So I was at Expo yesterday, JJP presentation and reveal and played "Dialed In". Few comments:
- Jack and Pat took a lot of time up front to set up the concept with the audience. Even passing out a comic book that helped frame the storyline of the game. It was well thought out intro. They addressed taking a risk on an original theme versus a movie, tv show or rock band but felt it was worth the gamble.
- When revealed "Dialed In" you could feel the room enthusiasm deflate a bit. I'm not sure what title people were thinking, but it felt like there was a "ok" when it was announced. Being honest, I felt the same - but can't say what I was expecting. Time machine was in my head I guess. I wanted to play and experience it - but I guess I leaned toward theme more than I thought.
- The game has MANY elements (i.e. sounds, components, etc) from Pat's previous designs. I could hear Roadshow, see Crazy Bob's store, LCD graphic elements reminding me of RFM, etc. I felt like many "cookies" were incorporated into the game - and a JJP employee nearby confirmed that comment I shared with friends.
- The gameplay was enjoyable. It's a typical Lawlor game, not super flowy but it does flow. That right outline shot that goes up a wire form ramp was gratifying.
- The toys on the game were interesting. While the phone may look outdated in 3 years based on the speed which technology advances in the mobile industry it's well integrated. It informs where to shoot (where you can see it), mode starts initiate there then move to the main LCD, is colorful with changing LEDs to indicate different functions and even shows low battery life where you have to shoot targets to charge it again. The Einstein Theater is a mix between GB ecto-goggles and RFM/SWE1. In fact it's much better than GB in my opinion. It's not just to shoot and kill spiders and things. It also opens mystery boxes, delivers skill shot awards, etc. It's incorporated well once you spend time on it.
- Not sure if people are aware but there is a camera facing the player hidden in the backless bottom section. It serves a few functions. First, it takes pictures of the player and displays them like polaroids in the back glass during a multi ball accomplishment. Sounds corny but I find it brilliant. People waiting to play had a great laugh seeing your "pinball face" while playing. Secondly, when the Einstein theater displays a scratch off ticket and you hit it, you have a certain amount of time to scratch it off. Displayed on the top LCD once collected you have to waive your hand in front of the game (taking it off flipper buttons) to simulate scratching the card. Like it or dislike it - that's innovation we ask for in these forums.
- The sounds system really is well done. A fellow pinsider who was playing pointed out how the sound seem to be more directed at the player for a feeling of more immersion. When it was my turn, I couldn't agree more with his observation. The speakers seemed to be directed perfectly at the player.
- Pat himself pointed out to us during multi-ball how the alien ships fire at you. You have to hit the targets where it came from otherwise (as seen on play field inserts that light up) if the lights reach your flipper that flipper will sputter and not be responsive for a few minutes.
- The LCD integration again, is one of JJP's strengths and continues in this game. Explains and supports the storyline and modes well. Even in this early code state.
After a bit of deflation at the theme announcement, the gameplay was enjoyable. This is one of those games you really do have to play and be open minded towards. The game is full featured with many toys and we know JJP will deliver on the code. Still, the price point has me waiting on the sidelines. Need to play more and see how it matures in code.
We asked for an original theme - and got one. I'd suggest playing to form your own opinion before slamming it. It could surprise you.
(BTW...it was cool to see Pat so passionate about this game)