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Pinball Jack Meets The Wizard! January 16, 2011

EXCLUSIVE "Mini" interview with's Jack Guarnieri and designer Joe Balcer about their Jersey Jack Pinball company and their 1/1/11 announced plans to produce a Wizard Of Oz pinball.

JUST ADDED--more detail about the game: Art by Jerry Vanderstelt!

While rumors have circulated for months about the existence of a new pinball company with plans to produce games on a regular basis, there had been no official word until now. The guys over at Spooky Pinball broke the news with an interview with Jersey Jack in which a number of topics were discussed.

Always looking for more detail, I contacted Jack and designer Joe Balcer and they expanded on the company and planned game for the PinGame Journal. Jack is not new to manufacturing. His company, Elaut USA, Inc., has made a number of games, most recently a Wizard Of Oz redemption game, so he is no stranger to the difficulties and challenges of game assembly. So why not pinball?

The Wizard Of Oz game will be built as a full size, commercial quality machine. It is in fact licensed by Warner Brothers and will use images and likenesses from the famed 1939 classic movie. The artwork on the game will be vibrant and true to the rich value of the movie and will feature the most popular best-loved elements from the film.

Jack reports that there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the announcement of their first game and cooperation has been offered from all parts of the pinball community. "The most important thing we can do is listen to our customers,” Jack told me. “A dialogue with the players is important for us to be the best that we can be."

“I couldn’t be more excited,” designer Joe Balcer explained. “I've been looking forward to an opportunity to get back into pinball design and I am happy to be a part of this. The design of 'Oz' will be based on thinking outside the box. It will be about merging a great playfield layout with mechanical units, toys and artwork with intuitive programming and technological advances that will bring pinball to the level it needs to be in today’s market. The Wizard of Oz is an adventure, a fantasy. That's what this game will be. People from 6 yrs. old to 96 yrs. old know and love the movie. When you watch it again it's easy to imagine what the mechanical units and toys will be as the characters follow the yellow brick road. A theme this recognizable and universally accepted will fuel a very successful product.”

Plans call for this first title from the company to include 1000 “Emerald City Limited Edition” games at first and regular games after that. In addition, the first 100 games will have added collectibility and a handful of them will be available with real ruby and emerald gemstones! With worldwide rights, Jack envisions a big market in Europe and other countries. "The theme is universally known and it will get the treatment and respect The Wizard of Oz deserves and its millions of fans expect," Jack promised.

The company believes that they can sell 5,000 games a year and through innovation and promotion that number will increase steadily. The plan is to build one line of product which is commercial quality and full featured including a three-year limited warranty. The www.JerseyJackPinball web site will be up and running later this month and Jack promised the PGJ more breaking news as it can be released.

Jack concluded our conversation by saying, “With the most important element of Jersey Jack Pinball being FUN, we look forward to many good things to come.”

NEW INFORMATION: The talent that will bring the classic story of The Wizard of Oz to life on the Jersey Jack Pinball is famed artist Jerry Vanderstelt.

Jerry is a well known and respected science fiction and fantasy artist who is best known to pinball fans for his stunning art package for the game Lord Of The Rings. Jerry has been commissioned to do seven different original art treatments for the Wizard of Oz. Four will be on the cabinet including the two sides of the body and the two sides of the back box, each a different and unique work of art.

Jerry will do backglass art which will be displayed on the LCD in the backbox as well. There will be a mirrored glass the full size of the backbox which will have artwork that will frame the LCD and lift up and into the backbox like a traditional full sized backglass. The portion of that glass will be clear to show what's on the LCD. In total including the artwork on the front of the game, that is seven unique and different Jerry Vanderstelt art creations.

The cabinet art will be printed with UV ink on the highest grade quality adhesive backed vinyl and applied to the cabinets. This will insure the brightness, intensity and detail for which Jerry is famous.

To see what Jerry has done in Pinball click Internet Pinball Database and check out his web site by clicking Jerry Vanderstelt

Look for much more detail in future issues of the PinGame Journal and announcements here as they become available.

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