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What a reveal from Jersey Jack Pinball! JJP showed off their newest pinball machine, Pirates of the Caribbean, and it is packed with features. Before getting into the pinball machine, a special thanks to Kevin and Nick with Buffalo Pinball (check them out on Twitch, Facebook, Twitter), Zach and Greg with Straight Down the Middle: a pinball show (YouTube, Twitch, Facebook), Steve Bowden (funwithbonus.com), and Pinsiders cavalier88z24 and abelelectronics for photos and videos. Check out their links for more content!
Below is an in-depth Overview of the machine, and Five Likes and Five Dislikes on Jersey Jack’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Thoughts are based on the Buffalo Pinball stream and conversations with people at Expo. (Note: It was a little difficult to hear the music on the stream. There also aren’t a ton of movie clips added to the animations, but those will likely be added in later.)
OVERVIEW OF JJP’S PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Editions, Price, and Timeline
Pirates of the Caribbean is a wide body machine, and there are three editions: Standard Edition ($8,500), Limited Edition ($9,500), and Collector’s Edition ($12,500). For a full list of differences between the different models, click here. There are NO gameplay differences between editions. The machines are expected to ship in the first quarter of 2018.
By The Numbers
- 5 speaker 2.1 stereo surround system
- 22 characters to choose from
- 1 Black Pearl pirate ship
- 1 Aim-able cannon ball at target ship
- 4.3 inch apron display
- 3 concentric spinning map discs
- 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)
- 4 bumpers
- 3 RGB edge lit spinners
- 5 entrance subway
- 3 slingshots
- 1 under the flipper shot
- 5 mini-wizard modes
- 1 ultimate wizard mode
- Black Pearl Upper Playfield and Cannon
- The Black Pearl upper playfield rocks back and forth like you’re on the open water and features a loaded cannon, where you fire your pinball across the game at the British Navy Vessel called the HMS Dauntless. Hit the spinners to raise the sails and then load the cannon. When you aim correctly and fire at the right time it goes through the “sweet spot” on the enemy ship which sinks it and starts a multi ball. Check out a video of the upper playfield here.
- Concentric Spinning Discs on Playfield
- Based on the Mao Kun Map from the movies, (aka navigational charts, aka Map to the Land of the Dead), the three spinning discs in the middle of the playfield are speed controllable, multi-directional and can “stop on a dime”. Not only does it effect your ball path, it also grants you awards. There are words written on each of the disks and they line up to form different awards, and there are over 200 unique awards based on how they stop. Some awards include plundering your opponents ball – you can steal points and pinballs from other players in the game. Awards were not coded at Expo, but when they are the ball will be held in the subway while the award is…awarded. Check out a video of the spinning discs here.
- “Your Heart’s Desire”
- The 4.3 inch display on the apron uses Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass to tell you the best shot in the game at all times. It can also be used to choose awards, etc.
- Davey Jones Chest
- The Davey Jones Chest is a physical ball lock for three balls.
- Maelstrom/Whirlpool ramp
- Sink balls on the ramp to start a multi-ball.
Rules and Code
Wow. Where to start! The code was about 20-30% done at Expo, but this game is going to be incredibly deep when finished. Here are some of the basics along with some explanations by designer Eric Meunier:
- The game is based on all five Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Click here to hear Eric explain the movie integrations.
- From the five movies, there are 105 “Chapters”. The Chapters are segments of the movies, and it sounds like Chapters = Modes. Watch this guy make a great save right before starting a Chapter.
- At the beginning of each game, 25 Chapters are randomly selected (five from each movie) – these are the 25 Chapters you’ll try to play through for that particular game. For the next game, a different random 25 Chapters are chosen, etc.
- This means that there are 3,250,729,616,121,660,000,000 unique chapter combinations. (Note: TWIP did not double check that math, where is Bowen when you need him?)
- There are three skill shots, which are explained by Eric here. Here is one example of someone hitting the skill shot into the pops.
- There are five unique multi-balls, one for each film. There is also a mini-wizard mode for each film, and one ultimate wizard mode. Click here to watch Steve Bowden start On Stranger Tides multi-ball and see one of the balls really rocking on the upper playfield. Click here to watch Nick Lane start Dead Man’s Chest multi-ball. Click here to watch Keith Johnson start On Stranger Tides multi-ball, explain that loops are jackpots, and then nail about four loops back to back.
- Tortuga multi-ball is lit once you collect 50 gold pieces from shooting targets in the middle of the playfield and collecting them with the action button. Click here for Eric explaining what the gold you collect does in the game. Also, click here to see Nick Lane from Buffalo Pinball start the Tortuga multi-ball.
- You can get a multiplier up to 108X for a single shot. Click here to hear Eric explain the multipliers.
- You light the six PIRATE lights in the inlanes and outlanes to qualify many selectable awards (like multipliers, adding gold, etc.) Click here to hear Eric explain the PIRATE lanes and how to collect and select the next award.
- The “map targets” from the upper left flipper starts the spinning discs in the middle of the playfield.
- The first thing you’ll do is select a character from the Pirates franchise to play as – and no two players in the same game can select the same character. Each character has a unique ability that helps you in the game:
- Hector Barbossa – Easier Multi-ball Rules
- Tia Dalma – Pick Your Chapter Instead of Random Select
- Weatherby Swann – Cannot Be Plundered
- Henry Turner – Spot Character Always Lit During Chapters
- Carina Smyth – More Time for Chapters
- Marty – Keep Some Gold After Tortuga Multi-ball
- Scrum – Spot One Female Character Per Chapter
- Ragetti – Once a Ball, Add a Ball Into Play When a Ball is on the Pearl
- Culter Beckett – More Gold
- Blackbeard – Longer Multi-ball Ballsaver
- Jack Sparrow – Removes “Worst” Mystery Awards
- Davy Jones – Liars Dice Bonus
- Will Turner – More Combo Time
- Joshamee Gibbs – Tortuga More Valuable
- Armando Salazar – Save One Ball from a Multi-ball Multi-drain
- Cotton – Easier Pearl Motion
- James Norrington – Easier Chapter Rules
- Angelica – Spot One Male Character Per Chapter
- Bootstrap Bill – Easier Chest Rules
- Pintel – Spot PIRATE Lanes
- Pirates of the Caribbean has a camera (just like Dialed In!), but it has not been included in the code yet.
- Finally, there is a Drunken Sailer mode, and Steve Bowden started a rumor that it may or may not reverse the flippers.
1. The Design
Everyone was excited to see what Eric Meunier would come up with for his first design, and he did not disappoint. With 17 ball paths and 27 targets, there is a lot to shoot for on this machine. Watch Steve hit the whirlpool shot here, and watch Nick hit the “behind the flipper” shot here. For a wide body machine, it looked to play fast and people TWIP have talked to have said as much. Having the upper left flipper towards the middle of the playfield instead of on the edge helps it not play like a “typical” wide body. Check out Steve Bowden hitting the loop shot EIGHT times in a row!
There are many interesting design aspects, including the unusual outlanes. The right outlane has an Escape the Hangman hole where you can save your ball if you nudge correctly or get a lucky ricochet. Check out Eric trying to save his ball here, and watch this ball take a lucky bounce and save itself.
2. The Toys and Features
There is an upper playfield pirate ship that not only rocks back forth like it is on the ocean, but also has a freaking cannon that you can load your pinball into and SHOOT at another (enemy) ship to try to sink it. There is a physical ball lock in a chest that opens and closes. There are spinning discs on the playfield, a whirlpool ramp, magnets, a display on the apron, and on and on. This thing is packed! Check out a few videos from the Buffalo Pinball stream here:
- Nick opens the chest, has an incredible Lazarus save, and locks a ball.
- Check out the cannon firing here and here.
- Check out the cannon hitting the sweet spot and sinking the ship from the slide show presentation. (Sorry for the video quality, it is the best we could find right now.)
3. The Code and Variety
As seen in the Rules and Code section above, there is a LOT to do in this game.
4. The Instructions and Guidance
A machine with a lot to do can be intimidating to people new to pinball or those that haven’t played the machine before. Pirates of the Caribbean does a great job calling out instructions on what to shoot. Combine that with the display right below the flippers that is showing the best shot to hit at all times, along with the 27″ display in the backbox that also gives instructions, and that should be extremely helpful to the players of any experience.
5. The JJP Quality
Not only is the machine packed with toys and features, but there is a lot of attention in the details of this machine. The toys don’t look cheap and have a lot of neat design characteristics. For the first time you can keep track of your tilt warnings right on the playfield. (Watch Eric tilt in this video.) The whole machine is full of RGB lights, which is just something we expect now from Jersey Jack Pinball games, but shouldn’t go unsaid. Simply put, it is a quality machine.
1. Randomness Close to the Flippers
Along with the upper playfield, the spinning discs are going to be a popular and very fun feature, and something people will remember about this game after they walk away. Check out this fun and chaotic clip with Nick trying to keep his ball alive as the discs mess with the direction of the ball. Overall the discs will cause a lot of fun and laughter. However, the randomness close to the flippers could end up being a cause of frustration in some cases, particularly if it is in tournament play (see clip).
2. Collecting Gold
Needing to use the action button to collect gold could potentially get a little tiresome.
3. Playfield Art
This is definitely subjective and you can tell a lot of time and effort went into the art package. However, Johnny Depp’s face directly in the middle of the playfield is a bit much. Of course, you never know what went on behind the scenes what requirements the license demanded.
While the upper playfield is incredibly unique and looks like a lot of fun, it may cause the game to not feel as “flowy” as some pinheads like.
5. The Theme
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies overall are entertaining, and pirates in general are a great pinball theme (again, subjective). The theme in this case is just ok, could be better but could definitely be worse.
Disclaimer: All opinions are subject to change because I’m fickle with pinball machines the more I play them 🙂