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Interview with Eric Meunier about JJP Pirates Changes

Backstory

Last week, Jersey Jack Pinball announced two changes to their upcoming pinball machine, Pirates of the Caribbean.  You can view a video of the announcement here.  The first change was to the chest mechanism.  “The lid of the chest is now going to stay open at all times.  This used to open and close with the diverter mechanism underneath the chest that kicked the balls up into the chest.  That was causing a couple issues at different shows, and now with it stationary, this is a much better shot.  The ball shoots into there and doesn’t kick back out and is much more reliable.”

The second, and more notable change, was to the triple spinning disc mechanism.  “We decided to change it to a single spinning disc physically in the playfield.  It is a much more reliable mechanism, it runs a lot quieter, and it is an established mech that has been used for years in pinball…we’re still doing the random generated award, we still have the plundering so you can steal from other people that you’re playing against, jackpots, random award multipliers, etc.  The playfield art itself has been brought in slightly…”

For a bit of background, here are the original three circles in action that are being replaced by a single spinning disc.

In the Pirates of the Caribbeans movies, this map is known as the Mao Run Map.  To see what it looks like in the movies, you can watch this short video montage (about 1:40).

Here is a high-res image of the new single disc:

The new disc before the color tweaks

REACTION

As expected, the reaction to these changes were mostly negative from pinball buyers.  There is undoubtedly frustration and disappointment from the Jersey Jack Pinball side as well.  Many buyers are saying they are planning to back out because of these changes.

Just as a reminder, this game is still packed with features:

  • 22 characters to choose from
  • Over 100 modes/chapters
  • A Black Pearl pirate ship
  • Aim-able cannon ball shot at target ship
  • 4.3 inch apron display
  • 13 unique shots on the playfield
  • 6 diverters
  • 17 ball paths
  • 2 outlane skill saves
  • 5 flippers
  • 27 targets
  • 2 magnets (one in the orbit, one on the Start Chapter area)
  • 3 RGB edge lit spinners
  • 5 entrance subway
  • An under-the-flipper shot
  • 5 mini-wizard modes
  • 1 ultimate wizard mode

That being said, the concentric spinning map discs were a very cool interactive feature that looked great and people are understandably disappointed with this change.

 


INTERVIEW WITH ERIC MEUNIER

The three spinning discs were a very cool feature and it was easy to see you (and JJP) were excited about them. How difficult of a decision was it to remove them?

Removing them from the game was a very difficult decision. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do at JJP. I am very passionate about the design, and have poured my heart and soul into this game. The triple spinning disk is the first ever mechansim for which I have my name on the patent. When push comes to shove though, the game has to be reliable first and foremost. Our testing proceedure here at JJP proved that it wasn’t, and unfortunately we are out of time.

Can you explain more about why the three discs were removed? Was it failing in long-term tests?

As was seen at several shows around the world, and in the shops of several of our distributors, the disks were not living long-term. It was not a cost issue and it was not code/programming.

Is it set in stone that it will now include just the one disc?

It is set in stone.

Is the design of new disc the same artwork that was in the movie?

It is the exact artwork out of the movie series.

You mentioned the colors will be changed to match the playfield better. Do you know how they will be changed?

Colors of the disk are going to be lightened up a bit. Looked like the red was coming through stronger than anything else, so it’s been pulled back a bit to better blend in and resemble the older color pallet of the original disk.

Will the colors on the CE be different than the LE and Standard?

Disk colors are the same on all 3 models.

Did coding the discs and rewards play into the decision at all?

We still want to and are going to display the random generated awards on the screen. It was an interesting feature that we definitely want.

Will the new disc spin in both directions or at different speeds?

The new disk will spin in both directions and at variable speeds. Hitting the map targets is what starts and changes the speed/direction of the map.

Will the late changes cause any delays in production?

The changes will not cause delays in production.

When can we expect these machines to start shipping?

Machines are shipping this summer. I am flying to NJ next month to help train the factory on how to assemble my game.

What month during the summer can we expect these to ship?

I don’t want to go on record with a firm date, but I plan on showing Jack how to actually do a cartwheel when my first game ships while I’m out there…

Photo courtesy Pinball Photos: https://www.pinballphotos.com

 


Heighway Pinball – Unsettling Information

Heighway Pinball had a couple unsettling pieces of information come out this past week.

First, Helmut Langenbruch has left Heighway Pinball.  Helmut provided Technical Customer Support and was widely regarded as one of the most responsive employees at Heighway as customers have had many complaints about Heighway’s communication.  According to his LinkedIn account, he had worked at Heighway for two years.

Second, according to Zach Meny (full time star of Straight Down the Middle: a pinball show and part time TWIP correspondent) who spoke with Melissa at Coin Taker, there are currently 35-40 Alien machines ready to ship over to the U.S.  However, Coin Taker would need to pay in full for these machines to have them shipped and is not comfortable doing so at this time.  Heighway is having issues providing parts and manuals to troubleshoot any problems with machines.  Melissa stressed that Coin Taker wants to provide their customers with only the best products and services, and wants to assure that every machine meets those high standards.  Coin Taker wants to protect its customers.  Thus the delay of receiving said machines may be a reflection on those standards that must be met.  Coin Taker will continue to work with Heighway Pinball in hopes that parts and manuals will be provided so that issues out of the box can be rectified.

We will keep you updated on things at Heighway, but these are two more challenges that Heighway will need to overcome.

 


Iron Maiden Premium/LE Showing Soon?

There are rumors swirling that we may see Iron Maiden Premium/LE sooner rather than later.  As previously reported on This Week in Pinball, here are a few things we can expect to see on the Premium and Limited Editions of Iron Maiden:

  • Different cabinet and translite artwork
  • The same playfield artwork as the Pro (subject to minor modifications)
  • The Premium artwork will be Egyptian themed
  • The LE artwork will be “battlefield” themed

A Few of the Features on the Premium and Limited Edition:

A Few of the Features on the Limited Edition:

  • HD anti-reflective glass
  • Shaker
  • High powered speaker system
  • Mirrored backglass
  • HD brushed foil cabinet artwork decals
  • Metallic red powder-coated side armor
  • Custom Eddie shooter rod

Note from Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast:

The following is a report from Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast about what we may see on the Limited Edition model of Iron Maiden (listen to the full episode here!):

  • Per Kaneda: the artwork on the side of the cabinets for Iron Maiden LE will be the big green airplane with two Eddies
Possible green airplane for LE artwork

 


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY PINBALL PRO INFINITY STONE!

This is a simple mod for GOTG Pro machines that makes the infinity stone more realistic – an infinity stone that mounts inside the orb, and glows from the RGB led mounted behind it.  Check it out!

Click here for more info and to purchase this mod!

Do you want to sell your mod on Mezel Mods?  Click Here to email them for more info!

 


Houdini Code Update!

American Pinball dropped some new code for Houdini this last week!  From this post from pinsider rosh (the coder), some of the highlights include:

Enhanced skill shot — more challenging and more valuable
Match Sequence — The long wait is over!
Players Choice — You will be able to choose which Stage Mode to perform either when the status screen is on the marquee when the stage opens or can be earned at magic shop or earned via skill shot.

To view all of the updates and changes, click here!


What is your FAVORITE Pat Lawlor design??

 

VOTE HERE!!

 

We’ll share your top 10 wizard modes on Tuesday 🙂

 


Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle Music/Callouts

We heard some clear audio from Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle at the Midwest Gaming Classic – check it out here!!  It includes some of the music, sound effects, and callouts from Alice Cooper.

Photo courtesy of Neil McRae

There was a little bit of complaining about tight shots and the Alice Cooper callouts.  Spooky’s Charlie responded in this Pinside post.  It sounds like a lot more voice work and callouts are coming to mix in with Alice’s callouts.  We look forward to seeing this game develop!!

 


Victory Laps – End of Post Bonus

 


MATCH! – Next Game…What is Coming Up on This Week in Pinball

  • Still working on what we think will be a great resource for competitive players.  Hoping to be done by Pinburgh!
  • Some new news on Harry Potter Pinball coming up soon (don’t get excited)…

 


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DisclaimerAny articles, interviews, or mentions of pinball manufacturers or pinball products is NOT an endorsement.

Have a scoop or anonymous rumor?  Email us at [email protected]

 


Stern Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Aerosmith   AC/DC Vault Edition  |  Star Wars  |  Guardians of the Galaxy  |  AC/DC Luci Vault Edition  |  Iron Maiden

Announced/Confirmed

Elvira 3

Rumors of Future Titles

Deadpool?  |  The Munsters?  |  The Beatles?  |  Jurassic World?  |  Pulp Fiction?  |  New Ka-Pow Title?  |  Steve Ritchie Black Knight 3000?


Jersey Jack Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Wizard of Oz  |  The Hobbit  |  Dialed In  |  Pirates of the Caribbean

Rumors of Future Titles

Toy Story?  |  Willy Wonka?  |  The Muppets?


Chicago Gaming/Planetary Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Medieval Madness Remake  |  Attack From Mars Remake

Rumors of Future Titles

Monster Bash Remake?  |  Cactus Canyon Remake?  |  Big Bang Bar Remake?  |  Theatre of Magic?


Spooky Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International  |  Dominos (*contract game)  |  Jetsons (*contract game)  |  Total Nuclear Annihilation (*contract/house game)  |  Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle


American Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Houdini

Rumors of Future Titles

Oktoberfest?


P3 (Multimorphic)

Lexy Lightspeed  |  Cannon Lagoon  |  Cosmic Cart Racing


Heighway Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Full Throttle  |  Alien (shipping)

Rumors of Future Titles

Queen?


Dutch Pinball

Most Recent Titles

Bride of Pinbot 2.0  |  Bride of Pinbot 3.0 (on hold)  |  The Big Lebowski (production issues)


Circus Maximus

The Pinball Circus Remake  |  Kingpin


Homepin

Thunderbirds (coming soon)


deeproot Pinball

Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland?  |  Alice in Wonderland?  |  Magic Girl?  |  Original Houdini design?

Announced/Confirmed

Fire and Brimstone


Silver Castle Pinball

Timeshock (coming soon)


Phénix Pinball

Olympic Goblin

**TWIP dreams of the day Harry Potter Pinball will be added to these rumors. Ms. Rowling, I’d be willing to risk approaching Buckbeak without bowing if you approve this!


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The post TWIP – Interview with Eric Meunier on JJP Changes, Heighway Pinball Unsettling Info, Alice Cooper’s Sounds and Callouts, More appeared first on This Week in Pinball.

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