OK so the rules have improved tremendously since my first incredibly negative experience with WOZ and now that I have a better understanding of the game, I'm starting to respect it more and more even if I do dislike many of the aspects of the game. The rules are very complicated and in a recent PAPA broadcast the programmer Keith Johnson hinted that you would need to put in a lot of play time to understand the game fully. The display is hinting at the main objectives of the game but, there seems to be so much more it doesn't allude to. This is great for someone who owns the game because you unearth deeper and deeper levels of the game. For casual players or those playing in tournaments it can be frustrating. After one of my friends qualifying games in A division, which was extremely impressive and the second highest score of the weekend, Keith Johnson asked him if he knew the orbit was lit for a 50x jackpot. Of course my friend had no idea and Im not sure how he would have with so much information being thrown at him and the fact that its very difficult to get any sort of pertinent information from the screen especially during multiball. I think this is my biggest gripe with WOZ at this point and sort of the same reason I ended up selling my TSPP. There's just so much going on and so much to do that it becomes extremely difficult to inform the player of everything thats going on and things to shoot at on the playfield. It becomes even more difficult because as a designer what information is more important to a player? How many games have you played where the game is telling you to do one thing but, from a strategic stand point that objective either doesn't make sense or is to risky so you ignore it. I still don't enjoy the music and theme of the game but, I will say this game deserves the praise that it receives.
UPDATE The WOZ debacle continues at Pinballz. The great WOZ returned to the floor with a new upgraded light "board" not board(s) and a disabled crystal ball. So you can't see into the future just yet, but I'm pretty sure I didn't need a crystal ball to predict that more failures were just around the corner.
So this time we were able to play WOZ for maybe three days before a different light board went completely dark. Another issue, which I'm sure doesn't help the light board itself, is that lights will be permanently on until some one notices and power cycles the game. Since, LED lights consume less power and create less heat than normal bulbs its probably not a huge issue in general, but the light boards are defective from the factory so it probably doesn't help either. So currently, the game remains on the floor and turned off. I'm not sure why its turned off because I've played it without most of the yellow brick road inserts, lion and wizard scoop lights and found it to be playable. It's just JJP's way of teaching you to read the LCD display.
UPDATE Pinballz arcade in Austin Tx recently purchased a WOZLE. Finally a chance to really get to understand the games rules and hopefully pass judgement on this machine once and for all or so I thought.
The game was on the floor for about two days before strange issues started popping up. I was only able to play it six or so times on one afternoon before it disappeared from the game floor. On one occasion, I had put my tokens in ($1.25) and the LCD was totally blank as well as the game lights. Somehow pushing start still allowed me to play but, I thought the machine had gone dead. Apparently the next day people started experiencing random resets, blue screens of death, weird game malfunctions, insert lights going out *5v lamp board dead* until they were forced to haul it into the workshop. I spoke to the tech and he said now whenever the crystal ball displays a video the game crashes.
A lot of people in the forums were claiming that JJP was adhering to a new, higher standard of quality in their game. Unfortunately, it seems the exact opposite is true. Even for those that have not experienced a catastrophic failure like pinballz has, many are familiar with the lamp board failures. The hardware shipped with woz is defective. The boards will fail and from what I understand the boards are wired in serial. If the first board in a chain of boards dies, all of the inserts remaining in the chain also stop lighting. The good part is that JJP covers board failure under warranty and sends out replacements which are an updated design solving the issue for that board "permanently" The bad news is that they will not replace all of the boards even though they are defective and will absolutely fail sometime in the future.
I think JJP has a lot of potential but they've made some critical decision making errors along the way. I can't imagine the company is well off financially at this point after investing time and money into R&D, manufacturing, facilities only to have to suck up the cost of replacing a few thousand lamp boards. WOZ does appeal to many and I really hope that the Hobbit is an astonishing gams. Otherwise we may see JJP close its doors like so many pinball makers in the past.
UPDATE from HAAG show. Someone that I respect, especially when it comes to pinball, told me after I play the new code version I will be impressed by WOZ. Well much to my surprise someone brought their WOZ to the last HAAG show. I'm not sure what version it was but, it did have some improvements when compared to the earlier version of the game I had played at TPF. Unfortunately, I discovered a new more glaring issue. THE LED'S IN THE INSERTS ARE INSANELY BRIGHT!!!
Hanks LED flipper fingers are nothing compared to the amount of light coming out of the insert lights. The first time I played WOZ at TPF, the ambient light of the convention area or maybe the code version made this issue less obvious. At HAAG however, most of the game floor was dimly lit which can be a problem for people who have modded their games with LED's or a brand new game called WOZ. WOZ is a perfect example of why there are a group of people that do not like LED's. I had eye strain before I had played two games with a friend. The GI is barely there but, the inserts are as bright as the sun and there are a LOT of inserts on the playfield. At one point during some part of the game, all of the inserts started pulsing in yellow and I screamed, "TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO TO MAKE IT STOP!!! MAKE IT STOP!!!!." Of course I was joking with my friend but, they've gone overboard.
I will have to play WOZ yet again before I can truly say I've experienced it in all of its glory. So far WOZ hasn't shown me anything that I've enjoyed and now on top of everything I think I might need to get my eyes examined.
I played this game in TPF tournament which was a mistake in the first place and the game didn't have finished code. My biggest problem is the ridiculous placement of the character rollover switches which at the time you need to hit in order to get locks for MB. The scarecrow shot at least lines up with the ramp shot. The Lion shot and tinman shots are in weird places that end up sending the ball in random places after you shoot them. The upper playfield seemed ok and the house loop was kinda cool. Looks great but the theme kills it for me. I dont want to hear the stupid wizard of oz theme repeated in different variations throughout the game. The LCD is segmented into 4 different areas during MB. I found this to be confusing because I started going after the wrong goals during MB because I was focusing on the wrong 1/4 of the display. In its current state, there is no way this game belongs on the top 100.