Fish Tales (Williams, 1992)

Fish Tales

Pinside rating

This game received 642 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.018 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #42 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.025

Artwork: 8.279

Sounds/Music: 7.336

Other Aspects: 8.121

Rating comments

There are 323 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

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


Your Rating?

You need to be logged in before you can rate pinball machines. No account yet? Registering only takes a sec!

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 323 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 323 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 13.

List options

39 days ago
I will start out with the disclaimer that Fish Tales is a sentimental favorite for me because it was the machine I won my first (and thus far only) major title on in a finals, back in the whacky 90's when this was brand new. (I completely owned the Fish Finder that game).

It may tie with "Creature from the Black Lagoon" for the title of "best machine with a completely over the top busy playfield" award, which I just made up. It makes the pace of the game a bit more frenetic -- in addition to all the cool crossing over (perhaps a Ritchie family trait?) the ball makes, because the player has so little time visually to track balls coming down from the upper playfield, it's almost like playing in "Tommy" (blind) mode sometimes. It's an acquired taste, and I'm glad not every game is like this, but it can make for some excellent challenges. Multiball locking may be a touch too easy here, but the scoring is pretty balanced and you can either work one part of the machine or another for points or try to work on progressive goals, so there's some very good lastability here.

As far as the flopping fish? It's awesome. I'd never turn mine off, even in attract mode, if I had one, at the risk of literally wearing it out. My only regret is the fish doesn't say stuff to you, like Billy Bass, its obvious inspiration. And as far as the theme -- it's not exactly classic pinball theming, but it's pretty funny, and one of the things I liked about the non-licensed themes of the 80s and 90s Williams machines was their creativity and charm. The machine was its own theme!
47 days ago
What a fun game, I would love to have this game in my collection.
52 days ago
Fun game with a fun theme. Not too much to shoot at but a good ruleset and rewarding ramps keep it fun. Good pin for a smaller collection as it doesn’t get old quickly
56 days ago
This is a very pretty game. Sound at first wierd but after a few plays it hooks you in. The simple ramp shots are fun and rewarding. Monster fish get you a little panic to make the shot. All in all a fun gam. Very nice open playfield with little hidden ball areas.
59 days ago
One of the most fun games I’ve played. Love the boat shots to catch the monster fish. The theme and artwork is bright and eye catching. I’m not into fishing at all but it’s such a fun game it really doesn’t matter. Multiball isn’t always the easiest to get. Video mode is really funny! Eventually I’d love to own one someday.
73 days ago
Fish tales is a fast game that shoots pretty well. The rules are pretty shallow as you basically just have monster fish and multiball to play for. Collecting fish is not the most fun thing but stretching the truth is cool. Overall a cool theme that shoots well but it doesn’t have enough to do for me.
76 days ago
A great all around game. Don't let the fishing theme scare you off. This is an amazing table with all kinds of shots. Rule set is not super difficult but enough for hours and hours of entertainment. I can be playing competitive games with my friends one minute and then turn around and play with my daughter and have just as much fun. I would have to rate this in my top 7 golden era pins (1992-1997). I finally was able to pick one up after searching hard for a nice collector machine. I am looking forward to telling many fish tales in the future!
80 days ago
One of Williams worst design .
4 months ago
a 90s classic
4 months ago
Surprisingly a pretty fun game.
4 months ago
Probably my top 5 favorites. Original theme. A bit repetitive but fun nothe the less. Funny and addictive gameplay! Tell no lies!!!
7 months ago
"Fish Tales" isn't a game I'd play over and over with the intent on conquering it like I do other games. It's basically a series of ramps which give you combos. The other targets catch you "fish" which add to your score. The game is fine in terms of theme, I supposed. It's cutesy and revolves around rednecks fishing if you hadn't guessed. There's just not much to it and I feel like all I did was hit ramps and lock up balls for multiball. The audio is hit and miss with a GREAT banjo bluegrass tune which sounds beautiful (and seamlessly goes into an ending strum upon ball drain) but the call-outs and other audio remind me of "Creature From the Black Lagoon": garbled as hell. All in all, a nice piece to have in a collection but, really, it's only for completion purposes and nothing more.
7 months ago
Fun family friendly theme. The topper really draws people over especially when it gets going. I think this game could have been a little more wise with playfield layout, some heavy wasted space where the boat is. This game is also very tough to get a high score on. It is a nice game to get to improve your skill while not turning off the non-pinball playing people because for whatever reason difficulty will not stop the general audience from playing several games and getting their butt kicked.
8 months ago
This is a great game and a favorite of my family. The game's humor from the funny call outs (Gone fishin, leave a message , look, waterskiers, etc ) , classic water/jet skier season video mode, to the flopping fish topper make this a family friendly classic.

The game play is a lot of fun once you get a good understanding of the rules which are deep enough to keep itvfun and lasting while not so deep the game bogs down in minutiae. Plays very fast in Ritchie form.

I'vee read that some don't like the repetitive banjo type music and loud fish topper but to me they just add to the game's personality and fit the theme well. Most of these I've seen have a lot of fade on the orange cabinet but I found one that had been in a home for 20+ years that has the original bright orange cabinet. The artwork on this pin from the cabinet to the backglass is top notch.

I think this game would actually be rated a bit higher if not for the fact it is fairly common with over 10k originally produced.
8 months ago
I love this game but also suck at it. Have played it around 15 times and cannot get anything above 4M. It's extremely challenging. The theme, artwork and play field are so cool but I cannot get it up the boat ramp. This would be a great machine to practice on to get good. Going back to Level Up in Raleigh to give it another shot.
8 months ago
I’m intrigued and amused by this game because it is so wasteful of playfield real estate – that big plastic in the rear left of the game – and not much is made of the space under the ramps - just appalling, right ? Fish Tales is a great game, really great rules - I like the way the different timed modes are activated in different ways – some with the captive ball, some by catching fish (“Feeding Frenzy”, “Rock the Boat” if you’re good at telling tales), “Monster Fish” using the ramps. The balls being locked in the reel is a cool idea, then being shot out on a big ramp at the beginning of multiball. Multiball is really hard though – hitting the casters club twice then the left loop (supposedly you can set the drop target in front of the casters club so it is not up at the beginning of multiball, but I have not figured out how to do this). The video mode is great – shooting surface torpedos (from your rowboat?) at all those motorized boats and skiers disturbing the fish - gratifying. The video mode yields a lot of points and if your shooting is good you get an extra ball – a game of Fish Tales without the video mode is usually a disaster (points wise I mean).
Fish Tales has great music. I’m a big bluegrass fan (I play banjo myself) and I like the way Chris Granner has created a bluegrass feeling using the synthesized sounds of the early 90s – it’s fun.
The playfield lighting really comes alive with LEDs (as do most I think), I enjoy the light show.
9 months ago
Fish Tales is the third game I have owned (Starship Troopers and Taxi would be the first two). I must say that Fish Tales is one of the toughest games I have played but it's also one of the funnest. The game is fast and can be addicting to play. The music theme is bluegrass and I must admit I clapped my hands and did a two step while the music played. Maybe a weak point of the game is that multi-ball is tough to get but if you're skilled enough, it shouldn't be a issue. Another one would be the flippers are shorter than most games and it will cause more ball drainage. Overall, it's a game I would recommend playing and if possible, owning.
9 months ago
difficult, fun and a real beauty
10 months ago
This pin is fun. The DMD game play is not too corny either (but looks a lot better with a 3rd party color DMD). I wouldn't mind owning one of these for the right price, but other pins are on my priority list. The physical lock is different and fits the theme. The lastability would probably be pretty good for the first year or so, but the shots would get repetitive. This pin attracts people to want to play it, then play it a few more time. It kind of has that "one more time" feel ... at least for a few times.
10 months ago
One of my ten favorites!
10 months ago
First machine I ever bought and will likely never leave the basement. Pure fun!
12 months ago
Pretty fun game with a good theme. The boat idea is pretty neat and it feels great when you combo shots. The slightly smaller flippers generally piss me off, but that's because I'm not very good. Fun game.
1 year ago
the amount of players who play it gave me a reason to score it high..
1 year ago
A great game from Williams. A great example how to make a fun to play game that is not associated with a established brand or franchise. The music does not really hold up after 25 years. The playfield art is a little cartoonish, but what do you expect in a game about fishing?
1 year ago
I thought I wasn't going to like this one but it surprised me! The ramps are a blast to hit. Artwork is great. Gameplay was fun. The sounds and music seemed at little weak. There are no toys aside from the cool locking mech! I would like this one in my collection
There are 323 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 13.

You too can add your own comment by rating this game! Click here to rate the machine.

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside