Kurtpinba11's ratings

Pinsider Kurtpinba11 has rated 56 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms Kurtpinba11's personal top 56.

Rating comments

Kurtpinba11 has written 26 rating comments:

35 days ago
Played this game 20 times at TPF. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s not a theme for everyone, but I think fans of pinball will be able to pick out what is essentially Barry Oursler’s greatest hits from his previous designs. The drop targets are exactly the same as Space Shuttle, the locks are similar to Space Shuttle, double lane change like Barracora, long flowy ramps like Dracula. I really like the bash locks, that’s a neat innovative mech, and it’s so simple! Another positive it has is that there’s not much to break because there aren’t any big complicated mechs. This game was made to be on route, and it shows. Should be very operator friendly.

I would absolutely play this on location. Owning it, maybe, if I could get a used one at between $5K-$6K and I had space for it. It’s hard to justify adding this to my max line up of 7 games when we have games like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Iron Maiden, and Godzilla out there for the same price.

The hate for Barry O’s BBQ Challenge is not deserved. It’s a fun game with a lot of love that was put into it.
6 months ago
Venom is a fun game if you take the time to understand what’s going on. Progression saving is a really neat feature for those of us who have trouble getting to see a full game. I can get to wizard modes, but I have trouble finishing them, and some games I just can’t seem to get there. I put years (over 1000 games) into Jurassic Park, but the closest I’ve ever been to Visitor’s Center was when I was one shot away and drained. It’s frustrating. With Venom, I am confident I can actually beat it. I’m not saying all games need to have this feature but it is nice to have access to one game that I know I can see all of.

One thing I want to address out of the gate is that while the pro doesn’t have the changing tower and ramp from the premium, it actually does divert shots, changing the ball path ever so slightly. So the “choose your host, change the game” tagline still applies to the pro both physically and in rules. For example, if you are Flash Thompson, one of your locks is done on the right orbit, the ball is forced into the hideout shot in the back; if you are Peter, your ball is always diverted to the pops on the right orbit. Yeah, it’s not as cool as a moving tower and a ramp that goes up and down, but it still feels different when playing different hosts.

The flow on this game is extremely good, the shots all feel really smooth when hit, and the game is very fast. The spin that is on the ball in this game is incredible. The fast locks are neat, and repeating the center ramp over and over is one of my favorite things to do in the game. Understanding the grid and the perks you get for completing the grid is essential. Getting the flamethrower for example is a must and it really helps out with battles.

Speaking of battles, while there are only 6 in the game, they are all fun and have unique rules. I do hope they have more attacks in later code than just regenerating. I know Grendel can mess with your flippers, but I want something else, like turn on impossible mode for 30 seconds where you can’t cradle up, have certain shots take away your score, a wrong shot costs you 5 seconds in time, something along those lines. I like that you can take out minor bosses in multiball too because that’s really going to help speed run times when you really get dialed in.

Zombie Yeti’s art is stellar per usual, I have no complaints about any of it. I even really love the pro’s cabinet art more than the premium or LE’s. It’s up there with my favorite ZY art packages.

Animations look great for the most part but I’m not crazy about Knull’s look. He doesn’t look like he’s animated well at all, like something out of a mobile game. Grendel and the minor bosses look way better. The video mode hopefully won’t get old, I have fun with it when I get to it, but I could see people not really liking it. I’d like to see an additional Scream video mode in a later code update, would be nice if there was some variation.

Music is fantastic, no complaints there. Every host has their own theme, and they’re all great.

Let’s talk about mechs for a moment. I already covered the fast locks, and I really appreciate having physical ball locks on a pro not to mention having two of them. The Carnage mech is one of my favorite mechs in recent memory. I absolutely love vari targets, and think they should make a comeback. This is a great take on the vari target. The small subway in the back is nice, and Vuks are always classic. I wish the game had a spinner on the horseshoe shots (like on swords of fury) or on an orbit or something though. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to make the pro more interesting.

Lighting seems dark to me, and that’s probably because of the wide open playfield; this game would benefit from pin stadium lighting. It has some really cool lighting effects and light shows though, spider sense is a treat for the eyes.

Let me close with this, Venom isn’t going to win most people over. I believe we’ll see a lot of scores of 7s from most people, but I think that over time and with score and rule balancing that it’s going to be something special. It may be a fan layout and the people that are playing all the Elwins Borgs and Dangers out there might think it’s boring to have a two flipper game, but fan layouts are proven. There’s absolutely room for a solid two flipper game in a line up of Sterns, maybe just not in a line up of less than 4. It’s not Godzilla, it’s not Foo Fighters, but comparing it to Eddy’s Stern games, I absolutely like it more than Mando because there is really only one way to play Mando (stack mode, encounter, and multiball. Then do a hunt and repeat) that’s the whole game. Venom has more to do, I feel, and there are strategies for scoring based on the host you pick. A fun game but definitely not a masterpiece in terms of layout. Eddy has done much better in the past. Coding however, this is easily Dwight’s best code in his Stern era. I know he had some help, but he really has brought true RPG mechanics into a pinball machine and it feels great.

Definitely put some quarters into this one on location, but if you want to own, you might want to go premium.
8 months ago
GTF isn’t for everyone.

I have had a weird draw to this game ever since playing it at Texas Pinball Festival. I considered buying one of the demo units on the spot, as it was the game I ended up playing the most there and I just found myself drawn to it. I tried to find things I didn’t like about it, and I did find a few, the biggest being the air ball issue which has now been addressed by American Pinball with the addition of support brackets and shields for the tank.

American made a bad decision releasing this next to Foo Fighters, Pulp Fiction, Godfather, and Scooby Doo. GTF stands out among them for its originality. They went all in on the camp for this one, and it both does and does not pay off. It pays off because it’s different and in an industry with wide open games, something with a more cramped playfield like this is a nice change of pace. Having a big bash target in the middle was not the best idea, however. It’s very close to the flippers and it blocks a good portion of the playfield. Leaving your only real safe shots on the orbits, and the ramp. Luckily there is an up post between the flippers to save your ball when the tank gets nasty. It’s this specific toy that makes GTF not pay off. Having a big portion of the playfield cut off is a no go for a lot of players. It doesn’t help matters that this toy is quite obviously a 3D print, and the robot that pops out, ooof. It’s cheap. There’s no nice way of saying that, but it’s the most glaring issue the game has. I hope modders will find a way to fix it.

The lighting in this game is just beautiful. The light shows are fantastic, it really is one of the best looking games on the market because of all the work that went into making the lighting stand out. Comparing GTF to other American Pinball games, it’s night and day, the difference.

The theme is absolutely absurd, and that makes it work in my opinion. It embraces all of the camp and cheesiness of the FMV video game era, and is the only game on the market that does this. Again, it’s different. Original IP is hard to come by, everything that comes out is a license these days. It’s quite refreshing to see something like this in a line up of all big licenses.

So is this a flow monster or a stop and go game? It can be both, but it’s more of a stop and go. The orbits and ramp definitely flow, especially if you master the manual diverter. Both the tank and the UFO swinging target require good aiming if you want a safer ball return. It really is best to attempt to get into multiball to take out the tanks though, hit it while you have a ball save going just in case you get SDTM drains.

Modes are good, but they’re pretty standard. GTF reminds me a lot of a 90s Bally/Williams. There’s not a lot of depth, but what is there is fun, and that’s what really matters.

Music is mostly dubstep, you either like or don’t like it, but there is a nice theme in there during air strike multiball, sounds are straight out of 50s sci fi. The sound system is fantastic overall though, the sub is great and the speakers are of good quality!

The art on this game is some of Franchi’s best work. Just absolutely gorgeous art. The backglass is stunning, and the playfield has great colors!

Overall GTF is good, it has gotten a lot of flack and it’s being ignored for better games. When you’re up against every Titan of the industry all at once, there’s only so much cash to throw around in the hobby. American should have released this now while all they really have to go up against is Venom. Also releasing with no classic edition up front was a mistake. A lower price point may have enticed more buyers. Then again, a lot of people are just waiting on their Pulp Fiction and the next Elwin, so maybe this game was always doomed to obscurity.

Don’t miss the opportunity to play one of these and try it for yourself. Hopefully you’ll play one with the support brackets installed though. I assume that going forward, all GTF games will ship with them installed. I hope GTF will be one of those games people go back to later and discover how good it actually is under all its flaws.
1 year ago
Excellent EM. Lots of great features that you see on more modern games, and the spinning disc was very unique and ahead of its time.

I prefer Four Million BC to Fireball simply because of the randomness the spinning disc creates, but the designer still took almost all the features of Four Million BC including 2 and 3 ball multiball, and the stop and score eject saucer feature, which are fantastic features for an EM. Fireball absolutely has the better art package, however.

You can’t go wrong with either game, and while I’m not an EM fanatic, I can appreciate them and understand that they often get ignored in favor of solid states. Games like Fireball are just as good if not better than lots of solid state era games. In fact, this exact same game was released as a solid state with the zipper flipper feature removed in favor of standard flippers, and it isn’t held in high regard making the EM version superior to its solid state counterpart.

I encourage those that don’t enjoy the majority of EMs like me to seek out the games designed by Ted Zale. Fireball, Four Million BC, and his other games are often ahead of their time and incorporate features many would consider to be more modern. Definitely my favorite designer of the era.
1 year ago
A fun EM with a decent ruleset.

The spinner feature is completely avoidable if you just want to hit the ball back up top to the lit advance spinner switch, and I recommend doing that because the spinner mech can send your ball right down the middle easily if it stops in a vertical position, and you happen to hit it dead on.

Extra ball is easy to obtain by completing drops twice. The layout could have benefited for at least one real spinner on the left orbit.

I’m not a really big EM fan, but I do enjoy Triple Action quite a bit and like to play it on location often.
1 year ago
One of the best EMs I’ve ever played with smaller flippers, and in this case, zipper flippers.

I generally don’t enjoy EMs, but Four Million BC has some great gimmicks that make it one to seek out if you want an EM for your line up. I’m a tournament player, so I like to have variety in my line up to practice, and I have been lacking an EM until now.

This EM has some features that are very ahead of their time.
There’s a ramp skill shot which is only accessible from the plunge; hit the pterodactyl to score 3000 as the ball goes back down the ramp. The ramp shot is also where you light your bumpers for 100 points each. Better to overshoot than undershoot because the ramp drops you off into the pops for some big points.

Two ball locking mechs, one is a saucer which activates a scanning score stop volcano feature when you release the ball by hitting the lit mushroom bumper, and the other is a locking feature similar to the one you see on Flight 2000, the ball locks and then as you hit the appropriate mushroom bumper, the ball steps down with each hit until the ball is released. You can achieve two or three ball multiball, but beware if you are draining as a ball re-locks, the game will count that as a drain. It will happen to you eventually. The zipper flippers activate when you hit the right mushroom bumpers, and this is very good for multiball since you need to hit that to release your ball from
the volcano lock. Center mushroom bumper takes the flippers back out.

Other features are a return gate that can open up and get your ball back in the shooter lane giving you access to more big points in the pops or you can go for the skill shot, and a kickback in the left outlane. Both these features are lit by the roll overs in the middle of the playfield.

I really like EMs like this, so many features over other EM games. The only drawback is there is no bonus to count down when you lose your ball. Go for the pops for your big scores and try to time your volcano ball lock release for max value.

Love the theming, art is a great on the backglass and playfield. The cabinet is good, but the plastics could have used some art on them. Still looks fantastic as a whole package though!

If you love EMs, I would highly recommend this game as a buy. Even if you don’t love them, Four Million BC offers modern features in an EM package.
1 year ago
While Hurricane isn’t as good as Cyclone, in my opinion, I find it more enjoyable than Comet.

Let me say this: I hate clowns, they creep me out. For me to enjoy any table with a clown on it is a testament to how fun that particular game is. Barry Oursler and Python Angelo were a fantastic team that knew how to make a game shine in the design and art. Hurricane is not the best example of Python’s art, but he did have a couple other cooks in the kitchen with him on this game, and it could have held back his artistic ability. Still, much like Cyclone and Comet before it, there were a lot of small details on the playfield to look at which makes Hurricane a lot of fun to look over. The sides of the cabinet are ugly, and the backglass is decent.

The gameplay is smooth, and being able to nail both the Hurricane and Comet ramps repeatedly is fun. There’s also a combo shot to be made from the Comet ramp to the Ferris Wheels that nets you some extra points for doing it. I like building up to Clown Time, which is essentially the game’s wizard mode (it even has a separate high score table for the mode). The best way to build up points in the mode is to get your multiball started before you hit the Hurricane ramp to start Clown Time. The jackpot in the game is lit once you obtain all the “Palace” letters. This jackpot is built up over time, but its base value is 5 million. Rules are simple, but still have the depth of achieving a mode. This would be a great pin to teach someone pinball on as the shots aren’t super difficult and the ball goes on all the rides and is fun to watch.

Scoring on this game is low, you’re not putting a billion on this game, you’ll be lucky to break 30 million most games, but it adds to the challenge of putting up a big score.

Sound is good, and music is decent, the carnival/circus tunes fit the theme well, and there is good variety in there. Music changes when you hit the jackpot, Clown Time also has its own music and sounds (creepy clown laughs)…

I think about adding this one to my line up for beginners, but I don’t know if I can handle a game with a giant clown on it that I have to look at every time I play pinball, at least that clown isn’t as creepy as the one on Cyclone, but Cyclone is the better game overall.
1 year ago
Alien Poker is one of those ugly games that has some great gameplay. Probably one of the worst backglasses in Williams history, if not the worst. The playfield is better to look at, but still not great.

Where Alien Poker shines is its gameplay and rules. Maxing out your jackpot multipliers and getting the royal flush drop targets down in order is fun and rewarding. My only issue with the game is that the spinner being lit really isn’t that good of a strategy here unless you have it lit on the plunge. You don’t get that many spins on it when you hit it from a flipper, and at best, it’s worth about 20-30K on a plunge. You really want to focus in on getting your kings completed to increase the jackpot multipliers and hitting the lit joker targets to max out your bonus multiplier. Also completing all your joker targets starts a fun “joker hunt” mode where each flashing joker target is worth 10K and moves around randomly after being collected.

Shots are relatively safe on this game. I don’t feel like the game is very outlane hungry especially since there is only one sling kicker on the left.

Some like to make the game a little more challenging by taking the guide out under the third flipper, making it a scissor flipper game so you have to have more restraint with the right two flippers. Even with that removed, I’ve played enough scissor flipper games to know not to try to trap up in certain situations and dead flip when the ball heads to those flippers.

No multiball here, but truly, the game doesn’t need it. Multiball would break this game.

Getting your aces completed and spelling “poker” just gets you to the extra ball and special.

My favorite moment in the game is crossing a million in scoring, there’s a voice call out and some sound effects that probably would have been incredible to experience when the game was new. Most people weren’t used to scoring in the millions at that time.

That’s really all there is to know about the game. It’s simple, and the rules are fun. There are some cool moments for those that can get to a million and max out the royal flush jackpot value, and some fun callouts and attract sounds. Having this in my line up gives me a break from the games I have that have a ton to do. Alien Poker wouldn’t work well in a small line up of three or less, but if you have more than 5, it’s a nice change of pace and a good single ball game.
1 year ago
I have access to a Trident near me. I enjoy it. Not sure if it’s a game I would ever own, but I really like the ruleset, and it makes me play a little more defensively since attempting to trap on the right can often make the ball roll up the guide and into the outlane since the inlane has a gap. I also like that there is a chance to recover by nudging back onto the ball guide when the ball hits the bottom outlane rubber.

Spinners are fun to rip, and I love the drop target rules. I like that there is no left outlane to worry about too.

There are so many of these older Sterns I haven’t played, but I am finding myself really liking them. Trident is one of the best ones I’ve played. I wish the art were better, it’s really the only thing that brings the game down.
1 year ago
This is one of the Sterns where I say pro is the way to go. You’re not missing out on any special mechs for the most part aside from the orb opening and closing which really isn’t a game changer, and those Groot arms aren’t there which I consider a plus.

Fun shots, good rules, excellent Groot mech. I feel this one is a bit underrated and deserves to be in at least the top 30. Guardians does a great job with the movie assets and even though they had to record new voices, they don’t sound that far off. Add in 4 songs from Awesome Mix Vol 1, and you have a recipe for a solid game all around.
1 year ago
Iron Maiden is the first Spike 2 game I ever played back in 2018. It was right next to Star Wars, which I also played that day, but Iron Maiden stood out as one of the most unique layouts I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, and I still feel that way today. I had no idea that the designer behind it would become my personal favorite designer of all time. My goal is to just have a line of Elwin’s games going forward. Ironically I have picked up Iron Maiden after Godzilla and Jurassic Park. I passed on Iron Maiden due to the theme, but after discovering some more of their music, I am on board with it.

I love the rules on this game. It’s pretty straightforward, but the shots are difficult to master. Surprisingly it’s easier to hit that left ramp through the pops than the right ramp that’s wide open. One thing I always love about Elwin games is that they make me a better player. I dial in these shots and they just feel great and Iron Maiden has some amazing shots like the left loop and the mini right loop from the mini flipper.

Music and sounds are fantastic. The songs they chose are some of the best. I’m not sure what I would have swapped out here. Maybe Flight of Icarus for something off Brave New World like The Wicker Man or something. The newest song on the pin is Fear of The Dark from 1992, which is the best song off that album, but I feel like something newer should have been there.

The art is fantastic, Zombie Yeti is a perfect fit for this game. I also appreciate that the game is themed around Eddie instead of just the band. That’s something I wish other band pins had. Iron Maiden has a story to it, and that’s one thing Elwin excels at with his games. He tells an actual story with his modes and throughout the game. I think that’s what makes his games so unique.

If you can get a good deal on Iron Maiden, you’re in for a treat. Don’t sleep on this game because the theme turns you off. Play it out in the wild if you see it, it’s an extremely good time.
1 year ago
Slugfest is probably the ultimate pitch and bat. Some of the EM games are very cool with physical runners in the back box running around the bases, but I love Slugfest for all the modern features like a DMD and stat tracking. Base stealing is a welcome addition and adds some depth to the simplicity of just pitching and batting, There is also a 4th pitch, and most pitch and bats only have 3. Include the ability to win baseball cards and that really pushes it over all other pitch and bats.

Great light shows, great music, good (but a little repetitive) callouts. I do wish there were more animations, but what is there is excellent.

The art package is good and the game has a great sense of humor with the player names.

As far as the shots go, it’s just a simple fan layout with a ramp that goes up and down from time to time to give you access to hit the heckler or hit a home run/grand slam. It’s satisfying to hit, and it gives you a fun light show. I’d like to see a more modern pitch and bat incorporate moving outfielders recording outs by registering hits to switches or using magnets to catch the ball.

All in all a great machine, one I played several times in arcades. My biggest criticisms are not enough animations and some callouts get repetitive, but that’s it! Slugfest is a great game and one that works well for either single or two-player(s)

I bought one today, so I am excited to add it to my line up. All of my experience with Slugfest so far has been in arcades, but I think I’ll get a ton of play out of it at home.
2 years ago
Mandalorian works well as a pinball theme. In my opinion, this the best of the Star Wars pins, and Mandalorian is the best Star Wars has been in a long time, so I'm very happy Stern released this.

I have around 50 games on it so far, and I wanted to get my initial thoughts down. Overall it's a good pin, I feel like I haven't seen this kind of fan layout before, so that makes it interesting to me.

What I don't like: A couple shots feel a little clunky, the left orbit shot seems to get held up on something, and doesn't always shoot cleanly even when I think I've hit it as clean as I can. The under ramp U Turn shot is also a little clunky and the return isn't always friendly. It kind of gives it an extra challenge, but when compared to the premium, that return ramp is definitely missed. I also don't like the plastic ramp returns on the right. I will absolutely mod those and change out for metal rails.

What I like: I like the art, music, and sounds, I think those are all top notch. I like most of the shots except the ones I mentioned before. There doesn't seem to be a lot of flow in the game, I can combo some shots, but there seems to be a lot of stop and go, which I don't mind. It's a nice change of pace from other games I have. I like the toys in the game, although I wish Grogu did something. I know I can mod that, but it's pricey. I like all the modes, and I really like that each type of mode has their own mini wizard mode to complete.

What I love: I love the encounters. A lot of players and streamers like to call it "wood chopping", but I enjoy it. I think it's a fun objective in the mini playfield, and I like shooting the left ramp over and over again after exiting the mini playfield until the encounter is complete. I love the co-op, this is going to be a big hit with the family. Being able to help them progress myself is going to really open up the game to other players that may not be as skilled, and let them see the game in its entirety. Plus it will help me progress too. I can just tell them to start missions while I work on encounters. I love the lighting. I think especially in ambush when the whole table just goes red, it's a really neat effect. I LOVE Hero and Impossible modes too, this is the first table I've played that has all these great extra modes that aren't just shortcuts to wizard modes. If someone who isn't skilled wants to play against me rather than with me in co-op, we can throw Hero Mode on so it's harder for me, and if I want to challenge myself, I can throw Impossible Mode on. These modes give the game a lot of replayability.

Mando is fun, I definitely enjoy it more than my Black Knight pro, but it's not on the same level with my Jurassic Park and Godzilla. The theme is fantastic, there are modes where players can work together, and it's going to be really popular with guests, so that's really all I can ask for in a pin for the family. My pins are for everyone that comes to the house, not just me, so having something recognizable AND accessible is important. Jurassic Park was the game most people played, but I think that is going to change shortly. If you can have only one Star Wars themed pinball machine, this is the way.
2 years ago
I don’t even know where to start. Who thought a pinball machine with half an actual playfield was a good idea? It’s so claustrophobic, and if your ball gets on that left side, good luck. Gold Wings tried this layout, but at least it gave players a flipper on the left to fight off the instant drain when it heads to the left. I’m usually all about trying to find the good in any pinball machine, but Spy Hunter is so far the absolute worst table I’ve ever played.
2 years ago
I’m lucky enough to have one of these by me in a local pinball arcade, and it’s probably my favorite early solid state Stern. I love the plunge shot and holding the left flipper as the ball comes around to combo into the drop targets. Such a satisfying shot. I’m not fond of the sounds. I know they are early solid state sounds, but Bally, Williams, and Gottlieb all are light years ahead of Stern sounds in this era. I don’t know what it is, but Stern sounds are extremely annoying.

Overall, Dracula has some good rules and scoring to go along with them, and I find the table quite fun to come back to. Really good effort from Stern, I just wish it sounded better.
2 years ago
Wow! The King of The Monsters meets the new King of Pinball.

I’ve played a lot of pinball, but Elwin has completely knocked it out of the park here. Shots feel fantastic! It’s hard to think of any designer that has just put out absolute bangers for their first 4 machines, but Elwin has definitely done just that. Godzilla is his best game too. As much as I love Jurassic Park, Godzilla feels more refined in its shots, and thankfully has a better art package which puts it over the top for me. This has always been my dream theme and it’s integrated very well.

The movie clips are all fantastic, and for once the original animations look great as well. That’s always been my biggest hang up on modern sterns, the animations always look so cheap.

Music in Godzilla is also fantastic, adding in the Blue Oyster Cult song was the cherry on top for me.

Rules seem less complicated than Jurassic Park and Avengers. Which makes it a little more accessible to my family. It’s been a pretty big hit so far!

Now on to the star of the show, the mechs! The tower is easily one of the best mechs in modern pinball, the diverter function, the physical ball lock, the movement, it’s perfection! The rotating jump ramp into MechaGodzilla is also awesome, and the bridge is also a welcome addition. I can’t forget to mention the Magna Grab is one of the best uses of a magnet in years! I can’t think of a Stern game that has this many mechs on it in recent memory.

This is one game that a pro just won’t do it for me. A premium was a must and I’m glad to own one.

My biggest complaint are the callouts. I understand they’re trying to be like Raymond Burr’s character from the original King of The Monsters, but it’s a poor imitation. I marked off for that, and I am marking off for the Godzilla toy in the upper left corner. It looks like some dollar store version of Godzilla.

Aside from those small complaints, this game is as close to perfection as I could ever ask for.

Update: The callouts have grown on me, so I will not mark off for them anymore. This game just continues to add on with each code update. There’s so much in the game already, it’s hard to imagine what else will be added before the code hits 1.0!
2 years ago
I grew up watching The Munsters with my mom and dad (just reruns). I wish I liked this table more. For one, the game soft locked on me in the middle of my best game which really took my opinion of it way down. The sub playfield felt like a cheap toy, and I really felt that while it was cool to have multiball in a sub playfield, the second ball got in my way a lot! I just felt like I couldn’t accurately make shots at all.

The regular playfield plays fine. It makes me wonder if I would enjoy the pro more than the premium. Shots are all smooth, and the rules are simple enough. It kind of feels like a remake of Monster Bash when it comes down to it.

Sounds and animations are a plus on this. The iconic Munsters theme is center stage here, and the sounds all seem like they fit the theme. I didn’t find anything particularly annoying. I played 10 games on it so far, so maybe after some more games the sounds may get on my nerves more, time will tell.

The code on this game is horrible. I’ve played a lot of Stern games, but I’ve only ever heard of soft locks, I’ve never experienced one until today. There’s no excuse for this in the age of easily accessible code updates. I thought everyone was being dramatic about it in Stern forums and their social media posts, I was wrong. Once you get Munster Madness, there’s not much else to do but repeat.

I think there’s a good game here under all the issues with the code, but since the stern team has all moved on to other games, I don’t know if there will be another code update in the future, but who knows, Iron Man and Ghostbusters both got updates long after they were out of production.

Time will tell!
2 years ago
I was happy to buy Barracora after watching some game play. The opportunity to buy one at a decent price and have it restored was just too tempting to pass up. What really sold me was the rule set it has to offer. Barracora came out in 1981, games at that point had maybe a few fun gimmicks at most and rule sets were not that deep, Barracora has A LOT going on. You have the double lane change, two different multiballs, an in play bonus collect on the table in the upper saucer which doubles as the top lock, you have the center target features which allows for some big scoring opportunities if you line up each side, a fantastic spinner, and drop targets which must be completed in order to spell "Barracora" (which is how you get into your multiballs and advances your multipliers). Of note, it doesn't appear at first that there is any double or triple scoring in multiball, but if you have advanced the 4-5-6 lanes, you will have added value to the top right target in front of the horseshoe shot, this value will be doubled or tripled depending on what multiball you are in. The PAPA tutorial on YouTube does not accurately address the scoring in multiball. Think of it like a Jackpot shot.

The backglass is BEAUTIFUL, even more so now that I've seen it in person. The art is definitely inspired by Giger, and I don't know that I could love it any more than I already do. It draws people in with curiosity. The playfield art is also a looker. I can see why some may not like it because it is such a weird theme, and I think that at least part of the reason this theme was used over the other themes the layout went through, is that Fathom came out just a month before it. Williams likely wanted an underwater theme with fish women because they liked Fathom so much, and when the artist came up with Barracora, they rolled with it. I did knock some points off for the theme overall just because I think this game would have worked better as a different theme, it was definitely intended to be something else entirely at first, but the art is just amazing all around and gets a perfect score from me.

Sounds are typical of this era, but oddly there is no speech even though Black Knight had some. I do think Barracora would have benefited greatly from some speech, so I took some points off there, but the droning defender sounds are fine overall.

I feel like lighting is typical of this era, it's good, nothing to really write home about, but it does have a nice little show when you get the special.

I definitely feel the "just one more game" factor with this game. It's strangely addicting, and it's probably because there are so many things to do on the table, lots of different ways to score, and I completely forgot to mention that it has one of the first ball save features that I ever remember seeing. If you have a ball locked in the top and you lose your ball in play, you're getting that locked ball back.

Overall, this is a fun game that plays well, and has a lot of variety. I have only played Jungle Lord and Black Knight out of the system 7 family, but so far, I have to give the nod to Barracora as the best of that bunch. Sure it may look strange and the theme is very weird, but it has more rules than some modern games and it's way ahead of its time making it very addicting to play. Barracora is a fantastic game and has me eager to explore some other system 7 games I haven't had the pleasure of playing yet.
2 years ago
Of the System 11s I own (Big Guns, Pinbot, and F-14), F-14 is likely to see the least play in my arcade. That's not to say it's a bad game, far from it. I find the other two more fun to play, and so do guests. F-14 feels unfair at times, too many shots result in a SDTM drain. It's hard to achieve multiball on factory settings too, which kind of alienates new players. Thankfully, you can change this so that when you achieve a lock lit by spelling "Tomcat", the game will award you two locks the first time instead of one. Since you have to lock 3 balls and then hit the lock again to release, it cuts down the number of locks you need to earn in half.

Gameplay is fast and furious. This is an expert level pin, and you really have to be ready to do some damage control if you miss a shot. The kicker in the upper left playfield is a great feature, it feels like you're actually fighting the machine, but it's also very fast, and a very dangerous shot. It's the only way to earn an extra ball though, so you have to go for the kills if you want to extend your play. Overall, the game flows nicely, it's just very punishing.

Where F-14 truly excels is in the sound and music department. Zero complaints. All the sounds are fantastic, and the music is some of the best the system 11 tables have to offer. Best multiball music in all of the system 11 family in my opinion, even better than Pinbot's iconic music.

Lighting is very good, and there are some really good light shows in the game. The table doesn't feel dark or hard to see, and the topper lights are a MUST have on this game. There's something really special about right before you get that multiball seeing those lights spin around and around. In my opinion, it's one of the best toppers in pinball.

I like F-14, but it doesn't always achieve one of my biggest standards for owning a pinball machine, the "just one more game factor", and this has to do with how brutal and unfair the game can be. I have to dock it lastability and fun points for that. I really like challenging games, but even by Steve Ritchie standards, this game is hard. I'll play it some more, it's still very new in my collection and my only experience with it previously was through Pinball Arcade, and virtual pins aren't always a good representation of how a game will play in real life. If my opinion changes, I'll update my review accordingly.

Update to my review 11/8/21: I'm enjoying this game a lot more now. It's currently seeing the most play from me because of the challenge. Now that I have a feel for the table and the shots, I'm getting into multiball more frequently on factory settings. Before, I would achieve multiball maybe once every 10 games or so and usually on the 3rd ball. My nudging skills have gotten better and most importantly, I have fixed the weak pop bumper which is making spelling "Tomcat" A LOT easier. I still think F14 is not on the same tier as something like PinBot, High Speed, Taxi or Whirlwind, but of the system 11 games I feel like it's at least better than Big Guns which is also in my collection, so I'm adjusting my score accordingly. I'm finding myself more and more fond of it because it's challenging. It makes for some intense games, and man the light show and music never get old.
3 years ago
I took a chance on this game after being told it was just "okay". I started asking around about the pro because the upper playfield looked like it was very barren and really only functioned as a ball lock for the most part. I asked people that enjoy the same kind of games I enjoy. I love fast and challenging games, and this hits the mark for me. The classic theme also really hits home for me as I really love older tables.

In my opinion, not having an upper playfield really helps this game flow so smoothly, shots feel great, and it doesn't clunk around like some other modern Stern games. The fan layout is classic, but there are some very dangerous shots. Hitting The Knight straight on is a recipe for a drain down the middle.

Speaking of the knight.. I LOVE the knight toy!!! This is by far one of the best toys in pinball. I feel like I'm really fighting The Black Knight throughout the game, and while a lot of people are divided about whether this game is really a Black Knight game without the upper playfield, I feel it absolutely nails it as a sequel table.

I like the modes and the rules for them, I just wish some rules were a little more clear, for instance how to collect super jackpots is not really spelled out for you or obvious, and you don't even know it's active unless you are paying close attention to the screen. I feel like having bigger font, or calling more attention to it in game would be better. Hopefully this will happen in a code update, but I kind of doubt it since both designer and coder have moved on to Led Zeppelin and Black Knight is probably complete. That's really my only gripe with the game.

Music is good, and there are two soundtracks with the newest code updates. One for those that enjoy metal, one for those that enjoy something a little more cinematic. The soundtracks can be switched between on the fly through the adjustment screen. Both are good and work with the game, so it's just going to come down to your specific tastes.

Overall, Black Knight Sword of Rage is worth a place in my line up, and I'm happy I took a chance on it. Is it worth a place in yours? Do you enjoy fast games that flow really well? Did you enjoy a game like Iron Man? The Getaway? or other Steve Ritchie games? Then you'll enjoy it.

Since it's not tied to a movie or music license, I feel Black Knight SoR will become somewhat of a pinball "hidden gem" down the road. I'm interested to see exactly how many of these were produced once their run is officially over since it hasn't been a big hit. If you're interested in it, don't sleep on it. Now if only I could get my hands on that topper...
3 years ago
I wished the theme of this table was "Drive In Movie Featuring Creature From The Black Lagoon", when I first played it. I hated the theme of the drive in because I was expecting it to be a full on Creature From The Black Lagoon table, but as I played it and got deeper into the game and understood why it was themed this way, I began to love it. Starting the film, searching for the creature, blowing up cars that block your view of the theater screen, it's all really fun. The music has the throwback to that era as well and it fits nicely with the theme of the table. If I was going to choose this or Monster Bash for my Universal Monster fix, I'd probably choose this. I do like Monster Bash too, but the way this game shoots, everything feels so smooth that I just can't get enough of it. My biggest complaint is that the game is too dark. This game is in desperate need of additional lighting and bright LED swapping.

I'd like to own Creature one day. It might be my next table, we'll see.
3 years ago
I love No Good Gofers, but I'm also pretty bad at it. I find it to be one of the harder tables at my local pinball arcade. I keep coming back to it to try again, but I can't say I've really been able to get very far into the game. I can say though, that I did manage to hit the hole in one shot, and that felt fantastic when I did it.

Shots all feel good, although I have trouble hitting the right ramp when I need to. I like the theme a lot, and the Gophers have lots of speech which is great for the time. Dot Matrix animations look great, and the music is pretty good. I keep coming back to it, and I enjoy playing it. I definitely play other tables a lot more, but it's one of the 5 machines I play regularly while i'm at the arcade and I'll go out of my way to play it if i see it in the wild.
3 years ago
Big Guns is my second system 11, and my 4th table overall. I wanted something that would stand out in my line up, and the oversized back box and translite do just that. I really like the gimmicks on this table. I think the cannons are a great feature, and the bagatelle toy in the back glass is a fun addition as well. I love the art by Python, and Big Guns is a perfect companion to my PinBot. This is not a game I would recommend picking up as a first game or even a second game, but maybe in a line up of 3 or more. Big Guns lacks ramps that you can actually shoot, pop bumpers, and spinners, but it works in my line up because my other three games have those features. Big Guns stands out as something different in my line up, and that's actually a good way to describe my current line up of games, (PinBot Jurassic Park 2019, Genesis, and Big Guns), "different"

The game play is fun. I do enjoy playing it quite a bit. The shots feel good and the game is very fast. Seeing the cannons fire into the wireframe is a neat effect, but I can see that it might get old for someone if they don't appreciate seeing it all the time. It fascinates me, so I enjoy watching it happen. Where this game shines for me (no pun intended) is the light shows. This has without a doubt one of the best light shows in the system 11 line up. It just looks beautiful. The music is catchy, I find myself humming it outside the game. I love the call outs and speech. Specifically "YOU ARE INVINCIBLE!". Speaking of that call out, I want to talk about the multiball. Locking all three cannons gives you the multiball, but loading the lit cannon again in multiball gives you the Invincibility mode and you get a chance to save the Queen. You don't have much time to do this, but all ball save features turn on during this time period. That's a really interesting way to do a jackpot feature. The only way you can lose a ball in that mode is if you let the ball go through a flipped flipper between the ball save post and the flipper.

With all games I buy, the most important feeling for me is that "Just one more game" factor. I get that with Big Guns, not quite to the extent of PinBot or even my Jurassic Park, but certainly it does make me feel like I want to play another game after finishing a game. I never walk up to it and feel like one game is enough. Big Guns certainly gets lost in the system 11 line up, and with a line up of such fantastic games that's no surprise, some of them are going to be overshadowed by the more popular themes, but that doesn't mean you should pass up an opportunity to play this game if you see it in the wild.

Made an update to my review after spending a lot of time with this machine:

I find myself enjoying it more and more as I continue to feel challenged to beat my high scores. Even though the rules are simple and it’s easy to get into a multiball, I always find myself coming back. Sometimes I get on this machine and an hour or two passes so quickly, I don’t realize it. I initially found the music to be repetitive even though it was catchy, but that’s grown on me too. Especially with the added instruments to the main theme as balls are locked.

What a great system 11 game, very overlooked.
3 years ago
Genesis is often overlooked because of its terrible backglass art. This can be remedied by replacing it with an alternate translite which I highly recommend doing if you hate that art as much as I do. The game itself is simple and fun. Shots mostly feel good, but the ramps are a little flimsy and often break or need to be reinforced. This can also result in some air balls that hit the glass. I recommend seeking out ramp replacements or reinforcing upon purchase. I have a great time with Genesis every single time I start up a game. The music is some the best the system 80s have to offer, and it has a lot of variety, changing throughout the game. The lighting effect before multiball starts is one of the slickest lighting effects I've ever seen on a table from this era. In my opinion, this is the strongest system 80 game. The shots are simple, but fun to do. Genesis can get very repetitive, but that was how these system 80s were, and compared to something like a Williams system 11, sure this isn't going to stand out as much. It maybe won't get as much play from guests, but personally I enjoy it a lot. I find it very challenging to complete the robot, and it has that "one more game" factor for me. I don't think this would be a great table to pick up if you can just have one table in your game room, but for the right price and in a line up of at least 3 games, I think this is a good addition.
3 years ago
This is the first game I’ve ever bought new. In 1993, I saw Jurassic Park probably 5 times in theaters. When it came out on video, I watched it every day for over a week. I had the toys, I had posters, I collected the comics, I read the book, I listened to the audio book, and I played most of the video games based on it. I even taught myself how to play the main theme on the piano. You could say I am a fan. I’ve played the original Data East table and I enjoy that one well enough, but I really like this new Stern machine.

I’ve been hesitant to buy a brand new Stern. I’ve heard good and bad, but I finally saved up the money and got up the nerve to get myself a Jurassic Park Pro. Everything I have to say is mostly positive, but I do have some gripes.

The good:

The gameplay is excellent. The shots all feel great, and I think the modes are all fun. I enjoy the flow of the game most of all, when you get those combos going, it feels amazing.

The music is great, both the original music and the newly created music.

The idea of navigating around the park visiting different paddocks with their own rescue and capture objectives is great.

Learning the table was a delight and challenging. It keeps me wanting to play “just one more game” and that’s the sign of a great table to me.

Playfield art is gorgeous. I know the comic styling isn’t to everyone’s liking, but I really love it. Unsure why Nedry is such a focus on this table, was Wayne Knight the only person who was approached to add their likeness to the table? (I’ll go more into detail on this in the bad section)

The meh:

The backglass art is very generic. The title isn’t even the right color. I’m not going to call it “bad”, but I am considering getting an alternate translite.

The Bad:

Lack of actor likenesses. Look, if you’re going to put Nedry from the movie on the table, you have to try to put other characters on the table. It can’t be both a retelling of Jurassic Park AND also tie into the movie by using one character from it. It looks kind of out of place. Should have gone all original on this.

Callouts are grating and poorly done. Whomever is voicing John Hammond sounds awful. I assume Muldoon is another one of the voices and that voice actor is terrible too. Again, only voice from the movie represented here is Nedry, and those are a welcome reprieve from the sub par voice acting that plagues the rest of the game. I really can’t understand how you get a JP license, even if it’s limited, and only get the rights to Nedry along with it. You have to at least get the real voice clips of John Hammond. I’ll be looking for custom sound code for this one.

Overall I enjoy the game a lot, love it even, and I’m happy I purchased it. I look forward to further code updates, but for now, I have enough on this table to keep me busy for a long time. A great effort by Stern overall, but whoever was in charge of supervising voice overs and negotiating IP licensing needs to be fired.

Updated on 9/13/23:

I increased my score on code; with the new Nedry save and the trifecta awards, this game has gone from good to great. I used to hate that Nedry outlane, but I hit the 2X target so often that I get the Nedry save at least three times in a good game. The new callouts are nice so I bumped that up from decent to good. JP continues to be a family favorite around the house and while I wrestled with whether or not to sell it for a while, I can safely say it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Can’t believe I’ve had this for over 3 years now.
4 years ago
PinBot is exactly what I think of when I think of Pinball. A great timeless theme, fun game play, great music, and a lot of replay value. There are so many different ways you can play the table, from getting to the Sun, to growing that Solar Value, to opening the visor, and getting multiball. The ramp shot feels really good and the mini playfield will keep you guessing where the ball will come out. PinBot also has a great and satisfying skill shot. I never get bored with this table! A true classic!

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