The Big Lebowski (Dutch Pinball, 2016)

The Big Lebowski

Total rating

This game got 40 approved ratings and currently scores 8.083 out of 10 points.

This ranks the game #35 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

8.083

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.793

Artwork: 8.271

Sounds/Music: 7.751

Other Aspects: 8.117




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None of the Pinside.com staff have rated this game. Sorry, no rating from us.


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 20 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 20 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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9.480
10 days ago
Beautiful game, and a great theme. I'm hoping the supply issues are resolved, and we can get our games shipped to us, soon.
9.520
27 days ago
Amazing theme integration, especially for Lebowski lovers. It's the 1st (modern) pin I've played in quite a while that kept me feeling nostalgia and build quality jitters. It's different. The build is so solid. I didn't think it would live up to it's hype - the campaign and advertising for the machine really felt special, a proper nod to the cult classic. But it wasn't until I played it that I got it - WOW. Super fun, hit the right notes of pinball for me. Also, I think the screen integration is best I've seen. Personally I often feel JJ screens, while beautiful and no doubt cutting edge, are almost too flashy or competing with gameplay. Like being in a casino. TBL seems to integrate to the gameplay better without overwhelming it IMO, there's just a fun nuanced balance to it. And the retro goodness really hit the sweet spot. Best of both worlds. If you get a chance to play a well tuned model it's hard to argue it's uniqueness. With so few being made, can't imagine not being worth a small fortune someday. Very special pin.
9.440
38 days ago
I really enjoyed this game. I am really looking forward to the updates. I really want one of these for my collection but 10,000. Yikes!!!!
4.715
41 days ago
This game still a needs work. I have played 2 of theses machines. Couldn't hardly finish a game without ball getting stuck or machine breaking down at the expo. Looks like it could be an good game. Will update my review at later date.
9.536
79 days ago
Very nice game, I gave a lower rating for the rules because they are to limited, I will update if they improve. It seems that you can sideload the original music but it does not ship with it because of license issues.
9.468
81 days ago
This game is like a Bally Williams on steroids. The theme is fantastic and the toys are awesome. Wish the music from the film would have made it with vocals.
8.980
86 days ago
As of the current code, I truly think TBL has all the makings to becoming a classic on the same level as most Bally/Williams machines that came before it. The machine is beautiful. Dutch Pinball really did an excellent job of recreating the feel of machines that were available during the peak of pinball. The code is a little weak at the moment, but I still had a great time bashing the car, rolling the rug, watching the ball lock system, and looking down at the very unique bowling alley. There are a couple of modes worth noting, especially the nialist mode. The lighting effects are spectacular. Speech and sound is some of the best in the industry and the total package is amazing considering that this is the first real game from Dutch Pinball. I'm looking forward to code updates and watching this machine evolve.
7.028
3 months ago
Nice game, but over priced for what you get.. $7995 for a brand new Medieval Madness ;)
9.180
3 months ago
Had tons of fun on this each time I played it, saw most of the known modes the second time it came around to Allentown. Definitely high up on my list, what a nice looking machine and it feels solid like a JJP or classic Bally/Williams/Midway title. Nice blend of art, music, flow, fun, and the dude abides.
10.000
3 months ago
Awesome game the play field was planned very well!
I'm not even a big fan of the movie but I am of this pinball!
8.364
3 months ago
I own TBL # 25 and received it in the first container shipped to the US. After playing for a few months, I figured I'd put in a placeholder rating for now, since the s/w is only at version .45 or 45% complete at this time. I love the theme and was one of the fake pre-orders in a Pinside thread long ago, so I was very happy when Dutch announced they were making the game, and promptly pre-ordered (for real). It's got the feel of a Bally/Williams game. It's a very heavy game and the back glass is surprisingly heavy. They've still got a few bugs to workout and more s/w to come, so here are my thoughts thus far: I love the art, music, call outs, under field bowling mechanism, and layout of the game. The Nihilist mode is particularly great. It's lacking game play variety at this point due to s/w status. It needs more scoop awards, more saucer activity, more end of game bonus scores, and the car bash needs to be activated. Unlike Sterns, there's no grace time as a mode or activity times out. It's immediate in TBL, but I wish it wasn't. The ramps seem challenging to hit and it's actually a very difficult game compared to others in my collection. I've only had two breakout games out of maybe 100 played and they weren't very high scoring. Scoring is unusually low compared to Stern games. All that said, I love the game and will update this rating note as software improves.
8.400
3 months ago
The game has good bones and should continue to improve with additional depth to the rules. Jury is still out on the bowling alley being an asset or liability. Artwork is beautiful. As awesome as theme and execution are, high price dampens my enthusiasm for this pin, and I am left expecting a little more.
8.471
3 months ago
SUMMMARY
I got 6 games on this beauty before it couldn’t find the PROC controller. Doh!
I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.. Great theme integration...
I'm very proud about DP for this first release.
I look forward to more plays on this table, and learning the rules...

LAYOUT:
1-2-3 rollover lanes: It has 2 sets! Great ! (must see!)
Action/Per/Minute: Very good
Backhands: unknown
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown
Dink Donk: minimal — very good.
Drops: none
Extra Balls: unknown
Flippers: 3
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: unknown
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Inlane Ramp Release: decent
Inlane Swoosh: good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: yes (confusing though — have no idea how it works - one blinks one doesn’t?)
MB Earning: good. Locking balls isn’t a quick gimme
MB Fun: unknown
Nudging: a little…
Orbits (Repeatable): no. don’t think so. The exit from left orbit is right flipper.
Outlane Fun: fair. Left is steve ritchie kickback shape, and right outlane is pretty narrow.
Pops: fair: these were tuned down a bit weak.
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 14 VERY good.
Skill Shot: barely — it’s a 1-2-3 lane
Slap-Saves: very good. a must for a center-shot game
Spinners: 1 !
Stop'n'Go: a little bit - has a scoop and a saucer, and a few ramps that slow things down. Display is rather quick (as displays goes)
Taunting: unknown
Toy/Gimmick: amazing: car, bowling alley, drink.
Voice / V. choreography: amazing:

ART: fantastic
SOUND: great
DISPLAYS: great
FEEL: very good. solid
OVERALL: might be the best theme integration of all time
10.000
4 months ago
Dutch Pinball hit it out of the park on this machine... They absolutely nailed it and made a machine that is as good if not better than your favorite all time game. The quality of the build is spectacular. Unlike every other pin not produced by B/W since they stopped, this one feels and plays like a golden era B/W machine. Every aspect of the play field is beautiful. They integrated the movie extremely well into the game play.

The upper play field is nicely incorporated into the board. I was concerned about a single flipper upper board, but on this machine, it's well-designed, with 4 different elements going on up there.

The bowling alley underneath is spectacular. The engineering that went into this is just incredible.

To think after all the years of pinball, Dutch was able to incorporate two really sweet never-before-used features into this game (the bowling alley and the rolling rug).

The sound quality is top notch, graphics, cabinet, backglass, it's a solid 10. The Big Lebowski is the Rolls Royce of pinball machines. I'm thrilled to have one of the rare few to exist in my collection, it is truly a thing of beauty and I'll keep it my entire life.
9.560
4 months ago
What a great game...I love it !!!!
9.385
7 months ago
Dammit. I'm gonna have to figure out a way to get one now...

The Pros:
This is the best laid out PF that I have seen in a long time. Shots on the lower PF are varied and while at first it looks like a fan, there is enough variety that it doesn't feel like another MB clone. The ramps and orbits are smooth like buttah. The upper PF is great in the ability to stay up top making shots as well as exits and the car bash toy that alters the whole feel of the spot. I am also a big fan of the El Dorado MAUDE lanes on either side of the bowling ball pops which require skillful nudging and timely anticipatory action. Two super skill shots? Why have I never seen this before? The rug rolling back to the drop hole to beneath the PF was a great toy put to excellent use. The display is fantastic. The art package (PF,Cab, Display, Sound and Rug) is GORGEOUS! Voice calls from the movie are spot on and the music is (while not the original soundtrack) spot on and alternates very well between regular and mode play. The integration of theme and rules is great and the "character" of the game is executed in high fashion. The lock shot is solid and the saucer/standups on the lower part of the main PF are well placed. Here's another question to consider: When was the last time you played a pinball game with 3 playable levels? 1982 (Haunted House)? granted there aren't flippers on the lower PF, but the bowling game is very well done and even has different bowling modes/targets that require skillful timing. The lower Pf is integral to the advancement of the game, this is a good thing (and if it fails/ has issues not so good) and makes the entire game seem all the more complete as an entire package. While the big parts of the game are great ther are also many smaller details like the "trampoline" kickback and the white russian drink drops are well thought out and implemented. There's even a bowling pin back by the MAUDE lanes. Love it! Multiball comes and goes quickly and characters can be stacked for a bigger risk/reward experience.

The Cons:
The flippers "feel" different than B/W and Stern. They are strong and shots are easily made. However, certain techniques like bounce passes need to be paid close attention to as the flippers will not react as one is normally used to. The other big thing that didn't work properly was the rug target. It wasn't registering as it should with direct hits. This may be an early production issue or just the copy I played, but it made a big difference in the ability to progress within the game's rules.

The Takeaway:
I have played many games from new/boutique pinball manufacturers over the past few years. None have them have compared to the look, feel, quality, fun and wow factor that TBL has. For a first effort, this game is as impressive as the best that stern has made and quite frankly, the best that B/W made in the 1990's. I am very interested to see what they do with new code and tech fixes. This deck is only going to get better. For me the real test of the game was I played the deck with someone who was not a good player and they walked away from it saying "That game is FUN!" This game will be reviewed further with more play, but I have to admit, I'm hooked!

update v.1: after speaking to the owner, he tightened the fleeper mechs and now they feel nice and sweet!

Update v.2: The rug and the car seem to suffer from switch adjustment sensitivity. Moar adjustments and fine tunings are in order! Rules are still not completely flushed out, but updates are on the way. This game FEELS like a B/W game from the 90's. No other company has been able to replicate this awesome sweet spot until now. Such a treat to play this deck...

Update v.3: reliability is the killer right now with this game. It should be fine at home, on location... history will tell what Dutch pinball will learn from their experiences. I wish them the best in their creations!
9.840
7 months ago
APPEARANCE:
This is one beautiful machine. The cabinet artwork is very nice, and the playfield artwork is clean and crisp. The toys are all custom and nice to look at. Good combination of metal and plastic ramps and wireforms. The white Russian toy is shockingly lifelike, and the pop bumper caps and bowling toys are beautiful. The lighting is bright and crisp, with warm GI that keeps the entire playfield illuminated, and a combination of insert lighting that is straight single-color LED, and RGB LEDs. I could see no ghosting. Just one look at the playfield, with the machine on or off, and you can tell this is a fun one to flip.
The LCD substituted for the DMD is great. It's bright, crisp, and colorful, and I like the fact that it's a bit oversized. There are several display options, but curiously, all of them have some sort of DMD filter, so there's no way to see everything without the simulated screen door. The movie clips look clean enough, but some of the smaller badge icons suffer from the faux-low-res filter.
Even in the early code, the animations are pretty robust, with a combination of movie clips and stills, and some original artwork.
SOUND:
The sound is great. The speaker system is high-quality, and the sound is crisp and relatively free from compression artifacts. The subwoofer is powerful, and almost makes it feel like there's a shaker motor inside at times. The crew overall did a great job isolating dialogue, and there's only a few instances where some background noise or another line clips into the sound bite.
I was disappointed when I heard that the music rights didn't include rights to the actual cuts used in the movie, but the instrumental re-creations are overall very good. I'm hoping that some enterprising pinhead is able to find a way to sideload the actual music and share it with the Pinside community.
Callouts often have little to do with the objectives, since they're mostly movie clips, so you don't get a lot of audible cues to what is ready to go, outside of the stranger announcing that the locks being lit or a rug mode ready to go. Guy does a pretty good Sam Elliott impression.
BUILD QUALITY AND FEEL:
Overall, this thing is solidly built, and a lot of attention has been paid to detail. The backbox is an absolute monster, with the translite and lighting being housed together in a very heavy plank, and a very heavy speaker panel and LCD housing.
I was concerned after playing the machine at Pinburgh this year that the rug would be problematic, and that seems to be the case. It can go for a stretch of time where it is completely unresponsive, and then all of a sudden it registers several shots in a row. It can even occasionally be activated by a nearby pop bumper. Once it works, it works.
The auto-plunger is a bit wonky, and the ball only makes it up the shooter lane about half the time, regardless of the coil settings. It almost always makes it on the auto replunge, so maybe this is just software.
The car toy doesn't hide and unhide smoothly, and the motor has a difficult time knowing it's all the way closed. This results in the wall wobbling for a few seconds. It's also intermittently responsive when a car mode is active. From what I can gather, the car basically hits the standups next to it, but I find the only way to get it to register is to hit it squarely on the front corner, and even then, it doesn't register reliably.
The kickback relight standup is finicky as well.
The bowling alley has some issues. I have one pin that will not move in test or in game, which causes errors. Sometimes hits do not register as well.
One of the biggest issues is that the left ramp is not well-stabilized. The main arch of it is just hanging in the breeze, with no support. Often, when the ball is shot up the ramp, the ramp shakes, causing the ball to bobble back and forth and lose momentum, causing it to roll back even when solidly hit.
Finally, the flippers are a bit squishy, or at least there is a big dead zone. Unlike pretty much any modern game, the flippers don't seem to be dual-fire, so staging of the upper flipper does not appear possible. Even worse, the flipper does not disengage until you let the button out almost all the way, so post passes and tap passes are very problematic. I think this is a design issue with the flipper buttons themselves.
GAMEPLAY
This is what you really checked out this message for. Gameplay is fast and flowy, and borrows heavily from Medieval Madness, with a little sprinking of White Water and Simpsons Pinball Party. Not that that's a bad thing. In fact, it makes for a game that is a heck of a lot of fun to play.
SHOTS AND FLOW
Overall, the layout is very nice. It's mostly a fan layout, with all shots makeable from a cradle or a rolling ball. Several shots are associated with a character and not only advance towards qualifying each character mode, but also serve as that character's jackpot during character multiball (just like Medieval Madness).
There are two skill shots: hold the right flipper as you plunge, and it will feed the upper playfield (provided the plunge makes it), and you need to hit the bowling loop to instantly qualify a bowling mode. You can also go for a standard plunge and try to hit the lit rollover. This is not selectable, so you have to nudge. Going for the super skill shot appears to be the better strategy.
Starting from the left and moving right:
The kickback relight is at the far left, and is a tough shot to a finicky target. I find that I mostly hit this when the ball is exiting the slings.
There is a scoop at the far left that is used to complete "mark it zero" qualifications, activate bowling when lit, or start character multiball. The kickout by default is a bit weak.
The left orbit is the Donny shot, and it sends the ball careening around to the right middle, which does have a tendency to send the ball SDTM. Perhaps this is a leveling issue. This will hit both spinners.
The left ramp qualifies The Dude, and also locks balls for the main multiball. To light the lock, you have to hit the standups on either side, like White Water. Unlike White Water, these lock lightings cannot be stacked. When lit for lock, the ball travels behind the back of the playfield, like the Damsel in Medieval Madness, and when the lock is not lit, it diverts to a wireform that feeds the left inlane.
Next to this is the Maude minefield, with 2 pop bumpers and five rollovers stacked in an inverted pyramid. The ball can leave this area one of two ways, either to the left orbit, or right in the middle, which caroms to the right flipper.
Next to the right Maude exit is the scoop. This gives mystery awards and starts Nihilist Battle once qualified (this was a nice surprise I didn't know about). Balls that are fed into the lock on the left ramp or into the rug hole, and balls which exit the upper playfield end up here as well, and feed the right flipper with a nice feed that is easily handled with a drop catch or flipper bounce.
Front and center is the rug. It's very much like the castle from MM or the saucer from AFM. You bash this until it rolls all the way back, then sink it in the hole to start the mode. I don't know what selects the mode... maybe the pops. This is a dangerous shot, as the ball can have an unpredictable return. The rug doesn't always register that well, and it almost seems that it has a better chance of registering if the ball hits one of the metal guides as it caroms. This is flanked by 2 nihilist targets (the other being to the far right of the playfield).
To the right of the rug is the Jesus scoop, which will feed the upper playfield.
To the right of Jesus is an orbit that feeds the pop bumpers and also serves as the shot for Maude jackpot. The entry has a spinner that is simply satisfying to rip. We're talking Grand Prix or RoboCop satisfying.
The right ramp qualifies Walter and is the other way to get up to the upper playfield.
To the far right is the white russian target bank. Default settings allow you to collect an adjacent target if you hit one already collected.
The inlane and outlane rollovers spell ZERO, which qualifies a "mark it zero" award at the left scoop.
The upper playfield feels a lot like TSPP, but with one flipper. There are 3 shots to make with the small upper flipper: a shot off the tip will send the ball looping back around and award a BOWLING letter. The two standups will light a car mode, and both bowling and car can be started by hitting the rightmost hole which is an exit to the scoop to the left of the rug. You can also drain out of the bottom, which returns the ball to the right inlane. Assisting with keeping the ball up there is a long rubber than you can use to nudge the ball back to the flipper. Once a car mode is started, the car swings out from the wall and parks in front of the standups, blocking the upper exit. You then bash the car to advance through the mode. This is finicky as well.
The sub playfield is the bowling alley. You select a character and try to complete the task, which is either knocking down all the pins or hitting a roving pin. There is a bit of a delay before the release button becomes active. I find that the top facade of the alley obscures your view of the back pins. Completing the frame awards a ball.
QUALIFYING MODES AND MULTIBALL
Modes are qualified very much like MM and AFM. Hit each shot X number of times to light the character. Like MM, once one character is qualified, you can start a character multiball, that can be anywhere from 2-5 ball, depending upon how many characters you've lit before hitting the left scoop to start the multiball. This is exactly like Medieval Madness, except you have the option to postpone the multiball by hitting the launch button, but ONLY if you have something else lit at the scoop. This allows you to cash in rewards as they come instead of avoiding them to avoid prematurely starting multiball. That's good, because "mark it zero" is only lit for a short period of time after completing the inlanes, and then it resets.
If you don't have the full complement of characters lit, you can start another multiball as you qualify the others, and then the characters reset and you can rinse and repeat.
The other main multiball works a bit like WH2O or Cirqus Voltaire, in that you have to hit the standups next to the left ramp and then hit the ramp to lock the ball. Unlike WH2O, you can't stack the lights on the first multiball, which I think would be nice, since it's a dangerous shot. Once you start this multiball, all the shots are lit for jackpot (including both upper playfield shots). I assume you complete all to light the super but I've always fallen one short.
The rug modes are varied, and getting them started is the biggest challenge due to the responsiveness of the rug. They will have you ripping the spinners, or hitting ramps or bashing the rug, etc.
Bowling is pretty straighforward, and lighting bowling is relatively manageable, due to the nice return to the upper flipper for repeat loops. It's a lot of shots, though. The car modes require a lot of hits, and I've never managed to finish one, due to the bash toy failing to register reliably.
Nihilist battle is qualified by hitting the nihilist standups several times, then hitting the middle scoop. It's a multistage battle where you have to peg the standups again. This is a lot like Martian Attack.
Not sure what completing a white russian does except for adding to your bonus.
The wizard mode apparently requires you to complete everything. Start all characters, complete all frames of bowling, all rug modes, all car modes, and get a super jackpot. Very reminiscent of AFM.
MY STRATEGY SO FAR:
1) Take the super skill shot. It's easy enough to hit the loop to instantly light bowling, which awards a fair number of points and allows you to make progress towards wizard mode.
2) Qualify all characters. Try to keep the scoop lit for something in addition to character multiball so you can cancel the multiball start if you hit it too early. Once all characters lit, start multiball so all jackpots are lit.
3) Don't aim for the standups to light the locks, or if you do, backhand it to keep it safer. Generally, you will light locks with random caroms. Lock a ball as soon as it's lit so you can reset the targets to light the next lock.
4) On the upper playfield, keep hitting the bowling loop. It appears that you can stack "let's go bowling" qualifications, so you can get a lot from keeping the ball up there and in play. Wait until you've qualified bowling before shooting for the standups to light car, so you don't inadvertently exit the upper playfield. I find it's generally best to stay up there as long as you can, because you can get a lot done if you play it smart. Use that rubber to get the ball away from the upper playfield drain.
5) Shooting for the trampoline kickback relight is dangerous. This game isn't all that drainy, so I just hope to get it on a carom from the pops. Same for white russian targets.
6) Take the rug modes as you can get them. Until they issue a fix for the sensitivity and let it register reliably, it's just not worth risking unless you've accidentally registered the first shot and the rug has rolled back a bit, which makes the return a bit more controlled.
GRIPES AND FINAL THOUGHTS (FOR NOW)
All in all, TBL is a fantastic game, and the code is already quite robust for a new release. The flow is good and the shots are satisfying. The game really is a lot like Medieval Madness in that it's simple to make a few shots, and the ruleset is easy to grasp, so novices will find a lot to like, but if you are an advanced player, getting everything stacked is quite a challenge, and makes the game deeper than it seems at first.
As I mentioned above, the lack of stability of the left ramp is disappointing, but I imagine there could be a fix for that. I'm hoping some of the switch issues can be fixed with software, and won't require replacing mechs. I also hope they can issue a replacement for the flipper switches so post passing and taps will be more feasible.
Some things I'd like to see with future updates:
1) Allow the lock lights to be stacked for at least the first multiball
2) Give us a video mode to enjoy that beautiful screen. I still think it'd be hilarious to have a Knox Harrington, The Video Artist Video Mode
3) More sound bites
4) More callouts that help guide the player
5) A Royal Madness type mode after you've qualified the characters
6) More variation in the bowling objectives
7) Fewer hits to complete the car modes
An option to keep the player signed in when playing consecutive single-player games
9) more match screens besides Marty's cycle
10) incorporate the bowling alley into multiball
11) Allow the upper playfield to serve as a playfield multiplier during multiball like WOZ
9.740
8 months ago
My review of this machine is based on the opportunity I had to play it at the 2016 Pintastic New England show. Dutch brought two TBL machines to the show, and I got a couple of plays in on each… WHAT A GAME! The first offering from Dutch pinball raises the bar, just as Jersey Jack did, far beyond anything that Stern has ever produced. I found the game to be absolutely captivating, and I plan to build up the slush fund and buy one for myself—it’s sure to be one of the all time greats.
7.261
11 months ago
Played a couple games on it at Ohio Pinball show. Nice game, but didn't keep me wanting more. Several folks standing around had never seen the movie and didn't get the humor of the speech/cuts from the movie. Kind of like the walking dead pin, in my opinion. You either have seen and like the theme or you didn't watch and it's just a pin. I do give kudos to Dutch pinball for its modern design and maintainability!
7.676
2 years ago
This is all based on proto code.
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