Jersey Jack Pinball – May 2024


Captains Fantastic – Leaders of the Elton John game development team (from left), renowned pinball designer Steve Ritchie, Senior Software Engineer Bill Grupp and Jersey Jack Guarnieri himself, company founder and CEO. And at left, the Elton John Platinum Edition.

Jersey Jack Pinball Elton John Platinum Edition

Jersey Jack Pinball’s Elton John in Platinum Edition.

Jersey Jack Continues Growth on Location

Toy Story 4, Godfather and Elton John Chart Success for JJP

Starting with Guns N’ Roses, Jersey Jack Pinball founder Jack Guarnieri said his company began to see more and more of their machines on location. It was a point of pride for the longtime pinball enthusiast and former operator, who launched his manufacturing business in 2011.

His Toy Story 4 machine, released in 2022, has recently been atop the RePlay Players’ Choice charts, which rank the top games on location according to U.S. operators. “That was a nice surprise,” Guarnieri said. “They’re doing really well. Pinball is a good thing to operate. It’s a good return on investment. And it has a good resale value.” (His Godfather game and most recent release Elton John have also made the RePlay chart.)

He attributes the success of his games on location to his own years of experience. “Having been an operator for much of my career in the industry, I’m very sensitive to having games that are fun to play, work and earn money,” he explained. “Those are three really important things.”

Part of the Jersey Jack mantra, which is the industry standard on all different types of games, is that they’re easy to learn and difficult to master. “You may get a first play from someone out of curiosity, but more come back if they’re good games,” Guarnieri said. “We try to tell a story that grabs the player and keeps them engaged throughout the gameplay. Our games include pretty much everything.”

He noted that when JJP machines ship, they’re “code complete and ready to play.” He said that means the games come right out of the box with all the bells and whistles. The latest Jersey Jack games have come in a Collector’s Edition and a Platinum/Limited Edition.

“When we design a game and we put it together as a package, we include everything in the game,” Guarnieri explained. “Everything is already upgraded. There’s no basic, entry-level game. When you look at the topper on the Godfather or Elton John, they attract players and help the game earn more money.

“It’s something we’ve been doing since our third or fourth game,” he continued. “It’s become a lot more important to have code complete games. If it’s all not there when the player first plays it … chances are the operator might not update the software.” Of course, the company still updates its software if any bug fixes are needed after the release.

Regarding pricing, there’s no doubt that premium games come with a premium price tag, especially in this era of rising costs across all industries. But Jack has another principle that guided him through his operating years: “It’s not what the game costs, it’s what the game makes. I would always ask what it makes.”

Christie's auction - Elton John Pinball

The Elton John pinball got the star treatment in a Christie’s promotion where an Elton John-signed game – inscribed “With love from the Pinball Wizard” – went for $69,300 at auction (see below). Two Collector’s Edition games combined to raise a whopping $400,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at Elton’s 2024 Academy Awards Viewing Party/Fundraiser.

In any case, if you think a typical Collector’s Edition is expensive, you needn’t look further than the pair of Elton John Collector’s Editions that sold at Elton’s charity auction in March for a combined $400,000 (the auction raised a total of $10.8 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation). A third game, signed by Elton John “With love from the Pinball Wizard,” sold at a Christie’s auction around the same time for $69,300.

The Elton John Collector’s Edition, limited to 1,000 machines, sells at retail for $15,000, while the Platinum Edition is $12,000.

“We actually had to buy more parts to build more Platimum Edition games,” Guarnieri said of the latest pin. Now they’re gearing up to build out more of those. “Everybody who sees the game and plays the game falls in love with it.”

He added that the theme and the highly-publicized auctions have broadened the pinball audience. “Millions of people got to know that there are new pinball machines being made,” he said. “It brought in new people that are getting into pinball for the first time.”

Guarnieri also teased that Jersey Jack Pinball fans can expect a new game later this year with a likely IAAPA Expo release.

Whatever that game is, it’ll surely be made with the intent to perform well on location, despite the home market being a huge slice of the revenue pie for pinball manufacturers.

Jack Guarnieri and the Elton John Collector’s Edition

Jack Guarnieri and the Collector’s Edition.

“I see the pendulum swinging a little bit to where more commercial locations are asking about pinball machines,” Guarnieri reported. “More and more people are putting these on location.”

He said that since pinball is in a different category altogether than other arcade games, it keeps players in arcade bars and the like for longer. It’s something very familiar that encourages people to play.

If your operation wants to get in on the action, Guarnieri reminds you: “It’s never a bad time to buy a good game.”

See the whole lineup and learn more at



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