The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 411 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.229 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #32 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.515

Artwork: 9.007

Sounds/Music: 8.58

Other Aspects: 7.944

Rating comments

There are 204 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 3 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 204 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 204 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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24 days ago
I loved this title. Jersey Jack is taking over the industry!
24 days ago
Beautiful game with great theme integration. The movie clips are spot on. The sounds and music are amazing. Ball times can be pretty long, which makes it difficult to play a multi-player game with folks at different skill levels, or a multi-player game with folks of better skill levels. Still a fun machine though.
34 days ago
Oh my. My first impression was this is a real snooze fest. Slow floaty play with lots of repetitive stand ups made me feel like I was playing a boring 70s EM but with modern computing bells and whistles. I was ready to walk away after ball 2. Sounds like from others you need a lot of time on a properly setup machine to feel the adventures that await.
37 days ago
I'm not a true LOTR or TH theme fan and I've never sat and watched any of the movies all the way through. It's not a theme that gets me too excited, but there is no doubt this machine is fun to play. Tons of shots, and lots of things to do. Now when I see one on location, I dump quite a few tokens/quarters in it because at some point its going to give me something exciting.

Like all JJP machines, this one is beautiful to look at. The light show is incredible and the sounds are great too. For someone that's invested in this franchise, it has to be the pinball machine to own.

I had to look up a video on YouTube to learn how to play the game. Sure, you can just aim for the blinky lights, but its more enjoyable once you understand what's all going on. The backglass does show you everything you need to do, but it only becomes intuitive once somebody knowledgeable about the game walks you through the steps to complete tasks. Maybe its the fantasy theme that makes it more difficult for me to understand what is going on, but watching a tutorial certainly makes it easier to get into.

I love the shots, its got good flow, drop targets, standups, ramps, playfield popups, rollovers, VUK's, physical ball lock....sheesh...there's a lot of value.

This would be the ideal game to own in a home. Personally, I would only own one if I was into the LOTR universe, but for me I just can't find myself owning one on theme alone. This pin has a lot of bang for the buck, so if you're into the theme, its a no-brainer must-buy and it's a top-ten machine with all that it offers.
38 days ago
It just wasn’t for me. Beautiful game that is well built, but so different than what I am used to. I never got into the Hobbit movies so this may have been part of it. Amazing build quality though. Seems too wide and sparse for me. Has elements of greatness that just weren’t enough for me to love it. That said, there are fantastic values to be found in the used market.
46 days ago
I will admit when the game was released I didn't care for it. But after playing it a lot more, and especially after the latest code release I completely changed my mind. I think this game is the best theme integrated pin ever made. The audio package is so well put together it feels like you're in the movies. The deep rule set really gives value to this machine as well. Keith Johnson really knows how to make a game to keep you coming back because there is so much to do!
56 days ago
The best video and music in a pinball.
Epic game, I love it.
Hightly undervalued by the communauty.
Play it, enjoy it, adopt it at home.
57 days ago
If you like fast and furious, The Hobbit isn’t for you. If you enjoy working towards a goal that may take 45 minutes to an hour, I’m not sure there’s a better pin out there. This isn’t a multiplayer pin because of this. 3.1 code is very nice. Killing Smaug, and each of the wizard modes are nearing the sensory overload status. 3 to 5 balls with the beasts popping up all while needing to make various shots... I’m glad I? gave This one a chance!
59 days ago
I'm surprised it is not ranked MUCH higher on the top 100. My guess is nostalgia floats some of those above it, but for a new player with fresh eyes, this game is a HIT! In a room with AFM LE, Iron Maiden Prem (my personal favorite), Metallica Road, AC/DC Prem, and LotR, the Hobbit gets ALL of the attention from ALL of my guests, even when I try to get them interested in the others. Its the favorite of my 6 year old, which is what matters most to me.

The rules are brutally deep, but you only need to know the surface to have a blast. I think there are 31+ modes, ranging in complexity. Even though we have yet to get it remotely figured out, I see no hurry. Every game is different and we learn new things; that keeps it very interesting.

And everyone comments on the captivating back glass TV, and how beautiful the machine is in general. Its buttery smooth and begs to be played for years. Its wide open and takes practice to nail the long shots consistently. Not fast like AFM but very challenging.

I suppose it helps if you love the theme, as I do. Perhaps that holds it back for some. (I was very disappointed Peter Jackson added so much that wasn't in the book in order to drag it out to three movies and really cash in, but I can't hold that against the concept as a pin)

Some of the features we like most are the left drain has save/launcher that comes in handy when up. The pop up targets are not my favorite, but my daughter LOVES them! Smaug has a killer voice, and I'd be happier if the dragon stayed looking forward instead of turning. Collecting dwarfs is fun too.

Might be a better home game, as it fun to binge and spend an hour or two
every few days. Its going to take years to master all it has to offer.
64 days ago
First thing's first, I am on version 3.10. And, as you read these reviews, in my opinion, any review that was done before November of 2018 when version 3.0 was released should be taken with a grain of salt. This game completely changed with 3.0 and is a totally different game now. The effects added, the sounds, the music, the modes, the multiballs, all of it changed dramatically in 3.0. I have found this game to be so enthralling with theme that I often don't even care what my score is. I just want to kill Smaug and hit those amazing wizard modes. The sounds and video clips from the movie are so well interwoven with the game, it truly feels epic.

The game has a lot of depth and this pinball takes you on a journey. This is easily the most amazing theme integration of any pin I've played. Smaug talks crap at you, gollum "steals" your ring (ball), "that's what Bilbo Baggins hates!", it's all just fun. Killing Smaug is easily one of the most rewarding moments in pinball, and it is a good challenge. This pin has long ball times and is great for just taking the journey and enjoying the game. I wouldn't have this as an "only" pin, but absolutely great in a collection. I have JJP POTC and Hobbit, and plan to add AFMr to give me a nice "bash things around" game. The only negative I had was that the upper flipper is inconsistent. I'm still fiddling with it so maybe I can fix that.

Oh and one setting everyone should change! Be sure to set it so that Smaug Multiball and Beast Multiball will not run at the same time!
72 days ago
When seeing the first playfield layout in the JJP newsletter and when playing JJPs The Hobbit the first times I felt kind of disappointed. It was at Pinball Universe in a hall with loads of other pinball machines and so the sound of The Hobbit could hardly be heard. After a few games I was done with it. Then I did I'd never done before. I swapped two of my favourite machines against a TH LE knowing that this could be the worst deal ever. The Hobbit was not well maintained but still in a very good condition. Goodie bag, cash box, coin cable and tilt weight were already missing. What a shame to the former owners!
Then, after cleaning and fixing minor problems, I did start playing. It did not take very long that I felt that I did very well swapping two of my favourites. The Hobbit is a real preciousss :-). To me it looks, especially the LE version, fantastic and the immersion is very intense. It is important to play it in a quiet surrounding so that the sound really gets you. So far I have played several multiballs (Beast hurry up, Smaug, Into the fire, Barrel escape), and I really love it. The ever changing playfield (beast pop up targets, drop targets) keeps you aiming in different directions all the time. The ramps can be played back and fore hand what is really good. Your eyes have a lot to do to keep you well informed during the game.
My inner pinball flame is fully blazing again :-) and I blame it to The Hobbit. Mr J. R. Tolkien would (probably) say: "JJP did very well! " :-) Thank you very much for that wonderful pinball machine.

My preciousss!
75 days ago
This feels like the only “miss” from JJP, but that doesn’t make it a terrible game... It is a beautiful pin with a great movie theme. The code is incredibly deep, and you need to use the LCD screen to understand what is going on - which I think is cool for enjoyment longevity.

The problem is the layout. It’s a floaty widebody with a lot of wasted space. Everything you need to shoot is far away from the flippers across a vast expanse of openness. Usually code of this depth would make a game a great piece in a home collection, however, the barren layout and floaty/repetitive shots make this game eventually feel boring. Also, for a pin to succeed as an adventure game that doesn’t focus on being a “shooter” you also need cool toys and gimmicks, and Hobbit is weak in this category. In my opinion Wizard of Oz is exactly what a beautiful and deep adventure pin should be and is a good example of how Hobbit falls short of its potential.
75 days ago
What an adventure!! That's how I see this game. Everytime I play this machine I have the feeling that I am going on an adventure. I am a big lotr and Hobbit fan, so this is right in my alley.

Love everything about this game. Ruleset and knowing where you are at during the game has improved a lot with the new 3.x software update. Now I even love it more. It really comes together now.

The sound and animation are amazing. Flow is great. Arkenstone modes brilliant. Love the long ball plays and many multiballs.
86 days ago
This machine is the most beautiful and best sounding machine I have ever laid eyes on. The cabinet art, the apron, the back-glass, the incorporation of video is all done flawlessly. This game sounds amazing, and the available headphone jack is a major plus. I'm pretty sure the sound system on this thing is better than the one in my living room. This machine knocks it out of the park on theming, art, music, has a load of popup toys... even a talking dragon.

HOWEVER. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON! The rules on this machine are complicated. To top that off, there is way of learning the rules short of googling and watching a youtube video. There is not even an instruction card on the machine. I put a few games on this and love the machine, but have no idea what I'm doing. I can see this as being a very deep game that would be fantastic in a HUO environment, but I'm guessing this gets only 1 play per person on location due to the complexity of the ruleset. I'm looking into trading an AFMr SE one day for one of these to really learn the ins and outs at home, but this machine is complicated. It is unforgivable that there are no instructions or easy to follow rules (shoot at the blinking light) on this machine. A "hold down left flipper for rules" in attract mode would be all this machine needs.

Really want one, but dang this things complicated. It will be interesting to see how this very complex game holds up over time.

Edit: Got one and plugged in the updated code. This is now my favorite game of all time. I cannot get over the whole package, how it looks, sounds, and after understanding the rules, just how much there is to do. This is now the game to beat for me.
3 months ago
The Hobbit, where to start..
This pinball machine is the perfect exemple of a game that will find his best place at home. I tried it the first time in a pinball expo where my first game was veeery long (too long?), a lot of multiballs and the game was a little slow and I couldn't tell if sounds were good because the volume was too low and it was so noisy in the hall that it was hard to really get into the game and enjoy it. But for sure, I felt in love with the stunning playfield and animations on screens plus the winning thematic.
So I watched a couple of videos on Youtube and I couldn't resisted to give it a chance and bought it.
This was my best decision ever!!
1st thing I change right away when I installed the game : opened the right outlane at maximum, removed the center post, adjusted the level to have a good ball speed and finally increased the music volume. 3 month later, it's still configured like that because I think this is the way you get the most fun.
We are now at version 3.00 and the game continues to get better and better.
Playfield lighthing are gorgeous, rules are so great, you have fun multiballs, 31 modes categorized with 5 level of difficulties, 3 scenes. The 1st one "into the fire" is probably the best sequence you can enjoy on a pinball machine. It's addictive!!!
I like the multiple use of the ring, getting points, launching arrow, postpone mode/multiball, save a ball (when right outlane is lighted) if you press it at the right time, etc..
Other things to mention : You can select 4 differents skillshots, moving target completely change the way you play, in some mode you have to respect an order to be able to progress. The mini screen on the playfield is a MUST have! It gives you a tons of useful infos! Finally the TV in the backglass display a TONS of sequence directly from the movie (a things that IMO is missing a lot in POTC), and the visual is very well built so you can know easily what are the things remaining to unlock scenes.
Ok, now about the musics, I have to admit I am a big fan of TSFH, and honnestly, it really fits perfectly The Hobbit.
Everybody in my friends and family enjoy it because it's so immersive. For people who don't like long plays, this game should be the exception. You play this game for his adventure side, a big adventure. I am not sure this game will leave my home one day! Again, it's a must have!

Now a few cons (I tried hard to find somes) : I would like to have more things to do with the upper right flipper. Yes, in some mode or some case you have/can use it but I think it could have been better.
During multiballs, the ball can be stuck under the monster cover (when monster try to hide) and unfortunatelly, the game will not try to release the ball until you lose all your other balls. It happens only 3 or 4 times in 300 games probably so not a big concerns.
In conclusion: If you are looking for an epic adventure, have a family and kids, for sure it's a must have pinball machine. It's soo addictive and don't be worried about the reliability, this game is a monster. It feels solid, and look under the playfield and take the time to analyse all parts! Wow!!
3 months ago
I love the theme, over I thought it was fun with pop ups and multi ball, however I found the monitor too busy it had to many things going on and hard to pay attention while playing. Over I liked it
3 months ago
Indeed the playfield is wide open, but the shot variation and the evolved use of the drop target function - in my opinion -makes up for that. The third flipper is useful and important in a number of situations.
The downside sesms the expectation/anticipation vs. reality some had to deal with.
For me this machine is a different approach to a table concept. And it payed off.
3 months ago
What a great and unique pinball machine. One of the most beautiful in any configuration, not to mention superior JJP quality. Built like a high end pinball machine should be built.

The cabinet, made from top quality plywood decorated with high resolution decals. Metal leg protectors, a real backbox lock, a real backglass, a 27" HD monitor, 7 speakers including an eight inch woofer, shaker motor, Invisiglass, a headphone jack on the coin door, an on/off switch where it should be AND you can do updates from the coin door. On top of all that, you get premium powder coated body armor and legs.

The playfield, it's beautiful, has a premium clear coat, even the plywood is impressive. It appears to be open, to fit the story line, but is actually packed full of features (just look at the bottom side). You have 2 metal ramps, 4 pop up beasts, 4 rollover targets, 11 individual drop targets, 2 spinners, 2 holes (VUK's), a newton ball, 10 stand-up targets and a shot into the pop bumpers. That's 37 targets to shoot at and everyone of them is used individually at some point in the game. In addition we have a talking animated dragon, the book LCD, the controllable kickback (windlance), the 3 magnets and the standup target on the right out lane to give you a chance to save a lost ball. To add to the atmosphere we have molded architectural pieces, gold coins scattered about and barrels on two pop bumpers.

The programming, recently tied together in the 3.0 release, takes you on a stroll through middle earth only to be interrupted by some of the fiercest battles you've ever seen. Your journey to the home of the great Smaug (dragon) is diluted by the need to complete one of the 31 varied and masterful book modes while you fight 4 MAJOR battles, troublesome beasts and collect your travel companions. Organized by two displays showing progress, challenges and full HD action portrayals of every event. Want a challenge? try to start all 31 book modes and see if you can actually go There and Back Again.

The sounds bring everything together, the music, the special effects, the voices, especially Smaug, teasing and taunting you in that low solemn tone. Perhaps the most integrated sound package in pinball history, it's as beautiful as it is engaging. Every major scene depicted by an individual tune, every action given a sonic tribute. Taking full advantage of the advanced hardware, this sound package is unmatched.

The stunning visuals mentioned earlier. Portions of the actual movie trilogy carefully integrated into the activity on the playfield. Hard to watch while you are playing but enjoyed immensely by your playing companions.

Game play is intense. It's very much a shooters game, not much flow except for a buttery smooth outer loop and repeated ramp shots. Control the ball and make one of those 37 possible shots. Multiball play is integral to the design , the Hobbit uses multiball to represent the difficulties along your dangerous journey. Multiball battles become harder and harder to take advantage of as the game progresses , all part of the wisdom behind the code. Beginners get to enjoy the multiball play and only have to complete a single book mode to progress to a wizard mode. As you transcend into playing for score, figuring out how to take advantage of feeder modes, multipliers and bonus points is a lasting challege.

It all ties together into an exciting, challenging and deep adventure that is so immersive, you feel a part of the action like no other pinball machine. I haven't even mentioned the skill shots, adding balls to single ball modes, the 5 stages of the wizard modes or the unique uses of the kickback. In my book, The Hobbit is Number 1.
3 months ago
Just recently acquired a Black Arrow Special Edition. Great home use game. Rules are deep and there are a ton of modes to complete. Mini Wizard modes are a blast. Music is great with loads of callouts. Long ball times.

The only thing that I don't like is how often the beast pop up. I'm sure there is a setting to change this.
3 months ago
The theme is one of my favorites. The playfield is incredible. I really like the orcs that pop up and toys in general. The sounds are amazing as well. Really, there are no flaws. You just gave to decide which "edition" is the best...because there are alot.
4 months ago
Near perfect for me, beautiful and very fun game.
4 months ago
With the latest code, The Hobbit is really on another level. Easily the most immersive pin and the best adventure pin ever designed. I have this and LOTR in the game room right now and LOTR never gets played. Everything from the music, lighting, animation, callouts/speech and choreography really stand out. Stepping up, the playfield may look sparse, but the programming crew did an amazing job with the ruleset to make use of every inch of this playfield -- even the upper right flipper.

The "I'm going on an adventure" callout at the beginning of this game really says it all. Only downside is if you have friends over, they may be waiting a while for their turn if you really get this game going. Ball times can be on the long side, but that's one of the things I love about it.
4 months ago
I don't know why JJP continues to persevere with wide body games. There is too much side to side action making them very boring. This one is the worst of the lot.
5 months ago
I really really wanted to like this game, but it was a complete disappointment, just like the movies. After spending several hours playing one, then several hours again, I confirmed my suspicions about the layout. It is just too wide-open for a wide-body pin, and lends itself to lazy floaty play. Shooting those upper ramps feels so slow. The pop-ups are fun, but otherwise this game really suffers from a boring layout. This game probably would have worked better as a standard size pin.
6 months ago
This game was not for me, I regretted buying from day one and it taught me the lesson of a minimum of trying a game over the course of several trips. At first I enjoyed the long ball times and multi balls but they got old quick. I took a big hit to sell this game and it’s the only game I’ve traded that I don’t have a desire to play again.
There are 204 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 9.

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