The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 550 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.380 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #39 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.771

Artwork: 8.991

Sounds/Music: 8.698

Other Aspects: 8.175

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have rated this game.


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Found 283 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 10 of 12.

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5 years ago
Updated rating - I now like the Hobbit more then I used to. I love drop targets. Code on JJP games still can be very hard to understand, but I hope given enough time I could learn these rules to enjoy the game more. This game is absolutely beautiful to look at!
5 years ago
Played it at a meet, all I can say is I want to own one and it could be my next machine if I save up enough. Amazing light show, beautiful build quality. Great sound and callouts. Only niggle I see is why the third flipper? Impressive machine.
I now have one. Really amazing game once you know what you are doing. Probably my best machine.
Well done JJP.
5 years ago
Hmmm, I prefer this game to WOZ, but I'm still not too impressed after a few dozen plays. This is probably another game where you need to own it to appreciate everything it offers. I still have no idea what to do to progress through the complex ruleset apart from starting a few multiballs.
It sounds very loud and clunky with those drop targets rattling away and the Orcs popping up and down all the time. Nice animations on the large screen in the backbox. The playfield feels very open with lots of very long shots to make. What is the purpose of the upper flipper?
5 years ago
Bought hobbit mainly because we love woz and wanted a quality product with a different feel from our other machines. We love the theme, looks, and feel. As far as gameplay, it has exceeded all my expectations. It is quite possibly my favorite game. It's challenging, fast(not stern fast, but fast), and has such a fun unique rule set with intense wizard modes and multiball. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a deep game with beautiful looks and lighting. It is truly a work of art and a refreshing change of pace. Update, this game is even better now with updated code. It has the best theme integration I have ever seen. Great game jjp.
Edit- newest code has put the final polish and immersion this game needed. The toys are used better, and the rules/callouts are much improved on an already stellar game. Great job jjp.
5 years ago
Game Design - Game rules are already very advanced in latest version 1.2. Love the pop ups reminiscent of the machine I have next to it MM, but much more involved in the game play. I really like the drop target skill shots and the extra ball shot that lurks behind them. Although many complain about the purpose of the upper flipper, it definitely helps hitting the targets and the extra ball shot. The game plays plenty fast, especially as you are hitting the drop targets and unlike WOZ it isn't a drain machine. This machine has the best multi ball modes I have ever played.

Artwork - I have the SE and believe it is the best of the versions; however, man like the LE and standard as well. This is one of the most beautiful play fields I have ever seen. I actually bought another to hang on my wall. The back glass does seem a little washed out at the top but it really doesn't take away from the artwork overall. The LCD animations are the best bar none. I really believe that WOZ was a game changer but this blows it out of the water. I have bought the color DMD for many of my games but there simply is no comparison. JJP did a great job using the LCD in this game.

Sounds and Music - The music from 2 steps from hell are really unique to most pinball games. I love the sounds and speech but I can easily see it just getting better and better with the code. The use of Gandalf as much of the narrative was well done.

Other Aspects - Game lighting is awesome and really sticks out. I love the LED's under the pop up trolls from the play field. Theme is why I love this game so much. This story was my favorite as a child and continues through this game. I liked the movies but even if you weren't a fan of them this game still is a blast! This has the best multi ball out of all my games, the best lighting and artwork, and is simply the best pinball machine I have in my house bar none.

I have this game between my MM and MB and it gets played way more by family and friends than any machine I have. I have had zero problems with this machine and recommend this to anyone who loves to have fun playing pinball.
5 years ago
Even though the rulesheet (1.21) is just maybe at 40%... just an estimation... it is fun to play. I love those different levels in mulitballs or wizards modes with add a balll and super jackpots! But I expect that there will come much more... at this time only "Into the fire" is implemented.

BUT... hey - what a machine! This is a modern pinball machine... great display, great sound system, great lightning and obviously a better built quality than Stern can deliver at this time.

Update... Sold it... tired of waiting for incomplete software... but also my fault... I am not patient enough...

I also love the non-functional details... starting with the packaging being more professional, using really great powder coating and those little details like the revival of the ac line cord cover - not essential for survival, but very nice!

Still I remember this disastrous preorder system and the awful delays, nevertheless I have to admit - well done, Jack! There is no way, we could be friends but your machine is great. I am very happy that the European importer (pinball freddy) is a trustworthy business man, so this may not be my last JJP machine - especially if Stern does not stop those incredible overloaded, overpowered light shows, which give me headaches.
5 years ago
Easily JJPs best title - a very impressive effort that really ticks all the boxes, best looking pin ever, great theme (normally a problem for JJP) super deep ruleset, beautiful imersive audio and video, tonnes to shoot for and fun to play.

Play a properly set up one (7.2 degrees, outlanes wide, all switches dialed in), and take some time to read the rules and you'll be hooked.

A future classic for sure.
5 years ago
Rich, well thought out rules, and off-the-chain programming. Lights, Sounds, AV, Mechanical Smaug Head, 4 pop-up trolls, three Main modes and Wizard Mode (haven't seen this yet).
5 years ago
I was just not impressed with The Hobbit. I played it along side of WOZ and its sad to say WOZ is better. Nice try JJ but "No Cigar". I predict it wont be very long and this game will drop out of the the top 100.
5 years ago
Would have been better as an original title... but it's a good sophomore effort for JJP.
5 years ago
Played this in Tacoma. Loved how much room the playfeild had.
5 years ago
No 10s here. I'm no WOZ fan, but it's better than The Hobbit. (As a LOTR fan and owner for 3 years, I was excited to play it, but...)

The Hobbit has a shockingly barren center playfield. Ball travels forever to reach a target and then what's waiting for it? A Fish Tales like ramp, a drop target or standup. Just not satisfying at all.

Why isn't this packed like Williams' Indiana Jones? Drop targets are the main draw? Seriously? What year is this?

The playfield is empty because they decided to place 4 pop up trolls (or whatever) Medieval Madness style in they center of the playfield. They pop constantly and get in you way ALL THE TIME. Yay!

Some argue the the third flipper is poorly integrated just because there is no reason to use it, but I think it's done perfectly. It matches the nonsensical layout of the machine.

Lastly, the Gandalf call outs are simply awful. The "Super Jackpot" in particular sounds like a young actor doing an impression of an old man with marbles in his mouth.

I won't even compare this to Lord of the Rings. The review would be much worse (just like the movies)
5 years ago
Below is breakdown by category of my opinion on the game

Code version: .83
Model: Smaug SE


The game no longer felt like the ball was just "ping ponging all over the place". Although the games flipper power still needed to be cranked up a bit I felt the game did not play slow and flowed fairly well. Also, I've complained before about a lack of shots on the game. Well, I can see now that as Keith and Ted add more to the code that the "lack of shots" thought didn't even come across my mind as you start to see shots open up in the game in unique ways. It's easy while not seeing the game to think "There's just a bunch of drop targets and pop ups in the game, those are not really shots". I probably would have agreed with that comment before I played the game but not any longer. Even though the game was running software version .83 you can see how Keith and Ted will take advantage of all of the games drop targets and pop ups in unique ways. With the way the drop targets act you can have a shot to a standup target between two drop targets, that's pretty cool. Also, the pop ups themselves can be hit from behind which when combined with the ramp divertor opens up even more shot possibilities


It was nice to finally play the game in an environment where I could actually hear the game. We all know that the game looks beautiful (it sure does) but it also sounds incredible. David Thiel has worked on a lot of top games and you hear his work in every aspect of The Hobbit. I noticed at least one mode where the sound for hitting an orbit shot changed due to being in that particular mode, a nice touch. You can already tell that there is a great deal of effort and detail being put into the games audio work. The music on the game, done by "Two Steps from Hell", sounds impressive and we still have yet to hear the complete soundtrack they created for the game due the game running fairly early code. If the game already sounds this good just wait until the rest of Davids work and the Two Steps from Hell soundtrack is in the game.

Rules / code: The game I played was running software version .83 and you can tell it's still fairly early code. Besides Smaug multiball I noticed a handful of hurry up modes and traditional modes starting. However, I don't believe the traditional modes in the game are 100% complete as they didn't really give me a feel of being in the mode compared to say while playing LOTR when more unique sounds and animations are played for each mode. The code overall was certainly further along then what I played at the Michigan Pinball Expo a year ago. There is not a doubt in my mind that the game will only get better from here thanks to Keith and Teds code work. Those guys did and are still doing an incredible job supporting WOZ's code, the best in pinball I've always said. With JJP they are batting a 1000 in terms of code support and being transparent about the status of code. As I've said in another thread "Don't underestimate the power of the Keefer"


Does the game offer as much value as JJP's previous title The Wizard of Oz? WOZ seemed to be a special case, almost like Twilight Zone, where a calculator wasn't used to make the game and everything that could be put into the game was included. The Hobbit, although not as loaded compared to WOZ in my opinion, still offers a ton of value. Value cannot be judged by toys / features alone but also by the amount and quality of work put into a games rules, audio and animations. With TH you have two of the best pinball programmers of all time, Keith Johnson and Ted Estes, working on the games rules. The rules that I've seen in Keiths other games games, LOTR, TSPP, WOZ, are not just traditional rules found in other games. Keith Johnson has a gift for telling a themes story through code and making a player feel as if they are on a quest. That alone adds a lot of value to a game. The Hobbit is set to have over 30 modes, I'll say that again, over 30 modes! This is a game, like LOTR, TSPP, and WOZ, that you can own for 10 years and will always have an objective for you to achieve. Also, the value of David Thiels audio work and The Two Steps from Hell soundtrack adds a lot to the value factor as well. I recall David himself saying at a show that he's putting more effort into The Hobbit then any other game he's worked on. We know David has done a great job on his other games and that same quality and fun factor to the sounds can already be heard on the Hobbit even with early code. The "Two Steps from Hell" soundtrack offers a lot of value as well. The group has worked on major Hollywood films, such as Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean, and it's just awesome to hear that level of quality in a pinball machine. Finally, the games animations from JP are impressive to say the least. The layout and design of the screen is slick and the animations themselves are high quality and only help immersive the player more in the world of Middle Earth.

Well done JJP
5 years ago
Still figuring it all out, will update once I get the hang of everything. The machine is the most beautiful I have ever seen. The layout is not that slow once setup properly. 7 degrees, flippers at 25, still figuring out the rest. Code 1.10 really makes a huge difference and theres still so much to come. I really think that it's underrated due to all the hate this site just breeds. Things will even out down the road.
5 years ago
I played this in Seattle at Shorty's. It may have been a deluxe edition. I thought this was way better than Woz, and had a slower, more natural feel. I liked the playfield and flippers and thought JJ was coming into it's own. Things I didn't like, although much improved, were the consistency of the LCD screens, and the double LCDS. it's like fighting to be a bar machine or an at home. However, I think the overall quality was cool. Perhaps sticking with the low scoring is a little odd though.

Edit: Have played this on location a fair amount of times. My previous review probably didn't address the low rating, which mostly has to do with the playfield. The programming on the LCD is fine, if not a little repetitive, but the main issue has to do with the slow play on the play field. This is not indicative of all jersey jack games, and is probably a one off thing. There is a lot of under play field clicking and switching for the amount of action on top. The main play field is kind of barren, except for interlocking ramps on top, ramps on either side, and a few strange pop bumpers on upper right.
5 years ago
There's very little that's not exceptional on this machine. JJP has corrected the WOZ lighting issues...this machine is not dark! The sound is amazing!! The drop targets (and how they're used!) make for a lot of different shots and angles to make. Some question the upper flipper...and while there are is only one real shot it can make that can't be made from other flippers...there are some shots it can hit easier; this makes you want to send the ball there when completing modes. It is unfortunate that Smaug doesn't interact with the understanding is that was due to the license holders...but Benedict Cumberbatch's voice and the light interactions make the toy fun.

But what really makes the game (and most games these days) is the rule set. Starting with the 2.96 code, this machine has one of the deepest rule sets of any pin to date.
5 years ago
a very beautiful pinball nothing to say about the esthetic but after severals games I'm not in love..I wait for the new
code to change my mind...
5 years ago
I don't like the layout. The 3rd flipper doesn't make sense to me at all. Nothing original, smaug is a huge let down (talking puppet).
The artwork is good, the sound is nice, but thats about it. So this machine is not for me.
Over priced for what it is.
5 years ago
Great game!!
5 years ago
It's early but the game simply doesn't function correctly. Shots are weak and boring. I like the pop bumper placement and that hole shot. Shooter rod too weak to hit stand ups, ball flys off metal forms, balls get stuck under pop up trolls, ramp is too easy to hit. B-
5 years ago
After 20 plays at an arcade, here is my first review of the almighty Hobbit:

Action/Per/Minute: good
Backhands: both L and R had good backhand shots
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown?
Dink Donk: none - Great
Drops: 3 banks, 11 total, smart drops like Barracora, even could lock in place. Amazing
Drops Sweep: indirect only
Extra Balls: 2-3 ways to get em.
Flippers: 3
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: Yes all goals present
Inlane Lane Change: NONE
Inlane Ramp Release: WEAK - clunky ball return, bounces a bit before you get it. Velocity lost.
Inlane Swoosh : good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown?
Lane Change: NONE
MB Earning: average difficulty
Metal Ramp: yes, 2
Nudging: good — very surprising for a wide body.
Orbits (Repeatable): YES, excellent
Outlane Fun: Yes, very manageable
Pops: fair. moderate risk on exit, but they don’t do much.
Rules (time/order): best in class.
Shots (total): 20: most of any single-level pinball machine ever.
Skill Shot: Best of all time. Tops Whirlwind.
Slap-saves: good
Spinners: 2 but there are no spinner sounds (HUGE LOSS-but fixable with code updates)
Stop'n'Go: fair: quite a lot of stop n go.
Taunting: none. if it’s there, it’s not very rude, imo
Toy/Gimmick: very good: smart drops, lockdown bar button,
Voice / V. choreography: fair, but it’s not very locked in verbally.

very very weak.
1. it doesn’t sound like a pinball machine. Mostly explosion and sword swoosh sounds. If you didn’t hear the click-clack of the flippers, you’d have no idea this is a pinball machine. I think they missed the mark here in a BIG way.

mini-display on PF is important for hurry ups. It’s in a good place to look. I never once looked up at the 27” LCD, since I was trying to play pinball, and not watch a movie. I am concerned that you won’t know what to do if you don’t look up. Could be a BIG negative here. Need to learn more.

Very solid and stable. fun shaker motor. Big plus.

It’s the best modern by a landslide in terms of rules and layout, but if you are a sound-first guy like me, I have no problem if you want to stick with Metallica as the best modern.
5 years ago

The Hobbit is a lot better than WOZ
Plays good and looks great.
Beasts pops up to often even on hard settings.
Shoot the spinners an collect all dwarfs are boring.

to bad you have to complete the same 5 task to get the 3 big modes.
more than 30 main modes and you only have to complete 1 to advace???
5 years ago
Simply amazing.
A lot of hate for JJP on pinside so readers please disregard the haters.
With regular code updates this game has gone from incredible to amazing!
5 years ago
So far, I've only played JJ's The Hobbit 3 times, which isn't really enough to make a fair analysis. However, while the LCD and sound are neat, and while the theme is fun for Tolkien fans, the shots and rules were way to simple. Left ramp, right ramp, repeat (while occasionally hitting the captive ball between the ramps). There's not much else going on for this machine.

Of course, I'd like to have one in a collection, but I wouldn't pay anything near MSRP for it. Play it just to watch the videos - especially if you're into LotR. but don't expect too much.
5 years ago
I have played this pin quite a few times. I want to like it, but don't. It must be the visual overload. From the billboard to the back glass, ALL over the BG, it's just not enjoyable. Having to constantly stop to see what's going on, especially during multi-ball sucks. I like the rules. The ramp shots are Metallica-esque. My favorite part being the use of the drop targets. Smaug should eat the locked balls ala JP's T-Rex. 2/3 games brought to the Ohio Show were constantly being serviced. I drilled the goblin & broke it, then walked away never to return. JJP is 0 for 2.
There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 10 of 12.

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