After seeing Wizard in Oz in action at the E3 show, we had to add two more items to the list. So the top ten items now is top twelve.
Wizard of Oz cabinets are going to be printed directly on wood and then clearcoated. This will allow for striking cabinet artwork and should also prove to be less prone to wear.
Wizard of Oz is the first game to support RGP LEDs throughout. This means that the playfield lights can be thousands of different colors.
Put to effect with software, the impact of this new lighting should be fairly profound (as seen below).
This is the first widebody pinball machine since 1994. Widebody machines offer more pinball playfield space and allows more fun to be packed in.
Pinball sales have been in decline since 1994 — so building extra wide machines has simply been too expensive.
The game has two completely fleshed out upper playfields. Some recent games have had upper playfields. Family Guy/Shrek and World Poker Tour come to mind.
I struggle to remember the last game that had two upper playfields.
Actually I struggle to remember ANY game that had two upper playfields!
This game might give the classic Twilight Zone some competition in the toys department.
Wizard of Oz is sporting a lot of mechanical extras.
Let me see…we have a spinning house, disappearing witch, and flying monkey assemblies.
Most recent games have one toy. I struggle to recall the last game that had 3 or more. It’s been awhile.
I simply love magnets in games.
Black Knight was a pioneer in introducing magnets to pinball and shortly after some other games used magnets in a similar fashion.
But after that period, magnets mostly disappeared until Twilight Zone came along and blew our minds. After that era there was another lull for many years until Iron Man did some really fun things with magnets.
LCD Screen Adds New Possibilities for Game Awareness
At first the LCD backglass may seem kind of silly or unnecessary.
But when you stop to think how complicated Keith Johnson rule sets can be (see Simpsons Pinball Party) — one can imagine how the extra screen real estate might help to alert us when close to game objectives.
Also film clips can be in full color — not the pixelated orange glow we have had to endure the past 20 plus years.
This is the first innovation since Pinball 2000 that threatens to make previous machines look seriously dated.
Crazy Rule Set
Keith Johnson has promised to deliver a rule set for the ages.
As Keith said himself recently:
“The game will in fact be groundbreaking in many ways, I can guarantee you that. But in other ways it will still feel the same. There’s a lot of room on that display, so putting it to good use is certainly a priority. Hopefully it will help explain the game better than some of what I did in the past.”
Flippers that Mess with Your Mind
Wizard of Oz is going to mess with your mind when you play it.
The upper left playfield flipper, while on the left side is aligned like a right-hand flipper. Likely it will be controlled with the right flipper button.
The upper right playfield flipper is aligned like a left-hand flipper.
Also seen in a Jersey Jack talk was a video backglass screenshot of a mode called “Reverse Flippers”. This suggests a mode where tapping the left flipper buttons will active the right flipper(s) and vice-versa.
This may not be the best pinball machine to play while drinking. You have been warned!
According to Chris Granner, the sound system is “just incredible. It’s so awesome. I mean it’s gonna be breathtaking.”
The sound system is going to support stereo and supposedly will have 600 watts of power.
As Chris has said, “the Achilles heel of pinball’s sound has always been…there’s not enough voltage to generate sufficient wattage.”
Williams Pinball Machine Parts
Wizard of Oz is going to use Williams parts.
That will make it the first new game since Williams’ own last games to do so.
Williams parts are easily attainable from various pinball vendors and Williams’ flipper design (even dated as it is) is much better than Stern’s current flippers.
New Board System
As JJP sources have revealed:
“This board has been designed with serviceability as its primary feature. It uses traditional, readily available through-hole components to ensure minimum down time. Operators, technicians and collectors alike will be pleased at the many features incorporated into it and the JJP system. The factory warranty on this board is one year and JJP authorized distributors will be able to offer longer periods based on the needs of customers.”
Wizard of Oz looks to be the first new pinball machine since Pinball 2000 to seriously push the envelope.
Compare any Stern of the past twelve years to Williams/Bally machines from the early nineties and you feel like you are looking at a mirror.
Stern simply just stuck with the same old model, and even re-used their own sounds, playfield designs, ramps, etc. and placed them in new machines.
Stern did not even attempt to try to take pinball to a new level. In many ways their new machines were even inferior to classics from the early 90’s.