gdonovan's ratings

Pinsider gdonovan has rated 70 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms gdonovan's personal top 70.

Rating comments

gdonovan has written 69 rating comments:

1 year ago
The game plays fun, has a great layout, theme is not to my taste. If you are a fan of the show, I'd imagine it's a treat! There is a lot going on here! Great value.
1 year ago
Easily one of the best of the William's early solid state efforts, just an awesome combo of art, sound and gameplay.
1 year ago
Playfield setup is fine, gameplay was fine but sound and art not to my taste.
1 year ago
It's a fun game that seems to be like Firepower and Space Shuttle- You work your ass off to get to multiball and.. there is nothing else to do.

Great flow and great theme but no long term prospects here. Take it for a spin time to time.
1 year ago
A great idea, tons of mechs, cool backglass and... it just didn't gel for me as a game.
1 year ago
A sold no frills game with good sound and decent playfield layout.
1 year ago
Pro's: fantastic art on the playfield and backglass, music sounds superb, light show is great, magic mirror and opening organ toys. Getting to three ball multiball is great fun if you are quick enough.

Con's: Rules seemed vague, wish you could shut off the screaming outlane, people who assume this is based off a stage play rather than the book like it actually states on the playfield, missing backglass mask (replaceable)

Review aside: Playfield wear can be problematic on this title which is a shame as it has such great art.
1 year ago
Lizard was here for several weeks while I was rebuilding the MPU- A surprising fun game.
1 year ago
Its a game that can't decide if it's a video game or pinball game and failed at both. Cool skill shot though.
1 year ago
I enjoyed playing it but you have to study the rules! Causal players need not apply, sharp shooters only.
1 year ago
Pointy elbow people, tic-tac-toe, "hidden orbit shot" is cool. Didn't last here long term (lot purchase) but I can see the fun in it and a lot of people love it.

Typical William's chimes, thunk thunk thunk
1 year ago

Pro's: Interesting layout with a lot going on, better than average System 1 sounds and music, fantastic artwork.

Con's: Widebody action can be slow at times, drain monster.

Was here a few weeks, gameplay was not to my tastes. Does well in larger collection perhaps.
1 year ago
Picked up Firepower thinking it would be like Blackout but with multiball... I just don't see the attraction and sold it in 2 weeks. Sounds great, the art falls between gawd-awful Flash and fairly cool Blackout but the gameplay just left me out in the cold. Countdown animation is cool. Maybe rated high due to nostalgia? I never played it in the arcades so have no attachment there.
1 year ago
I'll get hell for posting this; Alien is one of the few themes where "take my money" is a thing and after playing a few times glad I did not. The game looks great on paper; dream theme excellent, cool toy or two, *David Thiel sound package*, decent art. What could go wrong?

The game is an unholy "clunk fest" where the ball just sort of drifts around the playfield striking everything but the intended targets. I'm ill disposed to widebodies for just this reason but there are widebody titles that are fast and not drifty feeling (see Black Hole) to add insult to injury the game started malfunctioning firing off one of the slings and you would accrue points.. while just standing there doing nothing at all. Maybe the flippers just have a different dynamic than other titles, regardless despite my best efforts to enjoy a game they were for nought.

At any rate I acquire games to have fun playing them and this wasn't a fun experience. Looks great, sounds great but missing that 3rd dynamic for me. If I get another chance to spend some time at the game again I'll revisit the rating.
1 year ago
Owned 17 different Data East pins over the years and can say definitively this one is in the top 3 DE titles and well deserving of the 1990 Amusement and Music Operators Association game of the year award. Not even a particular fan of the show but very much aware of its cultural impact here in the United States when it debuted. After largely avoiding the pin due to theme (like I said, not a fan) played 3 or 4 at shows to get a feel for the gameplay and determine if it was worth obtaining or another fan title like BTTF.

I can confidently state the game is a player and a tough one at times depending on how you set your games up. One of the few games where there is indeed "a world under glass" as the ball careens around Springfield. Call outs are excellent with my one "nit to pick" being it would be nice if the pop bumper call outs were a bit more random.

Players that can hit the ramp off the right flipper with regularity are my hero, I can't! Though my shot ratio from the left flipper is much higher, it makes getting a loop award rewarding. Do it right and you can sweep the drops on the right side, a Stern Classic move! Also difficult to pull off.

As a Data East fan, The Simpson's has a long term spot in the lineup with the 11 other DE titles here.
1 year ago
One of the best classic Sterns; The ball is always in motion and always coming back out you. Drop target nirvana!

Game has great art on the playfield, backglass and cabinet. The only real knock I have is the sound which others have pointed out, its just ok.
1 year ago
Centaur is a game that anyone can play but rewards the skilled player. I love the early Bally solid state games and think Centaur is one of if not the best during this timeframe. Medusa might be a touch prettier but art is just the garnish on a fine game and Centaur is clearly the better of the two. Flash Gordon is right there in the gameplay running but suffers from underutilization of speech and perhaps single ball.

The multi ball implementation on Centaur is perfect from the progressive earning of balls to the various release triggers.
1 year ago
Seawitch is a game I played a few times at shows and built one from scratch. Its a FAST game with an unusual setup, you constantly need to be on your toes or she will bite. The sounds are pure early 80's and it sounds great when it tries to keep up with the rapid fire action. Making a loop from either direction is difficult but satisfying when it happens. One of the best early Sterns in my opinion.
2 years ago
I generally like Fireball Classic but with a few reservations.

Pros: The game can be rather random so difficult to master if that is even possible, I like the randomness. The disc can put some wicked spin on the ball making it very unpredictable. Love the "Cheap Squeak" sound effects. The game squeaks, growls and purrs and makes some of the most random 80's noises you can't help but love it. The three different point values for the poppers is a brilliant touch but see below.

Cons: I feel this game shines as a single player game but does not have legs as a multiplayer one. The skill shot is far to valuable points wise and the player that can master it will rapidly dominate the game against other players. The captured ball shot to increase bonus multiplier is valuable (as long as you have the bonus built up) as is the mushrooms but everything else can almost be ignored. The in and out of multi-ball while fun and unique does not feel valuable enough to pursue as a strategy. My best games to date have been on hitting the captured ball to load the bonus multiplier and then going after the mushrooms for dear life. The carry over of bonus level ball to ball also imbalances the game, though it does look like it the default is on for 3 ball and off for 5. I'll have to see if it can be shut off on the 3 ball setting (SW 16)

This is a game that could benefit from a software make over to balance it better. Great fun single player or two very skilled players but unbalanced otherwise.
2 years ago
1) The artwork is fantastic bar none.
2) Sound is appropriate for the pin theme, faithful reproductions of Space Invaders.
3) Surprising light show given the age of the pin, most are rather dull. Infinity lights are awesome.
4) A variety of shots: You have 3/1 drop targets, a captive ball, spinner, horseshoe, various stand ups & roll overs and 3 pops and 4 dead bumpers.

I went into playing this pin with a bad attitude. Most widebody pins that I have played were slow and unresponsive. The ball just wandered around the playfield searching for a target to run into. Black Hole and Haunted House were two wide-bodies that made me reassess that opinion, Black Hole in particular SIZZLES when setup right. Setup is key.

Space Invaders has some sizzle to it. Granted the one I'm currently playing has Titan Elastics and a well cared for playfield.. but it sizzles. Shots to the horseshoe return at light speed and making shots off the double flippers can be a challenge. When the ball comes careening back at you after rattling around the pops you have to make a split second decision which direction and set you wish to utilize.

Speaking of shots, the mystery ship hurry up is insidious. I have only made it 3 or 4 times so far. Both shots to the far left and right are highly hazardous with the outlanes looking to suck up your ball like voracious black holes. They look fairly safe.. but they are not.

Ultimately I found the game rather boring and moved it along. Great looker though, does well in larger collection.
2 years ago
Our first pin and 50th review!

I would call Ding Dong a typical late 60's Williams product but actually one of the better ones after owning several! I think the Gottliebs of this timeframe were better machines but Williams still had good product.

The theme is simple and enjoyable, lighting the horseshoe and making the shot without draining is exciting. I can't speak for others games but never had a problem with the flippers, more than enough power to send the ball pounding back up to the upper lanes without issue.

Playfield art and backglass typical Williams of this era, cabinet is rather bland.
2 years ago
Star Trek fan? Not a bad choice for you! Run the ChadH code.

The sound and music is perfect, typical DE stereo quality. The artwork is slightly cartoonish but works, lots going on the playfield! The transporter shot great fun to make while the timer is going. Transporter animation on the backglass? Pure genus.

Ultimately even with the ChadH code the game feels shallow to me which is a shame as otherwise its well done. Collect the 10 crystals, hit the target, multiball. rinse repeat. One of the weakest Data East entries which is a shame considering the IP, backglass and transporter shot.
2 years ago
Had a premium with shaker, laser and color display. Smooth shooting machine with IMPRESSIVE sound quality and with the RBG lighting just a pleasure to watch. This might be one of the few games regret selling and keeping an eye out for possible replacement.

Build quality on a few items was crappy though- Broken steel bracket on the up/down target and broken wiring on the ship.
2 years ago
A fun if simple game, the sounds are pure 80's.

The inlane timers are genus and making those timed shots rewarding.
2 years ago
Been here a few weeks and still giving it a spin but so far a favorable impression. Its not as one sided as some folks suggest "hit the ramp, hit the ramp, hit the ramp" which you can certainly do. I prefer to advance the tach to redline for 3 ball multi-ball.

Call outs are great, music good and you can choose 6 different tracks. Animations on the DMD are fairly sparse by later standards. The artwork is superb all around. For some reason I don't like the popper placement, they seem to get little use in most games. If you hit the spinner hard the upper lanes are bypassed so the ball never drops into them and the three center drops keep you from getting a ball in the middle of the pops.

The shaker implementation seems sparse to me, again that may be an artifact of early application of the device. Much better done in later titles like Jurassic Park and Last Action Hero.

A solid game if you are a car guy. Game is still here so updated rating to reflect that.
2 years ago
This rating is based on a game with the ChadH code 1.07

I like it- If I had one complaint I wish the artwork was a little better as well as some of the Yoda voice acting.

The game shoots fine, there is lots of great shots (I love hitting the orbit left and right to advance the letters) the music and call outs tweak the nostalgia buttons and blowing up the death star never gets old. One day it would be nice if the missing speeder code is added back into the game from the prototype roms.
2 years ago
For some reason this Data East title did not gel with me- The artwork is superb, the playfield setup interesting, the music catchy, the light show great and there is lots to do.. but it just didn't pull me in as some other DE titles do.

I have revised my review downward, this title just doesn't have staying power in my collection. Perhaps if I was a fan of the theme it would be a different story. Pity as it is a very nice looking pin, the artist did a great job. Maybe some call outs by the actual actors would have helped? Can't put my finger on it. The rules are fairly deep too.
3 years ago
This one is hard to rate.

The gameplay is surprisingly fun. The game has a few "hurry up" timers that makes things interesting. The double ramp shot is always a pleasure and if the champagne popper is set right will make the left ramp shot for you which is a satisfying way to start the 3 ball multi-ball. Making the jackpot ramp shot during multi-ball can be challenging. The classic Pacman and Galaga video game noises the poppers make will tweak your nostalgia button. The light show with LED inserts and flashers is very entertaining. Sweeping the drops is a satisfying achievement which the game even recognizes.

The bad- The center standups don't seem to be worth the risk shooting at. Some of the sound effects are lackluster like the spinner. I know you are working with a Playboy theme and that is a shallow pool indeed but the overall game sound package is a rare misfire for Data East. The playfield art is just ok and I find the backglass with creepy Hef just "eh" It makes Laser War look good.

It is a backglass where less would have been more.

For Data East gameplay, it is better than Hook and maybe even better than LW3. I'll revisit this review in a few weeks and see if I still feel the same way.

Edit: My rating grade stands but had to add if you remove the mylar on the lower playfield the game does increase in the entertainment factor. I'm now able to backhand up the ramp from the right flipper and the ball speed is notably faster. On this title the mylar tends to ripple and it slows the ball down a lot more than I thought it would.
3 years ago
I love the sounds, very 80's and work well with the theme. The bell cracks me up. Finding one of these without a trashed playfield is difficult and no points are deducted for that. Lighting seems fine, cabinet and art work well together. When multi-ball starts hang on! Locking balls takes a deft touch. The light show with Comet LEDs is excellent.

My only real complaint is the 3 bank drop target is at a very odd location and you get the targets down more often then not by chance. Game didn't make the cut long term, in a choice between Blackout and Space Shuttle, Blackout got the nod. For some reason after you get multiball there just doesn't feel like there is much to do here.
3 years ago
Underrated pin!

I think the movie drags this title down which is a shame as I find it the sweetest shooting DE of this time period. Far better than Jurassic Park! There is a lot going on here with a number of modes and toys. Biggest knock I have is the quality of the music is sub-par which is baffling as the music in Phantom of the Opera and Jurassic Park are GREAT! DMD animations are very good and Arnold's call outs well used. Danny's roll in this pin is minimal which is great because the character was annoying as hell in the movie. Have run both the 1.12 and unofficial 1.13 update which gives you some additional call outs and scoring tweaks which is nice but 1.12 is still very solid.

It would have been nice to have at least one video mode (Jurassic Park = shooting the dino twice and LW3 which has the simulator and fights) but that does not seem to be the case here.
3 years ago
I'm going to be controversial here and state this is the best Data East game I have owned so far!

Cabinet: Artwork is sharp and fits the theme, colors pop.

Backglass: The two layer backglass is mechanically well done and the cheese in the art bothers me not. What does bother me is the fact you are clearly on a submarine (note periscope) and it has.. huge picture windows.

Playfield art: One of Data East better art playfield efforts which I have noted in this time period tend to be fairly good. Once you hit Jurassic Park & LW3 1992+ era the art looks like it was scribbled by a 5 year old and that might be doing disservice to most 5 year old's. Like Secret Service and Time Machine subtle humor sprinkled throughout.

Playfield layout and gameplay: Personally I like it! There is a lot going on here and a lot to do should you so be inclined yet does not feel claustrophobic. Several different stratagies can be utilized, I tend to work on locking the balls for multi-ball mayhem and making the fleet shot when the opportunity arises. Speaking of the fleet shot, the left hand orbit to the right flipper was a total surprise the first time I made it, well done DE.

Light, animations and sound: Outstanding. One of DE best efforts, right up there with Time Machine which for me is the gold standard of DE games. Someone mentioned 8 different sound tracks! Fantastic! Various modes have their own themes so I don't even have to watch display or inserts to know what to key in on. Multi-ball is a riot when you make it, klaxons blaring, flashers going crazy just awesome. Make sure you are fully led'd and enjoy the show, your GI connectors will thank you. Animations on the displays excellent, DE made good use of the tech of the time.

Negatives: Mostly stuff related to 30+ year old machines. Broken mountain plastics are always an issue, look close at the 9 pin GI connector at the PPB and where the backbox hinge connectors are. Pitch all the incandescent bulbs at once and your connectors will have a long happy life. DE doesn't suffer from ghosting issues so any brand of LED should do. Use the "red" spring for the shooter so the ball will make it up the ramp and into the upper lanes, it has a long way to go!

Not sure why DE only sold a little over 1000 of these pins, it is a very fun title!
3 years ago
As a fan of Data East I was shocked.. this game is a clunker.

Like a pretty girl you first meet who is pleasing to the eye but when she starts talking is revealed as being vapid and shallow. The cab art is sparse but fits the theme, ditto for the backglass and playfield art which is one of DE better efforts. Call outs & music were good as are the animations. Toys? The T-rex is an iconic toy and well done! I thought the raptor pit also an interesting feature which brings us to the negative part of the review. ..

The game was a clunker and really felt like it didn't have an ounce of flow too it. The raptor pit? While a cool shot heaved the ball into the center drain 50% of the time. Not cool at all. I really wanted to like this game and add it to my collection but after several games left with cash in my pocket, didn't even bother to make an offer. The game looked to be in excellent condition, well leveled etc but just wasn't fun to play. After the forth game I was more than ready to leave. If I see one again I'll give it a shot but I think this one is long on theme, toy and nostalgia and short on gameplay. A rare misfire by DE.

Edit: Since this review I have picked up a JP and have revised my review slightly. The game still feels clunky to me but better than my initial assessment after several dozen games.
3 years ago
My seventh DE pin; Game play generally good and as others have said ruthless at times. Red cannon release can get you a SDTM drain if you are not on your toes and even then its iffy. The lightshow particularly with leds really is first rate and must have been something in 1987 when the game first came out. With leds its is pretty wild!

Most of the sound effects are fine but frankly the voice call outs sound like they were done by random office staff and the background music only so-so compared to other DE titles. Cabinet art is fine and as others have pointed out the translight is period cheese. Enjoyed the gameplay and the light show! Laser War is worthy of a place in the lineup. Don't let the rating fool you, gameplay wise this game is a gem and still in my collection. With a set of Titan elastics it only adds to the sizzle!
3 years ago
The good: Best of the early Williams solid state artwork as far as I am concerned, Flash, Gorgar and to a lesser extent Firepower all take a backseat to Blackout. The backglass is iconic and the playfield art works great with the theme and backglass. Sound effects are suitably 80's and match the game. Game rules are simple on the surface but if you look closer there is some flexibility on how you can achieve certain goals. Light the red-orange-green and making the collect, preferably with the extra ball lit never gets old! Getting that last drop on the top right often takes some finesse or luck. Making a complete orbit without draining is often nerve wracking and adds to the fun.

The bad: Cabinet art is utterly meh. Some sound effects shared with other Williams pins of the era.

The bottom line is Blackout is a fun pin if you have 5-10 minutes to kill, set to 3 ball which can make things more interesting and have at it. Great example of early solid state pin.
3 years ago
Some thoughts after flipping through the comments, game play and restoring this title.

Update: Running the Chad code.

Pros: The game shoots sweet and flows well, the soundtrack choices are nice and gets stuck in your head time to time. Data East always puts on a great light show when things get crazy though it seems more subdued on this title compared to Time Machine or Secret Service. The voice clips from the movies are well chosen and sound thumps. There seems to be lots of little modes & bonuses and a few Easter eggs sprinkled in the rules for good measure. The ramp and topper are a riot. The video modes seem well integrated and the shootout makes it interesting as you have to decide to engage or not and risk losing the ball in play. Makes the game interesting.

Cons: The playfield artwork in this time period is really sub-par and has honestly kept me away from
some DE titles as it is so cringe inducing. Sound while generally good doesn't seem to have any notable stereo separation compared to several other DE titles I own which cost it points. What good is stereo if you don't use it to full effect? The rules are not always clear, the skill shot you might think is based on the DMD is actually timed on the 4 playfield targets on the left side.

Additional comments.

1) Of course the backglass looks like a movie poster; it is a pin based on a movie franchise and came out the same year as the LW3 movie. There is no shortage of pins that had art choices dictated by movie release, Bally Star Trek being a particularly notable offender for example. It is nice that the game uses some elements from the first two movies.

2) Sound effects repetitious? Just like any other pin. The ok-ok-ok in the pops didn't bother me very much as you don't seem to be in them too often, I'm more annoyed hearing "they got away" when you miss the skill shot. There does seem to be some variety when you drain though.

As others have said, an underrated title! The pin seems well constructed with the only complaint being typical Data East GI string load issues. Make sure you swap over to LEDs ASAP and all related connectors are clean! Diagnostic menu had several nice features, much nicer than earlier titles.
4 years ago
Played several at shows and they were always slow and ponderous, not at all fun to play so I had a less than favorable impression.

Owning a unit (2 at this point!) and tuning it to my taste the machine is VERY fast, much faster than I thought a widebody could be. Balls fly across the playfield in the wink of an eye and will catch you napping at the most inopportune moment. The upper playfield feels sparse and the real scoring action is downstairs.. if you can make the shot down the gravity well which is a bitch. There you make the choice of hitting the drop targets so you can win re-entry when you drain, shooting for bonus multipliers or locking a ball up for multiball. Multiball feels short and generally wasted on this title, getting to that mode is a reward in itself... but then what do you do with it? Only other gripe is no lane shift for the upper roll overs, which had been innovated by Firepower in 1979. The lighting is good, backglass with chaser lamps gorgeous, and sound with voice very good for the period.
4 years ago
Dixieland is an interesting game with an interesting rule set. The game rewards you for very deliberate shots and both flippers have access to decent targets depending on your goals. The playfield looks fairly simple but with three gates, ball flowpaths can be altered which are further altered depending if the flippers are open or closed. The action is fairly sedate by my standards so if you are looking for a fast zing-zing-zing game look elsewhere. Dixieland is a snipers game with the shooter in mind. Run up the bonus and collect for 500 points and advance the backglass goal.
4 years ago
Fun game, great call outs and music (and sound quality) the light show is insane once you install LEDs! A few tough shots (left ramp and right hideout) getting the upper rollovers is a bear as well. Generally lots to shoot at with instant multiball under certain conditions..

Not sure why people give the translite grief, have you people not seen Spring Break, Hollywood Heat or Gold Wings? Secret Service is lights years above these other titles, heck better than Torpedo Alley which features a submarine on the surface with picture windows!

If I have a knock, one or two call outs are repetitive (super spinner!) and that is about it. Great period game with lots of humor going for it. Love the doorbell sound when the hideout is closed, art gags and Big Ronnie peaking out the White House.

Edit: For some reason this game didn't have staying power in the collection and review has been revised down.
4 years ago
Xenon sits next to Bally Star Trek in my line up and all I can think is WOW, what a difference from 1979 to 1980! Xenon really raised the bar in terms of theme, art and sound. Star Trek while fast fun comes across as a title that just as well could have been an EM instead of SS title.

Xenon on the other hand feels to be a more integrated whole that takes advantage of the SS tech of the time period. Bally really seemed to have stepped up on this title compared to Trek. Touches like the animated backglass, flashing shooter gauge, great artwork, voices, etc which could have made Trek far more than it was.

While getting multi-ball is somewhat easy (depending on your settings! having progress wiped on ball drain makes it a challenge) clearing the drops on the right side to get the special is not. Set the game hard and on 3 ball makes the game a worthy challenge.

If I have a knock about Xenon, I wish some of the call outs had more variation which isn't fair since newer machines do this too but get use to hearing "Xenon" a lot. The action is fast, the sound effects are above average for the time period and the artwork can't be beat. Toss some LED's in and it really adds to how great the game looks.
4 years ago
Finally got a chance to place this on location, superb game! The sound quality is incredible! My only complaint is rules are not readily apparent but still had a blast playing several times.
4 years ago
After getting the machine back on it's feet I feel comfortable with making a review. The game itself is very fast and enjoyable to play, I feel some of the shot placement is a bit heavy towards the right flipper, the left one only seems good for hitting the three bank target on the right side, the bonus return lane and the center target if you so wish to take that risk. The right flipper gives you the drop targets, bonus towards extra ball, orbit to roll overs and saucer and the center target. You can get the drops with a deflection off the right targets but very hit or miss. The artwork is great and the machine is bright and eye catching which is a nice change. Some of terminology missteps like "hyperspace" don't bother me very much though you think it would have been caught or Bally was trying to sprinkle some Star Wars terms on the project. The sound effects are period and the alternate settings are my preferred, which needs to be kept in mind while comparing to newer pins. All in all a very playable pin for any collection in my honest opinion.
4 years ago
Make no doubt about it Magic Town is as brutal as it is beautiful. The outlanes are surprisingly hungry and you best be on your toes when the ball is incoming towards the flippers. What looks like a drainer could just as well go flying in behind the center popper and back up teed up for the perfect flipper shot. The chime box in the back for 10 and 100 is a nice change of pace, it would have been nicer if Williams added a third bell or chime though like Gottlieb did in this period.

Brutal game as it is pretty to look at, did not make the long term cut here.
4 years ago
Very fun game, great sound, one of a kind back box, great random spinning card gimmick. Only knock I have is the playfield art is a bit sparse. High ratings for a great sounding and playing pin! Gottlieb bells and chimes are hard to beat. Game is still in my collection.

Don't compare my EM ratings to SS ratings, 2 different classes.
4 years ago
Played it once, turgid comes to mind. The backglass animation is one of the coolest ever done on a pin, but aside from that it bored me to tears. It lumbers..
4 years ago
Still chewing on this one; purchased for my wife who is an x-files fan.

The shots are pretty brutal to make some of the ramps but this makes it satisfying when you do make them! Best have good aim. The sound quality is only so-so, you can tell the clips are encoded at a fairly low bit rate in my opinion and the single speaker in the backbox just adds insult to injury. One speaker? This is where you choose to cut corners Sega? I need to add another. The theme music does tend to get stuck in your head though. The art work is fine on the cabinet, playfield and translite. The playfield toys are middling. While the file cabinet is great you have this giant alien baby in a jar that does... nothing. Ball diverter on the right side? ditto. Someone else summed it up fairly well, good pin if you have a larger collection or an extreme fan of the series. Its ok but not outstanding.
4 years ago
Had for over a week after looking for one for several months. Initial thought is it is a fairly fun game that has some flow to it. Drop the ball in the lanes, lock the balls and if you miss the ball drops down to the left flipper and loft it up again for another pass. Locking the multi-ball is harder than it sounds, it usually takes me a few tries to do so. The main ramp is fairly easy to get so if you like multiball.. here they come! Very challenging to keep all three going for any period of time. The right flipper seems fairly useless aside from passing to the left and the odd shot to the captured ball. Quite fun when you nail it and it rattles around by itself up there! All and all a decent game for a quick fix and you don't want to play for 15 minutes. The art bothers me not a bit, some typical 80's stuff going on.
4 years ago
Melody is a charming machine; the art and bells work well together and you have to work hard to light all the rows, well worth the reward. One of the best EM games of the 60's hands down.

Don't compare my EM ratings to SS ratings, 2 different classes.
4 years ago
Played for the first time this weekend; game has the "one more try" vibe to it and I did just that. Game is tough but not in a badly designed way but in a good way. It seeks to improve your pin skills with every game played as you learn the nuances of play. Well done! Artwork is excellent.

I own two now, great game that only could be made better by fuller use of the S&T board and 2 or 3 ball multiball.
4 years ago
Played two of these machines now and disappointed both times. At the same show as the second Elektra, played Flash Gorden for the first time and was like WOW! Something clicks on FG that just doesn't click here. Liked FG so much I rattled off 3 more games, it has a "I have to try one more time" feel that this game doesn't have. She is a looker but nothing gelled for me.
4 years ago
Played this game at two locations, just can't see the attraction. The game is a looker for sure and I had a chance to play it with headphones last weekend so not to get distracted by outside sounds but it just feels clunky to me. The art and theme work well together and the lighting fine, but a number of shots just feel clunky.
4 years ago
Had a chance to play this weekend, thought it was a fun game. Bobble head doll a fine bash target and the katana an inspired choice for a return guide. Thought the left side of the field was clunky though, a few shots there felt off. All and all enjoyable.
4 years ago
Had the opportunity to play one again and was pleasantly surprised, it was more fun than I thought it would be. Have since added to collection and enjoy playing. My only complaint is the 2 drop targets are brutal and can only be hit glancing shots or the airball right back at you for insta-drains. Wide flipper gap? Please. Play better.
4 years ago
Played several Stern games this weekend, this was clearly the weakest of the bunch. My wife and I were bored to tears playing it with the only positive I can truly state was the lighting was pretty good. The playfield art is uninspiring and the dragon toy on the upper playfield doesn't do much. As fans of the show, the early seasons in particular we were thinking of purchasing one but glad now we did not. We did not even finish playing but just plunged the final shots and let them drain.
4 years ago
Game is fast, fun and has a great theme integration. The music is catchy for each time period, light show with LEDs installed great, the Starwarp shot panic inducing as the timer counts down and the EM chimes and multi-ball great payoff for making it that far.

My only quibble is the sound hardware will at times refuse to play some effects (like thumpers) until another effect, usually voice, finishes. I have other Data East that do this, a minor quibble.
4 years ago
Only had the game a few weeks but is great fun to play. The playfield is very tight making some very fast action during multi-ball! Best strategy is to loft one up field if you can so you can focus on one at a time. Sound is clear and has definite themes when different events are going on like multiball primed or when you are in the "danger zone" the left side of the field.

Yes, the translight brings nothing to the table but its not like you look it much during gameplay! Cabinet is sort of average, topper is ok and brings a bit extra cool when going.

The siren is a riot, we have ours hooked up.

Game review revised, while fun did not have lasting power in the collection.
5 years ago
Owned this title for 5 years now and it shines more than ever! Fun in single play or with partners which is a rarity in my opinion.

The artwork is perfect a perfect zeitgeist of the 70's and a callback to a more fun era.

The machine itself plays fast, the ball rattling around up top trapped in the poppers never fails to bring a smile to our faces and a great feeling of satisfaction when you rip the spinners with the bonus light lit.

Don't compare my EM ratings to SS ratings, 2 different classes.

King of the Road indeed.
6 years ago
My first official woodrail and I was pleasantly surprised. The play field has good action, the three bells sound great and you have a love/hate relationship with the gobble hole. If you have the red and yellow bonus lamps in the 30-40-50 range tied together you can really make big score by sinking the ball but if they are not you tossed away your shot for just 100 points.

So do you hit the red and yellow bonus collect targets to try and run the score up or sink the gobble hole shot and cash out?

Action in the poppers is entertaining and the ball moves smartly around the table. The side flippers do have some value but have to be operated judiciously. Used with care they can help setup a shot off the slingshots but are really not a major factor in play.

Both the playfield and backglass art are fine and remind me of a carnival or circus theme but the cabinet artwork is only middling in my opinion. It does ok for a woodrail but did not make the long term lineup.
6 years ago
Game has a fun theme and the table layout is excellent- To start there is not one or two but three skill shots! The first one is to light the star and try to land in the center lane indicated to open both gates right off the bat. The second is to pick a lane so you can choose the A or B column to run down the carry over free game credit. The third skill shot is to hit all those upper lanes so the 50 point outside lanes are lit.

Table has good flow with the ball always in motion, the gate shots are tough to get but rewarding when you pull it off. The sling shot on the left side lane is always fun when you hit the roll over and it shoots the ball across the table for you.

My only real ding on the table is it shipped from Bally with a single bell even though the match unit has both bracket and clapper! how much could a 3" bell shell been back in 1964??! I installed a new one from PBR and the pin sounds wonderful now.

Don't compare my EM ratings to SS ratings, 2 different classes.
6 years ago
Charming but difficult game to play that you have to make your shots with care. The two outlanes will snap your ball up in a millisecond over a careless shot! Playfield and backglass are very charming with the playfield having several outstanding shots with the tour gate being the best.

Get the gate open and pound the shot in to advance the cities! Easy way to get the gate open is to make a skill shot with the plunger and drop the ball through the upper roll over. Otherwise you have to pop 3 of the mushroom switches for gate opening. Pop the forth to open the ball save gate on the right outlane. The artwork, backglass and cabinet are all outstanding, Bally knew how to make some lookers! The bells sound great.

The machine is best in a larger collection, its difficulty will be off-putting for some players so best taken in small doses. When you do get a great game it is a notable feeling of accomplishment. Old operators would state if you were playing over 3 minutes they were losing money! This game is an great example of Bally giving the operators what they wanted as most of my games are under 4 minutes or less, even on 5 ball.
6 years ago
Owned this one a few weeks and here are my thoughts after installing new elastics, scoring motor and buff and wax on the playfield.

Pro's: The art on the cabinet, backglass and playfield all ties together and is a cool looking pin! The Williams chimes are ok, if somewhat sparse on this title. The pops and slingshots are pretty potent getting the ball around the playfield in a hurry.

Con's: The lower section of the PF is a tad bare with a fair amount of open space to cross before getting something to score on. I'm not a huge fan of drop targets so this pin just not be suitable for me to review as there is 3 drop targets as your primary targets in the lower half. The outlanes are vicious ball magnets.

This pin just doesn't jell for me, I'm sure it has its fans but can't count myself as one of them aside from the artwork.
6 years ago
I like the game as it comes with a full tool box, as another poster stated short of a drop target or two it has pretty much all you can cram on a EM playfield and surprisingly it doesn't feel crowded.. The game has decent flow, a lot of the shots are not "auto drains" and there is some interesting dynamics going on down at the flippers. There will be no cradling with the flippers here!

Complaints: I wish the flippers were a touch more powerful, the pops are DC after all and I wish the playfield art was as nice as the backglass art. The chimes are typical Williams clankers that even after fiddling with them for some time sound rough. Sold to a friend of mine, didn't make the long term cut. One of the better William's examples in this time period though. I wish I could give it higher marks but it is what it is.
6 years ago
Solid effort from Williams I think- Trying to get a hand that beats the dealers keeps you coming back again and again. For an EM with 2" flippers the action gets pretty fast at times which we like. Some people says the game is dull but I can think of plenty of 3" flipper games that are far duller than this one. My only ding would be the artwork looks fairly weak.
6 years ago
Just picked up the game and so far pretty pleased with it: The theme and sound effects work well together (organ music, goal buzzer, whistle, crowd noises) the art work cracks me up, the ball flow is usually pretty good but does slow down time to time. The spinner shot people complain about having to much point value is fairly difficult to pull off consistently in my opinion, at least for my wife and I. My only complaint would be that the game has no separate scoring indicators for goal totals like my Williams Olympic Hockey.

Edit- Just installed fresh elastics and WOW does the game pop! Best score jumped from 750k to 980k!
6 years ago
Good game with shot placement being everything! Get the 1 lane first to light the 1000 popper and start hammering away! The artwork is great aside from the backglass which could be better IMHO.

Edit: The game is ok but not a keeper, ultimately it is shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner.
6 years ago
Fun little game with excellent chimes. My only knock would be the center spinner is not in the greatest location and seems to serve no real purpose. Upper drop downs are largely luck to get as you have to get the ball up into the poppers so they will drive into the targets. Wife loves the pin and one of her go to games and is very reliable in operation. The backglass art reminds me of one of the famous comic book artists who did several Marvel runs in the 80's and 90's.

I would not mind having one back for a bit but ultimately the game is rather shallow.
6 years ago
Can't praise this game high enough!

Pin was picked up as an extra as part of a package so had no real thoughts on the game going in aside from the fact I really have no love of sports themed anything in general. This game is a blast!! From the rippling speed (for an EM I guess, I tend to give them a pretty good rake though) to the general awesome game flow, to the backglass puck animation (reflected in the play field lighted switches) to the multiple ways of advancing the puck across the ice (PF switches, center lanes, center popper, upper bumper, A/B lanes, out lanes) to even the goofy buzzer that sounds when you get a goal! This game was a home run for Williams and one we gravitate towards when heading out to the game room. While fun playing single player it really shines when playing against an opponent. The left outlane is brutal at sucking up wayward shots and the center ball saver post delightfully evil with its "now you see me now you don't" behavior the game pulls you back in time after time. If the game had an "player shoots again" option it would be perfect. A keeper in our collection!

Don't compare my EM ratings to SS ratings, 2 different classes.
6 years ago
Frankly this is one of those games that looks way cooler than it plays: I mean how sweet is a time machine themed pinball game with a flashing time tunnel in the middle, a bonus lane with two gates, a pop up ball saver post, 2 kick out holes, 4 poppers, a kick out lane and back box animation timed to the time tunnel?

For all that the game just never jelled for us and has no real flow, like someone just took a box of "cool stuff" and dumped it onto a playfield and called it a day. The ball meanders around the upper playfield aimlessly and if you get a ball in the upper gate its just pure luck. The lower gate you have better odds making the shot either directly off the flipper or bounced off the post opposite the gate. Freezing the bonus at 5000 is fairly easy to do but gets boring.

Lets take about chimes: I hear Bally has some of the best chimes in the business and based on this game I can assure you that is not the case. Even after rebuilding the chime box with fresh coils, strikers and grommets and careful adjustment they still sound like a Williams box that has had its spirit broken. They clank and jangle like a junkyard Yugo on its last legs.

Game reminds me of a 10 I dated once: Looks great on your arm but empty of any substance and shallow as a cookie sheet. I have played worse games so perhaps I'm being harsh, this one will do ok in a group but not sustain an owner with room for a single pin.
6 years ago
My second Chicago Coin game and surprisingly entertaining and with some charm. The scoring bells have a distinct "ting-ting-ting" very different than my Williams of the same period. The lower ball save gates are a cool gimmick to shoot for and making the bonus collect shot after running the rocket bonuses up to 500 very satisfying and really makes the score reels spin. You work those 2" flippers for dear life when the ball gets down into the pocket between gates and you are trying to keep it from draining.

Art work is very good with my only complaint being the PF color section could of been better. Interesting note, the 2 player version called Astronaut has the same playfield and art but in different colors! The backglass on Astronaut is different (score windows are just not added or subtracted), but has the same theme and characters.
6 years ago
The action is fast and the outlanes brutal for the careless shooter. The back box animation is very cool as you advance the ball up the field towards a touchdown. Really advance the score by nailing the center outhole multiplier on the top left or right going from 50 points to 500 a shot. You can play for pin scoring or football scoring which is a really cool feature.

Great title if you are a football fan and was here for some time before being crowded out by other titles. One of the better William's single players in this time frame.

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