Jappie's ratings

Pinsider Jappie has rated 55 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms Jappie's personal top 55.

Rating comments

Jappie has written 55 rating comments:

87 days ago
Fireball Classic is a cool hommage to the legendary 1972 EM game. Its simplicity is where this game shines. It just plays very well and is always challenging.

The machine respects the rules of the '72 original while adding to them in the form of new scoring opportunities. The added bonus system is simple and well thought out.

I thought I would miss the zipper flippers more than I actually do. The longer flippers make this game much more approachable for casual players.

Bally's Cheap Squeak sound effects are basic but do a nice job for this game. Speech is not missed and would have probably been overkill here.

The artwork is well done. It pays respect to the iconic artwork of the '72 edition. Only the cabinet would be better if closer to the original.

The only negative for this game is the particle board cabinets that Bally used during this generation. They tend to destroy themselves and make the games feel cheap. When I get the chance, I'll put my FBC in a robust early SS Bally cabinet.
5 months ago
Vector is that kid that tries too hard to be cool and as a result is a bit obnoxious. It's very loud and has everything a 1982 game could have. However it fails to hide there's not much of a soul to it.

"Look at me guys, I have 2 playfieds, 4 flippers, 9 drop targets and more saucers than you can count!"

Who cares, Vector. You still kinda suck.
8 months ago
Short review:
It ticks all the early 1980s pinball pleasure boxes, yet it gets overlooked by the shallow people because it says 'Gottlieb' and 'soccer'.

Long review:
First, let me tell you how happy I am that I can finally write this review. My Striker was all but dead and buried when I got it. It was probably used to resurrect a more popular Gottlieb title, in a time when oddball titles like this one just weren't appreciated. It was missing not only its complete board set, but also the full transformer panel in the cabinet, which was quite the endeavour to reproduce. Luckily, all the game specific stuff was there and intact.

I bought Striker because I heard good stories and was fascinated by its layout. Having finally got it working, I'm writing this review about a working, but unshopped machine. I'll probably review my review once the machine is playing like new again.

About that layout. Striker really plays like no other game. Not even Rocky comes close. The narrow playing areas make for deceivingly fast and frantic gameplay. Not an easy game by any means. The long orbit shots to the goal are very satisfying to go for when the spinners are lit. A weak point in the game layout is the inability to directly shoot for the multiplier area with the small flippers. The ball kind of just falls into it if you're lucky.

Apart from that, Sriker is a thinking man's game. You want to score as many goals as possible, but setting them up can be quite a challenge. And once you've scored them, you better have that multiplier up so they're actually worth something! The Pascal board in mine offers an optional rule change that can make the multiplier worth up to 100k per goal instead of 15k max. This makes going for goals and multipliers a very viable strategy. The opportunity to pass the ball (the football, not the pinball) to the other side of the playfield combined with the defender logic is a stroke of genius. The Shootout Time you get after your last ball is a nice touch, reminiscent of other games from the same timeframe.

Sounds are quite cool for the era. The background noise during gameplay resembles that of a stadium with a whistle from the crowd every now and then. When you've scored a goal, the crowd roars. At the start of the game, it plays the first verse of the US, German or French national anthem, depending on the rom you've got installed. After the final whistle, it plays the last verse. All of this accompanied by that cute classic synthesized Gottlieb voice we love so much on games like Black Hole.

Backglass art is a weak point. The game logos on this vintage of Gottliebs are amazing, but the image below, of the main guy twice, is just awkward. Playfield artwork is alright and follows the theme. Cabinet art is actually quite nice and original: the bright white base color is a welcome change in a dark early 1980s line up.

In all, Striker is very fun. It's accompanied by my Centaur II and definitely holds its own against it. A solid and very original effort by Gottlieb, a company that was seriously struggling at the time. A game that would definitely be more popular if more had been made. I blame the time frame and the theme (which I personally love).

Play it if you see it. You'll be pleasantly surprised. A hidden gem of pure early 1980s pinball goodness.
11 months ago
A beautiful prewar pin (only just) with an amazing backglass. It also has some some unique features on the playfield. The ruleset is much more basic than Genco machines of the same vintage. Still very cool to play.
11 months ago
Lovely original game. A blast to play against each other. The changing playfield angle is very cool.
1 year ago
When you stand in front of it, this game looks great: cool artwork and some very interesting looking shots.

So you decide to press start.

Worst decision ever. You feel desillusionised. The sound sucks, the flippers feel horrible, rules are almost non-existent and the shots are unmakeable. You take a glance at the brand and the build year. And then it all falls into place. It's a Bally 6803.
1 year ago
Hard as nails and very addictive. Cult theme and classic backglass. Quite the looker.

Flash Gordon is a bad machine to play for money (as in it sucks it right out of your pockets) but a great machine to play against each other on with a few beers.

Ball times are very short. The feeling of accomplishment when scoring well is very high.
1 year ago
I knew how popular this game is among owners and it still surprised me when I got to figure it out. The backglass might not be a work of art, the ruleset certainly is! And the playfield shoots amazingly well in all its simplicity. A design SR can be proud of.

I added some general illumination and Britecaps on mine and gave it the full led + led ocd treatment, which makes a big difference in the experience.

The original music lacks a bit in variety. I've created my own custom soundtrack, which really fits the game much better.
2 years ago
In my book, Fireball is the best four-player EM there is.

It's quite amazing what Bally achieved in the rules department with only EM technology to work with. The compact ruleset is easy to understand and lots of fun to play with.

The playfield layout is very well balanced. Genius Ted Zale copied the ideas that made 1971's Four Million BC so much fun into Fireball's design and came up with some new ones to to create a perfect playfield. Unlike other EMs, there is just never a dull moment during a game on a well maintained Fireball.

Art-wise, this machine is out of this world. Dave Christensen created an instantly recognizable masterpiece.

This machine will always keep you on your toes. It has amazing replay value. And it looks stunning. My only gripe with Fireball is that gameplay can be too random: the whirlwind spinner and gaping outlanes make for a very high luck (as opposed to skill) factor.
2 years ago
This last of the Alpha Numerics is quite a refreshing take on pinball. For better and for worse. I do have a soft spot for this game. It has a good layout. It can be fast when setup right. And the designers dared to try something new, which scores high in my book.

In some modes, the game punishes you for not making the right shots in time: it claims you are out of fuel and kills the flippers (EJECT! EJECT! EJECT!) A controversial feature, especially when you pay to play. Good thing you can turn it off in the settings. I would leave it on when playing at home though.

The game is linear: you work your way through missions that require the same shots every game. While this is fun in a way, it also takes away from the replayability.

Music and sounds are exciting but a bit repetitive. Looks wise, the mountain shaped plastics are a nice touch.

All in all a game that has its flaws, but can be quite a rush to play.
2 years ago
Arguably the most important pinball game ever made. Also, quite the looker. It caused a revolution when it came out.

Play HD with your 1940's glasses on and you will have a blast. Sadly, lots of people don't seem to own such glasses. Shame on them. Got to respect where you're coming from.
3 years ago
High Speed is one of the pinball greats. The game introduced storytelling into gameplay. Put the traffic light on red, run the red light, run from the police. Simple, but very addicting. Like pinball should be.
3 years ago
Wish I could find, let alone afford one...
3 years ago
It was the early 90's, I was about 10-12 years old. The location was a small arcade in Malgrat de Mar, on the sun-drenched Costa Brava. Pinball was everywhere on the Spanish coastline at that time period, mostly the now famous WPC titles like Funhouse and The Addams Family. And I loved it. I was a kid and just wanted to play them all.

The arcade with the Sonic Star Wars was in a more quiet spot in the village. It was quite rundown and clearly not popular enough to be able to buy the newer fancy machines. Their pinball line-up consisted of Star Wars, Hang-On (another Sonic pin) and two older American machines, probably Williams System 11's. One of them might have been Big Guns, I'm not sure.

I remember being intrigued seeing the two Sonic machines, as I had never seen them before. I also remember, when playing them, that the Hang-On and Star Wars both felt very unfair compared to the other two machines. Ball speed was crazy and unpredictable, the flipper gap felt too big and ball times were extremely short. I also didn't feel that making the shots made anything spectacular happen. Today I'd say that the software was extremely barebones.

I think I played one game on both Sonics and feeling that was more than enough. I rather put my valuable Pesetas in something that felt like a honest and fun game of pinball. Today, I would play it more, just for its rarity.

I'd love to play this game again, but only for its rarity. And if collecting extremely rare titles or Star Wars stuff is your thing, Star Wars might be interesting. Sonic Star Wars is a pin that most people, even pinheads, will never see, play or even know about. But gameplay-wise, there's nothing to be won here.
3 years ago
It was the early 90's, I was about 10-12 years old. The location was a small arcade in Malgrat de Mar, on the sun-drenched Costa Brava. Pinball was everywhere on the Spanish coastline at that time period, mostly the now famous WPC titles like Funhouse and The Addams Family. And I loved it. I was a kid and just wanted to play them all.

The arcade with the Hang-On was in a more quiet spot in the village. It was quite rundown and clearly not popular enough to be able to buy the newer fancy machines. Their pinball line-up consisted of Hang-On, Star Wars (the 1987 version, also from the Sonic brand) and two older American machines, probably Williams System 11's. One of them might have been Big Guns, I'm not sure.

I remember being intrigued seeing the two Sonic machines, as I had never seen them before. I also remember, when playing them, that the Hang-On and Star Wars both felt very unfair compared to the other two machines. Ball speed was crazy and unpredictable, the flipper gap felt too big and ball times were extremely short. I also didn't feel that making the shots made anything spectacular happen. Today I'd say that the software was extremely barebones.

I think I played one game on both Sonics and feeling that was more than enough. I rather put my valuable Pesetas in something that felt like a honest and fun game of pinball. Today, I would play it more, just for its rarity.

I'd love to play this game again, but only for its rarity. And if collecting extremely rare titles is your thing, Hang-On might be interesting. Hang-On is a pin that most people, even pinheads, will never see, play or even know about. But gameplay-wise, there's nothing to be won here.
3 years ago
What an absolute classic of classics. This early 80's gem has it all. Multiball, speech, two playfields, drop targets, two magna saves... and an approachable ruleset. Easy to understand, hard to master. Very innovative, very addictive. And a great looker, too. The backglass is one of Williams' best.

In short: modern pinball would not be the same without the existence of games like Black Knight.

Black Knight does need stronger flippers than it came from the factory with. I recommend adding 'modern' style WPC flipper mechanics.
3 years ago
This rating is for a BK2k that is tweaked well and has strong flippers. This game needs this very much to reach its full potential. Without them, the game can fall flat quite easily.

In terms of being iconic, BK2k is right up there with the original Black Knight. It retains the charm of the original, and adds to that quite a lot. In short: a worthy sequel.

The sound design on this machine is revolutionary. Brian Schmidt does it again. That being said, it's very polarizing. Definitely a cool achievement, but -very- love it or hate it.

The gameplay is quite nice and elaborate. Lots of cool features. However, the game design makes you push the right flipper button quite a lot more than the left one. And the upper playfield quite often feels more like a game of chance than a game of skill. Being so big, it could definitely use more means of control.

The artwork is quite agressive. Lots of reds, lots of lightning, and of course the Black Knight himself. It definitely stands out.

As a whole, BK2k does come together very well. It's an intense playing experience. A very memorable System 11.
4 years ago
A great multiball EM. Has almost all of the features that Fireball does, is a better tournament game and comes a lot cheaper!
4 years ago
Centaur II is a proud member of Bally's Class of '81 in a recycled Rapid Fire suit.

Very refreshing, original gameplay for a classic Bally. Artwork is original too, with the blacks, whites and reds. Same goes for the sounds with the reverb.

Centaur needs to be setup to play hard and fast. A Centaur that plays too slow or too easy can play forever, hurting the replay value tremendously. But when setup the right way, this is a great rush of pinball.
4 years ago
NBA Fastbreak is a very fun game with a nice shot layout and a refreshing ruleset. Love to play the one in a bar near my house.
4 years ago
Xenon is quite the looker, mainly because of the beautiful artwork on the backglass and the infinity lighting complimenting it. The sounds are very cool as well.

However, this game lacks in the gameplay and layout departments. It's fun to play a couple of games on, but gets old fairly quickly.
4 years ago
With its fast, simple gameplay, Aztec is fun to play a couple of games on. This is one of those games that shines in multiplayer games. The spinner shot is a lot of fun to rip.

When the ball exits the lane in the upper right, it often gets kicked right back in there by the upper right pop bumper. I'm not a big fan of that.
4 years ago
Beautiful game in every aspect. Way ahead of its time in terms of shots and rules. Great sounds.

One of the dumbest things I've done is sell mine before I learned to appreciate it.
4 years ago
A very good example of an EM prewar pinball. With 4 (!) different scoring mechanisms (points, specials, pennants, runs), it clearly shows what pinball used to be in the old days: a form of gambling. Yes, you could win anything from cigarettes to money playing this game, depending on the location it was in.

Big League has a nice early backglass animation, in the form of a baseball player running between bases. The artwork is pretty simple, but the machine has lots of personality.

The game rings its bell for every 1000 points you get. Apart from that, there's the old school rattling of relays.

Gameplay is simple, but, with the different scoring mechanisms, complicated at the same time. It's also very addictive, especially when you play it with your 1940's glasses on. 'Ah, just one run short from winning that pack of cigs!'
5 years ago
Not a bad game, but mildly disappointing after the hype that preceded it.

Layout has its pluses and minuses. Love the left ramp, don't love the right one. The entrance is just too thin.

The software is good, but feels almost as lineair as Roadshow. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but does hurt the replayability.

The huge flipper gap and greedy side lanes make the game feel unfair at times.
5 years ago
There is just no game that is more stuck in the late 80's than Bad Girls is, and lots people despise the game for that. I love it for the same reason. Bad Girls takes bad (but good) taste to the next level. And it doesn't matter from what angle you look at it.

The game is clearly influenced by 80's pop culture, and in particular by Michael Jackson's 1987 album Bad. The font on the translite and head sides are an exact copy of the font used on MJ's album. And the game plays a tune that is almost an exact copy of Another Part Of Me, track #6 on MJ's album. But Gottlieb wouldn't be Gottlieb if they didn't make sure they didn't have to pay any licensing fees.

The backglass on this thing has been debated a lot. It's a photograph of some models enacting an amazingly awkward 80's pub scene. You couldn't make this up even if tou tried. It really is so bad that it's good again. Honorable mention for the way Gottlieb presents their logo above the translite. The way it's backlit somehow adds even more to the campy feel of the game.

The details from the translite scene come back on other parts of the machine: the mirrors (yes, mirrors: very original. very 80's) on the cabinet sides are the same style of the pool table on the translite. And the mirrored surface of the pool table is seen in the middle of the playfield.

The gameplay isn't half bad. A mirrored (again!) copy of Eight Bally Deluxe, with some interesting twists. When tuned up, the game flows nice, plays extremely fast and is very unforgiving.

In all, if you're a lover of the more obscure pins, can appreciate some really bad taste ánd some good gameplay, Bad Girls is the machine for you.
5 years ago
Fireball II gets kind of overlooked for being the sequel to a game that it really has very little in common with. A shame, because it's a very nice game.

For starters, the game is just beautiful. The reds, yellows and blacks work really well together. The mirrored backglass is breathtaking. Coincidentally (?), the original Fireball was Dave 'Mad Dog' Christensen's first pinball artwork and Fireball II was his last.

The playfield is a classic 3 pop bumper setup, with some nice extra's: a third flipper, 11 drop targets and an interactive 'Little Demon' post in between the flippers.

The sounds can get really frantic. Fireball II screams for your attention at times. Especially when you can score the (timed) extra ball. Lighting effects are awesome for the time period, as the game plays with its general illumination and the 4 flashers below the playfield.

Rule-wise, it's simple, yet *very* addictive. Build bonus, collect bonus. And go for a nice multiball (2 or 3 balls) if that's your thing.

Fireball II might not be the best known member of Bally's Class of '81, but it's definitely one of the cool kids.
5 years ago
JJP's third game is one they can be extremely proud of.

All the hate about the theme at the time of release of this game, I find it laughable. "Oh, so it's about a phone? How lame." Oh come on. First of all, welcome to the 21st century. Second of all, look a bit further, will you? DI is not just -about- a phone. The phone is just a very cool way to ignite this game's top class features.

This game is just awesome. Exciting shots, original toys, great layout and immersive gameplay. Add to that the colorful artwork and the beautiful animations and you've got a clear winner.
6 years ago
A classic in all respects. You can really feel that the designers of LotR wanted the game to succeed. The rules are wonderfully thought out and fine tuned. The shots are very satisfying. And the theme is presented in a way that only a few games in history have managed to achieve.

The game does have its flaws: the Gimly VUK, the Path of the Dead, pixelated art and flippers that get weaker during a longer game come to mind. To me, they are overshadowed by all the goodness of the game.

To me, LotR was the game that put pinball in general back into the saddle. This was at a time when the public had nearly forgotten about pinball and fans were wondering if it would survive the modern age of gaming. It turned pinball's tide. Clearly Sterns best effort up to date, it was proof that pinball could move on after the decline of Bally/WMS. And so it has. There and back again.
6 years ago
Street Fighter II is a challenging game with gameplay that stays true to the source material. The playfield layout is original and there's lots going on. 3 floors, 3 flippers, 2 Stargate Ramps and lots of shots keep things interesting.

The music is pretty cool and engaging. Some sound bites are awesome and come straight from the video game. Others however are pretty rediculous.

The game certainly has its flaws. Mainly in the software- and the art department. However, name me one flawless pin. This pin certainly does not deserve the heaps of hate it gets. It's no Striker Extreme. Gottlieb's main problem is that they miss the finesse that makes the Bally/WMS from this time period so popular.

Lots of things on this pin are tweakable to give a better play experience: the Car Crush, the rules and the flippers come to mind.

If you can find one, give a nicely shopped Street Fighter II a chance. It might surprise you.
6 years ago
Great classic game and a nice challenge to play. I do think that it's a little too full of gizmo's though, which does not add to the gameplay. Owned it twice, sold it twice.
7 years ago
My god, what a great game. One of the best system 11's around, but painfully undiscovered still.

Great, original playfield layout with daring outlane configuration. Awesome music that builds up like a suspenseful sci-fi movie soundtrack. Perfectly synchronized lighting effects. Challenging ruleset. Really, what's not to love?

I'd buy one again in a heartbeat. If only just to see what you can make Condition Green look like with high intensity leds.

A highly recommended game.
7 years ago
First off: Cirqus Voltaire is one of the most gorgeous pinball machines ever built. A very original theme with lots of creativity in the artwork. This machine is so vibrant, it's just crazy. Add LEDs to really make it pop. A work of art.

Cameron Silver's home rom makes the machine an extremely good player as well. He polished the software to something truly worthy of the great playfield.

I'm in love with this game. One of the games where everything just blends together into a breathtaking experience.
7 years ago
Well, I didn't expect to say this about a Bally-Midway game from before the Williams years, but: I actually kinda like this one. Fast paced, pretty tough to play, basic but nice rules, great backglass.

I'm glad this one has powered slingshots, as even that was not standard for a Bally-Midway game from around this vintage.
7 years ago
Alright, I'll start with the positive: this game is a great looker. Colorful art on backglass, playfield and cabinet. The vacu-formed playfield with the bridge over it looks awesome.

...but then you push start. And what you hear is one of the worst pinball sound packages in history. The shitty sounds this game produces are just rediculous. The fact that it was produced in 1987 is no excuse. Williams, Data East and Gottlieb all made great sounding pinball machines around this time.

...and then you pull the plunger and start to play. Which is almost impossible. The ball just flies around the playfield. Ball flow on this thing is artrocious. Don't get me started on the ruleset. And, well, I already mentioned the sounds this thing makes.

Concluding: just a horrible gameplay experience. Only buy this thing if you plan on putting it in a corner to sit pretty. Just never push that start button.
7 years ago
BttF is my favorite movie franchise. Unfortunately, this game does not do the franchise justice. At all.. This is just a run of the mill and shallow late 90's Data East game. It plays very much like Playboy, The Simpsons and Phantom of the Opera. Which is a major shame, considering how much cool stuff there is to work with from the 3 movies.

BttF is a missed chance. If anything, this theme deserved the treatment that Indiana Jones got from Williams a few years later.
8 years ago
Can't say this was love at first sight, as my example of this machine was a basket case when I bought it and I had never played the game before. At that time (2013), I had just seen the Classic Game Room review of the game on Youtube. The game was offered to me for €200,-, so I figured eh, what the heck.

Now it's 2015 and my TX-Sector shines again. With that, I've got myself a new favorite. This game does just about everything right. Talk about an immersive gaming experience. Great ruleset, beautiful lighting effects and a beautiful soundtrack. The way the lights, sounds, speech and gameplay blend together on this game is almost like a work of art. Ironically, the art department is really the only part of the game that could have been better.

If you can find this game, play it. Or better: buy it! And when you do, make sure that you put leds in it. Naturally, colour changers in the pops. But especially the flashers scream for coloured leds. The transporter effect is pretty damn good by itself, but with leds it's just a sight to behold. Also, TNT Amusements has got a nice video on Youtube with great tips to enhance the GI on this game. Including a great mod on the drop target in front of the ramp.

I've set mine to give 500.000 points instead of Extra Balls and Specials. For 2 reasons: 1. Now there's an actual jackpot to go for during multiball. 2. It makes the drop targets much more interesting to go for.

TX tx tx...
8 years ago
Night Moves is a smash hit at parties! It's a great change of pace from regular pinball machines.

The gameplay is surprisingly good for such a small machine. John Trudeau and his team really put some thought into this. You have to know the rules a bit to get the points. Only downside is that multiball doesn't have specific goals or rules.

The music on the machine is really catchy. It has 2 songs. 1 for regular gameplay and 1 for multiball. It's a shame that multiballs usually don't last long, because the multiball music is really nice. There's no speech, but the machine doesn't really need any. Who's talking when showing their Night Moves anyway? ;)

The playfield artwork is typical 80's cheese. Really comes to life with some carefully chosen coloured leds. I love it. On the downside: the cabinet of the game is rather ugly.

In all, this might be the best playing cocktail pinball out there. If you see one, try it!
8 years ago
Lucky Seven is a very basic and very early solid state game. The rules are very EM-esque. Which isn't strange, because there's also an EM version of the game. For sound, it relies on 4 good ole chimes.

The game has a classy and classic look to it. Gameplay-wise, there isn't much. Very basic fun with very little rules to worry about. The reels are a very nice touch though, that work well with the theme.
8 years ago
Doctor Who is a great game! It s ruleset is different from most pins, so in a collection the game can be a breath of fresh air.

For beginners, the game is very approachable. It doesn't seem so complicated that it becomes overwhelming. The basic rules are easy to understand. Plus that Time Expander is just f*cking cool.

For better players it has legs, because:
- there are interesting strategic choices involved (which doctor do I choose?)
- it has a great constant risk vs reward element (do I try to keep the playfield multiplier up or do I make the shots that actually reward points?)

Some other aspects:
- That ramp shot from the upper flipper has to be the smoothest in pinball. Very satisfying.
- Yes, those Dalek sounds can be grating. But, once you're 'in the zone', they provide a sense of satisfaction as well, as you get to destroy those stupid robots by shooting pinballs at them.
- The video mode is kinda meh. But not quite as meh as the Roonie in Cirqus Voltaire.
8 years ago
What a game. Tough as nails. Frustrating. Not welcoming to newbies at all. But when you get that one game where everything goes right: wow. For me, it's the biggest rush in pinball. For that reason alone, Dracula is one of my favorite games.
8 years ago
Arena has got an original playfield layout and some nice tunes going for it. It plays alright and has some good playfield art. Scoring is unbalanced, sadly. This makes it less of a players or tournament game.
8 years ago
A game you'll remember for the rest of your life, even if you play it only once. That alone makes it an instant classic.

Stern gets a 10 for originality and for the balls it had to make this game, especially during this period in time. It's pinball re-invented.

Sure, the playfield seems a little barren. But, with 13 drop targets and a lot of other targets,, it's far from shabby.

People say that you can't control this game. 2 words: play better. This game is certainly controllable. It's just so different that you have to learn how. No matter how good you are at regular pinball, there's always a pretty steep learning curve to O1. Want to see how it's done? Check out my video 'Orbitor 1: How the Hell do you Play it?'. You'll find it here on Pinside in the video section of the game.
8 years ago
Lightning is a very nice 80's machine:
- It has a very interesting ruleset.
- It has a great theme.
- It's a multilevel.
- It has speech.
- It has a lot of (drop)targets.
- It has a cool 3-ball multiball.
In all, it has everything that makes early 80's pinball awesome.

Just a little criticism on multiball: that would be cooler if you couldn't instantly relock your balls.
9 years ago
To me, Banzai Run is the cream of the crop when it comes to system 11 pins. Quite frankly, that means I think it's among the greatest of all pinball machines.

The greatest power of the game is of course its one-of-a-kind layout: the second playfield in the backbox makes it stand out in any crowd. In originality, the second playfield puts it right up there with games like Haunted House and Orbitor 1.

The cool thing is that Banzai Run has got great gameplay to go with its original layout. The goal is simple: defeat the 4 racers on the playfields, then go after 'the King' and get to first place. But it's very difficult to achieve this goal when the game is dialed in right. The game has a great 'just one more game-vibe' to it.

The music on the machine is awesome. It's perfectly synchronized with gameplay. During the course of the game, the music builds up to a fantastic climax. Just the drums playing while you try to beat the King creates a big extra pressure to this part of the game. Awesome work, Brian Schmidt.

Also a great plus is the spectacular flasher show. This works together perfectly with the synchronized sounds.

Speaking of working together perfectly: that is what all the elements of this game do. Gameplay, artwork, sound, theme: it all blends into a highly original and fantastic gameplay experience you won't forget easily. A great first entry for Lawlor.
9 years ago
Yes, it's that great. A classic example of how everything just blends together for an awesome pinball experience. Not many pins can pull that off.
9 years ago
Rack 'em Up is a nice little back to basics-game from a time when pinball in general was in a bad shape. The layout reminds of machines from the 70's.

Gameplay is nice and makes the game more interesting than its layout suggests. Goal is to fill a rack of pool balls by hitting corresponding drop targets or rollover targets. But only a few targets are lit at a time. You can change the lit targets by pushing the right flipper button. But only at the start of each ball or when the ball exits the 8-ball lane on the top left. The spinner also changes the lit targets (balls), but randomly.

The sound effects are simple but appropriate. The music loop is ok, but can get on your nerves after a while.

I like the art on this game. Sure, it won't win any prizes. It is simple, maybe even onedimensional. But the simplicity suits the theme very nicely. The colours are nice and bright.

This machine is a cool change of pace from the newer games. For me, it's a good example where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Wax it up for a good challenge. The feature of filling the rack gives this one a pretty big 'just one more game'-vibe.
9 years ago
Black Hole is one of the greats in pinball. Hated by operators when it first came out, because of technical malfunctions. But once you get it running like it should, it's magic. Highly original and fun gameplay. Visually stunning. Perfect sounds (for the US version, at least). It just all blends together into a fantastic gaming experience that doesn't necessarily feel like a 'game'.

What a beast. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
9 years ago
Elektra is a great machine. It's one of the most complicated early solid state Bally pins. Both playwise and from a mechanical point of view.

The thing I love about Elektra is how almost every aspect of the game adds to the theme. For instance:
- The ball flow is different from any other machine. This is caused by the plexiglass playfield surface. Very smooth, almost futuristic feeling.
- The mechanical parts like the flippers just sound different, because of the thick layer of plexiglass. Adds to the mystique.
- The sounds are, well, electrifying. The background hum is simple, but makes it seem like the machine is really charged with electricity. A classic example of where less is more. There's not much speech, but what's there is good.
- The ruleset is somewhat elaborate, but mainly just very different from other SS Bally's. Very challenging and refreshing. The mini playfield under the normal playfield is a welcome twist. Get good at it, and you can score some serious points.
- The artwork is beautiful. It just makes all the above blend together.
10 years ago
Another lame game by the weak designer John Borg. With his games, it can go two ways. 1. A shameless copy of a succesful layout, or 2. the lather-rinse-repeat one-ramp layout that he's been doing since the 90's. This game is the latter.

This time, the theme is quite good. Avatar was a huge hit movie, and that is always a good theme for a pinball machine. But, apart from the backglass, the execution of this theme is just bad. A weak ruleset, no fun toys... It just doesn't have the 'feel' of the movie at all.
10 years ago
Please, someone tell this Borg guy to stop designing pinball machines. I mean... We KNOW this freakin' layout by now. Compare this to Sterns Avatar, Indiana Jones or NBA... They're all very much the same.

I think that this theme and theming is the lamest you can imagine. Most of the art is uninspired. The sounds get on your nerves.

In my opinion, the price that Stern asks for machines like this is far too high.
11 years ago
Playboy -like many other early Bally SS-games- leaves a lot to wish for in its gameplay. Still, it's a classic and sought after game. Why?

Playboy's strength is that it is a great looker. Bold. Pink. In your face. But stylish at the same time. A beautiful mirrored backglass, nice playfield and a nice cabinet. If unfaded, that is. Playboy is an example of a licensed theme done very well. Like many sex-related things in the 70's, it does breathe some kind of sleazy vibe...

...but isn't that what we love that decade for?
11 years ago
One of the best playing games out there. But one of the most challenging to keep running as it should. The Shadow can only be enjoyed when it's playing perfectly. And sadly, only the ones in collectors hands do so.

But when it does play perfectly, oh boy. What a great game this is. This table has it all:
- great layout
- tough gameplay
- great rules
- atmospheric sound and music
- a nice art-deco art package
- great theme...

Wait... did he just say 'great theme'? Yup, I did! If you actually watch the movie, you'll find that it's a very entertaining and campy watch. You'll hear farmiliar sounds. You'll see scenes that you know from the game. You'll understand the game better. But, most importantly, you'll recognize what a *great* job the design team did capturing this theme into a pinball machine. Really outstanding.

And for all the Baldwin haters: Grow up, man. Even if this guy represents a different political view than yours, so what? Half of the people in your country does. Get over it. There is no right or wrong. Plus: You rarely hear people whining about mr. Schwarzenegger. And he is even uglier. :)
11 years ago
One of the all-time classics. Why? An original theme, which is very well executed. The gameplay is very well thought out. The software is smooth. The game looks great. Rudy is -evil- and with that one of the best toys ever. 'nuff said.

A real shame that it was made just before every Bally/WMS got a diamond plate finish.
11 years ago
Great early system3 game.

A pretty simple layout, but a fun one nonetheless. Very original (though a bit strange) theme: a water slide park... with wild animals. This theme comes alive by the use of prime colors, Rodney the crocodile and cute little palm trees scattered around the playfield.

Add to this a tropical soundtrack and Rodney's carribean accent, and the general 'feel' of this machine is that of a hot summer day with lots of ice cream, splashing water and fun.

The rules contribute to this: They are simple to understand. But, there's more than meets the eye. Filling the grid on the playfield is great fun. This makes it a game with a high 'just one more-factor'. It's a great game for parties as well.

Surf 'n Safari is a great machine for a casual game of pinball. Why so serious?

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