I’ve been trying for weeks now to get There And Back Again on the Lord of the Rings pinball machine. Ever since my husband first got it (I say first because he has gotten it four times now!), I’ve been pretty jealous. It’s such a magical wizard mode!
Once you start the mode, it sounds like you and the machine are getting married. It’s so romantic.
Since the purchase of our LOTR pinball machine I’ve destroyed the ring, completed the Two Towers multiball and gotten all of the super jackpots, killed Shelob, saved Gandalf from Saruman, escaped the Ringwraiths, broken the dam for the Ents, conquered a Warg attack, and even gotten a few high scores. But I had never gotten There And Back Again.
There I was. I had already destroyed the ring. I had also gotten all 6 modes, so all the lights were flashing around the ring hole, as they do. I was on my last ball and my pulse was rising. (One of the tricky things about pinball is controlling your excitement; it’s extremely difficult for me to do.) I hadn’t collected any of the three Elf rings to get the mode start lit again, so I was aiming for those. On my quest to do so, I acquired an extra ball. And good thing, too! As I was shooting for an Elf ring, the ball drained!
The extra ball popped up and I looked at my husband and said, “Do you know what is lit!?” He just smiled because he’s a good husband and knows that I’m superstitious about being told how well I’m doing. I launched the ball right into the Orthanc tower so it would be delivered to my left flipper. Perfect. I took the shot, and it flew right into the ring hole, like magic. The music started and I screamed.
My husband was laughing now and said, “Just enjoy it!”
Once you start the mode, you have 60 seconds to complete it.
The first thing you do in this mode is hit the ring shot. Once hit, the machine gives you a lovely Ding! backed by the “wedding ceremony” music, as I like to call it. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world.
After the first ring shot, all of the ramps, orbits, and Gimli’s VUK are flashing. I shot Legolas right off and a page turned on the LED screen. Frodo said, “The Treason of Saruman!” as a picture of Gandalf’s surprised face flashed on the screen surrounded by a soft border. I felt like Frodo and I were just sitting down for a cup of tea after all these years, flipping through an old photo album.
“Ah, yes,” I said to Frodo, “I do remember the Treason of Saurman!”
Every time you hit a flashing orbit, ramp, or VUK, that shot is no longer lit, and it’s time for you to aim for the flashing ring shot again.
I hit the ring again. Ding! I squealed with delight. (Gotta love that sound) Frodo and I turned a page in the photo album and reminisced about the Witch King. Oh, that Witch King! (Still haven’t killed him yet)
(The page of the photo album turning!)
My ball drained after 2 pictures, but I wasn’t so nervous about beating the mode. I just wanted to get there, say “I do”, and turn the pages of the old photobook with Frodo.
If, however, the ball wouldn’t have drained, I would have had the opportunity to revisit all the modes I played. With each turn of the page, it gives you the total points you earn when you played that mode previously (so, I didn’t get a big bonus with the Witch King page – that mode always gets the best of me!)
Now that I’ve married the machine (reached There And Back Again), I just need to: complete the Fellowship multiball, complete the Return of the King multiball, kill the Witch King, and make it to Valinor.
I’m on my way…
Props to George Gomez for designing possibly my favorite machine, with such a deep set of rules.
Major props to my man Chris Granner for the absolutely lovely music on the Lord of the Rings pinball machine.