Jersey Jack Pinball has announced the availability of their latest title, Elton John, and this brings another heavy hitter name with it – Steve Ritchie. If you’re new to pinball, Mr. Ritchie is known as “the King of Pinball” thanks to his many popular and famous designs, from the Black Knight series to High Speed to Terminator 2 to Elvis, AC/DC and plenty more. He also did a lot of iconic voice work for the original Mortal Kombat arcade games.
Back in 2021, Jersey Jack Pinball announced that Mr. Ritchie would be joining their team and with the passage of time there has been plenty of speculation about what game he would first create for the company. Now, we have this, which was announced just in time for Pinball Expo 2023 in Chicago:
This marks the second game starring the world famous musician, the first being Captain Fantastic from 1976. Two models are available as seen above, with the Collector’s Edition being limited to 1,000 units and having a few more perks (a topper that uses laser projectors, a special shooter rod, higher quality “RadCals” art with a different art packages, etc.) than the Platinum Edition. Both games feature 3 flippers, a few different toys including an animatronic Elton John figurine at the piano, custom speech from Elton himself, and players can choose to play 16 different songs from the singer’s repertoire. Here’s a very high quality video to showcase it all and you can also read more into the nitty-gritty details at JJP’s product page for the game. If you want to get really deep into how the game works, check out this post over at This Week In Pinball.
The MSRP for these games is $12,000 for the Platinum and $15,000 for the Collector’s Edition.
Putting my operator cap on for a moment, I could see this doing well at the right location, especially those that already see things doing well with music-themed pins. From what little I’ve seen of pinball earnings though, music themes don’t seem to do any better on location than a movie or comic book themed machine; In recent times, the only two pins I’ve heard doing exceptionally well (for a pin) are Godzilla and Cactus Canyon. I’d still give this a play if I came across as it looks like fun…I’m not an Elton John fan and don’t own any of his albums, but I’m familiar with plenty of those songs ‘through the ether’ so to speak and this has plenty of flash to grab attention on location.
I’ve had the sense in recent times however that JJP is moving more towards the collectors than the operators, although that could just be my own errant gut feeling. These prices aren’t a shock, since Toy Story 4 and Guns ‘N Roses were the same. At these prices, any pin that breaks the $10k price tag is just a non-starter for my location – it’s already difficult enough for pins around $6~7k to earn their keep. I’d love to hear from other ops how they feel about this.
The game will be at IAAPA 2023 as Jersey Jack has a booth (#829), so I’ll get a chance to play it then and perhaps hear some op feedback.
Of course, I’d love to hear from collectors too – what are your thoughts on this game?