THIS WEEK IN PINBALL: July 8th, 2019

The Scoop

— This Week’s Top 5 Stories —

1. Wonkas are Shipping, Jersey Jack Interview

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is shipping!! Jersey Jack Pinball announced the first shipment leaving the JJP factory on Facebook:

After facing some challenging delays in the past, seeing Wonka machines manufactured and shipping on time is great both for JJP and for the pinball hobby.

The code is currently at 1.07 – check out the rules flowchart below!

Flip N Out Stream with Jack Guarnieri

Jack Guarnieri also joined the Flip N Out stream of Wonka with our friends from Special When Lit Pinball Podcast:

Jack answered many questions about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, taking questions from both Ken and Bill of Special When Lit, and from the chat room! Here are just a few highlights:

SWL: …You had just mentioned that there assets in this pin, there are sound clips, there are music clips, there’s some synchronization.  In regards to the evolution of the sounds and the video, is there still a conscience effort to evolve the code to incorporate that in a different way, or are we pretty much set as far as a baseline here with what we’re seeing right now?

Jack: …I’m going to say the game is done.  The game is complete and the game is amazing the way it is.  Have we seen in the past people do more and “make better”, do they respond to the community, do they respond to constructive criticism, do they take it to heart, are they passionate about what they do?  I can tell you that everybody in the company, every single person in the company, really cares about everything we do.  Some things are just not possible to do because there is just not time – in a millennium – to do them.  You have to put resources on the next thing or the next thing.

On licensing Willy Wonka:

Jack: We had a lot of assets.  We had – in my mind, we had more assets than we needed to make a really great game.  But we used a lot of stuff, we really did.

SWL: Where do we see the rest of the year going as far as the Wonka games?  I imagine LEs will be coming up here in the next month or two and then on to the Collector’s Edition?

Jack: LEs are on the line right now.  We passed 200 games built already.  We’re into LEs, we’re building some Europeans games, some international games…I would think people would see LE games this month.  CE games after that.

On JJP’s next title:

SWL: Is it possible that we may see another release before the end of the year?

Jack: You’ll see another game before the end of the year.

SWL (from a chat question): Do you think the game is complete at 1.07 or can we expect updates?

Jack: Let me ask you a question.  This is like – someone asked me two weeks ago if games are on the line.  Somebody asked me if games are on the line, and I said “games are shipping in early summer”…“Well are games on the line?”…“Well it is summer in three days, so what do you think?”  Do you think they’ll be a 1.08?  1.09?  1.10?  Does anyone not think that?

On if Pirates of the Caribbean will be rerun:

Jack: What is the next letter after Q?  (Arrrrrrr)  If we did Pirates it won’t happen this year.  If we do Pirates – I don’t know if we will do Pirates because as a company we need to sit down at talk about doing it…Personally I would like to build more Pirate games.  I will tell you that…I know there is a market for it and I know people want the game.

SWL: Is there a company rollout plan in regards to online connectivity with pinball machines?

Jack: There is. I told somebody that asked me some questions last week that they had to remember I’m not running a public company.  I don’t have to disclose company secrets and information that might help somebody compete against us, or somebody do something to harm us.  You don’t know what that information is sometimes.  So sometimes we look a little squirrelly because we’re not telling the whole truth – it is the truth but maybe not the whole truth – because we just can’t say…we try to give information so that our fans, our customers, our loyal people that really care about what we do, we try to give them information so they can make informed decisions, what to buy.  Maybe they should go out and get a second job so they can make more money so they can buy more of our games.

Also, don’t miss tonight’s stream from Flip N Out which will include Joe Katz, Keith Johnson, and Eric Meunier!! Follow the Flip N Out Pinball stream on Twitch here!

Also tonight, Jack Danger of Dead Flip will be streaming Wonka at the same time as the stream above – check it out here!

2. Keith Elwin Interview on Loser Kid Pinball Podcast

Our friends at the Loser Kid Pinball Podcast interviewed Keith Elwin on their most recent podcast! Here are just a few of the highlights:

Loser Kid: After the  success of Iron Maiden and so many people liking the rule structure…do you plan on doing the rule structure for your second game?

Elwin: Yes, it is basically the same design team minus Jeremy [Packer AKA Zombie Yeti], the rules are mine, Rick [Naegele] is on code again, we’re nearing the home stretch so hopefully all your questions will be answered soon.

On the length of time to create a game:

Elwin: As George [Gomez] says, you need to be passionate about what you’re working on because you’re going to be working on it for almost a year and a half.  When I first started the project I am on now, it is like this is not going to be out [for a long time].  But as time goes on, it is like “I wish we had more time” because once you start nearing the home stretch, everything is coming together, the game is fun to play, it looks great…[you end up with] additional details you want to add but you just don’t have time.  Our normal cycle is about 13-14 months.  Sometimes you wish it could be longer, but part of me is already kicking around ideas for game #3.

LK: Do you feel like you have a design style even though you’ve only done one game?

Elwin: My goal is to not make the same game over and over.  I like upper flippers, so I can’t imagine doing a game that doesn’t have upper flippers.  I am a big fan of flow, but I’m also a big fan o state change.  My ideal would be a game that has good flow but also has a number of toys that change states.  I think there is nice medium in there, that is what I’m trying to do right now.  We’ll see if I can keep doing that, but if it runs stale and I start recycling designs, then I might switch over to more dominate with state change toys or lots of shots and flow.

LK: What are you saying by state change?

Elwin: Like the castle on Medieval Madness, it is there with the drawbridge up, it is there with the drawbridge down, it is there with the gate down, it is the same shot but acts differently depending on which state it is in.

LK: After the success of Iron Maiden, do you think there is any pressure of trying to live up to what Iron Maiden has become?

Elwin: No not really.  I’m having too much fun.  I’m glad people love Iron Maiden but I think people will like my next game just as much if not more, so I’m pretty excited.

LK: What is your most proud achievement with Iron Maiden?

Elwin: I think just the ability to take a license that basically nobody else wanted to do, and have it be a success….it was tough to make something that is – people’s opinions sway really hard either way, but most people agree that they think it is a good game, and that is what I am most proud of.

On his upcoming title:

Elwin: This is going to completely different for me because it is a lot more story based than just banging your head to metal music…really looking forward to seeing how this is received.

Keith also talks about how he started at Stern, his thoughts on developing Iron Maiden, if he’d like to design a throwback game, how to be a better pinball player, and how to not tilt. Check out the full episode here!!

3. The First Cosmic Carnival has Shipped

Our friends at Suncoast Pinball announced on Facebook that their first Cosmic Carnival pinball machine has shipped!

The first Cosmic Carnival went to Dave from the Mod Couple – you can check it out here on Pinside!

4. Spooky Pinball Podcast Talks Fang Club, Danesi’s Second Game

The Spooky Pinball Podcast made several interesting announcements and comments on their most recent podcast! Here are a few highlights:

On the Spooky Pinball Fang Club:

We’re capable of 500 games a year, and we have way more customers than 500 now.  So to go back and say “hey all you Spooky customers…you get first shot” – that means everybody gets first shot.  We are capable of 500 in a year.  We have hammered ourselves up down and sideways trying to figure out how to get around this and how to be fair, and I’m afraid it is one of those situations where no matter what you do, some of it is going to be seen as wrong.  But if nothing else, we’re upfront and honest and I hope people can understand that…upon much deliberation, we don’t really want to get bigger.  500 a year is a lot to manage, that is now 19 full time employees…we don’t have part time temporary help, we don’t have people at minimum wage, we don’t keep good people that way.  We’re getting the quality to where we want it to be and hopefully you agree with that.  We know there are improvements always to be made and we’re never going to stop pushing to get better on every single thing we do.  I think when you see Scott Danesi’s game #2, you’re going to understand the tremendous leaps forward we have made in that department in every area – EVERY area…

So where does this all lead us?  It leads us to something we’ve put a lot of thought, time, and effort into, we’ve been working on this for the better part of the year…announcing the Spooky Pinball Fang Club.  What is the Spooky Pinball Fang Club?  Right now we’ll tell you we want everybody to feel like you’re a part of Spooky Pinball.  And you can be in the Fang Club…if you’re not going to break out and buy a game – which we know not everybody is in that position…walk up to us at a show, or eventually on our web store when we get there – still working on our website…$25, you’re going to get a Spooky Fang Club t-shirt, keychain, and membership card…we’ve got some new apparel coming, some new merchandise coming.  The big one, which is coming down the road, and we haven’t ironed it all out yet as to what you’re going to get – we’re calling it the Fang Club Bloodsuckers Edition [laughs] to kind of poke fun at it being a vampiric cash grab.  What that is going to get you is going to be an early buy-in on [the next Spooky game]…there is going to be an armor package that we’re developing…it is going to be stuff on your game…every game is going to play the same, we’re not taking toys out of the game…the game will be internally the same.  It is just bling.  It is a lot of bling.  It is bling we’ve never done before…it is extra cool…if you want your butter cabinet that is still an option…this isn’t going to be like $1000 to get in early, it is going to be a lot less than that.  But it is going to be something extra special.  Right now we’re looking at…about 300 of these are going to be available – that is not set in stone – we’re still working out how to best approach this, we want it to be fair for everyone.

On Scott Danesi’s New Game:

It is going to be freaking amazing…and the fact that we actually had the time to develop this, and we are building Alice Cooper until December, and we have time to correct, polish, and clean up a lot of little things that we’ve never had the luxury of time to get right.  We’re going to get it right…when it hits, I think it is going to be awesome.  I think it is going to bury TNA as our biggest seller.

Talking about Stern Pinball’s Spiderman Pinball Machine from 2007:

The only thing I miss on it, is…all the background information I’ve heard is that the Batman crane – the one on the original Dark Knight and then again on Batman ’66 – that was supposed to be the Goblin Glider in Spiderman.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Added to Rumors

From what we’ve been hearing, we finally think there is enough evidence to officially add a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title to rumors!

— What Else You Need to Know Today —

National Pinball Day gets over 1,000 Signatures!

Fun with Bonus: Seven Years of Daily Posts!

Congrats to our friend Steven Bowden of Fun with Bonus for SEVEN years of daily posts on his awesome pinball website, FUN WITH BONUS!! Thanks for all your contributions to this hobby Steve!!

Special When Lit: One Year Anniversary

Congrats to our friends Ken Cromwell and Bill Webb for an awesome first year of the Special When Lit Pinball Podcast – keep up the great work guys!!

NOTE: Please feel free to skip this part, I am including it to address the questions and comments and inquiries about why TWIP reported false information about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


Dear TWIP Readers,

I want to apologize for reporting incorrect information about Wonka production.  For two weeks (on June 11 and June 17), I reported Wonka was not on the production line and this turned out to be false.  The reason I reported it was not on the production line was because I communicated directly with Jack Guarnieri and that was what he told me. 

Jack and JJP have been great to TWIP and supportive of TWIP, providing translites and other items for the monthly giveaways, Jack is very responsive, and I have always appreciated it.  I think sometimes it is difficult for manufacturers to know how to respond to the so-called “pinball media”, and I appreciate the challenges the manufacturers face in balancing their interests with communicating to the public. 

I definitely think that Jack was going for “under promise and over deliver”, and he did just that.  Unfortunately, TWIP was used as a tool in the under-promising.  TWIP takes it’s role very seriously in the efforts to bring you accurate information.  Unfortunately, the accuracy of that information is based on that which is provided by representatives of, and in this case, the owner of pinball manufacturers.  While this is being portrayed as a misunderstanding, the bottom line is, I believe it was gamesmanship by a company to the detriment of This Week in Pinball’s credibility.

Before responding publicly to inquiries from TWIP readers regarding the false reporting, I reached out to Jack as I wanted to hear what happened from his end and if there was confusion or if it was a misunderstanding.  I have since contacted Jack a few times over the last week as we attempt to bury the hatchet.  Unfortunately I am still not understanding.  I appreciate Jack’s statement that Wonka would be shipped in early summer and am happy they met that deadline.  However, regarding the previous weeks when TWIP was told Wonka was not on the line, Jack informed me that no one can really say when a game is on the line. I think all the professional manufacturers in pinball understand the phrase “on the line” is a common reference to the start of final-version production (in other words, on the assembly line).

I have canceled my Wonka order as this has all left a bad taste in my mouth.  Most people I’ve talked to think that canceling my order is an over-reaction, and it probably is.  My logic is simply that, I expect honesty to the consumer and to the “media”, whether it be TWIP or any other pinball website or pinball podcast or pinball content creators. Where a simple “no comment” would have been expected and perfectly understandable, I feel I was exploited for a short-term gain.

So that is that, and hopefully this provides some clarification to those who have inquired about it.  I wish JJP the best of luck moving forward.  I look forward to providing coverage of their news, their machines and our shared passion of the hobby.  I can only hope that they understand my perspective and remain a partner in doing so for the benefit of everyone who wants accurate news and timely information that ultimately benefits the manufacturers.  I hope to work with JJP in the future.

Time to move on and play some pinball.


  • Black Knight Sword of Rage

  • The Munsters

  • Primus (contract game)

  • The Beatles (Ka-Pow)

  • Deadpool

  • Jurassic World

  • Elvira 3 (confirmed)

  • Stranger Things

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • James Bond

  • Godzilla

Jersey Jack Pinball
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Dialed In!

  • Hobbit

  • Wizard of Oz

  • Guns N’ Roses

  • Toy Story

Chicago Gaming Company
  • Monster Bash Remake

  • Attack From Mars Remake

  • Medieval Madness Remake

  • Cactus Canyon Remake

  • Theatre of Magic Remake

  • Big Bang Bar Remake

Spooky Pinball
  • Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle

  • Total Nuclear Annihilation

  • Jetsons (contract game)

  • Dominos (contract game)

  • Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International

  • Scott Danesi Second Game

  • Licensed Title

American Pinball
  • Oktoberfest

  • Houdini

  • Robin Hood

  • Sherlock Holmes

  • Valkyries

  • Poker Run

  • Cosmic Cart Racing (P3 Game Kit)

  • Lexy Lightspeed (P3 Game Kit)

  • Cannon Lagoon (P3 Game Kit)

  • ROCs (P3 Mini-Game)

  • Barnyard (P3 Mini-Game)

  • Lexy Lightspeed – Secret Agent Showdown (P3 Mini-Game)

  • Grand Slam Rally (P3 Mini-Game)

  • Hoopin’ It Up (P3 Mini-Game)

  • HeadsUp

  • Wizard

deeproot pinball
  • Magic Girl

  • Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland

  • Fire and Brimstone

  • 2 Dennis Nordman Unlicensed games

  • Alice in Wonderland

  • Nothing so far

Other Manufacturers

Disclaimer: Any articles, interviews, or mentions of pinball manufacturers or pinball products is NOT an endorsement.

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