Before I start, I am a Hobbit owner and absolutely LOVE the game. The new code is amazing and there is frankly no better value in pinball on the second hand market than Hobbit. I think JJP does amazing work and sets the bar incredibly high but here’s where I struggle. Every license has been a miss. Including Hobbit. I am desperately rooting for JJP to time the market right for once and grow some real success but I am very concerned looking forward particularly on Toy Story and here’s why.
Bad Timing - Once again they are a day late and a dollar short (or years late). Yes, there’s a new movie coming out but this is an ancient franchise in today’s market and by the time the pin is announced (much less released) the enthusiasm for anything Toy Story will have died down. Just like Hobbit.
Your kids and grandkids have no attention span - Those looking to provide this game as a family bonding experience for their kids or grandkids are doomed. Kids have ZERO attention span and after 5 minutes would rather go back to the video game of the week than to repeatedly play the same pin. Your kids and grandkids will not care and not be thankful and not be impressed any more than if you bought them a $60 PS4 game.
Toy Story hasn’t aged well - Toy Story movies, particularly the first and even the second have aged about as well as the “money for nothing” video by Dire Straits. Very poor video quality will not make for good background like Hobbit. It feels extremely dated. Using clips from all the movies will appear jarring and disjointed given the visual disparity over the years.
There isn’t any nostalgia - yes it’s a great heartfelt series but it as zero nostalgia for any era or any particular product line or soundtrack or ANYTHING that drives the feeling of nostalgia the way franchises like TMNT, BTTF, Star Wars, etc do. It is generic in every sense which drives no nostalgic connection to anyone or anything.
The sentiment is lost on the audience - what is the theme or actual message of a Toy Story pin? A warm hearted tear jerker / comedy cartoon does not provide any sort of narrative that remotely aligns with or easily translates to a pinball machine. Creating a pin around this license requires dumbing it down to non-story based charater / identity driven modes and themes. No one playing pinball is looking for that “awweee, so cute!!” Moment or that “wow this means so much I’m going to go home and reflect on my life and relationships” type moment...both are what the movies are about. Great for film, pointless for pinball.
The demographic is all wrong - the audience that has any tie to this franchise is traditionally not in the age group for most pinball buyers unless you are one of the older crowd who wants to buy this for your kids or grandkids and we have already touched on that topic above. This theme has no place in a “barcade” (I hate that term but you know what I’m referring to). The themes that resonate are obvious...familiar bands, comic franchises, 80s throwback themes, nostalgia driven themes, etc....of which Toy Story fits none.
I only bring this up because I am concerned for JJP. I want them to succeed and pray to god the GNR rumors are true, it would be their first chance to really hit the mark. Toy Story is just another miss of a theme I fear.