adii's ratings

Pinsider adii has rated 17 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms adii's personal top 17.

Rating comments

adii has written 17 rating comments:

3 years ago
To be clear, I've always felt that the original AFM was the best pin of all time, and perhaps the most copied. I try to be objective and take into account the following things for each game; the era in which it was made, the appeal of the theme, the simplicity to learn, difficulty to master, ball times on average (not too long, not too frustrating), whether or not it makes you want to keep putting quarters in the slot rather than how it stands up at home. Given this formula, my favorite game for the last 23 years (STTNG) falls short. But that is another review...

AFMrLE surpasses AFM in almost every way and is now my new favorite game. I'd pour quarters into it on location and I ignore the other games in my collection now that I have it at home. I'm sure all of you are familiar with AFM so it's unlikely that I need to get too detailed on the original design. I'll just say that it is the pinnacle of playfield design and programming. There are clear objectives and excellent flow. If you've never played it before you can quickly figure out how to blow up the UFO yet there are goals for the experienced player that are challenging to achieve.

The differences between AFMrLE and the original are (mostly) improvements. The lighting is much better and it has the look of a modern game but retains the 90's feel. The light show with the color changing saucer LED's is unreal. The shaker motor is so well integrated that it makes you wonder why it wasn't included on the original. The larger screen is an obvious improvement and I like the new animations. But like the topper, the new screen doesn't have an effect on gameplay. They are just fun to watch while you're waiting for your turn. Flipper response feels excellent and if anything this new version plays faster. With all of the adjustment options I see no reason why you couldn't make AFMr play and feel like the original if you wanted.

If I have any criticism for AFMrLE, and I truly am looking for things to complain about here, it's the strobe and the sound. The LED strobe is bright enough but because I can see the reflection of each individual LED from the strobe board on that beautiful clear-coat, I prefer the original. This is just me being picky. I bet it isn't long before somebody actually measures the light output of the original vs remake. Lastly, the sound quality is good, not great. This is more a complaint about the sound being stuck in 1995. The speaker upgrades for AFMrLE are excellent and it sounds great right out of the box. Much better than the original cheap speakers. But, there is a bit of distortion to the speech that let's you know the compression is over 20 years old. I have to wonder if PPS or CGC had access to the original sound files and could have cleaned them up. I only mention this because if you compare AFMr to Monster Bash, the sound on Monster Bash is far superior and it sounds like it was made yesterday. It's hard to believe only 3 years separate AFM and MB. Again, I'm reaching here.

Can you take an original AFM and mod it to the level of AFMrLE? Just about and if you have one I wouldn't sell it to buy the remake. But having the option of a new copy of an all-time classic that comes fully modded out of the box can't be beat. If I were an operator I'd buy an AFMr and make sure I emptied the coin box regularly.
4 years ago
If I owned a pinball company and wanted to produce the ultimate game, this would be the one! Sales numbers aside I think only AFM rivals Addams for being the total package. Neither playfield layout, rules, artwork, sounds, nor animations make the game alone. But when you put it all together you get a masterpiece. The design team just crushed it. The buildup to multiball is probably the most exciting since Black Knight, and the building the mansion is stupid fun. Although short, Seance is the best mode ever. It's probably all been said about Addams Family. And yes, I'm a little nostalgic as I remember playing it in the arcade in the 90's. If Addams Family was built 5 years later, had WPC 95 technology and lower sales numbers we'd all be paying double the price for it. Knock three times.
4 years ago
I’ve had White Water for a long time and have played it more than any other game that I own. I realize it’s a top 20 game, but it’s still underrated. I’d say it is top 5 but it’s tough to compare it to other games because it is so unique. The bottom line is if you like ramps, you will LOVE this game. If ramps aren’t your thing, then don’t waste your quarters. White Water really flows, even with all of the ramps. It doesn’t appear there are a ton of shots in the game, but combos are the key. It’s like pinball chess and you need to plan two of three shots in advance. Miss one of your shots and you’re going to be sorry…as well as feel some other negative emotions as you watch your ball drain. Insanity Falls is a shot you’ll want to hit over and over, regardless of points or if you need it to complete a raft. It’s just that satisfying. Plus, being Waterfall champion is a nice goal in your pinball life. Don’t ever judge White Water by a game that isn’t 100% functional and dialed in. It tends to suffer more in the wild and likely gets overlooked at times. Also, it’s so unique that I probably wouldn’t pick it to be my only game for the Pinball Desert Island. But, it would be my second game for sure. Stop reading, go play White Water.
4 years ago
Monster Bash is one the of the best uses of a license I have seen as the integration of the theme is on par with the greats. It has excellent flow and the ramps (or the Creature shot for that matter) have a satisfying T2 feel to them. But unlike T2, there are plenty of other shots to attain. The Drac shots are challenging which add a level of difficulty to the game. Pop bumpers are better utilized than any other game I have played and you actually TRY to shoot them as much as possible. The center spinner shot is tight but attainable and achieving Mosh Pit Multiball is tons of fun. Speaking of fun, I can't stop shooting Frank and I find myself forgetting objectives just so I can get Frankenstein multiball. After collecting your monsters and starting Monster Bash the game goes to 11. This whole game is just loads of fun and surprisingly balanced. Easy enough for beginners but there are some difficult objectives to reach. Kids LOVE this game and this is a great way to get them into pinball. Build quality, art, sounds, toys, you name it and this game is the total package. A nice example looks like it could have been built yesterday. I wouldn't park it next to a new Stern except maybe GBLE. Yes, it's expensive, but Monster Bash is on par or nicer than the new LE's being produced today.
6 years ago
Capt. Fantastic's layout doesn't look like much when you walk up to it, but it really is fun. That upper right flipper is great for smashing those drop targets. The extra flipper on the left? Well, that's a gimmick that is useless and kind of gets in the way. It's easy to lose balls between the two left flippers and there aren't any shots to be made from the upper one.

Still, hitting your drops and rollovers are satisfying. And, I always enjoy the sounds that come from an EM. From the buzzing, chimes, to the clacking score reels. It takes you back in time.

The art on this game is top notch, some of Dave Christensen's finest. He really captured the time period. And, you MUST see that backglass in person and take a few minutes to look closely. There is a lot to see.

All in all a nice package from Greg Kmiec and Christensen.
6 years ago
Night Rider has to be one of the best EM deals you can find. Just looking at the playfield layout you don't think it's going to be fun...but it is!

10 drop targets and 2 spinners, 3 pop bumpers and a kick-out hole. How could you not enjoy that? The way those drops are situated make them a challenge to hit. You can really get those spinners moving too.

I prefer the EM to the solid-state version. Hearing those score reels clicking adds to the whole experience.

The artwork is excellent, from the cabinet to the backglass. The waitress is one of the hottest chicks in pinball art. Thank you, Paul Faris. I really dig the whole truck-driver theme. It's screams 1970's, Smokey and the Bandit style. I always thought how the lights on the police car would flash on the backglass was the coolest.

Not a complicated game but tons of replay value and loads of fun. I can't recommend it enough....and now I wish I kept mine!
6 years ago
Lost World is beautiful. In my opinion, one of the best looking machines of all time. Not much else needs to be said about the artwork.

The game-play is simple but fun. The captive ball is rewarding and the spinner is a nice touch. The two kick-out holes are nice to shoot for also. I always enjoyed lighting everything then hitting the Dragon's Den for the extra ball. There is something rewarding about hearing that knocker go off. Lost World takes you back to a time when you still tried to achieve Specials and you were rewarded for your efforts.

Unfortunately, that's about it when comes to the game-play. I don't want to judge too harshly and we should keep in mind when the game was released, but it does get old.

It's first machine to replace the chime-unit with electronic sounds....I would rather have a chime unit if that tells you about the sounds. It's also one of the first (if not THE first) to save the high score which I'm sure was quite a feature in 1977.

To sum it up, Lost World is more of an art piece.
6 years ago
Time Warp is a completely different game with the banana flippers. Everyone should try it once...just once though. It can be tough to make shots with them which leads to a frustrating experience.

However, with traditional flippers, this game is very enjoyable. Especially if you like drop targets. It's a blast hitting them! If it's set up right it can be a very fast game given the location of the drop targets so close to the flippers. I clear-coated mine and upgraded the flippers and it was so fast I thought I'd break something every time I played it.

Time Warp is a victim of the time it was released and suffers from lack of multi-ball or lane change. But, this adds to the challenge of achieving your A-B-C roll-overs. Kind of like Gorgar only less brutal. It has some good early solid-state sounds too (like Flash).

You can usually find one for a good price and it's worth putting some work in to get it working right. But, you can forget that backglass. They flake like crazy so you'll have a hard time finding one worthy of showing off. Time Warp will be the scooter in your garage. Fun to take for a spin but you don't want anyone else to see.
7 years ago
The total package on High Speed delivers. Shots, rules, artwork, lighting, music...everything is excellent. No, it's not a modern pin but for the time period it doesn't get any better than High Speed. The way it incorporates the changes in lighting and sounds for different features adds to the game-play. It seems easy just looking at the game but there are some challenging shots there. Some of those stand-up targets aren't so easy to hit in order. And you have to hit the upper flipper just right to get the ramp, which is satisfying every time.

Pinball has come a long way since High Speed, but you can see a lot of it's elements in newer games such as the ramp that utilizes the upper flipper and the rules (such as shots needed in succession to advance).

As much as I'm a fan I won't fool myself here. AFM or even Tron crush this game. But High Speed is FUN and at a decent price. Non-pinheads love this game too whereas they might shy away from more complicated games they can't figure out.
7 years ago
I'm a huge fan of Steve Ritchie designs. But, F-14 was one that I never really got into in the past. What's with all the wire-forms, strange upper flippers, and no ramp to shoot for? Awesomeness, that's what! F-14 is a game you really have to play a few times and figure out what you're doing before you judge it. Also, you have to play one that's dialed in or it doesn't do the design justice. This playfield is so original and serves the theme so well it blows me away. It's crazy fast and the most intense pin I've ever played. Sometimes I actually lose track of the ball....or drain it while taking a split second to revel in some small victory achieved. People are NOT exaggerating when they say this has the best light-show in pinball. I have an early-production game and sometimes I swear I'm getting a sunburn when those flashers start going off.

I love deep games as much as the rest of you. But, if I were looking for a machine that would eat up some quarters it would be F-14. You just HAVE to press start again and again. If pinball were to survive it should probably resemble more games like F-14 and High Speed. Clear rules, short ball times, all in a challenging, flashy package that must be a lot less expensive to produce.
7 years ago
Earthshaker has such a great theme for a pin. If you play one that's set up right it is loads of fun with a lot of replay value. The lighting isn't the best on the upper part of the playfield but you're not really shooting up there very much. It's also true that there aren't a lot of shots for the right flipper, but the Zone 5 shot is essential to the game play and the spinner shot is fun too. The game seems simple but collecting jackpots is a major challenge. The shelter shot is tight and satisfying when you can hit it. I sure do wish it had a kick-back and a timed ball-save. That left out-lane can be brutal.

I would highly recommend this game to anyone that has multiple machines in their collection. It is different than most and adds a sense of variety. Also, it is less intimidating to casual players....who gravitate to it after a game like F14 kicks their behinds. Plus, everyone gets a big smile when they get that shaker going.

UPDATE - I added some spotlights, an LED in the shelter, and the sinking-building kit and it is like a whole new game! I can finally see the upper playfield and making that Earthquake Institute sink is always satisfying. In stock form, I'd leave my rating as is. But, with a few mods, I'd give Earthshaker a solid 8. I can't get enough! Ritchie may be the king...but Lawlor is the prince.
7 years ago
T2 may not command high dollars, but if you want bang-for-the-buck you can't go wrong. It has a great combination of theme, sound, lighting, toys, shots...well everything. If it's set up right it is lightning fast. The ramps are perfectly placed and once you get into the rhythm of the shots everything starts to FLOW. That cannon never gets old either. You think it's easy? How many super-jackpots can you hit? It's hard to believe T2 is over 20 years old. It is the total package.
7 years ago
You really owe it to yourself to play Fathom if you have the chance. It has a ton of drop targets and who doesn't love those? The playfield layout is similar to Captain Fantastic but with a lot more to do and better features. The inline drop targets and ball traps are a nice touch and are incorporated well with multiball. Yeah, I know the outlanes are weird but once you figure them out you'll like them because they're unlike any other game you play. You have to master the nudge and have quick reflexes or pay the price. The slings are less dangerous with the reversed outlanes as side-to-side action is more forgiving. The speech is good but the background sounds can get old at times. If only Fathom had a Xenon-esque Siren doing the speech calls. The artwork needs no description. You already know it's awesome.
7 years ago
Haunted House is an impressive piece of engineering and art. Other than having a lower playfield like Black Hole it is different from anything before or after. It is really nice to look at and admire, and even fun to play a game or two, but it is slow and there didn't seem like much to shoot for once I figured out what everything did. I'm not a hater. I owned one for a long time and would own it again. I didn't even miss speech or multiball. The sounds get a bad rap sometimes but I liked them. The lighting is great. I don't think you can compare it to Black Hole even though everyone wants to. The two games are completely different. If I had to though I would give the nod to Haunted House.
7 years ago
I wanted to like Maverick. It has a ton of drop targets and some good features but the whole package leaves you thinking "is that it?" This, like other Data East and Sega games I've owned, seems to be of lesser quality. The ball finds ways of getting stuck and things seemed to break all the time. I always had the glass off of the game. On the plus side, that extra large DMD is really nice....until you have to replace it that is. Maverick is worth playing a few games if you see one, but it wouldn't do well in the home unless you had a larger collection. This will never be your #1 game. Raise or fold? Fold.
7 years ago
Firepower is a masterpiece of both playfield design and programming. Alot of elements from this game can be seen on future Steve Ritchie designs. Compare the shots on T2 and Firepower and you'll see some similarities. The rules and objectives are clear and although it is basic by today's standards, there is still a ton of replay value in this game. Lane change seems like a no-brainer now but try playing Gorgar or Time Warp and you'll miss it. The shots are incredibly satisfying and the countdown to multiball is entertaining. I've found that on other multiball games of this era (from Bally and Gottlieb) I always wish there something like the flashers going off or a countdown on the displays that broke up single and multiball play. For all Firepower has going for it, it can be brutal. Mulitball is satisfying to achieve but more times than not they drain fast and it can be frustrating. This also makes you want "just one more game." In 1980, Firepower must have made a fortune in quarters.
8 years ago
A fun and challenging game that appears to take elements from Xenon and Firepower. There may not be much originality here but it puts the whole package together nicely. The lighting on this game is some of my favorite of all time. The locked-ball sequence blew me away the first time I saw it but keep in mind when this game was made. The most challenging part of this game can also be the most frustrating. You lose locked balls after a drain. Because of this, 3-ball multiball is incredibly hard to get (but very rewarding if you can). Don't expect flow like a Steve Ritchie game, it's still a Gottlieb but it flows better than Black Hole or Haunted House. It's inexpensive price can deliver some serious bang-for-the-buck.