I was a pinball fan before this game came out in 1980.
I became a full-blown pinball addict once I played Eight Ball Deluxe!
In the days when arcades and pinball machines were plentiful, as teenagers my friends and I used to drive miles out of our way just to go to a bowling alley or arcade that would have an Eight Ball Deluxe.
It was the early 80's and video games were just starting to take over at the arcades. A lot of my friends would spend their time playing Defender or Pacman. Not me. Pinball all the way! I must have fed thousands of quarters to Eight Ball Deluxe. It was the pinnacle of pinball popularity (and machine sales) but it was also the beginning of the end as video games began to capture more of the coin-op amusement market.
Bally Eight Ball Deluxe was the best game during this exciting time in pinball history. I've owned several of these games and restored many of them. I currently have two pristine examples in my home collection. It is the most loved game in my collection because it was an important part of my life as a youth (and because it's so darn good).
Bally made three different versions of Eight Ball Deluxe.
The original 1980 version is the best. It used the traditional Bally cabinet and has a sinister-looking cowboy-ghoul on the backbox holding a pool cue. We called this game "The Bad Guy Version". It is the most sought-after version and my favorite.
The 1982 "Limited Edition" version is the least-desirable with a goofy-looking cabinet, LED display, and a small backglass. Play is the same but the cabinet is lame.
The final 1983 version was a quick limited release (also referred to as the "Classic"). It had a Midway cabinet with a slightly smaller swing-out backglass and a more wholesome-looking cowboy with a wedding band on his finger holding a pool cue. We used to call this version the "Nice Guy Version". One improvement it did have over the earlier models was the utilization of printed circuit boards with twist-in lamp sockets for a large percentage of the playfield illumination rather than individual lamp sockets for every lamp. Gameplay is the same. This is the 2nd most sought-after version.
The bottom line is for me no serious pinball collection is complete without a Bally Eight Ball Deluxe. One of the most-important machines in the evolution of pinball and remains one of the most-popular of all-time.
Gatecrasher has this game on the wishlist. This rating has not been approved yet, but we're already showing the review.