- 1 Jersey Jack Pinball, pinball machine manufacturer since 2011
- 2 Innovations from JJP
- 3 Top designers
- 4 The period after Pat Lawlor
- 5 Jersey Jack Pinball latest news
- 6 Pinball machines manufactured by Jersey Jack Pinball
Jersey Jack Pinball, pinball machine manufacturer since 2011
Throughout the 2000s, Stern Pinball was the only manufacturer of pinball machines. All the others had gone out of business, wiped out by the collapse of the arcade and bar business. In 2011, Jack Guarnieri is the first to challenge Gary Stern’s hegemony.
Jack has solid experience. He was a pinball machine repairman in the 1970s. He also founded pinballsales.com in 1999. Check it out, it’s still very vintage. With this background, Guarnieri sensed that there was room for a second player.
So, in January 2011, he created Jersey Jack Pinball. “Jersey” refers to the state of New Jersey in which the company is headquartered. The logo, too, is a reference to NJ, whose geographical contours it follows.
This location is a curiosity, as all American manufacturers are historically based in and around Chicago. In fact, recruiting designers and other key skills requires Jack to open an office in Illinois fairly quickly. In May 2020, the headquarters moved to Elk Grove, just a few blocks from the Stern factory. The circle is complete.
Innovations from JJP
First of all, having two manufacturers instead of just one shakes things up a bit. But even today, the volumes produced by JJP do not rival those of Stern. The latter is still the undisputed leader. You only have to compare the number of different machines produced by the two players to realize this: 5 different themes at JJP, from 2013 to 2020, almost 30 at Stern over the same period!
On the pinball side, JJP innovates: its first Wizard of Oz pinball features an LCD screen and LEDs instead of conventional light bulbs. All subsequent pinballs were a hit. Clearly, Jersey Jack Pinball takes care of its machines, reinventing itself each time, and offers playfieds with far more toys and mechanics than its competitor.
Its prices are significantly higher than those of Stern. In game, the feel may seem “softer”, less peppy. It’s a matter of taste.
JJP takes up the logic of the range inaugurated by Stern, and makes it its own with Standard, Limited and Collector editions.
Guarnieri doesn’t do things by halves. In 2014, he recruited one of the biggest stars in pinball design: Pat Lawlor, whose work includes The Addams Family, the only pinball machine to have sold more than 20,000 copies.
He also brought on board talented seeds such as Eric Meunier, responsible for the Guns N’ Roses pinball machine.
Finally, the company is taking advantage of Steve Ritchie’s hiatus from Stern to recruit him at the beginning of 2021.
The period after Pat Lawlor
In the summer of 2022, JJP markets Pat Lawlor’s last pinball machine: Toy Story 4. The designer retires the same year. The head of design becomes Steve Ritchie.
We might worry about this change of cast, but the first model of this new era reassures everyone. It’s a concept by Eric Meunier based on The Godfather saga. Initial feedback is positive, and the playfield is appealing.
Jack Guarnieri abruptly terminates the partnership between his company and Scorbit, which provided him with a connected solution. However, this solution has not yet been replaced by another.
Jersey Jack Pinball latest news
- The Wizard of Oz
- Standard Edition : 04/2013
- Emerald City Limited Edition : 04/2013
- 75th Anniversary Edition : 08/2014
- The Hobbit
- Standard Edition : 2016
- Black Arrow Special Edition : 2016
- Motion Picture Trilogy Limited Edition : 2016
- Smaug Gold Special Edition : 2016
- Dialed In!
- Limited Edition : 07/2017
- Standard Edition : 08/2017
- Collector’s Edition : 09/2017
- Pirates Of The Caribbean
- Standard Edition : 09/2018
- Limited Edition : 08/2018
- Collector’s Edition : 12/2018
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- Standard Edition : 05/2019
- Limited Edition : 05/2019
- Collector’s Edition : 08/2019
- Guns N’ Roses Not In This Lifetime
- Standard Edition : 10/2020
- Limited Edition : 10/2020
- Collectors’ Edition : 01/2021
- Team Edition : 01/2021
- Toy Story 4
- Limited Edition : 06/2022
- Collector’s Edition : 06/2022
- The Godfather 50 years (Limited Edition, Collectors Edition) : 03/2023