The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 389 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.199 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #34 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.475

Artwork: 8.99

Sounds/Music: 8.532

Other Aspects: 7.904

Rating comments

There are 189 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 189 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 189 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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11 days 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
12 days 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.
13 days 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.
14 days 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.
20 days 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.
36 days ago
Near perfect for me, beautiful and very fun game.
47 days 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.
73 days 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.
3 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.
4 months ago
Slow. Boring. Like most other Jersey Jack games, incredibly meh overall.
4 months ago
Not so easy to come to Munich on a hobbit to play. I am not a very big Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fan and yet the hobbit really fascinated me visually. A clear, well-coordinated playing field concept that at first suggests simplicity, but then, with deeper consideration, with multi-layered features, a really large amount of multi-balls and a really lush variety of modes. The free playing surface I find absolutely elegant and even more, with all the multiballs also clearly good hand. The ramps have different functions, these can be switched to the game simultaneously with the Ring button. The 4 jumping devils are a lot of fun, but unfortunately they do not look too valuable in terms of their elaborate details. They always serve their purpose because you always have the feeling that you are in the middle of the battlefield and every shot can become an unpredictable challenge!
The dragon Smaug, unfortunately, looks a bit cheap and I could not really enjoy it. He fulfills his purpose but always! The Droptargets make up a large part of the action of this pinball, which I personally want to describe as a beautiful element. The ramps are long and offer a bit of respite, especially for multi-balls, and give you a few seconds to choose a different mod on a re-selection of free-picked modes on the properly ramped ramp. Very well implemented. Everything seems like an adventure that leaves as little time as possible and the initially strikingly free area of ??the playing surface, with the reference to the large interactively illustrated LED screen forgotten, because you have a lot to react and tactically related to organizing.
The video sequences, too bad I think so synonymous with fast movements, an artifact formation, as you should know from LED TVs ago. Depending on whether one opted for or against the Motion Plus option, it can be seen that this inter-frame calculation allows artifacts to be formed around all contours and planes moving at different speeds. I do not know if this can be exhibited at the pinball machine. Of the film, there are definitely original "High Frame Rate (HFR)" footage at 48, instead of the usual 24 frames per second. Therefore, this should be adjustable as an option!
I only occasionally noticed when I was able to look at the screen during some games of my buddies. It does not break the game, it just caught my eye! The sound is really class and you are in the middle of the hustle and bustle. The quality sounded amazingly good. A rich and space-filling sound that can turn any neighbor into an enemy!
The play of lights is a symphony of colors as if you were standing right in front of the golden pot in the midst of a rainbow. A search that is understated on this pinball machine, can certainly be described as successful!
If I have the opportunity again, I will spare no effort to get involved in this adventure festival again! Class horny pinball!
6 months ago
Hobbit is a incredible pinball... you need it at home to completely appreciate it.... yes ball time is long but this is an amazing quest... so it must be long.

I recommend the hobbit in a collection at home with others fast play pinballs...

Hobbit is a keeper !!
6 months ago
New code will help the rules
7 months ago
The Hobbit is an extremely difficult machine to rate because it is so unique. I see this machine as offering a pinball/film adventure (more so than Indy) rather than a typical pinball experience. This makes the machine both wonderful and very easy to criticize.

— The game is a wide-body and offers slower balls speeds than most wide-bodies.
— The double ramp is easy but fun to hit.
— The pop-up creatures are awesome, especially during multiball.
— The holes to the left and right are tough to hit.
— Some see the upper flipper as useless, but it is actually quite useful.
— The alternating drops are super cool!
— The playfield is wide open, but I find it to be a refreshing difference.
— The lock buttons are neat.
— The dragon should eat the damn ball!


— As with most JJPs, the theme is integrated pretty much to perfection.
— The animations and movie scenes are stunning.
— The sound booms!
— The use of LED lighting is done very well, even with popup creatures.


— This game plays very, very, very slow. I find it oddly relaxing.
— The ramps flow nicely, but there isn’t much fast-flow going on.
— The skill shot is super fun.
— Lighting lock is fun but easy.
— Multiballs are fun but easy to achieve.


— Ball times, baby. Games often last 30 minutes or more.
— While the upper flipper is useful, it could have been more useful.
— Smaug is pretty, but as a toy it involves zero interactivity. I heard they had licensing issues.
— Some will despise the slowness.
— Some will despise the open playfield.

In the end, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I play this game. I find it difficult to rate as it goes beyond a simple pinball machine; it offers an almost meditative experience. If you approach it knowing this, it is truly a wonderful time. I do not play this game with others as they end up waiting and waiting and waiting. It’s best alone with the sound up. Will it hold up over time? I do not know, but I’ll likely pick one up when the price stabilizes on the low end due to all the haterz, bro. :P
7 months ago
Fantastic artwork and theme integration. Beautiful playfield art package. Good video clips and animations. This is one of the best looking games ever made. Right up there with WOZ. The problem is the game design and layout. The game is far too wide open for my taste and fails to make full use of the widebody design. With all the extra space, it feels like this could have been a standard size pin and maybe it would have benefited. Feels very floaty and slow on location unless the game is set up steep and the flippers cranked up. Also, the rules are not obvious and the 30+ objectives and modes are confusing. I do enjoy the 2 crossing ramps, great design. I hope they utilize that again in another pin. It's weird, JJP nailed theme and art and sound in this game, but gameplay is weak. Then, their next game, DI, is the exact opposite. They nailed gameplay and shot design. They whiffed on theme and music/callouts (in my opinion). Artwork in DI isn't bad, but it's all over the place because theme is odd. I agree this would be a beautiful addition to a collection, and would look fantastic next to my LOTR. However, not for that price. I'm not a huge fan of the trolls in MM, and this game has 4 trolls that pop up all over the playfield. No thank you!
UPDATE: After hearing great things about the massive code update, I decided to trade for a NIB Hobbit Smaug SE. What a gorgeous pin. I was wrong about the playfield being too wide open. That's the point with this design, it's a sharp shooter's pin with long shots that must be made at the right time, and sometimes many times, throughout the game. The drop targets perched in front of standup targets is cool, and you must be precise to collect all the characters. After unboxing this one, I updated the code and played for 43 minutes on my first game, on moderately easy settings with extra balls. If you adjust the back legs to increase the speed, and adjust the flipper power, this pin is fantastic. SO deep, with tons of modes that take real commitment just to start them all, and completing them all seems impossible. Incredible music, fantastic use of the 27" LCD (much better than WOZ, which is limited in comparison), and the lightshow is among the best I've seen. It's a VERY long journey, which may not be for everyone, but this pin is much better than I first thought, and adds a lot to any collection. It's also very fun for novices, who can play this game without much skill and still get a multiball or two. Great game!
7 months ago
IF this isn’t the greatest pinball game ever made its one of the top 5. It’s fun to play with tons of Fx. This is a must have game.
7 months ago
Great pinball machine. Give the game some time to reveal all it's potential. Sound ,artwork and music are top notch. On factory settings and medium outlane settings the game can be too easy for the decent and good players. If properly adjusted the game will remain challenging for quite a while. To get to the end of "Into the Fire" is not too difficult. To get to the end of "Barrel Escape" is another cup of tea. 5 nerve Wrecking stages and a sadistically difficult superjackpot shot to complete stage 5. I only nailed it twice in 1 year ownership sofar.
To complete "Battle of the Five Armies" seems nearly impossible to me. Apparently this endgame has 7 stages. I've only completed untill stage 4. If I Remember correctly you must by then kill 30!!!!! beasts..... but I keep on trying.
Great game. Third flipper can be very useful. It's not neccesary, just convenient. You'll discover that in fact it's very important to activate and stack the left outlane kickback.
Excellent use of the lcd screen. All info can be found there whenever you need it.
And the beasts get in the way sometimes or even often. But hey, in the 3 Hobbit movies they do the same. It's up to you to get them out of your way. The trolls in MM also block the double super jackpotshot sometimes during multiball madness, nobody ever complained about that.....
Play this game, look at the screen, enjoy the music and sound (play it at home and crank it up to 25 or more...) and try to beat all 3 wizardmodes. If you did let me know and you receive my congratulations.
7 months ago
Ordered this game NIB "blind". I am very happy with my WoZ so I thought the Hobbit be also a wonderful game.
The first week it was fun to play. But afert around half a year it became boring, very boring. The software was final but I have had games where nothing else was to hit or fullfill until the ball dropped out.
In multiballs it was nerving that the bashtoys came up rapidly, no chachance to hit the targets you had to hit.
With my opinion I was not alone and so more and more TH came up for less and less money. So I pulled the brak and sold it , it was a finaciel pat situation. No win, no lost ... everything okay !
Meanwhile I orderd also blind a DI! and I am still happy with that machine.
For JJPOTC I am on pre-order but thinking about leaving the pre-order-club due the new idea to swap 3 discs with one disc and apizza graphic ;-(
8 months ago
Great looking and sounding game, love the smaug dragon, but Not much to shoot at. Widebody and long shots hurt this one. Upper flipper is useless? Lots of multiballs but I find it boring and repetitive.
8 months ago
Holy cow do I love this game. The sound is amazing and the light show is equally as impressive. The movie theme is spot on. When I got it I was concerned about the huge space in the center of the playfield...then up pop the targets. The shots are makeable and the action is fast. I love the many types of multi-balls that are available. I haven't had a ton of time on it yet so my review may change later but my initial impression of this game is great quality and a lot of fun! As a side note, this review is for the LE.
9 months ago
Beautiful game and the most immersive game versus theme that I have played. There is a lot of depth in this game but my main concern is that over all the strategy may be a tad too linear with arkenstones. I think more strategy in the code tying together the modes will help dramatically. Like LOTR it is an adventure game that is meant to have long ball times. This can get a bit old so I removed the center post and adjusted the beast multiball to super hard which helped that problem. I do not feel the game is “floaty” and I like the long shots. Every shot is makeable when needed and the tie in with the movies are excellent.
9 months ago
love it
9 months ago
Boy, was I ever mistaken. I have considered buying a Hobbit many times over the past 4 years but every time I tried one, I wasn't impressed. Same thing for the WOZ. But, last year my liking of WOZ's theme and the many strong reviews of the game and JJP in particular convinced me to give it a try. Wow!! I bought a WOZ 75th and I absolutely love it as does all of my family. Great artwork, game play, sound effects, quality, etc.; what's not to love (unless you hated the movie).
So with all of that as backdrop, I decided to take another look at a Hobbit. I played a Gold LE at my local dealer and again, I was not impressed. I hated the 'slow' ball launch and the racket the game makes when resetting the targets. But, like WOZ, I loved the theme (big Hobbit fan). Remembering my initial feelings about the WOZ, I thought I should really give the Hobbit a fair try. I took the chance and bought a Black Arrow. Update! Having played it many times over the past several days, my opinion of it has changed immensely. It is tons of fun with enough complexity to maintain my interest in it for a long time to come. I really like the cabinet art work of the Black Arrow version and the black wrinkle finish on its metal work makes it a very classy looking machine. With all due regards to theme, the Gold LE and the Smaug LE was just to bright and distracting to me. But each to his own.
So, what do I dislike? The ratcheting noise as the target/mode selections are changed and the selection button on the lock down bar looks cheesy. Also, for $8500, a Topper should have been included. And, the playfield lighting around the ball trough really needs to be improved; I can hardly see the barrel bumpers. These issues can and will be addressed quickly with some readily available mods. There is one sound system problem that I need to try to resolve with JJP. I get a 'low background hum/tone' and static from the speakers which I find distracting. And, at start up, the booting display on the monitor is played out through the sound system such that it sounds like a modem; Annoying.
After the sound issues are dealt with and the mods are added, I think the Hobbit will be close to a '10' in my book. I am very impressed with JJP games and their manuals are superb, best in the industry. Now, if Chicago Gaming/PPG blows it and does not make Monster Bash its next game (I am convinced it will be next and I am ready to buy one immediately), I may have to order a POTC because I really like JJP's games. BTW, Dialed In plays great but its' theme is just not for me.
9 months ago
Playfield is barren. Another physical feature like Gollums cave, barrel escape, shooting the black arrow, etc would be welcome. Best feature is the art and sound. Play is not varied enough.
9 months ago
If the object of your collection is to have a visually stunning pinball machine, then this is the one for you. Almost over-stimulating, visually. That said, I had a few issues with this one. First, the ramps are too far up the playfield. Not a fan. Also, the right-side ramp doesn't factor in to the play nearly as much as the one running down the left. In fairness, I just picked this one up about a month ago, and haven't fully comprehended all of the nuances of the game, so I may adjust the review at some point.

The sound on the game is phenomenal, and the pop-up beasts are great, but this one has a penchant for being a hard-drainer. Even with a center bumper between the flippers, it seems to fall away quite frequently.

I think Jersey Jack has a great future in machines, as they do bring quite a different feel to their brand of pinball, but this one feels a touch primitive, from a playfield perspective. Curious to see how their next release, Pirates, will play.

For reference, I own the LE, and definitely like the look of the machine.
There are 189 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 8.

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