I VISITED THE JPOP LAB LAST WEEK
I've been paid in full for MG for nearly two years and I have a significant amount paid in towards RAZA. If you look at earlier posts of mine toward the beginning of this thread it's very clear that I don't drink the JPOP cool aid (far from it) and that I'm as frustrated as could be with the delay. It brought me to a point where I said to myself that with over $20k invested into John's projects and all of this frustration I'm an ass if I don't drive or fly out to see him, so that's just what I did. (I'm not implying anything about other owners that choose not to or can't, it's just how I felt about my own situation)
All I can say is that if you are an owner and have the ability to visit you should. I'm also posting this to hopefully prevent some of the owners from having an unnecessary coronary. With that being said...could something go wrong...funds run out....development take even longer? Certainly.....These are all items that always remain the unknown, so I'm not offering you a verbal insurance policy but I'm happy to share an outline of what I saw and you take from it what you will.
I PLAYED A FEW GAMES OF MAGIC GIRL and really enjoyed the game. (It was not 100% done)
The LED screen was functioning, had tons of animation (certainly still has more to go), and it was fully interactive with gameplay.
Soundtrack and sounds were very appealing. I hate to take his new work and reference it by looking back 20 years but since it's the only comparable we all know, think along the lines of a TOM / TOTAN combo.
The playfield is far from a white wood. I believe the prototype I played had the final version of the playfield, although I'm sure anything is subject to change, but any of us would be thrilled to have this in our game without a single revision. The artwork is absolutely amazing. Colors are vibrant and really JPOP.
The backglass/translite is stunning and I believe it's been finalized. Artwork is also amazing and it beautifully compliments the playfield and cabinet art.
I think the cabinet art is terrific. Not too busy but really calls out to you. I predict there will not be any controversy by the owners over the artwork package.
In terms of the mechs, ramps, lighting, etc. I don't want to spit out a random percentage, but a significant amount were final production parts, with many items still being the prototype version as they wait for the arrival of the production pieces, and a small percentage being items still undergoing testing. There are boxes and boxes in his facility filled with some of the final parts that will go into the game, both for on the playfield and for underneath. The underside of the playfield was completely wired up..if you saw a picture of the underside you'd nearly think it was one that rolled off a Bally/Williams assembly line.
Ramps are going to be very "fun" and as I'm sure you expected are far off from what you see in pinball games today.
Lighting has some new and very visually appealing concepts that I think other manufacturers will attempt to use in their future games.
Toys.....certainly some new things pinball hasn't seen yet and others that we have seen, just pumped up on steroids. Of course many other playfield items/toys that are somewhat standard. One toy in particular is just off the charts.
Away from Magic Girl......
I saw the RAZA playfield that RAZA owners had access to on John's blog. It looks even better in person when you can view it from any angle. I also saw a few versions of cabinet art beyond what was displayed at Expo.
Saw an early sketched version of the AIW playfield (in a cabinet) as well as early sketched cabinet art.
I'm sorry that a lot of what I'm saying is "soft fluff" and incredibly general, but you all know why... Just imagine how frustrating it is to play the prototype of such an exciting and visually attractive game and not be able to tell your friends in the pinball community about it.
I just want to reiterate to owners, MG in particular (and RAZA once you see MG you'll be more comfortable) that I believe you will be much more relaxed when the private reveal happens. Considering how much time we've already spent waiting, a month or two of patience will serve you well and then you can decide for yourself. My point is, Magic Girl is real and almost here.
Or you can do what this impatient, anal retentive, worried OP (me) did and pay him a visit before you call your attorney. Heck, if you want out once the game has been produced I'm fairly confident you'll be able to make a decent return selling your game. Well deserved in my opinion considering the risk we've all taken.
** Your MG will not be in your gameroom in the next few months, but I don't think by end of 2015 is at all unrealistic. RAZA is being designed in parallel with MG so not a three year wait for that game either IMHO.