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 284 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 284 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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3 years 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!
3 years ago
This game isn't what we have come to define 90s era and later pinball machines as. It isn't about the toys, though it has some; it isn't about ramps, though it has those too. It isn't even about multiball, though it has its fair share. The Hobbit is about four things: 1) a homage to pinball machines of the past; 2) precisely placing shots within modes to achieve objectives; 3) immersion into the theme; 4) teamwork (optional). Those who judge this machine based only on the toys, ramps, or multiball will be confused or turned off by it. But for those who can look beyond that, you will find one of the most unique experiences in pinball today.

The Hobbit pays homage to machines of the past, primarily late 70s EM and early 80s SS machines. Most machines during this period featured few ramps, no toys, and little to no multiball. Instead, what made the machines fun and challenging was hitting drop targets, rollovers, spinners, bumpers, and generally being able to precisely place your shots. It recalls the days when utilizing these features were how points were scored, and yet it still includes multiball, toys, and ramps to stay current.

Keith Johnson is an amazing programmer. His rulesets for The Simpsons Pinball Party, Lord of the Rings, and Wizard of Oz are incredibly deep. I have faith that after a few more updates, The Hobbit ruleset is going to be amazing when finished. Currently the game has perhaps the "widest" ruleset rather than deepest. Getting to Into the Fire, Barrel Escape, and Battle of the Five Armies is incredibly challenging, with a super wizard mode (There and Back Again) coming. It takes precisely placed shots to get to these modes and beat them. But even the casual player has fun with the game as it is fairly easy to start Smaug Multiball.

The game is an immersion into the theme. I loved the movies and from the first time the start button is pushed and Bilbo Baggins exclaims, "I'm going on an adventure!", that's exactly what the game is trying to capture - that sense of adventure in journeying to defeat Smaug and the other monsters. The audio and video is spectacular, and it has a shaker to capture intense moments. Game times are long, further feeding into that sense of immersion into the adventure.

Finally, The Hobbit really excels when a player has another person to help call out shots or objectives that need to be completed. A person can still do well playing alone, and although they can't look at the screen, there are other indicators to help, namely the LCD book on the playfield, and flashing inserts that tell you what to shoot. But having that person help call the shots makes things much easier, and that helper gets to enjoy the video and audio as they assist.

The game is so unique, so different, that many players won't get it. But many of those who own it are realizing what an amazing game it really is. The Hobbit will never leave my collection.
3 years 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 !!
3 years ago
New code will help the rules
3 years 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
3 years 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!
3 years 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.
And update the code to 3.xxxx. The code update makes a hugh difference.
3 years 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 ;-(
3 years 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.
3 years 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.
3 years ago
I own it and really enjoy it. On three balls I can play for over an hour is the only complaint I have, so I play it less than my other games because of that. Build quality is outstanding.
3 years 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.
3 years ago
love it
3 years ago
The Hobbit is one of the best looking pins I have ever seen. The art and lighting is some of the best in the business. There’s lots to do in the game and is best to be played in a home environment. Great JJP build quality and love the 2 lcd screens. I’m looking forward to putting some time into this pin and accomplishing all the modes.
3 years 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.
3 years 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.
3 years 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.
3 years ago
The Hobbit is an epic journey. It is different from other machines and really spices up our gameroom. It drew me into the story, emotionally, in a way that no other pinball machine has. The integration of the three movies is dazzling in a way that flashy lights alone can't do. It does this with movie clips on the big screen, sound clips, use of multiballs, and shaker motor. It is absolutely amazing and surely is one of the nicest under-rated games of all time. I can understand the polarizing reviews of The Hobbit. It is difficult to understand the rules and what is going on at first play or even after a dozen plays. But then everything comes together and the thing just takes you an amazing adventure. I think that this is an unavoidable necessity to allow such a deep story line. There is no way to put enough lights on the table to explain where you are in the game and what every goal is. Fortunately, there is a huge screen and a smaller book-screen to help you along.

UPDATE for Code 2.95:
Before the update, I couldn't believe that they could make the game significantly better. I was totally wrong. The update brought The Hobbit to a new level entirely. There are lots more and more varied call-outs. Much better use of the colored LED's to show what shots to hit and avoid. Better use of light shows as objectives are hit or missed. Reading the book and backbox screen are easier to do as the action ramps up. Everything is much more polished now and refreshed. Absolutely fantastic game!
3 years ago
Can’t stop playing this game!! What an amazing technological feat all around. Plays super smooth. Shots feel great, does not get old. Revised rating based on jump from 2.01 - 2.96. This pin is probably the best value on the market today. What amazing work JJP has done polishing the code on this one. Their best LCD work to date. The new code much better explains and balances the rules and the objectives. love this pin!!
3 years ago
I have to say I was pretty disappointed in how quirky this machine is. From my experience I would say it's not a great choice to be anything other than a part of a private collection. I had the ball get stuck on the play field multiple times once bad enough that I ended up tilting the machine getting it unstuck. The final nail for me was when the ball got stuck in the right ramp return and the pin was rendered unplayable (no one on location had keys to open it up).
3 years ago
played a few games , beautiful pin
3 years ago
I was pretty excited about the hobbit when it was announced and had plans of eventually picking one up for the house but I have played the hobbit at a few different locations now and have decided it is just not the pin for me.

They knocked it out of the park with the artwork, animations and sound package the playfield design and game play just don't do it for me. It is hard to put my finger on why I don't care for it but I think it comes down to a few things.

1. The playfield feels sparse, it feels like all the shots are a mile away and the game play feels really slow to me because of this. Maybe stronger flippers may help a bit but I don't think so.

2. Multiballs are too easy to get and it feels like you just go from one multiball to another.

3. Ball times are very long. Not that is necessarily a bad thing but the difference is when I play the hobbit I am ready for the game to be over because there is nothing game play wise that draws me into the game and makes me want to keep playing it, usually by ball three I am just done with it. I have gotten score based replays on both hobbits I have played and did't want to play it again by the time I was done.

Maybe the hobbit would be great in a home setting if you took the time to learn the complete rule set but to me there are just no "fun" shots in the game and it just feels like you are shooting for the ramp way at the back of the playfield to start the next multiball.
3 years ago
This is a tough one. The hobbit is a beautiful game and I love the theme. I tried to make myself like it but playing it just felt like a chore and I eventually traded it for WOZ.
3 years ago
I don't understand those who like to bash this game. Maybe it doesn't work as well on location or something but in the home environment it is awesome. The rule set is deep and the drop targets are fantastic. The artwork is some of the best out there. And the sound and animations are top notch. I own 11 pinball machines and The Hobbit Is one of the two I play the most. Hobbit does have long ball times similar to LOTR but the game otherwise play very different. (I own both). It's a great game and hard to imagine it ever leaving my collection.
3 years ago
Hobbit is a wide body pin and it feels like one. The ramps and loops are super satisfying and the rules are deep but not too hard to understand. The beasts that pop up from the play field are cool but can get annoying when they block shots. The absurd amount of modes (over 30 I believe!!) is cool and playing through all of them is just about impossible. Smaug multiball is also extremely difficult to complete and it a lot of fun to try for.
There are 284 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 5 of 12.

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