a first look at lord of the rings!

a first look at lord of the rings!

Written by robin, published November 13th, 2003. 3 comment(s).

One machine to rule them all...

Three weeks after the initial press release, the first playfield and cabinet shots of The Lord of the Rings have appeared on the internet. This time, credit goes to pinballsales.com, for being the first to have them online.
"This will unfortunatley not be the LOTR backglass..."

The backglass

You have probably already seen this top image and maybe though it to be the game's backglass. Well, so did I. However, this is not the case, as you can see here below. "It seems that this will be the LOTR backglass image..."The tastefull movie poster makes way for a kind of cheap looking ensemble of the movie's characters. Off course, this is not really a good image to judge from, and other work from artist Jerry Vanderstelt (designer of the backglass) shows quite impressive artwork. Still, it looks like I would have favoured the first image as a backglass..

The playfield

The playfield looks quite cool, especially compared to the dark colors of Terminator 3. The fresh LOTR playfield colors fit the theme perfectly, combining nice tints of green and yellow (think The Shire) with harsh tones of red and black (think Mordor). Unfortunately the bottom playfield artwork seems to be one a big image which reminds me a lot of Sega's playfield artwork (back in 1997).

Bring your kids along

Lord of the Rings seems to be absolutely jam-packed with toys. Especially the back of the machine is so occupied that you can hardly see any backside cabinet wood.
"The Lord of the Rings Playfield." (click to enlarge..)
Our friend at Pinball News already made the comparison with the Medieval Madness playfield layout, and yes, the LOTR shot map looks quite a bit like it. The designers must have peeked at MM once or twice, considering it is one of most popular examples of pinball which incidently features a comparible fantasy theme.

Big magic ring

The playfield features a big sword on the right of the playfield, acting as a return ramp to the right inlane, very original! In the top left of the playfield is a mini playfield, which does honour to its name as it is indeed tiny.

The big eyecatcher is of course the big ring in the back, with some kind of dagger ramp in front of it. Now that looks to me like some hot Revenge from Mars-like center ramp action! But wait a minute, if you look closely to the right of the ring, it's almost as if there's a hole in the back with a very whirly wire-ramp coming out of it.
"The cabinet, with a TOPS systems installed." (click to enlarge..)

My guess..

..is that the dagger ramp comes up, allowing the player to shoot the ball through the ring. The ring will magnetize, holding the ball for a second or two, after which it is released behind the backside of the game, after which it comes out via this whirly wire-ramp on the right.

We'll see.

The cabinet

Matching nicely with all the golden ramps and wire-rails on the playfield, the artwork on the cabinet features golden ornaments as well. The scene depicted seems rather vague, tints of blue and white. And the art on the backbox sides, is that Saruman's tower that was flooded in part 2 of the trilogy?

"Gary the White... Lord of the Pinball?"

Sounds like...

Now unfortunately, neither the press release nor the images won't tell me anything about one of the aspects I find the most important in a pinball game: The sound. Will Lord of the Rings once again feature BSMT2000 sounds, 8 bit, mono, crappy..?

Frustrating, this could be a machine with a magical sound package. Imagine a totally new 16 bit crispy-clear sound system with a nice woofer in the bottom... Dan Forden and Chris Granner teaming up bringing us a combination of Indiana Jones meets Medieval Madness!

Sorry, lost my grip there for a second. :-)

All together, it looks like Lord of the Rings will become another step forward in Stern's lonely market of pinball fun. With a keith Johnson ruleset, it should be at least as good as TSPP, shouldn't it? If it does become a hit just like the movie trilogy, Gary Stern may finally call himself Lord of the Pinball... He certainly deserves to be called that!


PS: Almost forgot to say "Can't wait to lay my hands on one of these babies!" :-)


6 years ago
I will take the pinball to Mordor, though I do not know the way.
6 years ago
Ah I just played this machine a few weeks ago, found it in a bowling ally
will have to play it a few more times. The match feature has the Elf Queen
pouring water from the carfe asking you 'will you look into the waters?'
as the numbers come up. Yes I did match for a free game after about five.
Cool game
3 years ago
Still haven't found one of these in the wild to check out. Want to, I really liked the books.

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