Blackout (Williams, 1980)


Pinside rating

This game received 65 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.448 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #156 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.626

Artwork: 7.557

Sounds/Music: 6.198

Other Aspects: 7.555

Rating comments

There are 26 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 3 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

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Rating history

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Found 26 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 26 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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6 months ago
My favorite System 6 game. One of the best backglasses of all time. The primary colors really pop against the black. Cabinet art is nothing to write home about, but is still decent for the time.

The machine has an extremely easy to understand objective (blackout) that is still difficult to achieve and always brings you back for one more game to get there. Explaining the high-level objective to a new player takes all of about 30 seconds and they are off and playing.

Great game for learning shot accuracy. Watching the blackout and then the progressive relighting if the playfield is always awesome.

Sound is great for the theme. Gorgar-style language was about as good as it was at the time. Resume Blackout Mission!
7 months ago
Blackout is an enjoyable table. Cool retro, blinky sci-fi sounds, nice clean shots and simple ruleset. Hit the targets to complete red, green and orange and freak out the table with the almighty Blackout (ok, just a primitive relay that throws the table lighting into a brief epileptic fit). Ripping the two spinners is easy and fun. Orbit completed, indeed!.

Compared to its sibling Firepower, ultimately Blackout is more fun but much less satisfying. Firepower will kick you in the ass with a -454 degree space boot; comparatively, Blackout will massage your ass with a velvet glove. This is a good beginner or casual game; with any competent multi-player games, you will require a cryogenic hibernation pod when it's not your turn, as ball times can go a bit long.
8 months ago
I am only 2 months into collecting pins and this was my second. The family did not like it. Not enough things to do, sort of slow and boring. Maybe for 1980 it was great but not so much now. Art work was cool and getting it to black was too. Just not for our family
1 year ago
For an early SS, this is a fun game. While more basic than newer games, the Blackout is fun to try to achieve, first by hitting the various targets and then going for the Blackout hole to achieve the Blackout. Makes you want to keep playing until you achieve that goal. Speech is basic, but a part of history (early speech in pinball that they starting to eliminate for awhile when pinball was going downhill and they were looking to save costs). Artwork is good/classic space theme. Guests also like this game as it's easy to explain to them what to do. Overall, despite being the oldest game in my collection, I find myself playing it as much as the other newer games,
2 years ago
Black Out has exciting backglass art that over-hypes the game before the first plunge. I didn't find any of the features particularly interesting, and the game was a little sluggish at times. Not a keeper, but worth pressing start on a few times just to see why.
2 years ago
Flipper below average, yet not to the levels of Bally Williams that soon would be produced
2 years ago
Me win League matches with dis. Many League matches...
2 years ago
blast from the early solid state years. Good gimmick with the blackout effect. Well tuned game can be very fast. Often overlooked as the cousin of the more successful Firepower. No multi-ball, but does have basic speech and lane change.
3 years ago
I think this machine is in the top-5 single ball players for solid states. It’s in elite company with four Sterns: Seawitch, Stargazer, Quicksilver, and Big Game.
Blackout is a fascinating piece of pinball history being smack in between Williams Gorgar, and Williams Firepower. Here’s how it's similar to what came before it:

* rules
* light show
* sounds

* art package
* cabinet
* backglass

Action/Per/Minute: high
Backhands: excellent. left flipper can make the left orbit
Dink Donk: very good. Not much of it.
Drops: two banks, neither is directly sweepable
Flippers: 2
Goal: Complete 3 banks of targets to earn Blackout in the saucer. Repeat a bank up top to light the spinner to rip it.
Inlane Lane Change: no
Inlane Swoosh: excellent, best in class like in Baracorra
Lane Change: yes
Nudging: I didn’t nudge too much
Orbits (Repeatable): Yes. Shooting left, you get rewarded for hitting multiple left orbits, but sadly there is no hurry up.
Outlane Fun: Great outlines
Pops: 3 - fun to relight 1-2-3 lanes
Rules: just ok, a bit simple.
Shots (total): 8
Skill Shot: none ?
Slap-Saves: early Williams, for sure best slap saves there are
Spinners: 3 — very fun. Raises the pitch of the background sound. You have to get used to it.
Stop'n'Go: excellent, you just earn blackout for a few seconds.
Taunting: poor. none, there’s voice but it never taunts you.
Toy/Gimmick: blackout is a cool gimmick
Voice / V. choreography: poor. not sure there’s much choreography in the game, it just lets you know what you’ve completed.

ART: very good spilled primary color crayons: red, yellow, blue, green all over the place.

SOUND: pretty good - same set as Gorgar

DISPLAYS: fun backglass

FEEL: feels great

OVERALL: it’s almost an excellent game: I give it “a very good” due to:
* single ball
* no taunting
* average rules for that era
* I’d prefer better sounds on the spinner rips
3 years ago
Great game. I think its under rated. Challenging.
3 years ago
Lots of fun and challenging! BLACKOUT!!!! REALLY fun game. Though the audio track can get a little tiring. But ripping those spinners! Yeah!
3 years ago
Wow! Easy rules and the "Blackout" shot is one of the best! Cool to blackout the entire machine. Our family and all guests gravitate to this game. It's never open!
4 years ago
I think that I liked Blackout more than any of the others who came over to play pinball. I had it up on blocks in back to make it faster, and if you hit the orbit you had to get that nudge in quick to keep it from smacking the apron after rocketing SDTM.
Played very fast after some adjustments, and it had more shots and variety than expected. Simple fun pinball.
4 years ago
Good older game. Excellent playfield artwork and reaching "blackout" with the pulsating GI is still cool. The cabinent artwork is mediocre. I'd throw in a bunch of LEDs to capture the space theme and then just leave it alone. I still think blackout is fun mostly for sentimental reasons. It's more forgiving than gorgar and I find the ratio of distance to targets pretty perfect for a game it's age. You could definitely buy a much worse game from that era.
4 years ago
When I first played Blackout, I was a bit underwhelmed. A local pinball collector, who's taste in games runs very close to mine, recommend it. So I bought it based on his recommendation along with the fact that I absolutely love Cosmic Gunfight, another Williams game of the era.

I didn't care for game play, but that was because I didn't understand the rules. And the GI Relay wasn't properly working.

Once I corrected the GI Relay issue, leveled the game and cleaned and waxed the playfield, the game became a different animal.

The game is pure 80s pinball fun. The object of the game is to light three different colors and then hit the ball capture scoop for BLACKOUT.

This mode will turn off all the GI lights on the playfield and then turn them back on a few moments later. Very cool affect, especially considering its era.

I consistently refer to the concept of "one more game". This concept means that I have done well enough or poorly enough on a game that I am forced to try "one more" in an effort to reach a barely missed goal or to make up for a poor game.

If you are a fan of the electronic sounds of the 80s Video Game era and the simple, yet fast flow of a great pinball machine, then give Blackout a chance.

You may end up like me. Now I simply love this game to death.
5 years ago
This table is one of my favorites of all time. Sure, Williams may have outdid it a few months earlier with the groundbreaking Firepower with multiball, but Blackout still holds it own. The artwork on the back glass and playfield are tops, imho. It looks simple compared to newer tables, but it is extremely challenging, with lots of short, medium and long shots. It's definitely a "shooter's" table. LOTS of replay value. It is a pin that always has those "Oh, so close!" games that makes you want to keep playing again and again.

It's also a 'first of' which makes it unique from other tables of the era. Blackout was the first pinball game to have computer-controlled general illumination, used for the "BLACKOUT" sequence. It has been surpassed by newer tables, but it still endures after all these years. When you get your first 'Blackout', you're hooked! Mission Completed.
5 years ago
Fun game. Definitely worth playing. I like it at least as much as Firepower!
5 years ago
For it's era this and firepower rule. Awesome flow with three spinner shots, 80's williams arcade sounds are a total time warp, (although the girlfriend can not stand the spinner sounds when they change pitch), getting a blackout, while not too challenging is very gratifying. Needs multiball to be incredible. As is still a keeper.
5 years ago
First time you get a Blackout you think you broke the machine! Nice gimmick for its time.
5 years ago
Blackout is an unusual game for it's time. The good news is it plays quite nicely.

The Pros:
This is Skateball's older brother. I love playing skateball and this game has a similar cross the playfield... almost Ted Zale feel to it. Shots are well placed and getting to "Blackout" is a pretty cool effect that we don't see implenmented again until Johnny Mnemonic.

The Cons:
Needs another digit on the score display. Nick Fury is upset that his image was bltantly ripped off of Nick Fury: agent of shield #6. At least Constantino was smart enough to steal from Jim Steranko (THE MAN!).

The Takeaway:
A cool game that plays fast... not a great game for the long term though. For this vintage Firepower will hold your interest better. Or if you are lucky, gitcher' hands on it's younger (and even uglier, yes... someone is even worse with the pin-art than Constantino) brother, Warlok!
5 years ago
Blackout is a pretty good game but doesn't offer a lot in terms on strategy and lacking multiball doesn't help either. Get the spinner lit and go for orbits from the right flipper or either spinner on the right side of the game from the left. Still a fun game but I wouldn't buy one unless it was cheap.
6 years ago
Amazing classic that stands head and shoulders among many others from its era. This game has a great combination of percision target shooting, and great flow thanks to the three spinner shots. While the sounds and speech are great and fit the theme, the idea of having the background sounds increase pitch with the spinner shots is better in theory than in practice. The last couple of pitch changes before it resets are downright annoying. It makes you REALLY want to hit those spinners quickly to get the noise reset...and of course that is when those shots become nearly impossible! The light show is fantastic, especially when hitting a Blackout.
6 years ago
The Blackout comes, all lights turn off BLACKOUT BLACKOUT BLACKOUT! Fantastic.
6 years ago
Reminds me of Flash and Firepower. I'm not a fan of the artwork. The sound is loud and weird but pretty cool. I love the entire machine going "black". Flow is great and I would pick one of these up locally if it came up for sale.
There are 26 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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