Banzai Run (Williams, 1988)

Banzai Run

Pinside rating

This game received 182 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.739 /10

7.739

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #80 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.935

Artwork: 7.74

Sounds/Music: 6.75

Other Aspects: 7.843



Rating comments

There are 70 rating comments for this game.


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 7 of us have rated this game.

7.651

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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 70 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 70 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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5.726/10
67 days ago
Great, unique pinball. Rules are kind of shallow and if you got it finally up it's pretty hard....
Nice try from Lawlor. Don't need this in collection I think it's a to heavy. classic game
7.648/10
6 months ago
Unique, but I get bored pretty fast.
8.021/10
7 months ago
Awesome and unique pinball. Rules are kind of shallow but Lawlor classic, gotta love it!
9.368/10
10 months ago
One of the best system 11 games out there.
It's a challenge to beat the game.
7.760/10
1 year ago
Crazy first effort from the legend Pat Lawlor. Although this isn't his finest design (but to be fair, he has 10 pins that made the top 100), this is great fun built around a very unique gimmick. The vertical playfield, whilst a nightmare to keep running, brings an entirely new dimension to pinball. Super fun. Great Pin.
3.572/10
1 year ago
One trick pony game.
8.287/10
1 year ago
Banzai Run is 100% kick ass and probably the best gimmick-centered game of all time. It blows away games like Champion Pub, Orbitor 1, Hercules, and all those other one trick ponies because it's actually a fun pinball machine. I love the different colored standups to light the racers. I love that the ramp dumps the ball back at your flipper rather than safely returns it. I love how ABC doubles your cliff jump value on the upper playfield. I even like the stupid little cannon on top of the left slingshot

If I had one criticism it's that I would make it a little harder. The rider standup targets are all clumped together so lighting a rider by flailing in their direction a couple times isn't too hard. Also once you get the hang of the cliff jump it's a little too easy. I wish there was more motivation to actually play the upper playfield each time rather than dumping the ball directly into the cliff jump with 2 shots. Even with these complaints I think it's a very satisfying game to play.
9.504/10
1 year ago
Banzai is not simple and is not hard it's just right.
Plenty of talk about the upper playfield which is awesome.
But I'm hooked on doing 25 laps to get finish line mode.
It just has that pure feeling of fun that a great pinball machine should have.
Highly recommend !!
8.763/10
1 year ago
Great Game.
7.278/10
1 year ago
Banzai Run has quickly become one of those pins that people will spend more than they should on. Yes the design is absolutely unique; there's absolutely nothing else like it! Unfortunately, I just don't think it's a great game (i.e.: there's a reason there aren't any other vertical pins like this).

The bottom playfield is really not laid out all that well. Without the top part, it would be a terrible game. The game really relies on the top portion, which just feels weird. It's a cool gimmick but not something I would want to stand around and play for hours on end.

Because I have a limited pinball budget, whenever I think of buying/trading for something, I always think of "is this game worth what it costs?" If BR was a $2000 game, maybe it would be worth it. It's no $4500 game though. Pass.
7.278/10
1 year ago
Banzai Run has quickly become one of those pins that people will spend more than they should on. Yes the design is absolutely unique; there's absolutely nothing else like it! Unfortunately, I just don't think it's a great game (i.e.: there's a reason there aren't any other vertical pins like this).

The bottom playfield is really not laid out all that well. Without the top part, it would be a terrible game. The game really relies on the top portion, which just feels weird. It's a cool gimmick but not something I would want to stand around and play for hours on end.

Because I have a limited pinball budget, whenever I think of buying/trading for something, I always think of "is this game worth what it costs?" If BR was a $2000 game, maybe it would be worth it. It's no $4500 game though. Pass.
7.278/10
1 year ago
Banzai Run has quickly become one of those pins that people will spend more than they should on. Yes the design is absolutely unique; there's absolutely nothing else like it! Unfortunately, I just don't think it's a great game (i.e.: there's a reason there aren't any other vertical pins like this).

The bottom playfield is really not laid out all that well. Without the top part, it would be a terrible game. The game really relies on the top portion, which just feels weird. It's a cool gimmick but not something I would want to stand around and play for hours on end.

Because I have a limited pinball budget, whenever I think of buying/trading for something, I always think of "is this game worth what it costs?" If BR was a $2000 game, maybe it would be worth it. It's no $4500 game though. Pass.
8.669/10
1 year ago
Awesome game for its era. One of a kind with vertical playfield that is beautifully integrated into the game. And the vertical playfield is more than a gimmick, it has been very well designed to offer multiple shots from each of its three flippers.

Superb System 11 music. One of the best jackpot shots in pinball, earned by completing a number of other great shots in sequence.

The hill shot is too easy which is the only real criticism that I have of this wonderful game.

Lifter to upper playfield interrupts the flow of the game but the great music and excellent integration with the theme make up for it.

Unique cabinet design makes it truly horrible to move. Even worse to work on as amongst other things it has a unique display panel and interconnect board. You can see why production volumes were low as operators must have hated it. But what a joy to play after you have rebuilt the 6 flippers.

A true collector's piece.
8.560/10
1 year ago
Banzi Run has one of the greatest system 11 sound tracks ever created. Swords of Fury comes in at a close second. It's one of the main reasons I'm attracted to this generation of machines, the sound designers were so talented with the limited sounds they had to work with. This game absolutely jams!

Obviously a very unique layout and one of a kind. Its great for a change of pace. I've only touched this game a handful of times but I will say it probably has the hardest jackpot in all of pinball. A two ball multi-ball in which you have to land the saucer behind the pop bumpers then make it all the way to the top of the hill and hit the captive ball. A true testament to no free rides in Lawlor multi-ball.

I will own you some day.
7.043/10
2 years ago
Banzai Run has a really interesting concept that was way ahead of its time. These days, I see it as too gimmicky for its own good. The bottom playfield is really a snoozer—very bare bones. The backbox playfield provides an interesting challenge, but it’s a hook that wears out its welcome on me very fast. I love the art package of the game, and the overall design is interesting, but I’m not compelled to play this game more than a couple of times when I find one…gameplay just doesn’t grab me.
9.432/10
2 years ago
Awesome game!

BANZAIIIIIII!!!!!!
8.021/10
2 years ago
I own this game - and it has lasted in my collection while I have sold many other titles. Why? Because it's awesome! This is Pat Lawlor's fastest playing pin by far. The goal of the game is to win a virtual motorcycle race. You start in last place and have to work your way to the front. You do this by hitting all the targets for one of the competitors - then you have to make the shot that will take you to the vertical playfield. Up there, you have to make a specific shot in order to "pass" that racer and move up in the race. if you don't drain while up top, you can attempt the cliff jump and get a satisfying "Baaaanzaaaaiiiiiii" call out if you make it. In order to take the lead, you'll have to lock one of the balls during multiball, then make a very difficult shot on the upper playfield. It's a challenge and very rewarding when you finally achieve it. Williams actually lost money on this title, so it's super rare...but highly recommended if you can find one!!!!
8.463/10
2 years ago
I love the playable backglass playfield


Pat Lawlor is my favorite designer for always pushing the boundaries of the silverball
7.646/10
2 years ago
A tale of 2 machines. The main play field is a pretty nice pinball in itself. Decent layout and flow combined with a relatively target rich environment. Fun game to play.
The upper field is pretty silly. It adds absolutely NOTHING to the game play. Actually it is mildly annoying.
Still, overall a fairly attractive and fun to play game.
6.153/10
2 years ago
First off, while not very important, the name doesn't ring dirt bike. The pin looks like it should be a ton of fun, but maybe it's my skills, but this one was not exciting.
7.508/10
2 years ago
Very fun and fast game. Love the back box play. Suffers from a bad art package and not many call outs but that is due to the era it was made. I'd have one in my collection if I had room.
8.029/10
3 years ago
Bad ass game all around. Crazy unique backbox gameplay, great ruleset, great layout, and music that is reminiscent of Double Dragon. Not much to complain about here except lower quality sounds and speech. just a solid unique game that will keep you coming back.
8.756/10
3 years ago
Had a chance to play this at NYC Pinball and was surprised how fun this one was to play. The added back glass playfield is great and a quick play. Play this one when you get a chance.
9.224/10
3 years ago
To me, Banzai Run is the cream of the crop when it comes to system 11 pins. Quite frankly, that means I think it's among the greatest of all pinball machines.

The greatest power of the game is of course its one-of-a-kind layout: the second playfield in the backbox makes it stand out in any crowd. In originality, the second playfield puts it right up there with games like Haunted House and Orbitor 1.

The cool thing is that Banzai Run has got great gameplay to go with its original layout. The goal is simple: defeat the 4 racers on the playfields, then go after 'the King' and get to first place. But it's very difficult to achieve this goal when the game is dialed in right. The game has a great 'just one more game-vibe' to it.

The music on the machine is awesome. It's perfectly synchronized with gameplay. During the course of the game, the music builds up to a fantastic climax. Just the drums playing while you try to beat the King creates a big extra pressure to this part of the game. Awesome work, Brian Schmidt.

Also a great plus is the spectacular flasher show. This works together perfectly with the synchronized sounds.

Speaking of working together perfectly: that is what all the elements of this game do. Gameplay, artwork, sound, theme: it all blends into a highly original and fantastic gameplay experience you won't forget easily. A great first entry for Lawlor.
8.692/10
3 years ago
The unique backbox playfield is surprisingly well designed: it has meaningful and difficult shots and overall you don't spend too much time there to get bored or making the game too 1-dimensional.

Great use of upper playfield in multiball too, providing one of the most satisfying million shots ever.

If you find the shots, you could only go for 2x200k hill climbs over and over again making the game a little boring, if you are only going for the grand champion score.
There are 70 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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