Pat Lawlor Joins Jersey Jack To Make An Original Game

arcadehero January 24, 2014 7

This just hit Youtube – Jersey Jack Pinball was teasing a big announcement coming soon and here it is, Pat Lawlor, who has designed some of the most memorable and best selling pinball machines ever, is joining the JJP crew. Among those notable games was The Addams Family, Twilight Zone, Funhouse, Whirlwind, and Family Guy/Shrek.

As he says in the announcement video here, he will be making an original pinball machine. I’ve been saying that this is needed for ages and I am excited to see what this will become.  I think the obsession of using a license has hindered potential growth in pinball. Licenses can be great but its been obvious for a long time now that the mere addition of a license does not mean instant success ala The Addams Family.

So what are your thoughts about this, excited, neutral, negative? Let’s hear it!




  1. chaos January 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I’ve also been saying the same thing about how there needs to be an original pinball idea. I’ve always felt the licensing fee could be used for more innovations and toys on the playfield. Most of my favorite pinballs are original design like Monster Bash, Theater of Magic, Cirqus Voltaire, Tales of The Arabian Knight just to name a few. The prices of these have skyrocketed over the years.

    • Alex January 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      All those tables you mentioned are available in The Pinball Arcade, that might also have something to do with it.

    • Steffen January 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      The licensing fee is dirt cheap for what you get – especially from a good licensor who is “just help yourself with everything” like Lucasfilm was. Gary Stern once said that it comes down to 50 Dollars per machine.

      That’s 50 Dollars for sound and sometimes even music, movie quotes and artwork.

      Now look how much a non-basic assembly on a pinball playfield costs and then reconsider your thought about the money for the license could be used for something on the playfield.

      I also think like Gary Stern or Steve Ritchie that non-licensed themes don’t work these days.

      Stern gave non-licensed pinballs a try after Sega became Stern. Games like Striker Xtreme and High Roller Casino were non-licensed. Granted they both are pretty average but they both have timeless themes (soccer and casino games) that should do great with casual players in a bar. But they don’t. While Playboy from the same era isn’t too good either it earns much better – because it’s Playboy after all.

      • arcadehero January 25, 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

        Things have changed in pinball however as I am sure you are aware. We just have to take a look at the incredible popularity of Medival Madness – a design that was so good that it overcame the non-license part to become worthy of a license in itself. With better marketing that is geared towards collectors as well as operators, word spreads on pinball more than it has before so the chances of success are going to be far greater today than they were 10 years ago.

        Also licensing may be cheap but it requires a little less creativity on the part of the designer since they have some limitations to work with within the license. Of course you still can be creative within that realm but when you go from scratch, you have to work harder at every level to make the game interesting. I don’t mean to discount the efforts that have been done and I also don’t mean “no licenses ever!” – but 100% licenses has kept pinball a little stale too. Some games may have a great playfield design and rule set but the license limits them as there will be people that do not like Mustang cars, Star Trek, Wizard of Oz movies, etc. or they dislike them outright. You mention Playboy, as far as how that earns it also is limited in locations because of the license. I could care less about WOZ as a license, the only reason I have been excited about the game was the original design, creative ideas and it was something much different than what Stern has been doing. But I am more tempted as an operator to wait and see how The Hobbit and Pat Lawlor’s design turns out.

      • Ted Sprout June 15, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

        Licensed themes can also mean famous (regular) book licenses such as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Canterbury Tales, The Hobbit, The Wizard Of Oz, Tom Sawyer, Oliver Twist, Pride & Prejudice, Tarzan, Divine Comedy, War & Peace, Dracula, Frankenstein, Romeo & Juliet, Harry Potter, Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, to name only a few. Dialed In is Jersey Jack’s first pinball machine NOT based on a book license.

  2. Hugo Lowenstein January 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    What a pity, EA/Maxis/Cinematronic’s Full Tilt Pinball, will never get a real pinball cabinet! I will love if Space Cadet, becomes a real pinball game, instead of staying a virtual one!

  3. Ted Wright February 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Can we pre-order the machines? We’re a marketing agency whose owner likes arcades so he build one in our offices. In fact, he’s enough of a fan boi that he’ll sometimes use “Mamushka” as a term of recognition for a job well done.

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