Music and pinball go hand in hand. The two can create a symphony of lights, sounds, and excitement that few other things can replicate. For decades bands and solo artists have had their music forever encapsulated inside many solid-state machines. Elton John's first rodeo with the silver ball was in 1976's Captain Fantastic by Bally. Featuring his character from the film Tommy, this machine would be the precursor to something much more out of this world.

In October 2023 Jersey Jack released the Elton John pinball machine. Available in both Platinum and Collector's Editions, this game is out of this world. I recently played the Platinum Edition in a private collection and was floored by the game. The fluidity of both gameplay and music is surreal. Jersey Jack has outdone themselves with this game. While the Collector's Edition is fully loaded with a lot of great features, the Platinum Edition is nothing to sneeze at. This version of the game includes;

'Tiny Dancer' motorized toy
Two kickbacks
Piano-playing Elton John motorized toy
'Crocodile Rock' lock sculpture
16 Elton John tracks - including Pinball Wizard
...and so much more!

I spent a good hour playing Elton John, and while I've in no way mastered the machine I look forward to playing it again. The multiball mode is intense, but the game is forgiving enough that you can rack up a lot of points quickly. My only complaint is that Jersey Jack machines take photos of players when they get high scores, but there's no warning before the camera goes off. If I were to fix one thing, it would be that. Otherwise, this game is nearly perfect.

During Sir Elton John's 2024 Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party, two signed Collector's Edition machines were placed in his yearly auction. Each year the viewing party raises money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit that supports prevention, care, support, and education for those living with HIV or AIDS. Both machines, which were autographed by Sir Elton John himself, raised an impressive $400,000 for the foundation. The auction brought in over $10 million for the foundation, marking an impressive evening for the cause.

As this game is brand new it's hard to say what the collector's market is on the machine. You can still buy both versions from Jersey Jack and authorized dealers, with prices set at $12,000 to $15,000 depending on which game you get. If you're able to find one in the wild, I can not stress enough how much fun this machine is. This would make an incredible piece to any pinball collection, as well as a centerpiece for any music collection.

The original 1976 Bally Captain Fantastic, is another great machine for any collection. Released in both a commercial and home-use version, I have seldom come across the commercial version which is much more adult-oriented than the home-use version. I haven't noticed a big price difference between the two, and per Pinside the median asking price for Bally's Captain Fantastic is $2,300. Since 2016 prices have steadily climbed for this machine, so it is possible it will continue to climb over the next 10 years. However, I believe Captain Fantastic will remain an affordable machine compared to the new machines of today.