I’d love to have a league out here that would meet regularly to hold tournaments and to help preserve pinball in my area. These sorts of groups have popped up all over in the last 15 years as pinball has moved from a location experience to a private collection affair. Great job, Orange County Pinball League members!
Imagine my surprise when I was attending the Nintendo E3 press conference and I got a text message from Don and a Facebook message from Matt Riesterer telling me that “Jersey” Jack Guarnieri were going to be on the E3 show floor with the public’s first glimpse at The Wizard of Oz pinball machine. I was heavily booked up with appointments on Day 1 of E3, so when Day 2 rolled around and I had a few minutes, I made it my priority to meet up with Jack and Keith to see what they had to say about the soon to come Wizard of Oz pinball machine.
Playing Wizard of Oz was a treat, even if the game was running on a bare bones set of code. The playfield layout is fantastic, and it felt like I was playing a game from the glory days of early 1990s pinball. There was a slight similarity to Twilight Zone with the double ramps at the top middle, but the game had a smoother flow to it overall. The toys, art, and lighting all looked wonderful, even if without the GI being lit up on the E3 show floor.
The LCD runs in HD resolutions and it blends in beautifully with the backglass, proving to me that an LCD just might be the future for pinball display technology. The animations were very limited, as Jack was reluctant to show more at this time, but the screen looked great even in its limited state.
For those who are worried that Jack decided to pack the machine too much, rest assured that they’ve managed to provide something that is dense in regards to targets and toys, but that the ball flow is still satisfying and smooth.
Take a look below for our quick interview with Jersey Jack and Keith Johnson. It would have been nice to have spent more time with the game, but what I experienced was enough to make me hungry for more. Big thanks to Jack Guarnieri and Keith Johnson for showing the game at E3 and for taking time out of their busy day to accommodate my hectic schedule at the show.