The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 554 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.384 /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: 7.777

Artwork: 8.99

Sounds/Music: 8.704

Other Aspects: 8.182

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 284 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 284 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 11 of 12.

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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.
5 years ago
The game has the basic architecture to become a really great game. Code is a WIP but when it's done, I expect it will be as good or better than WOZ. The quality and construction is best in class and the attention and integration of the theme is outstanding. I admit the game has evolved during the last year based on feedback from Jersey Jacks customer base which speaks well to Jacks commitment to constant improvement. All the negative chatter is simply from individuals that have nothing better to do with their time. My advice is to play this game, enjoy it, it's only going to get better over time but to be honest it's already fun and has more going for it than many of the competitive pins in the market.
5 years ago
More first impressions than a review. This game will probably change a lot over the next couple years, so hard to say it all now. One, it looks AMAZING. From art to lighting to toys to LCD, easily top 5 best looking game of all time. All tied into the theme very well too.

I found it a lot easier to play than WoZ, which look a long time for me to warm up to. Rollovers and trolls start multiball, ramps start and extend modes. Modes seem really simple right now with one or two things to do, but it could be my unfamiliarity with the game. The book makes it super clear what to do in each mode. I think they've really tried to make this as easy to understand as possible. It doesn't feel as unique as WoZ right now though.

I like the layout more than I thought I would. There's plenty to shoot and the pop ups don't get too annoying. I even found times I used the "useless" third flipper to shoot the captive ball and such. The rollovers line up with playfield shots like WoZ which I love. It's too symmetrical for me personally. The ramps, pop ups, lower drops, VUKs... areas of the playfield don't feel unique. It's a little slow with long shots that return down long wireforms, but that doesn't break the game for me.

Fun game out of the gate. Right now no where near WoZ, but almost nothing reaches that bar in my eyes. I'm happy to have one local and will be playing it a bunch more.

Edit July 2016: Have played a bunch more and am slightly lowering my score. The way I play reminds me of TSPP where I start lots of modes that I only really differentiate by which lit shot I'm supposed to hit and kind of half-ignoring them while going for multiball. The pop ups get a little old too. We'll see if I have a WOZ-style revelation on this one and it all comes together magically for me.

Edit 2018: Score going down again. When this is in a row with almost anything else, I never gravitate towards it.
5 years ago
got six games on this one, seemed slow ,decent flow didnt feel the urge to keep playing ....nice looking machine... didnt like the bumpy under playfield pop up bash toys, i do like hitting them jus they are not smooth enough in down position, it felt like it needed massive open playfield to accomidate 4 pop ups, two woulda been better i think, they seemed clutterd up wen hitting all four... all an all pretty good game, very nice.. ..t.v screen is cool.... didnt hit many modes was trying to get a good feel on game play which jus seemed ok to play it again not goin out of my way to look for it.. good job JJP on another beatiful not to fun to play machine (woz) oh and what a waste of a third flipper not needed !! not buying this one!!!!
5 years ago
Played at Marvin's in Farmington, MI 4-07-16. I have mixed feelings. I think there is overuse of magnets. I like the physics aspect of pinball, where you learn to predict how shots will interact with the field and can predict where rebounded shots will go. The magnets in the top center of the field continuously disrupted smooth gameplay and frequently sent the ball SDTM. Not a fan of the LOCK rollovers centerfield either, as they too seemed to interfere too much with movement of the ball. I like the wide-open center field (aside from the rollovers mentioned) in theory, but it made for very slow gameplay, especially with the magnets almost constantly disrupting play. That being said, this is a widebody machine, so it shouldn't be expected to play as fast as a standard pin. Those times when I activated multiball, the action was fast and furious and left me wanting to come back for more. I had a blast on this table during the multiballs. The same location has WOZ also, so I went back and forth between the two. I do not like the WOZ theme. At all. But ignoring the themes, WOZ has a lot more to interact with on the table, and it is a more fun game to me. Flipper power on TH was fine to make all ramp shots - plenty of power most of the time. The exception was when two or three balls were at a flipper at the same time. The right VUK also had trouble getting the ball up and had to fire four times in a row to get the ball out of the hole. This only occurred once, and other time the VUK was fine. I had three balls gets stuck on this table, one of which could not be bumped loose and would require glass removal. The game was able to continue despite being short one ball after several rounds of coils firing.

Updated 9-21-16: updated ratings after having more time on this game. Shiny-new feeling has worn off, and it just doesn't have the "fun" factor going for it to me. Still hope to own one one day to give it a more thorough in-house trial, but it's much farther down on the list. Despite the terrible theme, would pick WOZ (great game!) over this 100%.
5 years ago
This is a game you must play before you buy. I wanted to love it but 'walked away after only a few games. It was way to complex for me but even worse it didn't have the fun factor to make me want to stay and learn the rules.
The finish is beautiful and I'm sure the sound is awesome when cranked up - all games are a bit quiet at the arcade.
That said you just might love this game if you were raised in the dragon/fantasy era and care to stick around to learn the rules. It is very, very deep and Hobbit will provide a long term rewarding game - there are scenes and levels you'll probably never see. In addition JJP is super about code updates (if WOZ is any indication) so your Hobbit will stay "new" for years to come.
5 years ago
The best layout, graphics, rules and package I've ever owned or played.
5 years ago
After playing it my first thought is that it will be a great game to get kids into playing pinball, because gameplay-wise it is one of the slowest (and easiest) machines to come out in while. It's a slow and flowy game (if that makes sense). The pop-up monsters don't even add that much difficulty at making your shots because the playfield is so open you can easily get around them if you like. The ramps are a piece of cake to make since they're pretty much straight up the middle.

Rules-wise, I can't tell from the screen what I'm working toward. Seemingly random modes I am able to start and complete, and there isn't much of a score payoff for them. It shocks me when I complete 10 modes and have a lower score than someone who just has a long-running multiball. Yes, that's true of a lot of games, but not to this particular degree.

The RGB inserts are creating some greens, pinks, and blues that are way too light for the theme. They need to create darker colors (like the insert colors on LOTR). The playfield art is beautiful, but the cabinet is very non-original (a bunch of photo-shopped arranged characters). The sound quality is amazing (and love the seemingly endless music). In the current code the game has very few callouts however (other than a couple of funny lines from the movies).

Overall, a fun game to play that really needs some more code badly, and especially needs more speech to add tension to the game and guidance of what you're doing.
5 years ago
The Hobbit is a very unique and fun pinball machine to play. The code is good right now, as I think it is very impressive that 31 modes can be started with launch code. This is quite an incredible feat as they all include unique video, sounds, shots and dialogue. Keith did an amazing job with WOZ and I truly believe Hobbit will be no different. It is a different game, which is part of the reason it is good right now, and without doubt be great/deep very, very soon. The game hits the theming out of the park, as no pinball machine rivals its high definition color and style. The armor on the game also looks fantastic. This is a game that anyone can come up to and play, while also insuring that fantastic challenges abound for the true pinball player. I hadn't played a Hobbit for over a year and this weekend left me very impressed with the entire package. It is unfortunate that the wait was so long, and the timing of its release may not be perfect, but this is a very exciting game and should not be missed.
5 years ago
Okay, I played an LE around 5-6 times - in general, I was very impressed. One thing this game has is a "wow" factor in terms of amazing sound system and light show - unmatched on any other machine, including the latest Stern, Full Throttle and JJ's very own WOZ. After playing Hobbit and walking over to a Medieval Madness - the MM seemed completely "dead" to me... slow, visuals and and audio drab... like a crappy EM. And I normally love MM. It just felt like I walked from an amazing IMAX screening into a basement with an old TV. Big picture: I still believe MM is a better pin. But, novelty is an odd thing.

The third flipper is puzzling - I didn't mind it, but no specific shot was odd. The game does seem mono-dimensionally routed around the pop-ups and drops, and I didn't play enough to really get a sense of the rule set. So take this review with a grain of salt, from that perspective.
5 years ago
Dont like theme+bad photoshop
5 years ago
I put some hard hours on this machine to evaluate.

Currently this game is a piece of custom artwork, not an outstanding pinball machine.
This says a lot since I hate PhotoShop artwork in general.

Needs significant code work, no one really understands what is supposed to be going on or to do except "lock balls for Smaug multiball".
You here a lot of TH "will be great" or "WIP" in reviews, which means the game is UNFINISHED and INCOMPLETE.
People might as well be scoring whitewoods as "awesome" as well.
TimeShock! is a sample working prototype is that a 10 already too?

"Modes" do not make a great game either, RoadShow has 24 "modes" counting MBs and other secrets. More "modes" than most realize and they squeezed as much as they could out of the EPROM memory, and had to remove features. At least those "modes" where unique.
Right now, this is like play a pinball rendition of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" movie.
Overdone, slow, and a bit taxing on patience.
"Less is more".

Game play and design is average.
"Modes" won't save the game.
Overuse of the same shots with little sense of accomplishment.
It is just plain confusing, even to an expert player.

Assembly design is simpler than WoZ, so it should be easier to maintain for operators.
Physical design has more than a few "achilles heels" for 2+ years of development.
Uncertain future of JJP overall.

Only JJP "pre-order game jockeys" are going to defend their "investment" here, watch the reviews or people that have been involved in the hobby less than a few years.
"Best modern game"?
When did modern games start?
2000? 2001? LCD games?
I mean come on there has been less than a dozen games with LCDs, and many people have not even had to a chance to play the machines like Captain Nemo, which is quiet amiable from a boutique manufacturer (review later).
Scoring incomplete coded games along a flipper assembly that has no use on the playfield, "9+ out of 10", just shows lack of experience.
Don't jerk off too hard, you might get wrist sprain and don't forgot to clean your playfield glass afterwords.
History continues to repeat itself with not being patient, collectors.
Learn from the mistakes of others of the past.
I know, the learning curve is steep, but just get over it, instead of being bent over, grabbing your ankles, and complaining on the forums how you were "deceived" or "robbed".

Good luck, Jack, I hope you are able to improve your game.
If is gets fixed, I will modify the rating, PROPERLY.
It It does not get fixed, it is is going to flop on location as the game has to recoup its cost before making money, and collectors are going to bail and sell their brand new machine to try and recoup their losses at some inflated price. Many people have already cancelled their pre-orders, but that is a bit harsh and preemptive.
Games are starting to sit with distributors, predominantly due to the high cost above close to $9k or higher already. The economy has not quite caught up to the "price testing market".
Ride the storm to the end pre-order jockeys, don't bail out now, you have waited over 2+ years!
Beat that horse to the finish line! YEEHAH!

FINAL NOTE: There is only ONE, "Black Knight".
5 years ago
This game is absolutely gorgeous. Typically, I love games with fast gameplay, and was definitely disappointed with the slower playing feel of this game. The layout of the playfield isn't very good, which is surprising after playing and enjoying WOZ. Surprising that the code at launch isn't more complete, given the time that JJP has been working on this game. So for me, bad layout and incomplete code makes for a tough sell.
5 years ago
I played this several time at TPF2016 and I even have a LE Hobbit on route near me... So I will be getting more games on this.

As it stands the layout just doesn't do a whole lot for me. The game looks amazing yes, I just cant help but feel like something unique is missing. What about the Hobbit makes it cool aside from the art work and LCD? The Smaug toy I guess... but that's the problem... its not interactive with the playfield. He just turns his head and moves his mouth that's about it. The ramps.. seems like that's all I'm really shooting for is the two ramps. Exact same location as the ramps on WOZ albeit slightly different but still.. I would have liked to see something new in the ramp area here.

The third flipper. What exactly am I shooting for with the upper flipper? The drop targets? I can hit everything from the lower flippers that the upper flipper can shoot for so it's almost non-existent from a usage standpoint. Maybe I missed something here but there doesn't seem to be much usage for it. I feel like the pops fall into this category as well....they're all the way in that far right hand corner...doesn't have much of an impact on the randomness of ball movement or game play.

The pop up targets. They seem really cool but I still haven't figured out what they actually do and what they're for. Definitely reminds me of the MM trolls but they are used way more on The Hobbit. Not a bad touch but I feel like they're the main reason the whole play field is empty.

I want to like this pin... I honestly do like it but it just seems like the game play isn't there. I'll be getting more games on this as time goes on but it just doesn't captivate me. It doesn't feel like there is something fresh and new inside this game from a mechanical standpoint. I was hoping for some kind of awesome Smaug toy or the like that was completely interactive with the flow of the game. Maybe this title will grow on me but right now it's feeling pretty flat.

The Hobbit has all the beautiful additions of a modern pinball that we all like. The multi-color LED lighting, 27inch LCD, etc. In terms of integrating those features and bringing something truly unique to JJ pinball...this has yet to be least for me. I'm really hoping Lawlor can change all that and bring us something that we have never seen before in terms of gameplay and toys! I'm sure this one will go through many more cycles before it's completely finished. The Hobbit is a great game but I'm beginning to think it's just not my game...
5 years ago
I found this game to be lacking in features. The playfield pop ups are so-so. Game feels like it is missing a big something. WOZ felt too crowded and this feels to sparse. After playing it a few time sI really didnt feel like I needed to play it anymore. The volume was up and I could hear the effects and music. Pretty decent. Its The Hobbit sounds of which I am a big fan. I really liked the animations leading up to multiball and I liked the animated dragon. :)
5 years ago
Game will only get better with impending code updates and additions. Artwork is great all around. Sounds and music are simply second to none with more to come.
5 years ago
Even though I'm not a fan of photoshop this pin is awesome looking. The animations, sound and toys are some of the best. Playing it though, is a little underwhelming. I would love to put more time into it to see more of the code but the layout is a little lackluster.
5 years ago
The playfield, cabinet and music are top notch. Spent an afternoon playing this. It really is a fabulous pin. The code is very basic at this stage, as always. I will go back and change the real rating of the code in a year based upon updates. JJP did a fantastic job on updates for WOZ so hopefully they will do the same for TH. I had a lot of fun. The video screen is a step up from WOZ. It looks really crisp and vibrant. The quality is there, and I'm sure they will provide quality code. It is Keith Johnson after all.
5 years ago
Plays slow and pretty easy with worthless third flipper looks amazing but will pass on this one at 8 grand
5 years ago
Upper right flipper has no function - how could a designer put that there without a shot to be made with it??? ramps too easy. no points for the short ramp shot though there is optos that could sense it. roll over lock targets interrupt shots and ball travel. The LCD has too much info that is needed for game play and you have to look away from the playfield to understand what you need to do.
5 years ago
I was lucky enough to play a Hobbit. Great looking game and great targets to hit. I liked the drop target feature and the game is beautiful. I cannot wait to see what JJP does in the future. Please let it be a BTTF. That would be amazing!!!
5 years ago
I love the conception of this wide body pinball, the smaug, the book video, the 4 trolls like medieval Madness ans the art of the playfield are fantastic ....My friend franck bona ( one of the best pinball players) say me that the game play is great + + + and when i see the youtube movies I am crazy ! the bronze finition of lock bar,sides, hinges, feets is quite terrible .....I hope to see it very quickly !
5 years ago
Love That LCD
5 years ago
I got to play the Hobbit at a recent pinball expo. The machine was under heavy use and I had to time it right to get a few games in. The visuals are absolutely stunning and attracted huge crowds. The game itself was not as spectacular as the visual impression. The field is wide open with various creatures popping up out of the field, like the Trolls on "Medieval Madness" or "No Good Gofers". Some targets in the upper left, 2 symmetrical ramps crossing in the upper center and a few other gadgets in the upper right (pop bumper, roll over, hole). The play times are long and most drains happen on the right outlane. The flow is decent but not great and the novelty wears off fast.
6 years ago
The Hobbit is the next game from Jersey Jack. So far, I like it better than WoOz.

The Good:
A surprisingly open PF with lots and lots of shots to consider. From the moment the game starts, the progressing skill shot from the upper left drop target bank greets you with the consideration of skillful play. The entire A/V package is stunning. The game looks, sounds and feels great. The LCD is divided into a number of different data centers that quickly and accurately tell you what the heck is going on and what you may want to do for the big scores. This alone is a HUGE improvement over WoOz. JJ has really gone through their work and learned from their past mistakes. I will say that this game is lots of fun. The combos of ramps to pop up characters are easy to see and entertaining. The L-O-C-K rollovers to the right ramp are as simple as pinball multiball can be. I like the FishTales ramps with the captive ball in the middle. It's far enough up the PF that it isn't the death shot that FT is known for, but it is still dangerous if missed and the ball is coming atcha SDTM. Is The Hobbit perfect, no (sorry fanboys). But even in this stage of development, it is a massive improvement over what we have seen with WoOz. Gone are the crazy outlanes and their rulesets that confuse the novice. Even in this earlier stage of the process from just a few 2 ball gameplays at The Pinball Showdown, I can tell you that this game works and it works very well.

The Cons:
What does the upper flipper really do? How many shots can you make from that flipper that you can't achieve from the two lower flippers? It looks like another long S/W dev cycle. That's fine with me, but others will complain. For a game that is so wide open the upper third (pops) seems really crowded and cramped. Let's see how long those little axes on the slings will last, shall we? Smaug is a cool toy, but I have to admit I expected more. I know I'm being picky about a toy, but I really thought the dragon would spit out (fire)balls. Honestly, The Hobbit series was a bit of a disappointment for me as far as movies went.

The Takeaway:
Another direction for gameplay from JJ. I like playing this game better than WoOz because anyone can step up to it and access the FUN of the table. This is something that you really couldn't do with WoOz unless you really knew the ruleset. We shall see what happens in the future. What more would I like? lots. In particular a Star Wars pinball game designed by Pat Lawlor, but hey... that's just me. I will be following this review up after the game is released to the awaiting public. In the meantime... I feel much better about Jersey Jack than I ever have before. This game is already really good in it's current state, let's see if the JJ team can make it really great.

I'm crossing my fingers and toes for this pinball company and this title!

Update v.1:
I was expecting some rule cards on the apron, but then again... that is what the DMD is for. The modes and rules are really well explained on the DMD. The trick is that you may be spending more time "shooting here" and then "shooting here". Some of the modes are really simple (bash the spider) and others are absolutely brilliant (hit the travelling drop target as it moves across all 3 drop banks. Multiball is fun and when you can light a lock with the L-O-C-K rollovers from the skill shot, it's lots of fun to get there quickly. I still don't know what to do with multiball that much as I'm not looking at the DMD for add-a-ball and other extra info. But the flashing lights do their job and and they do it well. On the not so bright side, I seem to get a ball stuck under one of the jumping targets (orc, goblin, spider, wolf?) about every 3rd game. In some cases the game cannot get the ball out of the pf mechanism and the game goes down. Couldn't we add a plastic shield at the front of or around the target to keep this from happening? Think Zaccaria Robot. And once again I find myself asking, Why? Why is there a 3rd flipper? I understand that there used to be 4, but even 3 seems to be too much on this table. I'll update this some more as I get more miles in on the game, but for now, it feels like JJP is still trying to find itself. WoZ was an incredibly convoluted and interesting playfield. This design feels stripped down and, well... relatively boring. A swing to the other end of the design spectrum? I would love to see what Pat Lawlor comes up with now that he has been out of designing pinball decks for a few years. I can't imagine him not having a few new ideas to throw into the mix. Here's to the new investors and their plans for JJP. Here's to Pat Lawlor finding a great home to make pinball games. Who knows, maybe they'll hire Keith Elwin as well! Whatever it takes to get the games right... I'm cheering on for JJP!

Update v.2:
I have serious concerns with this game. Even with instructions being spelled out to you on the display, WTF am I supposed to do? There are some elements on the PF (upper flipper) that make no sense at all. When I see this game on location at least half the monster pop ups are broken. You need them to complete at least one of the three mini-wiz modes. When the game DOES work, all I see is an wide open PF with 20 shots on it and the gameplay is BORING?!? How does this happen? Multiball is fun. Yes. What pinball game do you know of where multiball isn't fun?!? Has Jersey Jack forgotten that this industry is driven by operators? Even as a home buyer, I would not consider buying this game. I don't trust it. Here's to hoping that Pat Lawlor and his operator-centric POV will make the needed difference in JJP games. Cuz' bewtween all the issues with WoZ with their engineering and the high level of "meh" on this design... I gave up on this deck. It looks nice, sounds good, but is a boat anchor in my book. I don't think anything Keefer can do will save the weak dick layout and hardware deficiencies on this table. Oh yeah... the production cycle was so molasses slow, that the game came out AFTER the 3rd movie was released. I know some ops who say they make more money with JJP tables than any other they have ever put on the street. They also have more technical issues with these games than any other tables they put on the street. Great, just what I need, another high maintenance relationship. I think I'll pass.

Scores reduced accordingly.

update v.3
this game breaks. all the time. the monster (troll targets) seem to be well engineered, but are incredibly tempermental. And then the ball gets stuck in them. yay.

update v.4
How do you make a widely game that is boring, anti-fun that doesn't work mechanically and has such a deep and convoluted rule set that the only way to to try and figure this box out is to own one. The price of pinball has gone up. But in this case it isn't worth it.

because the ones on location certainly aren't 100%. and even if they are, the game right next to is is more fun than this bore-fest. so why spend a dollar on this snoozer when you can pay .50 or .75 for a stern pro (even a wwe) that PLAYS BETTER! I counted 36 shots on this table including the monsters and the L-O-C-K rollovers. HOW do you make a game with nearly 40 shots on the playfield and it isn't an interesting game? And here is the rub, no amount of software (Sorry Keefer...) will make up for a game that plays poorly. It just isn't ever going to happen... This game makes me yawn and that is not the sign of a good game. Joe Balcer either knocks it out of the park with a good co-designer or...

Frodo lives, just not in this pinball table.

Update v.5
This game is so complex that you have to play it simply. Go for the flashing lights. Keep the balls on the table. The player who plays longest, almost always wins. War of attrition in pinball. Yay...
There are 284 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 11 of 12.

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