BalkeBoy's ratings

Pinsider BalkeBoy has rated 57 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms BalkeBoy's personal top 57.

Rating comments

BalkeBoy has written 13 rating comments:

10 months ago
I spend a week playing Flash Gordon every summer at a lake resort and this was year three where the game finally really clicked with me. I spent 2 minutes looking up the basic scoring strategies so I finally really knew what scored what and how. This was the week I had enough moderate playing skill to keep a ball going and open the game up for more than 15 second ball times.

WHAT A GAME! It's mean with a great layout and just enough rules to make you have to shoot at everything. I can tell why it's a tournament staple. I don't have a lot of time on classic Ballys and Sterns, but I understand why after a few years of pinball ownership, it's common to start gravitating towards early SS games. It's just pure pinball. Colorful designs, lots of standups, funky layouts and the minimal sounds and voices are part of the charm. I'm a sucker for multiballs, but there really is something to focused single ball play.

I'm seriously thinking my next pin should be from this era. And I wished this very game into my lineup, like this review was on a vision board or something stupid!
10 months ago
When I want to just play a pleasant game of pinball where the game doesn't make me feel like a loser, Diner is it. It just oozes charm. The theme isn't cool or exciting and would never be done after System 11. It's pure, classic pinball. It has just enough depth to make you want to keep coming back for more. Some easy shots like the left ramp and some harder shots like the spinner. Hitting the right ramp and then smacking the ball right back up into the cup and getting 2.5M or more...SO SATISFYING.

If room wasn't an issue, this game would have stayed with me forever. I'm glad I owned it and got some good hours enjoying the game play. Diner is truly one of the System 11 greats. Taxi is Diner's more adrenaline-filled big bro, but Diner is a class act that makes you feel good. If you see a Diner in the wild, throw some quarters in and have a blast, b-b-b-baby!
1 year ago
I think Congo is one of the best layouts from the 90's DMD era. The rules are clear and fun, but not very deep and it doesn't take too long before you're able to consistently collect 100 diamonds and get to the "wizard mode", which is what caused me to sell it after being able to get through the code more often than not.

BUT I MISS THE GAME. Great music, awesome shots and flow, and fun callouts from Tim Curry and Ernie Hudson. I never minded the lower playfield. It was a 5 second break and back up top. Once you find the Volcano shot, you feel so good. Just talking about it makes me wish I had room for more than 4 games so I could have kept it. Maybe someday I'll find another Congo. This and BSD may be the two underdog stars of B/W's DMDs. Great, now I gotta buy that one for a third time too...

Edit: I bought my old Congo back and a ton of parts to turn it into a really nice player's condition. It plays amazing and looks as good as it could without a total restore. What a game!

And 3 months later, sold it again. But I still think about it. If I had room for 10 games...
1 year ago
I've put 100+ games on Foo Pro. As many have stated, the game feels like a love letter to Deadpool's quirky layout & Godzilla/Jurassic Park back-and-forth flow. It takes inspiration from some of the best recent games, mixes in some not often used/seen gimmicks, and puts it in a delicious sandwich. I'm sure Prem/LE with the magic spice of Jack's dead post are what will give this game its signature flavor. The kicking target is a constant delight and surprise where it may go.

I have no opinion on the Pro vs Prem features as I've only played my Pro. The shots are satisfying and intuitive. The Area 51 ramp takes some games to find but when you hit it, it's very satisfying. I appreciate that the rules aren't so complex that you don't really even quite know where to go. You have a few main things you want to focus on, and a few bonus things you can chase after. Hitting the lit combo shots is so smart to make just zipping around so dang fun to do, regardless if anything else is going on. I haven't honed in on hitting the inlane drops other than by accident and don't feel overly motivated to risk it. I'm sure future coding will further reward that risk down the line.

Zombie Yeti's art is rock solid as always. Lots of color but key things are still in pretty good focus. I really light the use of the spot lights on The Overlord. I wish Stern wouldn't cheap out and spend another $4 adding 2 spots to the slings to brighten up that dark lower half and code those pulses in as well to put it over the top in lighting. I think they could tweak how long the lighting goes dark on extra balls or when using the action button (but that's a minor coding gripe).

Like many have said, I don't listen to or really care about Foo Fighter music, but it's just sort of inoffensive background rock. A few of the songs are even growing on me, but I don't think this will make me a major fan. 8-Bit Monkey Wrench for Bot Frenzy is a true clever highlight, rivaling the reward and joy I feel when I earn the BK2K theme on Black Knight Sword of Rage. Call outs are good, but with just the Roadie and the Overlord, you can feel it's missing something. At .92, I've already heard pretty much all the callouts, so I'm hopeful much more variety is on its way, whether we hear Dave Grohl (hopefully not only for Topper DLC!) or just more variety of dialogue and throw in lots of random character/background people callouts a la Godzilla and Deadpool.

I enjoy shooting this game more than any recent Stern, even more than Godzilla! I know the team will lovingly grow the code more and more, giving it some major replayability legs. My hope is that the they don't require 45 minute games to really get into it, like Godzilla and many other recent games. Keep it in the sweet spot of lots to do, but you don't have to do endless amounts of it to get far in the game. I've only made it past the first mini wizard mode a handful times and can't wait to keep getting further.

All in all, a great, FUN game. I'm most excited for Jack Danger to spread his wings even more and go even weirder now that Stern can clearly trust him to really cut loose while we watch the friendly challenge between him and Elwin to keep surprising us and each other with funkier and funkier designs.

EDIT: I've updated my ratings after another month or so. I've knocked some scores down and some scores up (which lowered my overall score I see!) I still think it's a fantastic, dynamic layout that feels good to shoot and keeps you on your toes and is an eye-catching game. As it stands now, it just lacks SOUL and true personality. Sounds like there's more coming with callouts, which should cover a lot of that. The issue is none of the city modes make me feel any particular one way or another about them. I know the differences between them and which ones has shots I'm better at hitting, but I'm not juiced for any of them.

I'm waiting for this game to be "funnier" and more R-Rated I guess? That seems to be the intended goal as it definitely doesn't take itself seriously, which I approve of. I'm hoping new code some spices this thing up soon. It's definitely not a long-term keeper as it stands.
1 year ago
So much has been said about BSD and its polarizing nature. Either you love the simple brutality or you don't feel like abusing yourself for that 1 out of 10 great game. With 5 main shots, a couple timed switch hit modes, a video mode, and 3 multiballs, it doesn't seem like much on paper. But this game has IT.

One of the games that truly shine with Pinsound and upgraded speakers. A must upgrade for really making a mood. I've rated the game's sound and music based on that FYI. The original sound and callouts are pretty good for the time and worth turning on occasionally. Color DMD is nice but red suits the game fine. There's tons of various coffin mods that can really add to the creepy vibe and worth it if that's your kinda thing.

I've owned this game twice and if I had the room and the pin cash, I'd never sell it. There's really nothing quite like it. Turn the lights off, crank the sound up, and let this game wash over you with some friends. You likely can't beat it. Literally.
2 years ago
It’s not the fastest or deepest System 11 game, but its layout and theme and music are just so unique, it just has it. We all know the theme is awesome if you're a D&D/80's video game dork and that "LIONMAN!" and the sword whooshing sound with the flippers can get annoying (although I don't even really notice it like I thought I would).

I sold a Rollergames for a Whirlwind, and a Whirlwind for a SoF. One is faster, and the other is more involved and beloved, but I just like SoF better. The upper playfield is more fun than TSPP (and less of a struggle!). The timed shots up the Lionman & Magic Tunnel ramps and trying to build your 500k upper horseshoe loop score before collecting give you just enough variety of things to do beyond building your jackpot and getting multi-ball rolling to collect it. The ball lock is a tough shot on its own, but a little depth would have been better to have to at least knock down all 5 stand ups to allow each ball or something.

I think it’s right up there with the best System 11 games we all praise (and Banzai Run, Radical!, Diner, and Mousin’ Around being other smaller run darlings I enjoy more than the most touted big dogs). It’s got a loyal little following for a reason.
I’d sell my Stern Godzilla and BSD (which I did!) before my SoF because I know I’d never find one as nice or for as good of a price again. Most went to Europe I read somewhere ( mine made its way back from France in 2001 and sat in someone's house being neglected until I got it Oct 2021.)

It's definitely worth a play just for the layout and tunes!
2 years ago
Rollergames is the game that people always want to play when coming over. Everything about it just stands out, bright lights, the music and sound effects, the ridiculous babes and dudes on the playfield and back glass. It's so incredibly dated that the further away from 1990 it is, the better it gets!

The game is fast and flows well as Ritchie games do, with ball times pretty short for newer players. But once you can hit consistently hit the Pit and the Wall, you're golden. Definitely a "one more game" pin. The main song definitely gets stuck in your head, which is part of the appeal, but having played it for months, it doesn't ear worm me as often. Just puts me in a good mood while playing.

I think the only things preventing this game from being consistently one of the best-playing System 11's is that there's no skill shot (from perhaps successfully plunging the ball to make it down the left wire ramp?) and that Sudden Death is random instead of earned (maybe from hitting SKATE, JET, ABC, and 123 or something?). It's a not-so-hidden gem of System 11 era. I just keep coming back to it and don't stop until I have that one good game or suck so bad I gotta walk away.

Extra balls are achievable, Kick Butt is the most awesome jackpot music around, locked ball stealing and zooming around the habitrail are a nice feature, and when you can get your 3rd flipper dialed in to make the Wall of Death from the magnet, the game is just a blast. If this game was on location, I bet it would be an earner. There are a ton of better games, but Rollergames is so unique and fun that it's hard to deny hitting the start button.
3 years ago
An accessible now classic that's great for new players and still fun for veterans now and then. It really lays out what to do and getting to the concert isn't that difficult. It always gets a few games out of me whenever I see it!
3 years ago
Gottlieb gets a lot of flack for their DMD games, but this one has lasting power. Playfield is packed with things to shoot for. Music can get a little monotonous, but it sets the mood. Definitely a strong candidate for LED's with how dark the playfield is. Pretty easy to get multiball on which is fun for casual players. Mine didn't last long when we found it "fully shopped out" meant not touched at all and needed a TON of work. Returned it but miss it. It really is a fun game that tells you what to do, so be ready for lots of, "SHOOT FOR ________!" over and over again.
3 years ago
What hasn't already been said about this game? I've only really spend time on the remake version so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. It's just fun and so smooth. Good game time length, makes you feel like a champ every time you destroy the castle or get multiball. If it wasn't so damn expensive, maybe I'd want to own it. Luckily, there's one in town that I've thrown more dollars at than I care to say.
3 years ago
This is the game that I always go to in a local arcade line up of only 7 pins. It's just so smooth and fun! It feels good to play. I don't really care about Batman and I usually hate big screen pins like this, but I strangely really like the theme and the screen isn't distracting like other newer games. Getting to choose villains and then sub villains is a clever way to give this game a good amount of variety. I'll probably never buy this game, but I'll always spend an hour on it wherever I see it.
3 years ago
This was my first pinball machine I got for cheap. I knew nothing about repairs beyond replacing a fuse because too much flipper use would burn one out over and over again. If I was smarter, I would have looked how to fix that and not have that problem. And had I known how rare these are, I wouldn't have gotten rid of it. It's nothing splashy or crazy. Just a simple layout with basic shots of knocking down the targets to rack up points. It was fun and it makes me want to own another cocktail machine someday. Perfect for someone with minimal space. It took the place of a dining table in my little studio apartment!
3 years ago
This is definitely a love it or hate it machine. I'm either in the zone and locked in, or drain 3 times in 90 seconds and want to throw the stupid machine out into the street. But I don't. It's got that "one more game" pull. Partly because Party Zone drains and drains and DRAINS. Those outlanes are hungry for your balls. And shooting for the Captain saucer is often no bueno. This game demands nudging skills.

Looks and Sound: yes, the sound quality isn't that good, the Captain sounds like he's talking through a radio. But that damn main theme just feels like a fun, stupid, 90's party. And when I select Pinball Wizard to play, it motivates me to maybe not suck this time. And with LEDs, the light show IS a party. When friends come over, see the bright yellow, ridiculous cab art and bright lights, they say, "That's f-ing cool." And it's rotating 4 player games all night.

Captain B.Zarr is a cool, funny toy that pulls people in, Supersonic Robotic Comic is so stupid it's clever, and the Dancing Dummy makes our kids laugh. The shots aren't all that expansive, and there's a lot of the balls rebounding right back at your flippers or quickly draining. The best strategy is basically hit the Cosmic Cottage 3 times for Happy Hour multi-ball, fill up Rock-It Fuel 5 times and then send both balls up the Rock-It ramp for the Big Bang. But it's still hard enough. After a year and a half of owning the game, I've only got the Bang Bang a handful of times. It's fun to watch the ball loop and zip smoothly up and down over and over. The skill shoot is satisfying and easy enough that our 8-year-old can get it. Getting Eat, Drink, and B.Merry (the Captain hole being so fickle makes this difficult) and hitting the WAY OUT OF CONTROL loop makes you feel so cool when you get it (especially when lit up and multiplied!)

All in all, it's not a perfect game, not worthy of the Top 100, but it's just goddamn fun. When I walk by it, I often go, "Yeah...I got time for one quick game." When friends and family see it, they just want to play it. It's a quick, casual blast. The flip side, it does make me hungry for longer and deeper games. So it may not stay in my very limited space collection forever. But until then, we're playing the hell out of Party Zone.

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