Party Zone (Bally, 1991)

Party Zone

Pinside rating

This game received 129 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.452 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #158 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.506

Artwork: 7.589

Sounds/Music: 6.691

Other Aspects: 7.38

Rating comments

There are 61 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

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 61 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 61 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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4 months ago
I haven't felt compelled like this to rave about a game in quite some time. I always thought this looked like a fun game over the years & might be one to own someday, but I've thought that before about other pins with even higher ratings & have been let down. I just went with my gut, & bought a super nice PZ that this guy had. I definitely overpaid a good bit if we are to believe pinside's pricing on this one, but I didn't care, I really wanted it.

This thing is a blast & continues to grow on me, my girl, & my friends love it. It is sitting next to another b/w title that is definitely higher rated & more expensive, yet it is PZ that keeps drawing us in. It has that "one more game" factor which in my world is huge.
My example is incredibly clean & finely tuned, I'm sure that helps. Ramps are clear & in nice shape, & I did color matched LED for the inserts & some nice strong frosted red LED for the red GI & the game is just stunning.

The game flows better than you would think, considering both of the ramp returns have a pit stop. That stop is quick enough though that I don't think it disrupts flow at all just speed but that isn't a bad thing. Gives you a moment to ready your next shot or consider what you need to do next.
Shots on this game just feel good to hit. The captain & his standups can be a challenge but even that shot feels great when the ball sticks in the hole nicely!

My favorite thing about this game is that not only is the layout & shot selection solid, but the rules make it so that they all have value. I've seen too many games that had cool shots in a sweet layout but they just weren't called on to be hit enough or weren't worth it. On PZ I find myself utilizing all the shots the game has to offer during each play. I don't feel restricted in what I need to do, nor do I need to think too much. I think that is what all of us are loving about this game. & I've seen it mentioned other times in these reviews. The game is somewhat mindless fun. & to me that holds incredible value!

Sometimes people knock a game for not being deep enough, but I'll be honest, I'm kinda tired of super deep games. They are a dime a dozen these days. But a DMD game that is fairly straightforward yet still engaging, challenging, & fun? Not a ton of them. I put this game right up there with Black Rose as an all time favorite from this time period. Deep is not always better folks. & lack of depth doesn't make for a dumb game either. PZ has a terrific brain in it.
& let's not forget that there is multiball & times during each game where things get a little more goal specific, so it isn't like the game lacks depth. It has enough.

Let's talk theme. It is pretty wild & dated in some ways. In fact I think it might be so dated that its actually cooler now in 2017 than it would have been in 2000. It is very unique, it is an original concept & original artwork. & again in the pantheon of all DMD games in existence, this is a rare trait & becoming more rare by the day.
I love all the color the game offers & it helps make for a good looking & beautifully lit game in the dark, & I love all the details in the artwork as well as the toys. Oh yeah, TOYS, the game has tons & are interactive. People are always floored by the fact that the captain's head follows the ball around once I point out to them that he isn't moving at random.

In closing, I'm finding this game to be a great fit in a collection where I have a couple deeper, more intense games that require a little more thinking. This game definitely has a place in today's pinball world. The only question remaining is how long will I keep this game, & how much will I miss it when it is gone. I just felt compelled to write this review between how impressed I was by it, & how underrated I found it to be.
5 months ago
Party Zone is the first game in my collection and the family absolutely loves it. I picked up a machine in pristine condition and it won't be going anywhere in a hurry. The game is quirky, challenging and above all, plenty of fun. It's 'Happy Hour' at any time of the day, and any day of the week. Party on!
5 months ago
Goofy, colorful game with simple rules but it's a lot of fun for mindless pinball action. I'm not sure if it will last in my small collection but I'm really enjoying the game so far.
9 months ago
It's a simple game for sure but I love the ramp shots and goofiness of it. Music is great. Love if you get to the end of the game all the GI goes red. First time I did that I was so surprised. Wish it more than a 2 ball multiball though.
11 months ago
Recently picked this game up and love it more than my Black Rose or my 1976 Williams Grand Prix, which is my benchmark for fun. Love the crazy ramps, theme, and things to do in this game. Never saw it before in public but I'm glad I had the opportunity to pick this one when I did. I can easily see me playing this every day and not getting bored. Plus, after hitting the Bing Bang, you just want more! Great fun crazy pinball.
1 year ago
My local arcade now has this machine i have to admit i really enjoyed playing it lots of fun wacky theme whats not to like, now admittedly these are just first impressions and i can't comment about lastability but fo a novice pinball player like myself this was right up my alley
1 year ago
This game plays nicely to me, despite that I think the artwork and theme and music are hideous.
1 year ago
A fun game, that mashes previous pin characters into one game. For the most part it works. The dual GI colors really make the game pop in certain modes. Game is fluid, and plays great. Music has some variety, if you don't mind a midi version of Pinball Wizard. Dancing Dummy and the Captain are interesting, and the way they interact with the game is pretty cool. As others have stated, make sure the ramps are in good shape, to fully appreciate them. Nice game for sure.
1 year ago
Knew I would like this pin and when I finally played it. I realised my judgement was correct. Fun pin with nice shots.

Bought the pin and I like it even more than I did at one of the Pin events. Have uprated my score. Should be in Top 50
1 year ago
Defiantly has the one more game factor, can be very brutal, very important to get multiball going, the captain is a suicide shot, better off going for it rebounding off the targets , but need to shoot him to get the multiballs going, ramps are cool but the ball is known to fall off them, when buying one make sure the ramps are in good condition because you can't find them anyware , art is really cool an vibrant, cab looks great, unfortunately most are faded , call out can get very annoying after a while, party zone is pinball on a acid trip..
1 year ago
Another cheesy theme that works well. Fun for a few games, and makes you want to come back (later) for more
1 year ago
Simple machine with repetitive shots. Fun theme and fun features (talking robot, lo-fi almost midibforms if party/pinball based sings such as Chicken Feet and Pinball Wizard). I recommend it but it does get a little old quick.
2 years ago
A rare ho-hum offering from Dennis Nordman. I respect that the game unifies his oeuvre by using characters from past games (Monsters, Dudes and Animals) but I get the feeling that the game is TOO MUCH of an inside joke, leaving causal players out in the cold on much of the humour. Capt. B-Zarr will never usurp Rudy as the most famous pinball talking head. The game comes off as a bit too obnoxious for my liking. Not even Nordman's uniquely shaped ramps can save this one.
2 years ago
nice classic pin
2 years ago
Party Zone is OK, I'm not a huge fan of the layout and I find it somewhat repetitive. I don't like that the major shots of both ends of the playfield lead to VUKs followed by a return to the flipper, it makes the game feel just a little strange. There are a bunch of low-value dangerous shots, the center scoop and standups in the middle of the playfield are crazy, why would anyone shoot for it?

The game is multiball all day for me, although maybe I'm missing part of the strategy here. A unique part of multiball is that once you cash in the Big Bang super jackpot (20-99M) the rest of multiball is way lower value (250k all targets). This makes an interesting risk/reward strategy where you want to cash in on max value regular jackpots as long as you can without hitting the Big Bang. An unfortunate part of Big Bang is that it increases game-to-game until collected. This means if you're playing competitively at a location where patrons don't frequently hit it, one player can cash in a 99,999,999 Big Bang then the other players can only get 10M. It's a pretty devastating imbalance, but fortunately fixes itself after someone scores it once.
2 years ago
Fun pinball machine with good sounds and great pf artwork.
Like the game but not rules are shallow.
2 years ago
A game that definitely provides a great deal of fun. It's very strange not to see it in the Top 100 list...

- fantastic toys
- colour composition is dazzling; the playfield artwork is a real Bally work of art
- surprise multiball
- enjoyable theme ("Let's party again, dude!")
- wonderful swirling ramps
- flipper-choice elements provide a nice variation to the gameplay

- shooter lane could be a bit more interesting
- game gets a bit hectic, it's a really fast-flowing game (much like a party, though)
- animations could be a bit better considering that this is a DMD game
- quite a let down that the pop bumpers are hidden, personally I like being able to see the ball whizz between them
3 years ago
More fun than i thought it would be. shots are smooth and satisfying and some of the shots go places you wouldn't expect. Love the corkscrew ramp. Theme, artwork and sound package really don't add to the overall experience IMHO. I like the shots, though. It's all about the shots.
3 years ago
This game was just annoying and the the "party on dude" phrase just irritated me. The playfield was good and I had the best games with the sound on silent. Theme was not for me at all, didn't last a month in my collection
3 years ago
Annoying artwork but other than that pretty fun. Bunch of stuff to shot at and a good game flow kept me entertained for a while. While not my all time favorite it is better than your average pin.
3 years ago
Fun Game!!! Love the Captain.
3 years ago
I owned this game for several months. I liked a lot of things about this machine. Given it’s date, it was hampered by the generally early and basic rules around this time, and this seems to hurt these early DMD games, as we often pit them against later, deeper DMD games in comparison.

For the year, the rules in PZ are pretty good I think. To most, this is a hit the left, ramp and work towards your extra balls, and then the right outer shot and load up the multiball. That’s the meat and potatoes for sure, but once you start to get close to having eat drink and b’merry, as well as the 1M pop bumpers ready, and have the entire 2x PF lit, many scoring aspects of this game become all of a sudden quite lucrative.

The negative aspects of this game are as follows: The ramps are beautiful, as most Nordman ramps are, but are very prone to breaking, and I’m not sure if replacements will ever be made. Take note of this especially if you are considering buying. The main head boards are in the same boat, and are very susceptible to all kinds of issues. The animations when loading up the main multiball (hmmm, the only MB…) get real annoying, really fast, and can’t be skipped. I would have liked to see more variance here to mix it up.

The center saucer shot was a design I’m surprised at the date of this machine they went with. This was just asking to be bent to hell and broken soon out of the box. Once this happens, it makes it almost impossible to make this saucer with a direct shot, as there is just too much power. There is also zero “real” flow shots in this machine. Having said that, the ramps both having vuks and hold the ball only momentarily when nothing is happening with those shots, and create a flow’ish shot, but have the ability to hold, and even hold two in the left during the big bang attempt.

As for the good, I gave this machine excellent for music, lighting and variation for both. The music is typical to the theme, and likely annoys some, but it changes to Purple Haze after you have scored the big bang, and you have the option to change songs with a good use of the center saucer for the party saver, and reinitializing the multiball. The lighting as well has the multiple GI strings being mixes in together, not just your usual front, rear, left and right, allowing for many flickering effects and with the use of one being all domed red llight bulbs, totally making the PF red at times. I don’t believe any other machine does this up to new Sterns, which on the LE machines, they have now started copying. Really neat original idea.

For the time, the layout is not bad. It has many typical shots, but lots to shoot for, if the rules were a bit more advanced. The lower right 45 degree shot is very cool and fun to hit. The call outs are funny too. If you are shooting the main ramp, and only partially make it up, you get a couple different responses.

Going for the Big Bang is flat out fun, and not super easy, and you really need to implore patience. Loading up the rocket fuel and then getting the left ramp twice is a lot harder than it seems with this 2 ball multi and no ball save, and thus this is rewarding, and the music and light explosion after is as well. Getting 1M pop bumpers is also very lucrative, and I found hard to get.

This would benefit from a revisit and additions to the rules, and someone reproducing the ramps. All in all as is, I think many would agree it’s a fun, whacky game, but one that isn’t staying forever.
3 years ago
Easy to pick up ruleset. Wasn't a big fan of the gameplay, but it has it's moments.
3 years ago
Fun game. I think it is under rated. Tons of fun!! Not sure of all the shots to do yet. Music may get to you but one that would be a great filler game. The colors of the playfield are great. Seems solid. Party on Dude!!!
3 years ago
I wanted to like this game. Dr. Dude was a cool game, but this was just not nearly as original. Captain B. Zarr annoyed me, and felt like a cheap "Rudy." One of the ramps, the ball goes flying off of because it's built so poorly. And there just isn't enough to do on this game to keep me interested. I think it's a beautiful looking game, and certainly better than many other pins out there, but all in all, I found it to be kind of boring, and quite corny. If you dig corny, all the games in this "Party" series would be great additions (including this one) to your collection. If you're looking for a deep pin though that will keep you coming back for more, look elsewhere. One of the earliest DMDs out there.
There are 61 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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