt, and Cold Ethtyl) that can be stacked. This game just screams personality. This is not a shoot the flashing shot game at all. Plus with full rgb, the inserts will light depending on what they are for at any time...and the lightshow is great and integrated into the speaker lights as well. I guess the main reason I am giving this such a rave review is that it is a breath of fresh air for pinball. This game is not anything like what else is out there. It is unique and trying new things with layout, music, lights, animations, and code. Definitely give this game a try.
2 years ago
Played on location a lot and now have owned for almost a month. First, the production unit is so much better than the prototypes that they had at the shows. I really didn't like the game after playing the prototype. But found a production game on location and was blown away by how much smoother it shot. Everything, including the single disc change, was better. I like that you can keep track of the locked balls in the chest now. Loading the cannon and getting a bulls-eye is a blast every time. The music, lights, and callouts are fantastic. There is even a Pirate version of the LOTR Gimli jackpot, "Super Jackpot...whoa ho ho!" The game makes me smile and laugh. I have several super short games and then will have that one game where I blow it up. Have managed to get all 5 movie multiballs going at once and it was sensory overload! A really great game. How you play the game changes on whether you are playing alone or with others and I love that. Do I go for completing chapters towards a wizard mode, or just for points, or both? Which character should I try? So many ways to attack this game. So, bottom line, if all you have played was a prototype at a show, try it again. Yes, the rules are super deep. But, I own this game, so I have time to explore it. It cost a lot and I feel that the depth, toys, sounds, music, art, and fun are worth it and that will keep this game from getting dull for a long time. Great game..period!

Edit: revised 3/8/21. When I first got this game and reviewed it, I thought I would never let it go. There was just so much in it and so much to do. But as I continued to own it and play just grew stale. The modes are very bland. Just hit the lit shots. There is no theme to the modes or uniqueness. And there are 25 modes available to play at the start of each game. It is only when you get to the wizard or mini wizard modes that you get into any type of uniqueness. But those are hard to get to. The multiballs are fun, but since they are so easy to start...that is all you are doing. This game, even with all its mechs and tricks, just doesn't immerse you at all. If only they had the full rights to the music and clips and had more unique coding to the modes, this game would have been unstoppable. Alas, it is gone and I don't regret it. I am glad I had the chance to own one and put the time on it.
2 years ago
I finally got to put some games on this one and I'm a bit disappointed, especially after all the rave reviews. First, my rating does unfortunately reflect my take on the theme. I do not like Iron Maiden or their music. But folks said the game was awesome despite not liking the theme. I played an LE on location and everything was working fine. Why don't I like this game that everyone else loves? 1) theme...already said that. 2) animations are just not good. Looks like a phone app animation. From what I understand, that is what they are based on...but they just look...not good. 3) game play was not what I was hoping for. I'm an average player and my ball times were super long. I kept getting into multiple multiballs that all felt the same. I ripped the was okay. The sarcophagus lock was nothing special. The ramp into a wall felt disappointing watching the ball just fall down. I liked the loop shots, but they were harder to hit than I thought they would be. Never was able to do multiple loops. I guess the main thing is that I walked away with unused credits on the machine because I was just tired of playing it. Nothing felt fun or satisfying. Even my son who was watching me didn't want to give it a try, he just wanted to go back to Attack from Mars. So, basically adding this review to try to give some balance to this game's rating. I think it is a great effort from Stern...but it's no top 5. I think we'll be seeing a lot of these on the resale market once the hype honeymoon ends. But it does have me looking forward to what Elwin does next.
2 years ago
After a very long wait, I finally have this game in my collection. I was only able to put a few (20-ish) plays on one on location. That game must have been set at 6.0 degrees because it felt slow and the sound was so low I had to stand next to the speaker to hear the music. Now that I have it at home, level at 6.5 degrees with default volume...WOW! This game is so much fun. More than I expected. It's fast, challenging, and keeps me re-starting. Best shaker integration of any game I've ever played. Best music integration as well. It's just the little things that draw you in deeper. I like the theme as and art as a throwback to the '80's. It's just beautiful. My family loves the co-op and vs modes. I can see my kids and their friends battling on this for a long time. The rules are simple on the surface, but provide enough nuance to make it really challenging. Relighting your locks is not as easy as you think, especially when every shot seems dangerous on this machine. This is pure '80's throwback pinball with modern flair. It's exactly what I was hoping it would be and more. Thanks Scott and Charlie for creating and manufacturing this masterpiece. It is truly a special game.
3 years ago
Fun. That describes this game. It's just fun pinball. The rules are not too deep, the shots aren't too hard, it's fast but not lightning, it's beautiful to look at and has a great toy. It has the smoothest orbits I've ever shot. Easy to learn and jump right in. This is not the journey of LOTR, the deep rules of TWD, or constant trying to stay alive as SW or TNA. It's just fun pinball. Reminds me of classic System 11 games where multiball is obvious, achievable, and worth it. Probably one of the most beautiful art packages as well. I have always enjoyed Aerosmith music and I guess if you didn't like them, then that would be an issue. But for a fun game with a truly spectacular toy, this is the game for you. My wife and kids love this game as well...and for me, that makes it a hit. Liked it enough to finally own one.

After owning for 7 months, it was time to go...even after the code update. Just got old. Very repetitive. Always hitting the same shots. Great for location, but would avoid as long term purchase in a small pin line up.
3 years ago
Got to put a lot of plays on one of these in one setting not too long ago and felt had enough info for a review. I really like this game. It's fast and plays like a single level game, yet has ramps. Really feels like an old school game with upgrades (magnets, ramps, bash toy, diverters, etc). The music is good and the theme is fun for a comic book and movie guy like me. The callouts are spot on as Jarvis. I'd like to own one today.
3 years ago
Had the chance to own this one for a while. I got it to fix up and donate. By the time it was ready to leave I was very sad. Had very little expectation, but ended up loving this one. Spinner, drop targets, pops, and unique play field really make this game fun. The bonus countdown is a blast. The mirrored backglass is gorgeous. The playfield art is ok, but the cabinet art for some reason really shines for me. The roto-target is an interesting toy. It does add some variety to the game, but took a bit of work to adjust to make it work right. The game only has one sling, the other does not have a solenoid. So really messes with you. I liked the rules. Very easy, but lots of room to add multipliers. Great game and surprisingly did not get old. If the family I donated it to ever tires of it, I will gladly take it back.
3 years ago
I really love this game and play it whenever I see it on location. The turbo charger is an awesome mech, you have to see it to truly appreciate it. There is an inner loop and outer orbit shot that can be repeated for combos that is really satisfying. The music is ZZ Top's La Grange and is stellar! Add in the the flashing lights, police siren sounds, and the gear shift and you've got a great game.
3 years ago
When I went to play this game (1.0 code) for the first time, I had low expectations based on watching early streams and reading and listening to reviews that gave a poor grade to this game. Then I played it. The first time I put 20--30 plays on it. I had only intended to play my 3 games for $2, but I couldn't stop playing it. Then, went home, watched a tutorial and learned more about the rules and multipliers. I went back and put another 20-30 games on it with my wife and kids. We all loved it! We played the premium version. The hyperloop was amazing! The supercharger in Getaway is my all time favorite toy/mech in a game and the hyperloop is the supercharger on steroids. Yes, it is a tough shot. But the payoff is worth it. It's not too tough, my 13 y/o son hit it three times when we played it. The art is better in person and there is more to it than just the 4 main characters. The sound is great (it's Star Wars). The lights were awesome. Clips are good. And the gameplay is fast and has flow, which is what I'm looking to add to my collection at the moment. After family approval, I put an order down for this one. I can't believe how much my opinion on this game changed after code updates and actually playing it. Please, do not review or pass judgment on this one until you play it. I didn't think I'd like the multiplier rules, but after learning about them, they are quite unique and fun. Constantly swapping them makes it a new game every time. Also, this is the best incorporation of an action button to date. And I used to hate those buttons.
3 years ago
This is a simple (no deep rules), fast, and fun game. A Lawlor layout with some of his usual shots (3rd flipper jackpot shot). The game really does well to embrace the theme of monopoly. The call outs are quite good. It's a fun game to play and has lasted a long time at my parent's house. I enjoy playing it when I go to visit (we live in the same town). Not sure about how long it would last in a small collection, but would add good variety to a medium to large collection.
3 years ago
What is there to say? Great game.
3 years ago
Recently purchased HUO version of this game and have now put enough plays on it to render an opinion. This game is as fun as I expected it to be. I love the sense of humor in this game. It evokes the early Zucker Brothers era of humor (Airplane, Kentucky Fried Movie, etc). What I did not realize is how well this game shoots. I dare say it shoots better than my LOTR (less brick shots). The right Elevator/ramp shot is a great toy and when the elevator is down, the shot is super smooth. The game does lack a true orbit shot, though. The rules are great and really deep. I love the little side missions during boss battles. There are so many choices on how to play this game: go for multiball, go for minion battles, or battle the bosses. The lighting is excellent (my game has an LED strip in the back to light up the back panel). The backglass lights up different colors depending on the mode you are in due to the LED light strip in the back box. I really don't understand why more games don't do this. I even like the art package, but I do know that the backglass is an issue for some (FYI, it's REAL glass, not a translite). I think it works and I like it. I have the Topper from laseriffic and it is phenomenal. If you haven't played this game, give it a try if you see one. It's quite fun and if you like the slapstick humor, then you'll want more. The music is great, light integration is fun, shots flow well, and rules are surprisingly deep and varied. Love it! I think it will have staying power in my collection because it is truly unique.
3 years ago
What can I say? It's a classic. Straight forward simple rules, fast gameplay, challenging, fun callouts, and amazing light effects make this a solid game. Solid 80's theme add to the nostalgia effect. And it gets your heart racing when the beacons start going off, every time. And when the last ball drains and the game laughs at you...well, you gotta play again! Even compared to the more modern games in my collection, the kids keep coming back to this. Highly recommend, especially to balance out a collection that has some games with longer ball times.
3 years ago
I'm biased, this machine is my first and has significant sentimental attachment that I will not go into. But, trying to be objective and rate this machine that is relatively rare. It is circus themed and that may not appeal to some...but has great nostalgia value as Barnum is now gone. It is clearly themed after "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Cecil B DeMille. If you haven't seen it, check it out. Especially on the backglass with the clown and dog which represent Jimmy Stewart's character. The gameplay is actually quite fun. This was the first Gottlieb 2 player game that had an add a ball feature. There are multiple ways to add balls. Score alone will do it (every 2000 points by default). Hitting back targets 1--4 (quite challenging) will get you another ball. And upper center rollover targets after lit will give you another. Each added ball is represented by a ball showing up in the backglass via a rotating feature. Hard to explain, but looks cool and the loud know really lets you know you got one. And you'll need those extra balls because of the small flippers and huge flipper gap. It has 4 flippers and you'll use them to work the ball back to the upper playfield to try to hit add a ball targets. There are lower rollover targets to light up one side of the playfield bumpers to turn 1 point hits into 10 point hits. And an evil red rollover in the very middle of the lower part of the playfield that cancels those multipliers out. It's a great game and is strangely addictive, especially once you get a good game'll go back for more. I added LED's to mine and really lit it up so it holds it own right next to my Hobbit. Check it out if you get the chance.
3 years ago
This is my first pinball purchase and I bought it NIB after playing it at Louisville Pinball Expo. I've played pinball all my life and have inherited two machines from my father. I finally got to the point to be able to have machines at my home because my kids are old enough to be safe around them. I researched and went to expo with a short list : Spider-Man (I was looking at playing the original and then buying the VE), Ghostbusters, and WOZ. I knew they all would be there and I wanted to play each with my kids and then decide which to buy (kids didn't know what I was up too). As soon as we got in, a JJP distributor (with Jack there himself) had a bank of machines (WOZ, DI, and Hobbit). I had no intention to look at the Hobbit...thought the movies were ok, but not on the level of Ghostbusters, WOZ, or Spider-Man nostalgia. But, figured I'd give it a play. Wow! This game is just on another level compared to other pins. The light show, giant LCD, movie clips, shaker, music, movie call outs, etc. The mechs popping up and down, multiballs galore, and tons of shots. Sensory overload...but in a good way. Ended up playing all on my list and lots more...but still kept going back to the Hobbit. Sorry, ghostbusters...but no comparison going from Hobbit's giant LCD to your DMD. Aerosmith was there, but just not that into the band and Jacky was just flat out annoying to me. So, after owning for 3 months, my family still loves it. Even my wife has now turned into a pinball freak. Every person who has walked into my basement goes straight to it and is mesmerized by the light show, sounds, and overall package. Some say that the LCD is wasted because you never see it while you are playing. True, at a 7 degree slope, if you look up, you lose your ball. However, I think JJP games are made to be played with others. This game is as fun to watch as it is to play. I can't think of any other game like that. I love being able to watch all the LCD stuff, lights, etc while others gets me just as hyped. And, there really isn't anything more fun than having my daughter read off the cues on the playfield LCD (above the pop bumpers) while I hit the shots. A total team effort. Code is great. There is at least one more revision coming at this point and should flesh out the Five Armies, I hope. Great game, totally epic, and fun for me and my family. Draws people in like nothing else. Once you learn the rules, you'll be hooked and looking at strategies to get through all the Arkenstone modes. And that is where the multiballs come in. Choosing when to activate a multiball plays in to your journey to the next movie mode (Arkenstone). Okay, I've said enough...great game. Play it first...and see if it for yourself. FYI, I've had no quality control issues. Only had to do a simple mech adjustment (head on goblin was tilted just a hair to make it hit the side). Otherwise, it's been perfect!