Time Machine (Data East, 1988)

Time Machine

Pinside rating

This game received 83 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.747 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #82 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.476

Artwork: 7.673

Sounds/Music: 7.714

Other Aspects: 7.797

Rating comments

There are 38 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com 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 38 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 38 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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1 year ago
Really cool game. The call outs are obviously early data east which tend to be short 1 or 2 words phrases, the art work is busy but fitting. The game does have appeal and the music is very catchy. Anyopne who has owned this game or remembers playing it will know exactly what I mean. The cool gimmick of this game are the mechanical pin chimes that sound off as you progress through the game by "going back in time" through the 80's, 70's, 60's and 50's. This is when you get multiball. I am always looking for family friendly pins and this one hits the mark. This is enjoyed by all generations. The only reason why I sold mine was because I was pressured into selling it by the guy who came to look at another machine I had for sale. He didn't want the other one and fell in love with time machine instead. A good all around pin.
1 year ago
This game is fantastic and I'm glad I finally found a clean one to add to my collection. Why?

Cabinet and Glass are great, they actually left open areas on the glass and have reflective material on the door to give it some depth. Data East tried a lot of interesting things with their early back glass, this one look fabulous. This game is just nice to look at when its not running.

Playfield has so many interesting little features in the artwork I find things I didn't notice every time I look at it. The layout is fast and there are some tough shots and some nasty long sigh drains. The timed ramp shots make you work for a nice score. The light show is great, and the play field is playable in low light.

The sound is the icing on the cake. This game sounds phenomenal, I never noticed it when I played at the arcade, but when I was playing it before I bought mine I asked the seller if it was hooked up to the stereo he had sitting next to the game. Data East games always sound great but this game has a different board that makes it sound freaking awesome. The call outs and music changes as you travel from decade to decade make it a lot of fun. Then there is the cherry on top, something I don't think some of the reviewers here get to, when you get to the 50s era the game goes EM and clangs, what a payoff!

It isn't exactly the deepest game and there isn't a DMD. Yet it is a good looking fun machine. In my collection there are three steps a pin goes through.
My office, where I will put a game and keep it a few months to see if I love it and eventually sell it.
My garage, where I play it some more, work on it a little bit, see if I love it, eventually sell it.
My basement, I hate hauling machines down my stairs and hate moving them up even more. If a machine is in my basement I plan on keeping it for a very, very long time. Time Machine went directly to my basement, and sits next to my Black Knght and Fish Tales. It ain't goin' nowhere.
See you later alligator!
1 year ago
One of the better data east games, satisfying shots,decent music, and nice artwork make it fun to play and not get old
1 year ago
great data east game keeper
2 years ago
Own it, like it, the whole family from 5yrs old to adults enjoy the game.
2 years ago
After a 3 year hunt I found a close to mint Time machine. I really enjoy the music, lights and the art work. The rules are not that hard but still very challenging to achieve and it plays fast. This is a keeper in the couples cove.
2 years ago
The first DE pin I've played that I had to check just to make sure it wasn't made by B/W (it even feels like a B/W pin in your hands--only DE I've ever played that did). This game should have been huge for DE. Maybe the best speaker panel in all of pinball, cool back glass, very nice artwork, fun theme, spiffy lighting, nice shots to be made and OK to very good music. Fun game to play, I'd really like to spend more time with this one. But then, you'd have to be able to actually find one (and in good condition--these are no fun at all when not set up right and working 100%). DE sure took a turn after this game--in the wrong direction. Why did this pin not hit? A mystery...
3 years ago
The theme is where this game shines. It has plenty of charm regarding nostalgia, from the jukebox between the speakers to the call-outs that sound right at home on an oldies radio station. The game play is nothing groundbreaking for its time (hit the 3 sets of targets, light lock). But the progression of each lock takes you back through the decades, each decade with its own tune from disco to bubble gum to doo-wop. The payoff for this game is the multiball in the 50's. The music continues but the sounds stop and a three chime box comes to life as the machine starts to mimic an old EM game right down to the display which animates the scores to look like a scoring reel. A fun game, and one of my favorites.
3 years ago
This game is exactly what I was looking for at this stage in my pinball hobby! I've owned alot of over rated games now NGG,wcs94 Stern this ,williams that ,a lot of games with No brains ! No matter the price I like a game that makes me work towards something,Rbion,Funhouse,LOTR and now Time Machine !
3 years ago
This is a fun pin despite its flaws. There aren't a lot of shots but between the 3 targets banks, 3 ramps, and lanes / pop bumpers there is enough. The gameplay is very fast and requires accurate shots to the 3 ramps. When you miss a shot you need to be prepared for lightning fast ricocheting in the lower playfield. Average ball time, for me at least, is very short.

The music is great. The playfield artwork is quirky. the rules are very shallow but still fun. The starwarp jackpot seems too high compared to the rest of the scoring but that can be adjusted in the adjustment menu. The ramps are pretty steep which means that weak shots will roll back down and strong shots will hit the glass rather than stay on the ramp. Between the ball hitting the glass often and the klacker, which goes off constantly in the 1950s, this is a very loud pin. If I could change one thing on the pin I would add a short ball saver on multiball.
3 years ago
Some of the best pin music up there with BK2000, swords of fury.. a few others. I love the going back in time music shifts and always rewarding to hit the 50's chimes 'n multiball. I don't plan to have it leave my collection anytime soon.
3 years ago
First working pin I ever purchased. Bought it in light of the great deal, wasn't overly excited about the machine. I of course wanted a cool Bally or Williams table. I then played it for hours and hours each day, grinding on the ramps and such. It was fun! Then I re-rubbered it. It was harder! I'm very pleased with this table and am happy it's getting a better rep these days. Best played in dim or dark settings, so that the playfield blackout during Starwarps really pisses you off. Simple but satisfying rules and great tunes. So awful it's kinda great backglass. Recommended.
3 years ago
A fun game, playfield layout feels a bit off but doesn't play horrible. The theme is excellent, the music is pretty good and the chimes are a nice touch.
3 years ago
Fun cool theme
3 years ago
Fun layout, worth putting a bunch of plays on for sure.
4 years ago
A very well-rounded machine. Light STARWARP and go for the million point spiral shot. This also has a very colorful and noisy three ball multiball mode, once you have locked the balls after going from the 80's to the 70's, 70's to the 60's, and finally, back to the 50's. There are some really witty call outs in the game; my favorite is "Gag me with a spoon!"
4 years ago
Hard game!!! Very good sound for the years. Backglass is horible.
4 years ago
Time Machine is the rare game that didn't look like much but was very fun to play. I loved going through the different era's of music , especially the chimes for the multiball. The backglass is pretty cool, and the playfield has some great pop culture references from the different era's.

Overall an underated game that probably hasn't been played by many!
4 years ago
In short, if I ever see one for sale I would have to consider buying, lots of fun to play.

Edit: Played more recently. Sound was up and boy does that make a difference! Great sounds. Love how it changes to "50s" pinball sounds during the multiball. Way ahead of its time considering this was 1988...not too much other innovation out there.
4 years ago
love this game! used to think it was gonna burn me out, but the theme on this thing is just great. You have awesome cheezy artwork scattered throughout the PF from each of the decades ranging from the 50s all the way to the 80s. Everything from the art and music for each time period is spot on. The game also features true 2.1 stereo sound, which was rare for the time period and DE's claim to fame for these early pins. The shots can get a bit repetetive after youve raped the StarWarp ramp about a dozen times, but the music, SFX, and of course the chime box when you finally get back to the 50's keep you coming back for more. If you get tired of raping the ramp, set the game on hard and try to hit the targets and its a whole new ballgame!
4 years ago
Wow what a sleeper, found one tonight that was blinged out and was quite surprised in the outcome, great speed, ramps were awesome and tough just make sure the flippers are strong. You play through different decades 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s with all the different music to suit, for a game that's made in the 80s this is amazing with an open playfield like new 2000 machines and a quirky feel to it, if you get a chance find one and play it.
4 years ago
So well designed, so fun to play, great sound, great artwork. The cabinet art suffers a bit. The game is not super deep, Id rather hit this game up again and again when you put it next to some newer stuff that trys to hard. A true pinball game with a really unique theme... I am actively pursing one...
4 years ago
This was the very first pin I've ever owned (and fixed from a "dead" state), but have played many, Time Machine is one of those games you can't judge by playing once or twice, once you have the feel for the angles and get to know the action of the playfield its a game that will provide you with endless fun, the theme never gets boring and the artwork is outstanding and very appropriate to the theme, I love watching the speedometer (Decometer) lights flash and the light shows it gives you when you get the million, I love the jackpot music on multiball and the laser kicker that saves your ass surprisingly often, I especially love the unique EM simulation with the knocker and chimes, it really enhances the experience and seals the deal with the time travel theme (one thing I wanted to mention is that the chimes DO have a "volume control", in the game setting menu you have the option to set them to off, street, or super, super being the loudest setting while off turns the chime box off and simulates the sounds through the speakers (least the manual says this, I have mine set to street personally, you will need a manual to do this, if you require one they have them posted online for download)) they made less then 2900 of these, and I truly wonder why, its such an amazing pin, my initial plans were to fix it up and sell it to get a Cyclone, my favorite pin at the time, but quickly Time Machine grew on me and evidently surpassed the Cyclone! I love this pin so much that I have it in my bedroom right beside my bed, the family loves it and often I awake to the sound of the chime box when my father plays her in the morning, beats the alarm clock beeping for sure! This machine is very under rated, it deserves a place in the top 100, and I thoroughly believe the only reason that its not is because of how scarce these machines seem to be, before bed I try to play only a few games, but a few always turns into a few dozen, once you start playing it you don't want to stop. Time Machine is without doubt in my mind the best Pin Data East has ever made and one of the best machines of all time
5 years ago
I play this game on location alot, very fun and music and callouts fits the theme so well. First time i hit the million point shot and heard "you win the game" in a funny futuristic voice made me drain from laughing so hard. Great game.
5 years ago
Time Machine is a game that stands on it's own very well. This is the most creative table that DE produced in a number of different ways. Ed Cebula's best game since Andromeda and until Jurassic Park.

The Pros:
The time travel theme is a light one. Victor Hugo did not design this game. A well thought out layout and artwork that shines. The BG ties the whole art package together. The sounds that change as you travel through the decades playing pinball are inspired. Sniper skill is required to hit the standups in order to shift through time. The Double ramp shots require precise shots to make it all the way up the ramps. The lighting and sounds really come together with this deck. The best "theater" that DE ever produced.

The Cons:
A bit simple in some ways. Can get monotonous.

The Takeaway:
A great game and one of DE's strongest efforts. As long as you maintain this game as you should and have good flippers, you should have a wonderful time playing this deck. But it is what it is... DE from 1988. Consider the B/W competition at the time. Taxi, Jokerz, Cyclone, Swords of Fury. Other than maybe Banzai Run... B/W did nothing to blow this game out of the water. In fact, I'd say it's better than at least a few of the above mentioned games. C'mon, this game has bongos in outer space featured on the BG... what bad could come out of a game like that? I don't say this often, but... Well done Data East!

This is an excellent example of the last remnants of "simple, but never easy" mindset from the EM/early SS school of pinball rulesets. No, it's not really that simple, but yes, it's much simpler than most games coming out 1988 or later. An interesting place in pinball and an interesting theme that represents the cusp of SS/DMD technology. Hit the ramp over and over and collect yer' millions. Light your double PF score when you really need it. However the Time Warp for millions is unbalancing enough to make this deck a one shot game.

DE's equivalent of Elvira and the Party Monsters.
There are 38 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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