Paragon (Bally, 1979)


Pinside rating

This game received 160 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.706 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #93 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.702

Artwork: 8.723

Sounds/Music: 5.634

Other Aspects: 7.781

Rating comments

There are 78 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have 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 78 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 78 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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54 days ago
A challenging and interesting layout, one of the best classic SS era widebody games. The overall playability and art package makes this one a keeper and one to be sought out.
81 days ago
One of the best classics ever. Unique playfield layout makes great use of the wide-body. The double right flipper forces you to think twice before attempting to trap up and taking an errant shot. Love the single pop bumper in the beast layer and having the work the game to get it out. The inlane drops, golden cliffs, spelling PARAGON, so many great ways to play this game. It is deceptively difficult and has a huge replay value. Great art package.
7 months ago
One of my favorite games
7 months ago
This machine was my introduction to pinball. We owned one for several years when I was a kid. For its time, this game was superb in virtually every way, except perhaps the sounds effects. (But still, a lot of the sounds are fun -- especially when you rack up a bunch of bonus and get to listen to the chime sequence at the end of the ball ticking through all of the bonus points.) Even today, the game still holds up remarkably well if you keep it in perspective as a 1978 game. The playfield features and layout are excellent for their time and can be fun today too if you play a machine with properly rebuilt flippers to maintain the original speed and power of when the game was new. (I recently played this machine at Southern Fried Gameroom Expo. Sadly, that unit had very lackluster flipper rebuilds and insufficient playfield angle, which really detracted from the fun this game can deliver when set up properly.) The playfield artwork and backglass artwork are absolutely classic for the genre. Any collector with the dedication, skill, and funds necessary to restore and maintain one of these machines to top condition will have a true gem.
8 months ago
The Good:
-BRUTALLY HARD. Putting it on 3-ball almost feels unfair, but I can't let myself go to 5-ball on a SS game.
-The playfield layout is absolutely brilliant. Wow. Such great shots all over the place and every flipper serves a purpose. Truly, a brilliant layout.
-The artwork. While certainly not at the same level of his later stuff, Paul F serves up some delicious artwork on this one.
-Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide body that doesn't play like a widebody. For real, if Atari had come up with this layout for ANY of their widebodies, they would have been in the game much longer! This game, once properly setup and waxed, flies.
-The pop bumper area on the left is so cool. You've really gotta have your nudging skills down for that area. The whole table for that matter, requires good nudging skills. The saucers at the top require some nudging if you're gonna stay up there, and the right outlane is brutal if you gots no nudge game.
-Rip the spinner and go for the 5x. So rewarding when you hit those and so frustrating when you don't.
-Draining between the 2 right flippers is hard to not do. Trapping the ball just ain't gonna happen on that bottom flipper. Additionally, tap passes are required on this game and the Bally software lets you do it (unlike other manufacturers from different eras)

The Bad:
-the sounds man. C'mon Bally. The tech was definitely there to have much better sounds. This game may have even been better with chimes like the EMs. The sounds just don't draw you in like they should.
-I feel like another spinner on the right (i.e.: the early Sterns) would have been much cooler than what is up there. To be honest, the left flippers don't have nearly as many shots as the right.
-99.99% of Paragons have cupped inserts at this point. Like almost all of the early Sterns, Bally used non-star inserts which caused serious cuppage after only a few years. Even NOS PFs have cupped inserts. In addition, most Paragons have horribly beat up PFs due to the inserts sinking and the original operators not repairing them. Just realize that if you buy one, you're probably gonna have some insert work to do or the game isn't going to treat you fairly.

TAKEAWAY: Why is Fathom going for $4,000+ and Paragon isn't? Probably because they made so many, but let's be honest...finding a Paragon in great shape isn't easy. Most were played to death and the inserts....argh. I've owned Fathom and Skateball (and played a lot of Centaur) and honestly, this game is every bit as good. If you're on the fence about grabbing a Paragon, jump over.
8 months ago
Wide body action that has a ton of shots and targets. Did it need to be a widebody? I am not sure but it works to show off the great artwork.
8 months ago
Ah, Paragon. You have to earn your pinball stripes before you can begin to amass the greatness of this machine. One of the most challenging pins ever, hence one of the best. Pure love.
8 months ago
Inline drop targets, lower pop in the lair - when set up correctly it's a very fun and brutal game.
10 months ago
Decent game for it's era. Don't like the artwork so much, but I know that's subjective. Plays well but I don't like how the ball can slip between the extra flippers. It's a wide body machine so it may not fit through your doorways if you want to take it home.
11 months ago
very solid game..has all that d&d stuff that made it popular
11 months ago
Great wide body game ... one of the classics.
1 year ago
The trick to this game (and others from the same era) is to find one that set up correctly and properly maintained, i.e. not too shallow/floaty, good flippers and properly gapped switches.

Many people get this game and don't invest anymore time or money into it but when you do the payoff is there with a fast, challenging game that has you beckoning for more. This game will teach you nudging and flipper skills and will also have you cursing when you get double flipper bitched!

Factor in the AMAZING artwork on the backglass and playfield and you've got one of Ballys best solid state games!
1 year ago
This game is so much fun but can pick you up and throw you down sometimes.
1 year ago
Paragon often gets a bad rap, but I found it nearly impossible to tear myself away from the beast. It's a widebody with in-line drops, a 2" flipper and a killer three-flipper set up (on the version I played) that punishes trapping (not always great, but changes the strategy). There are so many cubby holes and challenging shots that the game never got boring for me.

I'd love to own a Paragon over a Hotdoggin' because of the fantasy theme alone. Play one if you haven't already.
1 year ago
Kind of hate the lower left area, but still a favorite among the wide body tables, haven't played a live one in a long time.
1 year ago
This game is beautiful. There is something odd looking about the guy with axe on the BG, though. That's a big head, mister.
It's an ultra wide-body, but with good operating solenoids, it can be really fast.
There are pretty cool shots here. The spinner lane, across the playfield, through the waterfall back to the right flippers is pretty cool, and the in line drop targets uncovering the treasure is hard to complete, but very satisfying.
The rules are basic, but there are lots of opportunities to hear the knocker go off by completing different shots.
It's not a great game, but it's still pinball, and can be really fun. Glad I finally scored one.
1 year ago
I grew up with this pin as a kid. I've been trying to buy one for 4 years with no luck. This pin has a lot of meaning to me because I played it so much as a young kid. The playfield layout is simple, but effective. What makes this pin stand out are the inline drop targets. I always liked trying to spell PARAGON. Brings back memories.
1 year ago
Great game for the time period.
One of the best games for artwork for playfield and back glass.
This widebody feels solid.
1 year ago
Fun but tough.
2 years ago
it was good back then , decent flow i recall ,seemed a bit slow back in late 78-79,it was a favorite until b.k and f.p came out in 80, still very nice back glass art ,nice play field art, great classic fair price if you got the space 70's keeper
2 years ago
One of the greatest early BALLY "widebody" pinball machines made.
The Paul Faris artwork is the complete standout, both for the backglass and playfield.

Challenging game if you are trying to complete the "Valley of the Demons" with the in lane drop targets.
Although the game has electronic sounds, the simpler version of just using the electronic "chimes" improves the game tremendously especially when completing "P-A-R-A-G-O-N".
Just switch the settings on the game, you will thank me.
Tough ball control due to the right side "flipper lift" mistake that players make and the "Beast's Lair" on the left side with its unpredictable pop bumper.
The "waterfall" on the right side of the playfield is always a fun shot to make from the upper left flipper.

If you like Early Bally machines, this machine is a must for a collection.
I have owned FOUR machines withe last being a DOCUMENTED HUO version from a single owner.
Reproduction parts are finally available after so many years including the backglass (although it has color issues from the NOS ones), playfield plastics, and eventually a new CPR playfield.

Once again, "game too slow"?
USE 2X4s under the rear legs!!!
2 years ago
Paragon is a quintessential pinball game, hell, that's its name.

What can you do with a Paragon - for one it is one of the best games for tap passing (though I often gate pass on mine). It's got everything a great table needs - pops that can be played (actually played), a spinner worth shooting, drops galore (both kinds - country and western), saucers, an outlane with a pop and a shot at redemption...

Before I owned Paragon I cursed it. It cursed me. I bought one, it taught me. I love it.

It has its drawbacks - it is both a placemarker of culture and a placemarker of culture (objectification and crazy fantasy art) and features (the art package is otherwise pretty awesome - conceptually - the playfield features are actually represented by the art and those features do a good job with translation. Waterfalls are slippery and not to be trusted - check. Don't go into beast's lairs, you may or may not come out alive - check. Golden towers give golden... nevermind on that one.

I've set mine up for novelty scoring (after all - what is the point of a special if you get nothing from it - same with an 'extra ball'). Jack it up in the back, shop it good, and play it forever. Other games have fancier sound, ramps, multiball. Paragon just is the best pinball.
2 years ago
Paragon's art is phenomenal, one of the best hands down. I'm more up and down on the gameplay. I don't like dual flippers in general, they sure make the game tough! This game is HARD. I'm not a huge fan of the double saucers up top compared to rollover lanes either. Inline drop targets are awesome. Knocking them all down and getting into the saucer is a good feeling, rewarding sequence. The sound is 1978 nightmare. The table is wiiiiide but isn't really jam packed with worthwhile shots. The rules are simple and strategy is load up on bonus.

Great for the era, just good overall. Bally's top early 80s games are better. Even of the wide load games, I prefer Future Spa.
2 years ago
This was both Bally's first wide body and my first wide body pin. It sits next to my Lost World and it's cool to have Paragon next to it with the same artist on the back glass. I had to give my pin some love to get it in playable condition and now it's one of the most difficult pins in my collection. I can't ever hit all of the inline drops. It drains like a beast and I either have a great game or I get my butt kicked. While the sounds are fine for the period, I wish it at least had some background sound. It sounds kind of boring after awhile of only plink plink shloioioip! Overall, I enjoy this game and find it to be a challenge every time I play. I really enjoy the older Bally's from this era and are just pure fun pinball!
2 years ago
Is it a widebody game, yes. Does that mean it is slow and floaty....not necessarily.

First, the artwork, one of the best in all of pinball...both the backglass and playfield artwork are superb.

It may take what seems to be a long time for the ball to first make it down to the flippers from the plunge, but once the ball gets down to the flippers, be ready for crazy bounces in any direction after you flip. The layout is so crazy its awesome. The beast lair on the far left side that is substituting for a traditional inlane/outlane is very well integrated. KEEP IT AWAY from there is you it is very random. The waterfall on the middle right of the game is very cool as the ball wiggles down the lane and exits to the middle of the playfield.

Inline drop targets make this game so much fun....there is a lot of risk in the return once the ball has hit a couple of them.....and Paragon is so brutal, you have to knock down the third drop target to get the bonus multiplier. The spinner that is next to the inlines is fun to hit, but because of the technology at the time, if you are hitting other switches while the spinner is spinning, you don't get full credit for a perfect rip on the spinner.

AND this brings me to the two bottom right flippers....there is no metal wire-form to save you from scissor flipping yourself into draining the ball. It takes some getting used to, but it is a great feature that Paragon, being brutal, had to have.

A great game that has a very reasonable price tag given the fun factor....and a challenge to boot.
There are 78 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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