LAKEWOOD, NJ -- Jersey Jack Pinball, a new manufacturer of pinball machines, reports that it has formed an agreement with Planetary Pinball Supply (San Jose, CA) under which Planetary -- a licensee of Williams Electronics -- becomes a supplier of parts for Jersey Jack's first game. The Wizard of Oz flipper game is slated to debut later this year.
The Wizard of Oz and subsequent Jersey Jack models will be produced with selected components from PPS, including some Williams and Bally replacement parts and assemblies. According to company founder Jack Guarnieri, this will enable Jersey Jack Pinball to build the best-playing games by using proven parts for reliability and durability.
Under the agreement, Jersey Jack Pinball will have full access to approximately 40 patents relating to pinball that are assigned to PPS.
"It's an amazing step toward building full-featured games where the player is connected to the game action for the ultimate fun experience," Guarnieri said.
He explained that Jersey Jack Pinball also would make use of PPS's parts manufacturing and artwork production capabilities, as well as its expertise with other elements supporting game design and manufacture. And PPS will distribute parts for Jersey Jack Pinball games through its international sales network.
Purchasers of the new pinball machines also will have the advantage of easy access to familiar parts. PPS president Rick Bartlett noted, "We are excited to help bring proven replacement-parts capability to the Jersey Jack Pinball platform, and look forward to world-class games using world-class parts."
Guarnieri reports that more than 300 of the new games have been preordered, even before the artwork and playfield layout have been finalized. Playfield design now is complete, he added, and the production team is assembling a "whitewood" model for design testing and modification. The company has rented a 5,000-sq.ft. workshop in Illinois and a 35,000-sq.ft. facility in New Jersey for game production.
"We fully expect to begin manufacturing cabinets and start building subassemblies and mechanisms in about six weeks," the Jersey Jack Pinball founder said.
Full production is planned for December, Guarnieri said. Prior to that, though, the company plans to turn out a limited-edition Emerald City version, and run it until 1,000 have been produced. Then full-scale production will get under way.
"I'm pretty sure, once everyone sees what we have created, we will be selling this game for a long time," he predicted. | SEE VT'S OZ STORY
Jersey Jack Pinball Inc. is headquartered at 1000 Towbin Ave., Lakewood, NJ 08701, tel. (800) 473-JACK [-5225]. Preorder information could be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An arcade industry veteran, Guarnieri has been in the amusement industry since 1975; he got his start servicing electromechanical pinball machines. He founded PinballSales.com in 1999, and the enterprise has built a base of more than 12,000 customers.
The Wizard of Oz development team is led by Joe Balcer, who worked on Stern's South Park and Simpsons Pinball Party. Balcer also designed Apollo 13, Baywatch and Star Wars Trilogy, among other pinball titles. Several years ago, he aided in the development Guarnieri's modern adaption of the puck-bowling machine, Parker Bohn III Pro Bowler. | See ShuffleAlley.com
In late January, world-renowned designer Dennis Nordman joined the Jersey Jack team. He is known for his work on Pirates of the Caribbean, Whitewater, Scared Stiff, Elvira, along with Party Monsters, Demolition Man and Indy 500, among others. Nordman will reportedly lead the design of the new manufacturer's second game.
Nordman and Greg Freres own WhizBang Pinball, based in the Chicago area, which creates custom pinball machines. Freres will also be working on the Oz pinball.
Chris Granner, who will produce the audio effects for the inaugural pinball game, is the latest Oz team member. Granner was Williams Electronics' first full-time composer. He went on to launch his own company, CGmusic, and is regarded as a leading music composer and soundtrack designer for coin-op and console games, television advertising spots and other interactive media.
Granner's earlier game credits include Addams Family, Simpsons Pinball Party, Indiana Jones, White Water, Twilight Zone, Cyclone, Lord of the Rings and Funhouse. Most recently, he designed the soundtrack and directed voiceover asset creation for the X-Box title Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus, and composed music and post-produced audio for the cut-scenes for that Studio Gigante/Microsoft title.
Artists Jerry VanderStelt, modeling artist Matt Riesterer and programmer Keith Johnson round out the design team. Read more about the Jersey Jack Pinball team at jerseyjackpinball.com/ourteam.asp.
PHOTO: Shown here, from left to right, are Chris Granner, Greg Freres, Keith Johnson, Dennis Nordman, Jim Thornton, Joe Balcer and Matt Riesterer, along with Jack Guarnieri in front. Thornton is project manager in charge of materials and purchasing.