Posting live from the NW Pinball & Arcade Show in Tacoma, WA. The organizers deserve kudos for a fantastic job! Pardon my post if there are any errors or poor grammar, typing from my phone.
I will say that I am enjoying my hand’s on time playing Willy Wonka. My feedback and Pix attached.
Out of all the games at NWPF, the WWs had the longest and most consistent queue of lines the entire day. People kept coming back to play more.
They had 3 machines (advertised as 1x “CE” and 2x LE). If you look at the pix it’s confusing. You could tell that they are probably the travelling LE prototypes sent out to be shown at the pin festivals. All the machines had the CE side art on the cabinets and CE back glass. One had the red coating which when seen live (in my opinion) is far better looking than the the other two which had blue coating. They all had the Wonkavators. One of the Blue LEs was missing the Ompa Loomp on the TV camera and the Wonkavision was dead. Otherwise, they were all basically the same game = LE.
To me, the cabinets, screens, machines’ lights and visuals really pop! Terrific quality and beautiful playfields. Design is tight. I liked the bumpers use of sounds with the Ompa Loompa song. Note: if you are expecting the level of integration of tech/toys like POTC/DI/WOZ, you will be disappointed. It may feel like a step down but it’s really not too much.
First time I got to play, I was excited and giddy. Game play eventually turned out to be a good time and addictive in the long run. The hurdle people are going to have to overcome is that initially it feels kludgy on what your objectives are (again I didn’t read the objectives/wizard mapping chart). It wasn’t just me, people didn’t really know what to do. Consensus was to just keep shooting at Ramps, Secret Machine and Wonkavision until something happens and you figure it out. I know the goal is to collect “kids”and to gather golden tickets for multiballs but there is no real sense of order/mission in the game progression.
The game does play fast until you figure it out. Saw lots of drains. The first couple of games were really rough not knowing what to achieve or where to shoot but once you catch on, the game flow is smooth and fun. I did eventually achieve several multiball’s and even achieved a Wonkavator multiball. That was a blast!
I spoke with a few individuals while in line about what they thought: Tough but fun, low scoring, had Bally-Williams feel, Lawlor written all over it, pretty, really grows on you...lots of smiles, excitement and high energy. The theme is a winner!
Here’s what I can note about what I observed with the game code. The vid clips and sound bites are still mostly not synchronized. Some vids are full screen with integrated sound while others are on the film projector pull down screen with no audio or have the voice over actor. IP doesn’t seem to be used to the fullest. Seems like the code hasn’t changed since the last streaming event. Sound was near impossible to hear in the convention center but from what I did hear, no significant changes.
The main screen is large and gorgeous but the info/stats/objectives are difficult to really absorb and provide a lot of value while playing. I felt the counters for the Wonka bars, ramp letters, mode, etc... seems very small and should be larger/more prominent.
I am glad I found the opportunity to play WW. I was starting to have doubts.
Is it perfect? No. Does it have some work still? Yes. Is it at the POTC level? No. Is it fun? Absolutely! Am I still in on a CE? 100%! That is due to my personal love of the theme and I enjoyed playing it. Not everyone is going to feel the same way.
In the end for a majority of people, it’s probably going to come down to final code and final cabinet changes upon official release for people to make up their minds. Playing the SEs on location will also help people finalize their buy/no-buy decision.
Feel free to message me for the next few hours if you have any questions or want me to comment on anything specific. I’ll be here most of the evening in line for WW!