Stern Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings pinball machine is based on the movie trilogy. This itself is in turn based on the popular books by Tolkien.
It is probably the best pinball game Stern has made to date. It's very popular amongst pinball players, especially because the game has very deep rules. It offers many challenges for expert players.

Stern Lord of the Rings pinball machines

Cabinet artwork is beautiful, and special about the artwork is that the left and right sides is totally different. One side has a blue theme and the other is red.


Can't really comment on the gameplay as I haven't played it much. And I don't want to..

For some reason I just do not like Lord of the Rings. Usually when I play a game I don't know, I immediately feel if I will like it or not. Some games I like a lot. Usually I'm more neutral, when there's something about the game I like, I'm interested in it and want to play it more and learn its rules. Sometimes though I come across a game which I just don't enjoy playing at all. Something on a game I dislike (which sometimes can be a little detail) but it makes me dislike the game completely.

Lord of the Rings is unfortunately one of these games. The first time I saw and played it was a brand new game at the distributor, right out of the box. It looked great. Everything was clean and shiny. But then I played the game.. the playfield layout and artwork are nice but doesn't capture me. The Lord of the Rings theme doesn't interest me at all (I haven't seen the movies or read the books). And the sounds were disappointing.

There just wasn't something 'special' about the game. Nothing grabbed my attention, brought a smile on my face, or convinced me to play another game. My first impression of the game as a whole, the atmosphere it creates, was disappointing enough to not like the game and I don't really want to give it another chance. I won't go out to search for one on location and play it more to learn it. If I come across one I will play it (if there's nothing else to play) and learn to appreciate the deep rules a bit more. But until then, no, sorry, Lord of the Rings is not my cup of tea. I just don't enjoy playing it. But that's my personal taste, also because I'm not interested in the movies.
A lot of people believe LotR is the best pinball machine ever made..
on the other hand I know someone who wanted to buy one new, saw at the distributor that the figurines were held in place using black cable ties, and that on itself was enough for him not to buy the game..

Stern Lord of the Rings playfield

About a year after this first impression I did play a few games on the Lord of the Rings pinball machine at a friends house. Someone explained the skill shot and gave me a simple overview of the rules.. While my impression isn't really negative anymore (I'll play it if it's available), I still don't have any positive feelings towards this game either.

It's not a bad game, the layout of the table is quite good. Playing it in an arcade where you couldn't hear the sounds made me appreciate the game a bit more.. but it's still not a game I'd want in my gameroom.

Click here to see the IPDB entry of this game.