Bad Cats (Williams, 1989)

Bad Cats

Pinside rating

This game received 85 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.366 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #163 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.205

Artwork: 8.035

Sounds/Music: 6.459

Other Aspects: 7.438

Rating comments

There are 39 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 39 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 39 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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11 days ago
I believe this to be one of the greatest Pinballs out there..Simple but fun ..Fun ..Great artwork..Backbox animation..Great shots to make and not even a multiball..A must have for any collection
22 days ago
Love this game!! So much fun - I want to play it again!!!
3 months ago
A fun table and theme, usually play on visits to the PHOF.


Hoping it hits TPA soon!
6 months ago
Meow - meow - meow - meow!
10 months ago
Way more fun than it looks!

So all the MEOW MEOW MEOW (and occasional BARK) -ing can get a little repetitive... but this game is so stupidly, light-heartedly silly you have to just chuckle and accept its wackiness. Which is easy to do when you can rip the Tiger Ramp and Fishbowl Ramp over and over... when you get in the groove it feels great. I don't understand how folks that like "fan" layouts (which are nothing but loop over and over and over) can grouse about "ramp shot" games like this one. Novice players will especially appreciate honing their skills on the fishbowl ramp which generously rewards with an extra ball for 5 consecutive hits.

Nice assortment of targets, drops, and scoops makes this an interesting shooter's game and the roulette wheel is a classic gimmick that somehow feels fresh due to its integration... a "curiosity spin" after your last drain just might keep you in the game!

For a random original theme, Python knocked this one out of the park and the art is fantastic. A nice atonement for flattening all those kitties in other games :)

Pinball can seem too serious, nerdy, pop-culture obsessed, or all of the above... this kitchy game is a nice throwback and a ton of fun. Some say the scoring is unbalanced and yes, the jackpot fishbowl can really seem cheap but if you forget about scoring and just focus on a game that's fun to shoot and experience, keep in mind: these cats love to play!
1 year ago
Bad cats is not one of my favorite games it does not have that great of a ruleset and it does not have that many calouts meow meow and I am not a fan of the theme.
1 year ago
Didn't know about this pin, but stumbled upon one on location at D & D Pinball in Tucson, AZ. Of the 30 pins there today, this was my 'pleasant surprise of the day'. Super cool backglass, and neat shots. Oddball theme--not politically correct today, but a neat one in any event. No multiball, but I didn't notice that for the first 10 plays or so. Really enjoyed this, and would buy it if I came across one.
1 year ago
Not a deep game by any means but simple fun none the less. The theme is entertaining and the art is second to none, with so much going on its almost like a Highlights magazine cover. No multiball to shoot for, so its all about dropping the targets, lighting BAD CATS, going for the jackpot. Racking up points the old fashioned way is just as fun too. Even though not a deep game, there is enough to shoot for. The linear target to boost the fish bonus takes a bit of accuracy (x10 nets you quit a bit), the seafood wheel is fun to watch (the way the insert lights rotate counter to the wheel never gets old), hit the tiger ramp repetitively for quite a few points and of course shoot the center ramp for the Meow Meow Meow Meow! The animated back glass adds the right amount of retro charm as well. A good pinball game.
1 year ago
Bad cats is so simple, but mischievous, much like a cat. I really feel that this game does some of the best theme implication in all of pinball. The art is crazy , and busy, and I love it.
2 years ago
Last of 1 ball play. Love this machine due to cat theme. Pretty simple game also not alot made. Cant compare to now a days games but still fun to play. Meow
2 years ago
This is one of those games that can only truly be enjoyed if you don't take pinball too seriously. I really do like the game but that is moreso based on campy coolness and nostalgia as well as the whole python artwork package. As far as gameplay goes, there's a lot of stop and go with the spinning wheel and the garbage can. Rules are horrendous with a last ball only 20 million shot as well as the typical system 11 progressive jackpot. The typical game of bad cats for a mere mortal will be under 20 million but a lucky (?) 5 shots up the left side ramp will give you a distorted feeling of accomplishment if achieved. With all that being said, i think it's a fun time. Just don't use it for competition. A fun, campy time if you're just slapping the ball around and enjoying the whole ambiance of it all. 3.5 out of 5 stars on my personal rating scale.
2 years ago
Not "Bad Rats"

- Simple layout with great shots. Signature Oursler left ramp, nice strategy with the Fish Bone-Us & trash can
- Great mirrored + screened back glass with funny animation
- Cool 50's style soundtrack with some classic sound bytes. Dan Forden you are a genius!
- Can't stop hearing "meow meow meow meow.... woof"

- No multiball!!! It would've been nice to see something like in Police Force where "there is no Jackpot" but this game skipped out on it altogether. Shame really.
- "Maximum" Fishbowl Jackpot of 8m is nothing compared to the ridiculously overbalanced 20m shot on the final ball.
- Seafooooood wheel rewards extra ball a little too frequently
- Agressive bulldog kickout can sometimes send the ball flying to the drain
- Can't stop hearing "meow meow meow meow.... woof" (yes, this is also a negative)
2 years ago
A nice game to play and game play stays with the theme of the game very well.. Back glass is awesome.. Sounds can get on your nerves if you play a lot of games but when you come back the next day they make you smile.. Great pin for all ages of people, kids and cat lovers will love it
3 years ago
Love feline's Great theme Want to own one
3 years ago
Meow, meow, meow, meow! Get used to hearing game, with a unique theme. I think it may get old after many plays but always worth a few quarters if you see one. The spinner in the middle is pretty cool. Rules are pretty simple.
3 years ago
Bad Cats has a great, fun theme with some really cool artwork. The back glass is fantastic and some of the sounds are really cute, but I found what little flow it had repetitive. Ramps can be tough to hit and usually thud off the rubber post at the base of the Tiger Ramp and Fishbowl Ramp. This pin would have really benefited from stand-up targets at the bases of the ramps. The 2 banks of drop targets were a nice touch, but I just didn't feel like it was integrated into the game all that well, the right bank of targets just seemed to get hit by luck. I thought the Fishbone target plunger was a unique cool feature, but would have liked to seen more variety of rewards.

Scoring was somewhat unbalance; Jackpots could get beyond huge in comparison to regular game scoring. Parts are almost impossible to come by and cabinet fading is very common. It did look beautiful decked out in LEDs. This could be a great game in the right collection, especially in with other system 11's (Although I personally found most System 11's to be considerable better). In my case this was sandwiched between 4 modern DMD games all in the top 30, so the competition was tough and Bad Cats showed it's age.

I should mention that my Bad Cats played great, but it was a player, and I really prefer near mint pins. That might have been a small turn off from the beginning.
3 years ago
Truly a unique machine made in the golden age. It is unlikely we will ever see machines produced with such risky themes ever again. The highlight of this one is the artwork throughout. Regardless of whether you like cats or not, you have to admit that Python did a great job incorporating all of the elements into a quirky and unique experience. From the amazing backglass to the art and toys on the playfield, everything seems to be in its right place and it is pleasing to view. The layout is interesting enough and most shots have a decent flow to them, with only a few requiring stop-and-go to hit. Sound effects are fantastic, including the FM generated meows. Only negatives would be the ease of hitting the ramps, and the unbalanced scoring.

The game rules and the scoring element are odd. Some bonuses and shots make sense, others don't. The fishbowl ramp is too easy to repeat hit. The last ball 20 million shot is interesting, but makes the first few balls seem less meaningful. Spelling BADCATS is difficult and not worth the risk/reward. Changing the spell-out to score 20 million and turning the 3rd ball bonus into 5 million instead would instantly improve the game. The music, although it is catchy, is a bit repetitive and could have used more variation.
3 years ago
One or two shot game, sadly. Classic Oursler looping. The vari-target is a great concept. Love the doghouse, sound effects, 80's porn music, and all the artwork in general. Great to play on location, or for kids/wives.
3 years ago
My son and I were able to find a common ground with this pinball machine. It's got a very beautiful artwork package throughout. The sounds are very cute and fun with a decent amount of variety. It's not a very difficult machine to master, but I keep going back to play it!
3 years ago
Bad Cats is my first pinball, i bought it in the end of 90's.
So it's a special pinball machine for me.
Very beautifull pinball (backglass, cabinet, playfield, all is beautifull), . Nice gameplay, i've played it a lot.
3 years ago
Good flow to the actual play, but that's about it. Doesn't measure up to others from that time period.
3 years ago
My wife and I originally played this at the best arcade ever (A. W.'s house, GA). His was in immaculate (basically) condition with an NOS crated PF installed and just sparkled. A fun game I really only played one quick game but my wife fell in love with it. I picked one up (with some crappy translite replacement - to be replaced) at the Atl pinswap 2013. After fixing a few issues and cleaning up the playfield (really makes it play faster and smoother) it is a lot of fun.

First of all, the theme probably isn't for everyone. If you love animals (cats and dogs that is) you'll probably love the theme though. The sounds are great, the music catchy but not overwhelming, and certain moments just make you dance. When the S-E-A-F-O-O-D chorus plays or the Curiosity Spin goes off you just want to shake a bit with the spinning wheel tune. When you get the Fishbowl ramp and MEOW-MEOW-MEOW-MEOW...well, it's just a fun all around game. Some challenging shots. The ruleset is definitely not deep but it can be challenging enough to rack up scores beyond the 20M mark (jackpot can get up there). We have ours set to 5 ball, but we'll probably leave it there only till we are used to the game then use the Hard or Hardest ruleset.

It's going to go in our living room, despite the fact that the cabinet decals are peeling (am planning to one day repaint the cabinet by hand). This one will be a keeper for us (unless we find one in better condition).
3 years ago
I LOVE CATS. That's the reason I love this game, and the reason I will keep it. Bad Cats is a work of art, and said art is the best on any pin, ever, by a long shot. The animated backglass is great.

With that out of the way, I regret to say that the game underneath that art is not the best. The 20 million point shot makes it unbalanced, so all that's worth going for is that and the jackpot. Unfortunate, as the playfield layout is really pretty good, and unique. I enjoy playing the game, but I find myself wanting to beat my head against the wall when I actually focus on score with this one.

A fun game, but I'd soil my trousers with rage if I ever saw it in a tournament.

My previous (higher) review follows:
Bad Cats may be the most visually appealing pinball ever, in my mind. I love cats, and I love Python's artwork. The backglass animation is fantastic, the sounds are absurd (read: fantastic.) I may be biased, but this is likely my favorite theme ever on a pin.

The gameplay seems like it is just SOME pinball (fun but nothing special) at first. Then, you realize there's actually a fair bit going on there, with Williams' version of the Gottlieb vari-target, the odd little pass through under the center ramp, the couple kick-out holes. There's more going on than meets the eye. It's not revolutionary, but it's different from the norm, and continues to grow on me.
4 years ago
I smile when I play Bad Cats but I know it has more to do with the quirkiness than the game itself. It's a fine playing game but not one of my favorite by any means.
4 years ago
i like cats
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