Just a quick (re)introduction: I have been into pinball all my life, but really got the bug when I bought my first machine in 1992...a Williams High Speed: something I dumped a ton of quarters in while in HS. I've had over 100 games over the years, as I've never met a pinball machine I didn't like...except Bingo machines. For me the favorite was a Twilight Zone that I had for a solid 10 years. But I sold it to surprise my wife with a brand new Odyssey for her 40th birthday in 2007. Yes, I know...I had to add cash to buy the Honda :<.
I was active in the early years of rec.games.pinball, and it is great to see some old super helpful faces like LTG are still around. If there is a lifetime achievement award in pinball, he deserves it. Anyway, i moved to France for a few years, and the whole pinball community has really blown up (as well as values). Pinside seems much busier and more interactive than r.g.p.
So I was all set to replace my TZ with a semi-local sale which didn't work out, so i caught wind of the Wizard of Oz. I knew I had to change gears. It seems that WoZ is for sale less often than TZ, so I knew there would be other chances. What follows are my thoughts and opinions.
First, as a baseline, TAF and TZ and CFTBL are the most modern pins I have owned, so I'm a bit skewed admittedly. Also, my family has always been WOZ obsessed. My girls have sung and given quotes, impersonations all their life. So I am definitely biased. I realize it is not a macho theme, and may not be for everyone.
I bought a relatively stock WOZECLE. On to the micro review:
I rated the WoZ a 9.480...slightly ahead of TZ, so I think it is at the pinnacle of pinball design. I am truly amazed that JJP was able to launch such a fantastic product out of the gate. They all should be proud.
I think the artwork is just that, artwork. Absolutely the most beautiful cabinet I have ever seen/had. The direct print method + clearcoat is stunning. Maybe the backglass is lacking, but the LCD animation really makes up for it. Speaking of which, the integration of original movie clips tweaked for pinball rules is truly amazing. As I said, my reference for tech is WPC, so it is just incredible to me what is possible. The sparkle green armor, wood apron and lit header really round it out as premium.
The playfield has a lot going on. The 'toys' are pretty neat. I will say the crystal ball video is the weakest. It is very difficult for me to catch the image. You have to be at the perfect angle. It is also a dark playfield. My basement is also dark, so I will be installing some overhead LED lighting. The playfield lights however are incredible. The way they change with what is going on in the game is really cool. (Remember, I took a whole decade off!). I know that modders have been active the last 10-15 years, and with WOZ, it seems like the sky is the limit on modding. But I'm usually a fairly "stock guy"... in cars and pinballs.
As far as pinball playability, I see a lot of similarities to my old TZ. It is challenging enough, (sometimes frustrating) and the rules and objectives seem pretty deep. I'm only 50 games in, but I'm going to bet it will be fun long term. I know the outlanes can be frustration personified, but I like the minigame save feature!
I have had a small handful of technical issues, but the response from JJP has been immediate and correct...even though I'm not the first owner. Steve has been the best!
Finally, the menu system is very intuitive and well thought out. I have already upgraded to the latest code.
All in all, I think it is a really fun game with one of the best theme integrations I have seen in pinball. Personally, I think it is ranked low at 19.
Thanks for listening.