mof's ratings

Pinsider mof has rated 91 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms mof's personal top 91.

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Rating comments

mof has written 90 rating comments:


7.811/10
3 days ago
Going to stay high level on this review. I own Seawitch. I consider it top-3 for early 80 Sterns.
This feels like a brand new Seawitch on steroids. It feels solid, and there is so much more going on.
I have no idea if the programming is good. I review layouts first, and when given the chance -- the sound package.
The art/theme are "meh" to me, since I'm a stones guy, not a beatles guy.

Didn't think I'd be happy to play this, and I can say both times I played it, while the balls times were super long (making me feel like a stud) -- I felt like I was playing a fun solid game that is a big improvement over a game I love.

If it were in the price range of a playfield-swapped Seawitch ($3-$3.5k), then I'd be in the market for one. But it's not $8,000+ worth of game here -- let alone what the deep-pocket people paid for their versions.
6.596/10
3 days ago
CONTEXT: I own a very nice BK (1980), and consider it one of the best games every designed. My hopes were set very high for BK3. My theory is, if you are going to make a sequel, you have to create something equal or better than the original. BK and BK2K are games about the upper playfield. I cannot say the same for this latest installment in the trilogy, the upper has been nearly abandoned.

5/17/19: I just got to play a few games on the LE at GSPF. I consider BK (1980) to have one of the BEST upper playfields of all time, with 4 things to do. BK3 upper has 3 things to so, and here’s where it gets even worse: I watched my friend make the lock 2 out of 23 tries, and when you miss, it’s NOT fun to watch or play because nothing happens when you miss (you watch the ball dribble away to the lower inlane, without any interaction). It is quite possibly the most barren upper playfield of all time. In short, BK3 overall does not live up to the greatness of BK, and it's not even close. It also doesn't come close to the BK2K upper with 2 sets of roll-overs, a ball that exits roughly in front of the flippers instead of spoon-fed to the inlane, (they both have a ball lock), and they both have an orbit. But it's a clear step down from BK and BK2K in terms of "things to do" up there -- (design)

Final Mofscore: B-

(TL;DR below)

HAPPY ABOUT
* Stern finally having the guts to try an original theme
* SR getting his original theme mojo flowing - so happy for him!
* See-through upper, nice achievement!
* Art design overall
* No bash toy (this is a Stern miracle to abandon the boring “chew toy”)
* Music from big name metal musicians (Scott Ian)
* Low profile good looking black knight toy with a robotic swinging mace — they look good, but are they fun?
* Metal ramps (love the sound and reliability of metal)
* Two spinners
* No obfuscation!
* Orbits (Repeatable): Great!, in TWO directions like high speed.
* Action/Per/Minute: good. Lots of action, but then the huge drawback of the 18 second stop-n-go for ball locks. 18 !!!
* Ball-times: good. Seem short.
* Inlane Lane Change: very good, looks like you light up 4 for the ball save
* Innovation: good, clear upper (on the premium/LE), and a spinning flail. (but are they fun?)
* Lane Change: good, but I didn’t see many balls going back up to the rollover lanes (need to learn more)
* Metal Ramp: yes!
* Slap-Saves: yes
* Shots (total): decent. 12.

JURY’S STILL OUT ON - UNKNOWN
* Theme integration could be a home run, I think that’s what we are all hoping for -- need to play in a person's home to really hear this thing.
* Taunting: unknown (I presume there is some, people are commenting on that it’s good but I can't hear it in an arcade yet -- this is likely very good)

AVERAGE
* Dink-Donk: average, I don’t like how the ball dribbles out of pops to right orbit lane to top of right sling…
* Outlane Fun: average. (left outlane looks less save-able)
* Flippers: average (just 2 on the pro, 3 on the premium/LE)
* Skill Shot: yes
* Voice / V. choreography: average, I have always despised voices modulated to sound like “a tough guy” — better to find a real tough guy! (most will disagree with the modulation knock, and call these great callouts, and I'm fine with that)
* Nudging: average: for the outlanes, but didn’t see a reason to nudge when a ball is in any other part of the playfield

NOT HAPPY ABOUT
* No drops on the upper, then why have an upper? (I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: When you are competing with: Grand Lizard, Black Knight (1980), and other early 80s games for great uppers, why bother if you can’t equal or better those designs?)
* One spoon-fed flipper return lane (SR never did this in BK, High Speed, or BK2K — he kept the ball returns more exciting) Why is he dumbing down the inlane ball returns?
* Rollover lanes into a safe pop-pen? On an original theme? I just don’t get it… The pop pen cannot — I repeat cannot score or harm you, the pop pen design is worthless, and just adds stop-n-go the game. These pops fail all 4 tests for greatness.
* No smart, inline, or sweepable drops
* No horseshoe like in BK or BK2K
* Magna-save is not variable, it’s only on one side, and the button is in the wrong place. People justifying this as anything but a cost-cutting measure is laughable.
* Drops: only 1 bank for BK3. This is abysmal for a BK, where the original has 4 banks of drops.
* Stop’n’Go: poor. waiting for animations is laborious.
* MB Fun: very poor, I didn’t see a lot of good detain shots, I don’t see any reason this has more than a 2 or 3-ball MB. It’s simply not fun or exciting to be in multi-ball mode in the cramped space in the lower. In the original BK, your mind explodes when you have a ball on the upper and the lower at once — trying to decide whether to “catch the baby or the puppy from the burning building”… knowing you will likely drop one or the other.
* Asymmetry: poor: The wall of posts/standups are nearly in a straight line. You brick, you drain. When you often only have a 1% chance to save a brick-drain -- it really takes some fun out of the game.
* Use of Color on the cabinets/BGs. There are wayyy too many colors — I prefer when games have a cohesive two or three color feel like Swords of Fury is: “Black, Light Blue and Orange” — This is a spilled crayon box… I’m not sure why moderns often struggle with this. I see: (pink, purple, fusia, light blue, black, red, green, orange, yellow, white — what the heck people! It’s like a modern tie-die shirt — no color focus!) (I realize this is very subjective, and some won't care about the spilled crayon box approach)


ART: good, Is funky and imperfect -- like other 80s games, and I really like that… However, Not a fan of the “use every color in the palette” approach though to the cabinets. Fire behind the head of the BK is very cool.
SOUND: good, the music is great. But listening with headphones on, it doesn’t “sound” like pinball… It sounds like listening to a metal cartoon. I listen for how well the sounds correlate to actual flips/deflections, and it doesn’t sound like pinball to me.
DISPLAYS: good, I like that the animations are not too complicated. Lots of work went into these.
FLOW: poor, lower PF drains instantly on a bricked shot, any made shots seemingly cannot drain, missed ramps (based on velocity) do not drain or present much challenge. Seemed very imbalanced to me, that missed shots often drain, and made shots are mostly safe.

FINAL MARKS:
Layout/Physics: C-
Does it sound like pinball when you play: B-
Art/Music: A-
Theme Integration: unknown (really need to play it in a quiet home environment to get the feel and learn more about the programming)
Passion: (Risk-Taking/Innovation): B

Mofscore: B- (“it’s good effort for a Stern”) There just aren’t any shots I’m looking forward to shoot on this, period.

BK is a *much* better layout. BK2K is a better layout. Sequels are risky and very hard to pull off. In short, I think the pops-to-nowhere, the barren and overly-difficult upper, the flat row of posts with flat targets blocking shots that brick in a way you cannot save them period, and the mis-placed magna-save button are such blatant design flaws, that no level of great art and music or updated rules can save this pin.

Note: If I reviewed this pin in an absolute vacuum without BK or BK2K, perhaps I would be giving it a higher score. But like walking out of the theatre of Return of the Jedi... this 3rd installment is hard to pretend it's a home run after considering what came before it. Bottom line is SR is capable of so much more than what got released in this pin, and that gap in "what could have been" sours my experience even with the great art and music...
7.369/10
31 days ago
SUMMMARY
If I didn’t own Firepower, Cosmic Gunfight, and Barracora, this would be a must-have, other than the fact that it has TEAL in the BG — what gives???

Mofscore: B

GOOD/VERY GOOD
Action/Per/Minute: very good, three flippers no stopngo
Asymmetry: very good, drop target bank is angled well
Dink Donk: good, it’s funny that the upper right orbit forces a dink donk on the exit
Drops: good, smart drops that must be dropped in order
Flippers: good, three
Hazards: good, very fair lower PF with the angled bank
Inlane Lane Change: good, you are trying to spell pool upstairs
Nudging: very good - you must nudge these outlines
Obfuscation: very good - none
Pops: good, they can score or the right one can hurt you out the right outlane
Shotmap Balance: very good, you are trying to complete 1-15
Shots (total): 10
Slap-Saves: very good - it’s a Williams
Spinners: good, one great-sounding spinner
Stop'n'Go: good, very few pauses for kickuots

AVERAGE
Brick-Action: average, only has a few single standups in the lower if you miss a shot
Inlane Swoosh: average, has only 1 inlane anyway
Innovation: average, any time you have a set of smart drops you have something special, but nothing new on this one
Outlane Fun: average, the right outlane sucks, the left outlane is good

FAIR/POOR
MB Fun: poor - single ball game
Metal Ramp: none
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Toy/Gimmick: none, but the smart drops are nice
Voice / V. choreography: none, 1982 had no voice

UNKNOWN
Hurry-ups: unknown
Lane Change: unknown
Skill Shot: unknown
Taunting: unknown (not likely with no voice)
Backhands: unknown
Ball-time: unknown — played an unshopped game

ART (PF/Cab/BG/Inserts): B (nice art, but the colors aren’t for me)
MUSIC / SOUND EFFECTS: A (it’s the Williams sound set)
PASSION/INNOVATION: B- — neat layout similar to alien poker, but no innovation that’s for sure
LAYOUT/PHYSICS: A-

Mofscore: B
8.220/10
32 days ago
SUMMMARY
Context: This is another strong contender for best “world under glass experience” ever — from JJP. It’s mysterious, as there are what seems like 30+ targets and inserts to shoot for… It takes many many plays to learn where the ball will go based on every shot. I think that kind of magic is what JJP is great at bringing back to pinball. “Where is the ball? Where is the ball going?” I’ve played this on two occasions.

Mofscore: B+ (I am basing this mostly on the layout and how it shoots. I could not hear it, nor do I know the rules, thus will need to update several times in the future.

GOOD/VERY GOOD
Asymmetry: good, there are no symmetrical areas on the playfield
Shotmap Balance: good, you are asked to shoot the entire map
Shots (total): very good, 20 (at least)
Inlane Swoosh: good, left inlane is like fathom.
Skill Shot: good, strength test like Rudy in FH
Slap-Saves: good, normal stuff
MB Fun: very good, incredible amount of space to shoot and plenty of detain shots
Toy/Gimmick: very good, incredible ship (and wondering what the ship is for on the upper left area)
Flippers: good, three

AVERAGE
Action/Per/Minute: average, the stop n go is brief, but frequent with scoops and ball locks
Dink Donk: average, ball dinks and donks to come out of the middle area often
Innovation: very good. Top-10 upper PF all-time, that rocks back and forth…
Spinners: average, one spinner, but it’s wide-left not the easiest shot
Outlane Fun: good, you really have to keep the ball out of the fathom lane
Obfuscation: average, it’s not as bad as you’d think, you can’t quite see what you are shooting with the upper flipper (like TZ), but once you understand what is there, it’s not as big of a deal.

FAIR/POOR
Ball-time: poor, long ball times, like most JJPs
Drops: poor, none
Drops Sweep: poor, none
Lane Change: poor (no rollover lanes)
Pops: fair, they do not help or hurt much, but don’t hold up the ball much, since they are spaced apart fairly well
Inlane Ramp Release: poor, two spoon-fed-ramp-returns, where the ball does not fly through the system
Stop'n'Go: fair, lots of stop…
Nudging: fair, not easy to do on a wide body
Orbits (Repeatable): poor, you have an orbit, but it does not repeat as the pops catch it

UNKNOWN
Backhands: unknown
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Taunting: unknown
Voice / V. choreography: unknown can’t hear in an arcade

LAYOUT/PHYSICS: B+ ,a very fun layout with tons to do, more so than TZ
ART: B- ,(it’s all photoshopped movie actor art, but it feels good overall
DISPLAYS: unknown, I was actually happy that it wasn’t all movie clips like most moderns with LCDs
PASSION/INNOVATION: A- (I didn’t feel like anyone was holding back, this was a project of passion!), the 3-discs to 1-disc is not something I’m disappointed by — it still adds fun variance to the ball travel. I have to ding a little with no drop targets
FEEL: B+ (solid feel, and I can’t give a wide-body an A since they are so difficult to nudge)
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS: unknown

Mofscore: B+
8.138/10
39 days ago
5/15/19: UPDATE Finally got to play it at GSPF: Two games with 2 balls -- in short, I'd call it a Pat Lawlor equal in design to a Whirlwind, WITHOUT two banks of drop targets and spinning discs (less stuff). I struggle to come up with the words, but it feels like a landscape that doesn't move much (no drops). A few balls travel a long distance back to SDTM (there's a center post, but...) I'm dropping my grade a hair after playing it.

BASED OFF WATCHING THE BUFFALO STREAM ON 4/10/2018 -- no idea which model I'm watching, not sure it matters.

Mofscore: B+ (lots of unknowns, room to go either way from here)

GOOD/VERY GOOD
Action/Per/Minute: very good. 4 flippers means you are always in action
Dink Donk: good, it’s minor, and the angles are slim, and they add action to the ball
Flippers: very good: 4
Innovation: good. Ball disappears, fluid ramps behind backbox
MB Fun: very good. Plenty of detain shots (2 ramps and 2 far away loops up top)
Nudging: good. Required for lower PF, and you could influence some dink-donk for missed upper shots
Shots (total): very good, (11-12)
Slap-Saves: very good, typical Williams gap
Skill Shot: good, seems to be a strength plunge, not a timed one. And simple to understand.
Shotmap Balance: very good, you have to shoot the whole thing.
Spinners: good, one spinner on left (need to hear the sound)
Toy/Gimmick: good, rotating hole for gobstopper, neat loops for the upper shots and upper flipper shot, and what are all those gizmos in the back???
Orbits (Repeatable): good, Lots of loops — I’m not sure they are repeatable.

AVERAGE
Inlane Swoosh: average (left looks wide open, right looks slightly cramped)
Pops: average, pop pen on left orbit that seems to not ruin the game (doesn’t seem to help or hurt)
Outlane Fun: average, two lanes on left, one on right. Don’t like the SR ball save on left
Stop'n'Go: average, I’m counting 5 seconds for ball locks to plunger.

FAIR/POOR
Ball-time: fair (very long)
Drops: poor, none
Inlane Ramp Release: poor, both ramps are spoon-fed from the ramps, and the ball doesn’t come screaming in.
Metal Ramps: none

UNKNOWN
Taunting: unknown
Voice / V. choreography: unknown
Lane Change: unknown
Backhands: unknown
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: unknown

ART: average — feels like a slot machine, not sure what the main color map is… Is this supposed to be a light blue playfield? Can’t tell. Sigh... Not pleasing to look at.
SOUND: average, not sure I’m hearing what every shot sounds like. Need to listen more with no visuals...
DISPLAYS: good, I appreciate that it’s not constant movies, but rather a useful static scoreboard, good job!
PASSION/INNOVATION: very good. It’s obvious in all the stuff packed in here
FEEL: unknown until I play it
OVERALL: very good, I think the public will eat this up.

FINAL MARKS:
Layout/Physics: A-
Does it sound like pinball: B-
Art/Music: B-
Theme Integration: B+
Passion: (Risk-Taking/Innovation): A-

Mofscore: B+ (lots of unknowns, room to go either way from here)
6.776/10
41 days ago
CONTEXT: I own a very nice BK (1980), and consider it one of the best games every designed. My hopes were set very high for BKsr

5/15/2019: Played Pro and LE at GSPF where all four games were set up side by side (BK, BK2K, Pro, LE), and I can say without hesitation that the Stern approach to Pro/LE is an insult to the original series where it's really about enjoying the upper playfield. In a vacuum (forgetting the original games), you can enjoy the Pro, but with perspective of BK and BK2K, the Pro is a non-starter.

4/19/2019: Review #3: I just got to play the Pro at Free Gold Watch. Playing it live taught me how pretty the playfield is in person. The red/white/blue inserts look really nice in person. Playing and watching others play it live confirmed everything I observed from spending time with the videos.

Final Mofscore: B-

(TL;DR below)

Review #1: EARLY TAKE on the "teaser video:"

HAPPY ABOUT
* Stern finally having the guts to try an original theme
* SR getting his original theme mojo flowing - so happy for him!
* See-through upper, nice achievement!
* Art design overall
* No bash toy (this is a Stern miracle to abandon the boring “chew toy”)
* Music from big name metal musicians (Scott Ian)
* Low profile good looking black knight toy with a robotic swinging mace
* Metal ramps (love the sound and reliability of metal)
* Two spinners
* No obfuscation!

JURY’S STILL OUT ON
* Layout looks like yet another cookie-cutter Stern fan layout. 1 drop bank in the lower, and 7 fan layout shots. I’ll need a few more looks to understand what the flow feels like on this.
* Theme integration could be a home run, I think that’s what we are all hoping for -- need to play in a person's home to really hear this thing.

NOT HAPPY ABOUT
* One spoon-fed flipper return lane (SR never did this in BK, High Speed, or BK2K — he kept the ball returns more exciting)
* Rollover lanes into a safe pop-pen? On an original theme? I just don’t get it… they do nothing for this pin whatsoever. Wasted space.
* No smart, inline, or sweepable drops
* No horseshoe like in BK and BK2K
* Use of Color on the cabinets/BGs. There are wayyy too many colors — I prefer when games have a cohesive two or three color feel like Swords of Fury is: “Black, Light Blue and Orange” — This is a spilled crayon box… I’m not sure why moderns often struggle with this. I see: (pink, purple, fusia, light blue, black, red, green, orange, yellow, white — what the heck people! It’s like a modern tie-die shirt — no color focus!)

OVERALL MOOD
Happy for Stern, happy for SR, optimistic about the game, but I’m not holding my breath...


Review #2: AFTER WATCHING AN HOUR OF THE JACK DANGER VIDEO:

GOOD/VERY GOOD
Orbits (Repeatable): Great!, in TWO directions like high speed.
Action/Per/Minute: good. Lots of action, but then the huge drawback of the 18 second stop-n-go for ball locks. 18 !!!
Ball-times: good. Seem short.
Inlane Lane Change: very good, looks like you light up 4 for the ball save
Spinners: very good: 2
Toy/Gimmick: good, the BK is good looking and the motorized flail is innovative. Magna save is not variable, nor is the button in the right place.
Innovation: good, clear upper (on the premium/LE), and a spinning flail.
Lane Change: good, but I didn’t see many balls going back up to the rollover lanes (need to learn more)
Metal Ramp: yes!
Slap-Saves: yes

AVERAGE
Dink-Donk: average, I don’t like how the ball dribbles out of pops to right orbit lane to top of right sling…
Outlane Fun: average. (left outlane looks less save-able)
Flippers: average (just 2 on the pro, 3 on the premium/LE)
Skill Shot: yes
Voice / V. choreography: average, I have always despised voices modulated to sound like “a tough guy” — better to find a real tough guy.
Nudging: average: for the outlanes, but didn’t see a reason to nudge when a ball is in any other part of the playfield
Shots (total): average, 9 - I think?

FAIR/POOR
Drops: poor, only 1 bank for a BK. This is abysmal for a BK. (didn't get a sense if they even had a hurry-up on them or not)
Drops Sweep: none
Horseshoes: none
Inlane Ramp Release: poor, one spoon-fed inlane, making the far-left fan shot fool-proof when you make it
Pops: poor: they do not help or hurt the player. Pops to nowhere. Waste of space.
Stop’n’Go: poor. waiting for animations looks laborious
MB Fun: fair, I didn’t see a lot of good detain shots, I don’t see any reason this has more than a 2 or 3-ball MB.
Asymmetry: poor: The wall of posts/standups are nearly in a straight line. You brick, you drain. It’s really unfortunate.

UNKNOWN
Taunting: unknown (I presume there is some)

ART: Is funky and imperfect -- like other 80s games, and I really like that… However, Not a fan of the “use every color in the palette” approach though to the cabinets. Fire behind the head of the BK looks very cool.
SOUND: very good, and the music is great. But listening with headphones on, it doesn’t “sound” like pinball… It sounds like listening to a metal cartoon. I listen for how well the sounds correlate to actual flips/deflections, and it doesn’t sound like pinball to me.
DISPLAYS: good, I like that the animations are not too complicated. Lots of work went into these.
FLOW: lower PF drains instantly on a bricked shot, any made shots seemingly cannot drain, missed ramps do not drain or present much challenge. Seemed very imbalanced to me, that missed shots are often drain, and made shots are mostly safe.

FINAL MARKS:
Layout/Physics: C
Does it sound like pinball when you play: B-
Art/Music: A-
Theme Integration: unknown (really need to play it in a quiet home environment to get the feel and know for sure)
Passion: (Risk-Taking/Innovation): B

Mofscore: B- (“it’s good effort for a Stern”) There just aren’t any shots I’m dying to shoot on this…

BK is a *much* better layout. Sequels are risky and very hard to pull off.
6.827/10
11 months ago
I never saw bricked shots behave like this in my life.

In Houdini, when you brick, the ball rattles between two standup targets in the entrance to each lane, and then dribbles back to the flippers.

While I've never designed a game in my life. I'm going to go WAY out on a limb here and say...

"Whitewoods matter."

I think if this had 7-8 main lane shots instead of 9-10, then you'd have a great pin here. I like the theme, and theme integration, and I think a lot of heart went into making this game.

Hear me now, and remember me later, modern game designers of the fan layouts...

Brick Action: What happens when you MISS a shot in pinball is REALLY important, it's what beginners and intermediate players do most of the time. Adding bank(s) of drop targets to the LOWER playfield -- allows for "something" to happen even when you miss...

I went to the arcade to play Houdini -- I played 1 game, and had no interest in continuing my exploration. Another day perhaps...

I'm ok with 1 tight shot in a game, note to self: Do not design a game with 10 tight shots. Horrible idea.

On a positive note: the Spotlights are really neat, and are placed in a great spot... creative thinking there...
7.321/10
11 months ago
I'm going to hold off on detailed commentary until I get in many more games in the future, and allow this game to go code final. Thus I will not rate the code or LCD integration whatsoever. In moderns, that's a big part of the experience.

I played it 3x at Golden State Pinball Festival, and watched people play for about an hour -- and my conclusions were:

If you match the venn diagram of:

1. Code explorer (versus a whitewood/physics player)
2. Alice Cooper fan
3. Modern Fan layout fan
4. People that like green with purple
5. You don't mind obfuscation (aka Creature) -- you don't get to watch any ball movement in the upper 1/3 of the playfield. It is all hidden.

Then this is the game is A++ for you. Since I am none of those things, this isn't the game for me. I am ranking it in my ratings in correlation with other Spooky titles... I would put RZ ahead of this title. I like the "Shell game", humor, and multiball action of RZ much better -- it is closer to a Black Hole/Centaur kind of feel which is more my style.

In short I learned this from playing ACNC (and other moderns):

1. Upper playfields are hard to design -- so why do we keep seeing them?
2. What happens when you brick a shot -- is really important to a game (this is why my favorite early 80's games have banks of targets, preferably drops on the lower PF) -- so that when you miss -- something random and hopefully fun still happens.
3. Don't ever put a post in the very middle of a playfield. It is the last thing in the world I want to shoot right in the middle -- other than a bash toy.
4. I miss banks of drop targets... why did the 70's/80's have to end?

Instant Pros on the take-away:

* Incredible code is coming (for code explorers) and people who like to "See what the programmer came up with" -- will love this pin.
* Gorgeous cab and BG (too bad you can't play those)
* Very beautiful sculptures (too bad you can't play those either)
* Flippers and inlanes are super smooth
* Spinner rip on left is really cool
* Alice Cooper callouts I think will be a positive and add well to the theme choreography.

What I did not see:
The guillotine in action... look forward to that.

What I did see:
Most people had about a 1.5 second ball time on the upper playfield (oh my...)
5.024/10
1 year ago
I haven't done full research on it, but this one has to be in the running for the worst early SS game produced by Bally.

Noteable features:
1 horseshoe, 2 spinners, gimmick ball save -- never to be seen again in pinball? (for a reason?)

Noteable features missing from an early SS Bally:
drop target banks, An interesting upper playfield, speech, good sounds

Goal: Make every target to spell silverball mania. Some of the targets are made randomly as they are placed up by the pops where you have no control over the ball... yeah...

I get it. It's a really pretty game.
The lack of drop targets, speech, good sounds, and an interesting upper playfield kill this one for me.

Jim Patla redeemed himself with Viking and Centaur.
7.265/10
1 year ago
Passion: The passion behind making this project gets an A+. Considering my deep appreciation for the designer and his passion, I wish I had the same enthusiasm for the shot map and playfield layout.

Playfield: With two long shots, and a very uneventful upper playfield, I don't enjoy what I consider to be the most important shots in the game -- the long shots. My favorite games all have 3-5 long shots that can detain the ball during a multiball. Drop target banks are missing once again from a Spooky game. Big let down for me.

Rules: While I don't know what they are, based off the videos I've seen, and the other Spooky titles, I expect these rules to be top notch. One incredible aspect of the rules is that there can be competition play where players 1 + 2 team up against 3 + 4. This is brilliant. Unfortunately for me, I'm not a rules guy, I'm a layout guy.

Art/Music: Very good. I was in an arcade, and I wasn't paying attention to whether the bonus countdown is as awesome as an early 80's Williams or Bally game, or whether it's rushed and summed up in front of you like a modern. Either way, this is fixable in code, since the inserts are there.

Considering the ramp-heavy competition, I think it's a miracle that this flat layout and theme got produced, and I hope that Spooky continues to take chances with flat games.

RZ is a better game -- it has a more open PF, and more long-shots (4?) to make "detainable" MB play more fun. But I think both are in competition for least-interesting upper playfields of all time. If Pinball is hard, upper playfields are proving to be impossible these days.

PS. I love the countdown display near the flippers. Also, the near immediate scoop firing is great... Almost too fast.
6.918/10
1 year ago
It has a bagatelle.
Worst stop-n-go ever in a pinball machine?
If you can make a custom ROM that ignores the bagatelle, please let us know !!!
7.709/10
1 year ago
SUMMMARY
"The game that killed pinball..."

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: super-low
Backhands: unknown
Bonus Multiplier Goal: yes
Dink Donk: yes - ball dribbles out of pop area at times
Drops: none
Extra Balls: yes
Flippers: 2
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: cool jackpots during multiball
Hurry-ups: yes
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Inlane Ramp Release: fair - not fast like taxi/diner
Inlane Swoosh: yes
Bonus Collect: nope
Lane Change: yes
MB Earning: ok - kinda easy
MB Fun: very good ramps are great detain shots
Metal Ramp: yes you can hear it
Nudging: normal
Orbits (Repeatable): yes, in one direction, and you are encouraged to do it. sometimes this is blocked to pops
Outlane Fun: fair - left outlane is a steve ritchie stinker
Pops: boring, but they feed rollovers nicely
Rules (time/order): no order targets
Shots (total): 9
Skill Shot: great
Slap-Saves: normal good williams
Spinners: none
Stop'n'Go: horrible, it's a DMD -- lots of waiting
Taunting: unknown
Toy/Gimmick: great -- the video mode was revolutionary, as was the dmd, the gun shooter, the gun for skill shots. tops.
Voice / V. choreography: great - this is the clincher. Arnie is your buddy and it's cool.

ART: 10+
SOUND: 10+
DISPLAYS: 10+
FEEL: 10+
OVERALL: It's good even if it's a DMD game. Gun is cool at first, and then you learn it's too much a part of the game, which really slows the action down.
8.892/10
1 year ago
What makes it great:

4 slings, so tons of lateral ball action
Sweepable drops with a special score for it
2 spinners
4 banks of drops
Great speech
good pops that help you or hurt you
Henry Williams in his prime
Very good art from Doug Watson

What's missing?:

Hurry ups (like black knight)
Changeable inlane lamps (like black night)
Changeable rollover lamps (like firepower)
2.065/10
1 year ago
What a disgrace. Worst game of all time.
7.022/10
1 year ago
Definitely in my top-10 most overrated games.
Just cause a game is hard, doesn't necessarily make it good.
There are only 2 long shots in this game. Fewest amount in all of solid state pinball.
7 shots total. 5 from the lower flippers, 2 from the upper.
8.391/10
1 year ago
I need much more time on this table.
I got in roughly 6 games over an hour.
The game had a few glitches, but I didn't allow those to impact my enjoyment of the game.
I'd rank this in close to playing Embryon.
The shots felt good.
The game overall feels a little clunky, not as smooth as a modern Stern.
The shots are FAR more interesting than a typical modern Stern -- which I greatly appreciated.
2 spinners
4 flippers
many orbit shots
bank of drops
7.444/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
In pinball, many designers re-use layouts to make improvements. Taxi > Diner, etc. This layout is Kiss2. I am disappointed to see a 2nd Kiss game with nearly an identical layout. Having said that -- this is an improvement on Kiss.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: good. there's nudging and lots of action -- not too much stopngo.
Backhands: unknown. didn't try any
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown how to build it
Dink Donk: not bad. a little in a the middle.
Drops: none on the pro of course.
Drops Sweep: none on the pro.
Extra Balls: i know of one that lights up, no idea how to earn it.
Flippers: 2
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: there was a MB jackpot - no idea what the shot was.
Hurry-ups: no idea.
Inlane Lane Change: yes. there are blue dots to earn, no idea what they represent.
Inlane Ramp Release: it's ok, not fast not slow
Inlane Swoosh: don't recall any, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't be good.
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: no idea.
Lane Change: none. No 1-2-3 lanes
MB Earning: easy to get for an advanced player. 1. hit joker box 2. lock ball middle top -- repeat 3x --
MB Fun: VERY fun. lots of space and lots of ball save during MB -- I think the game tries to make it go longer.
Metal Ramp: none
Nudging: yes - good nudging
Orbits (Repeatable): yes, but on the game i played, the left orbit fed SDTM. That needs adjustment. Not sure what the ideal is here...
Outlane Fun: good stuff, you have the blue dots to move, and the ceiling is high, so you can get good bounces here.
Pops: good, they feed random action to middle, but they aren't very "helpful" or "hurtful" so rather "meh" but not BADDD since they don't hold up the ball. That's #1.
Rules (time/order): don't know any rules yes.
Shots (total): 11 - good amount of shots.
Skill Shot: yes. short plunge = 500k
Slap-Saves: very good
Spinners: two, and they sound good.
Stop'n'Go: not bad bro
Taunting: can't remember - was in a bar - couldn't hear it too well.
Toy/Gimmick: very cool - the ball toss is great, and how it doesn't ALWAYS go in the box is fun.
Voice / V. choreography: not sure - need to try in a home environment. I am thinking that it may not have the magic of Metallica with the great choreography.

ART: great artist. too busy. too many colors. odd color choices.
SOUND: no idea. not a fan of the music. left like only 8 songs.
DISPLAYS: great use of a display
FEEL: felt very good, but typical stern balsa-wood feeling being so light.
OVERALL: good game. improvement on Kiss, but not quite Metallica.
8.140/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I put this just next to Pinbot in coolness for system 11s: Two horseshoes, Three spinners, and a bank of non-sweepable drops.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: high
Backhands: yes, both outside lanes are possible
Bonus Multiplier Goal: (unknown)
Dink Donk: good a little in the upper middle area
Drops: one bank top left
Drops Sweep: nope
Extra Balls: yes
Flippers: 4
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: progressive jackpot, extra ball goals
Hurry-ups: yes! good on on the upper center ramp shot
Inlane Lane Change: no
Inlane Ramp Release: no spoon-feeding ramps
Inlane Swoosh: very good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: (unknown)
Lane Change: no
MB Earning: yes, lock left lane
MB Fun: very good
Metal Ramp: none
Nudging: yes
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Outlane Fun: good
Pops: none
Rules (time/order): one good hurry up I know of
Shots (total): 10?
Skill Shot: nope
Slap-Saves: yes - it’s Williams
Spinners: 3 !
Stop'n'Go: almost none - just the ball lock (like grand lizard)
Taunting: yes
Toy/Gimmick: upper PF is very cool
Voice / V. choreography: somewhat… need more info

ART: great - love orange and light blue
SOUND: great music
FEEL: great
OVERALL: great
7.635/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
Backglass is amazeballs. Spinner is amazeballs. Great sound overall. Very good artwork overall. The excitement is similar to Sorcerer, in that you are aiming to set up that moment when you can have a spinner rip with bazillions.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: Very high, just has a brief saucer kickoff
Backhands: Great left backhand into spinner !
Bonus Multiplier Goal: Yes
Dink Donk: none
Drops: None =(
Extra Balls: good. can earn from 1-2-3-4 lanes
Flippers: 2
Goal EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: decent, bonus hold from 1-2-3-4 lanes
Hurry-ups: great: short hurry up on lit spinner !
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Inlane Swoosh: decent, it’s no Williams.
Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: none
MB Earning: decent challenge. gotta do something cool before you can lock ball on left
MB Fun: looks to be tough, but the fun is that you can get 5x on a lit spinner!
Metal Ramps: none
Nudging: great - required especially with Gottlieb flipper gap
Outlane Fun: good, has rubbered post near top of sling.
Pops: Amazing: 3 live pops that can help you but mostly hurt you
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 4 - fewest in all of pinball - one unshootable standup behind drops.
Skill Shot: decent - can’t move 1-2-3-4 lanes, so yes.
Slap-Saves: fair - super hard Gottlieb gap
Spinners: 1 great one, has a great sound, and a short hurry up on it
Stop'n'Go: great - almost perfect
Taunting: none
Toy/Gimmick: none
Voice / V. choreography: none

ART: Great art from Larry Day (Cosmic Gunfight)
SOUND: Very good sounds
DISPLAYS:
FEEL: Great
OVERALL: Super challenging 1984 game
7.787/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I played 6 games today. I don't know the rules, and have no history with the game...

If you are a Rob Zombie fan, you will likely love this game. If you are not, hopefully you can appreciate the unbelievably amazing backglass and cabinet art. The game plays fast and furious — it’s the most spastic shell game I’ve ever played — even more frenetic than Black Hole. It borrows two very strong elements from one of the best games ever, Centaur: 1. live add-a-balls, and 2. moveable inlane lights that earn you a ball save. These two features coupled with the extra sensitive sets of slings built into the game walls make this unique and exciting offering in 2016.

Cons:
The upper playfield is barely used, and the flipper is too small. I got the ball up there once, and had almost no chance at the ball -- that's nothing compared to the TBL upper playfield I just played the night before.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: Likely the best of all time. Centaur would be a close 2nd.
Backhands: fair — not so sure there were good backhands.
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown
Dink Donk: fair — quite a bit of dink donk in the game
Drops: 1 drop. It was askew, and mounted too tall in the game (needs adjustment) — the ball could get past the drop, so it’s not the most precisely placed drop of all time.
Drops Sweep: none.
Extra Balls: yes - amazing add-a-ball feature on the fly — I was playing 2, then 3 then 4 balls at once without being in a multi-ball mode. Pure genius.
Flippers: 2 - felt normal.
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: unknown. I did notice one goal of center ramp as a jackpot at times.
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: yes - very fun aspect of the game.
Inlane Ramp Release: decent. both inlanes are spoon-fed, but one comes from the upper playfield which is rarely used.
Inlane Swoosh: decent. good on the right side, not so much on the left.
Inner orbit: good - it has one
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: none. There are no 1-2-3 rollover lanes.
MB Earning: I locked a ball once, but I have no idea how to earn multiball.
MB Fun: very fun. super random movement. not many good detain shots, so it’s very tricky.
Metal Ramp: no
Nudging: very good — have to wrestle the outlanes.
Orbits (Repeatable): very good. you can repeat left orbit to right flipper like high speed. This impressed me.
Outlane Fun: good. right-lane was more fun than the left side.
Pops: Very good — they do not “trap” the ball like on most moderns, so they just add randomness and risk to shots. Well-placed.
Rules (time/order): unknown.
Shots (total): 10? forgot to count.
Skill Shot: very good skill shot. You have to be perfect to get a 3-way bounce. I never got one, but the challenge was fun!
Slap-Saves: very good - normal Williams distance
Spinners: none =( this really surprised me.
Stop'n'Go: decent. pretty much in action the whole time. Video mode is a long process…
Taunting: good - tons of call outs.
Toy/Gimmick: To me the gimmick of the game, is the shell game and the add-a-ball. The toys on the playfield do not interact, so I consider them sculptures not toys…
Voice / V. choreography: Excellent. great call outs from RZ, and they really make the game stand out.

ART: best of all time (from a heavy metal point of view)
SOUND: big 10” sub woofer and shaker motor. Felt great — but you have to be a fan of RZ’s “music” you’ll be hearing a lot of it.
DISPLAYS: color dmd was fun to watch.
FEEL: felt great
OVERALL: It’s a hit for RZ fans, and perhaps for people who love to explore modes and programming. Overall, I did not find all the shots satisfying. I did enjoy trying to keep multiple balls in play, and that’s a frequent aspect of the game. I'm very proud of these guys. We have to remember this is their 2nd game EVER...
8.471/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I got 6 games on this beauty before it couldn’t find the PROC controller. Doh!
I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.. Great theme integration...
I'm very proud with DP for this first release.
I look forward to more plays on this table, and learning the rules...

LAYOUT:
1-2-3 rollover lanes: It has 2 sets! Great ! (must see!)
Action/Per/Minute: Very good
Backhands: unknown
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown
Dink Donk: minimal — very good.
Drops: none
Extra Balls: unknown
Flippers: 3
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: unknown
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Inlane Ramp Release: decent
Inlane Swoosh: good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: yes (confusing though — have no idea how it works - one blinks one doesn’t?)
MB Earning: good. Locking balls isn’t a quick gimme
MB Fun: unknown
Nudging: a little…
Orbits (Repeatable): no. don’t think so. The exit from left orbit is right flipper.
Outlane Fun: fair. Left is steve ritchie kickback shape, and right outlane is pretty narrow.
Pops: fair: these were tuned down a bit weak.
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 15 VERY good. Almost like TOTAN.
Skill Shot: barely — it’s a 1-2-3 lane
Slap-Saves: very good. a must for a center-shot game
Spinners: 1 !
Stop'n'Go: a little bit - has a scoop and a saucer, and a few ramps that slow things down. Display is rather quick (as displays goes)
Taunting: unknown
Toy/Gimmick: amazing: car, bowling alley, rug, drink, two sets of rollovers, might be the best toy set of all time.
Voice / V. choreography: amazing:

ART: fantastic
SOUND: great
DISPLAYS: great
FEEL: very good. solid
OVERALL: might be the best theme integration of all time - I was laughing, and it's like these guys "get it"... It was like finding a long lost 1998 B/W game...
7.702/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I think this machine ranks blah blah

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: poor. tons of stop n go (2 scoops, 1 blackbox toy, very long ramps.
Backhands: good
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown
Dink Donk: decent — ball dinks and donks after hitting trunk
Drops: none
Extra Balls: great - many ways to earn them
Flippers: 2
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: none
Inlane Ramp Release: poor — the ball is spoon-fed to the inlanes, and there’s a pause each time that throws off your flow
Inlane Swoosh: good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: yes
MB Earning: decent - kinda easy - several ways to earn it. left ramp then left outlane is rather easy with low risk
MB Fun: great - multiball. detains, long ramp shots. open space
Nudging: decent. didn’t need it too much other than outlanes
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Outlane Fun: decent
Pops: poor — they don’t help or hurt you. Rather waste of space
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 9
Skill Shot: yes - very good one
Slap-Saves: yep. very good.
Spinners: none
Stop'n'Go: poor - very stop n go.
Taunting: fair - callouts - but they sure don’t make u mad
Toy/Gimmick: bash toy is very good
Voice / V. choreography: excellent. game knows what you are doing and what’s up - lots of call outs

ART: great
SOUND: great
DISPLAYS: great
FEEL: great
OVERALL: not my style of table, but I can see why people like it
8.913/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I think this machine ranks up there with other late 80's hits like TX Sector, Taxi and Space Shuttle

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: good, other than the bagatelle
Backhands: amazing on left flipper, not sure about right flipper
Bonus Multiplier Goal: good - top left orbit
Dink Donk: none (other than bagatelle)
Drops: 1 set of 3
Drops Sweep: good - almost sweepable
Extra Balls: very good - you can earn one per inlane/outlane, one from saucer, one from multiball combo
Flippers: 2
Goal -EB/BC/Jackpot: good: lots of EB’s no Bonus Carryover, sadly it has a progressive jackpot
Hurry-ups: very good - drop target has it, ramp lift has it, and one other thing
Inlane Lane Change: yes, 4 EB’s to manage
Inlane Ramp Release: ok - not super fast -- just one side
Inlane Swoosh: good on left side, not sure about right say
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: very good several jackpots to collect
1-2-3 Lane Change: none
MB Earning: good - takes some effort to earn it
MB Fun: very good - has a clear goal
Metal Ramp: none
Nudging: very important. outlanes are tricky
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Outlane Fun: very good — like cyclone
Pops: fascinating placement - on right with a nasty shot to left outlane at times
Rules (time/order): very good - there’s a flashing light on the drops, targeted standups (at times)
Shots (total): 10
Skill Shot: good one - almost a full plunge or u score pennies…
Slap-Saves: yes - it’s a williams.
Spinners: none - too bad…
Stop'n'Go: good other than the bagatelle
Taunting: none
Toy/Gimmick: the visor was a breakthrough at the time, copied several times after (doctor who), the sound that accompanies it is great.
Voice / V. choreography: good

ART: Python, of course it’s great
SOUND: Granner, of course it’s great
DISPLAYS: Fun gimmicks in the alpha numerics
FEEL: Feels good
OVERALL: Very good pinball, with a great soundtrack and awesome use of color.
7.859/10
2 years ago
Haven't played this, but I know I want to. Will jot down a few observations soon.
8.051/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
Finally got to play CG. It's right in there in likeability and simplicity with Blackout and Firepower.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: Very good, only has GI-out and ball locks
Backhands: very good
Bonus Multiplier Goal: yes - right orbit shot
Dink Donk: good, might be a little coming out of pops with narrow opening in middle
Drops: very good - 3 sets!
Drops Sweep: good - can sweep right bank - very satisfying
Extra Balls: yes - 3 ways to earn them
Flippers: 2
Goals - BC/MB/Jackpot: has a "cosmic ball" where you can get 30-99 seconds of time. You can set it where if you get a set of drops in order 1-2-3, then you earn another extra ball and extend the game.
Hurry-ups: barely - just the cosmic ball itself
Inlane Lane Change: no
Inlane Swoosh: excellent
Lane Change: Yes - very cool! two levels of it
MB Earning: fair - too easy -- just your 1-2-3 lanes top right
MB Fun: looks good, no real detaining other than half-orbit to pops
Nudging: definitely on the outlanes
Outlane Fun: looks decent. metal inlanes
Pops: two sets. they are good, in that they help score 1-2-3 lanes, not too random or dangerous otherwise
Rules (time/order): if you hit the drops in order during cosmic ball - something cool happens.
Shots (total): 7 (super low)
Skill Shot: nope
Slap-Saves: yes, it's williams
Spinners: none -- what a bummer !
Stop'n'Go: Very good, only has GI-out and ball locks
Taunting: none, other than the sound effect of a drain
Toy/Gimmick: does a GI blackout when you lock the ball, cosmic ball is interesting. A-B-C x 3 is interesting
Voice / V. choreography: no voice ! thanks, 1982!

ART: amaze-balls

SOUND: Strong firepower set, but no voice

DISPLAYS: normal williams

FEEL: sure it feels great -- solenoids thunk hard in this one

OVERALL: quirky machine where you have to play it if you ever see one... 1000 made, makes this really tough.
9.164/10
2 years ago
Never played it. I play it on TPA.

SUMMMARY
I think this machine ranks blah blah

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: Good - subway holds the ball a little, and multi-ball happens here and there.
Backhands: unknown
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown
Dink Donk: Good - just a little as ball comes out of pops
Drops: Amazing - two big meaty sets
Drops Sweep: Good - looks like upper flipper could sweep whole bank?
Extra Balls: unknown
Flippers: 3
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: unknown
Hurry-ups: unknown
Inlane Lane Change: don't think so?
Inlane Swoosh: looks good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: none
MB Earning: looks reasonable
MB Fun: looks very good - a few detaining shots - not sure what goal is once in MB
Metal Ramps: nope
Nudging: looks average
Orbits (Repeatable): none
Outlane Fun: looks good
Pops: might be the weak spot -- no 1-2-3 rollover lanes
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 9 shots and two ramps
Skill Shot: kinda - it's more about strength like black knight
Slap-Saves: weak, since it's not a williams
Spinners: 2 -- sound decent, not sure how to light and rip them
Stop'n'Go: ok - subways surely suck up some clock time
Taunting: weak - don't think so
Toy/Gimmick: subways are it afaik.
Voice / V. choreography: seems pretty good. lots of voices, not sure how well they are tied into the shot location

ART: good playfield, worst backglass of all time? horrible cabinet

SOUND: may be best music of all time, sound effects are great, voices are great

DISPLAYS: worst of all time, tiny little blue things up top

FEEL: likely feels good. don't know yet

OVERALL: music and layout are king here
7.798/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
I love Mark Ritchie. This pin stands on the shoulders of Sorcerer, Taxi, and Diner -- he's aiming for that perfect pin. Why do I like FT? The M. Ritchie/Python/Granner team is second to none in total packages.

Game has the best from: Firepower, High Speed, Embryon, and Taxi -- with the total theme package of Taxi.

Favorite shots:
1. left half-orbit (spinner/saucer) and improvement on the firepower left half-orbit from his brother Steve.
2. center shot (captive ball) an improvement on embryon, with more rules integrated into it, and the strength of the shot matters
3. criss-cross ramp shots, make both flippers feel equally important, but they are easier to make than taxi, but they have interesting strength requirements
4. nice right orbit that can be re-shot and combined with other shots for a combo (improvement on high speed)
5. standups on left and right, just like high speed.

cons:
Game is missing drop banks, and a real plunger.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: very good - but only 2 flippers
Backhands: yes
Dink Donk: good — doesn’t really have any
Drops: none
Drops Sweep: I just said, no.
Flippers: just 2
Inlane Lane Change: not sure
Inlane Ramp Release: good, would like to see if speed can be improved
Inlane Swoosh: yes, great inlanes and outlines
Lane Change: yes
MB Earning: moderately tough to earn, right in the middle
MB Fun: pretty fun, good detaining ball shots
Metal Ramps: none
Nudging: lower PF needs it for sure
Orbits (Repeatable): yes, the right orbit. left is the same shot as firepower
Outlane Fun: good outlines. fair.
Pops: ok
Shots (total): 9
Skill Shot: unknown
Slap-Saves: absolutely with lightning flippers
Spinners: 1 on left, really good spinner, great sound.
Stop'n'Go: fair. ball lock, and the DMD has a lot of pauses.
Taunting: not aware of any.
Toy/Gimmick: reel, criss cross ramps, DMD integration.
Voice / V. choreography: super good.

ART: tops
SOUND: great
DISPLAYS: funny animations
FEEL: solid and needs total focus with short flippers
OVERALL: Wish it had a drop bank, other than that has what I like in a game
8.100/10
2 years ago
SUMMMARY
The artwork and sound integration here are something to behold. With 12 shots, and a VERY narrow top right shot, and wide flipper gap, this is not a game for novice players. I’m so glad that Stern started with an incredibly easy game like KISS, then moved to a tougher game like Ghostbusters. Stern is really impressing me with the moves they are making away from photoshopped art on every single BG/PF/Cab. John Trudeau really earns my respect designing something this good this later in his career. Innovative new toy, innovative use of ramps, with 2 entries, one exit (only ONE flipper-feeding ramp, which is a first for Stern in a lonnnggg time). Best use of inserts I’ve ever seen. They are clear, and so lights can change from orange to blue to green depending on the mode. Amazing. Only downsides: LED flashers were literally unbearable during multiball. I don’t get seizures, but I found them disturbingly offensive. Also, the white big insert middle of playfield stays bright most of the game. I’m going to GUESS that nobody over the age of 40 play-tested this game in a dark environment. Stern still has much to learn. I see where Stern LEARNED from their fiasco with TWD and the ball leaving the pops and going SDTM. They have an innovative oneway gate hanging over the PF in the right spot, to help line up shots to the flippers. It’s great! It shows they are learning and improving, impressed!

LAYOUT DETAILS:
Action/Per/Minute: decent
Backhands: good
Dink-Donk: good (none found)
Drops: unknown (I played a pro I presume)
Drops Sweep: unknown
Extra Balls: (not sure how many ways to earn it, but I earned a few)
Flippers: 2
Goals: unknown (didn’t read rules)
Inlane Lane Change: unknown
Inlane Ramp Release: ok, not very fast
Inlane Swoosh: ok, could be better
Inserts:
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown
Lane Change: yes - good reflection on backglass let’s you see the 1-2-3 lanes up top.
MB Earning: decent. I earned a few but have no idea how I did it.
MB Fun: pretty good
Metal Ramps: none
Nudging: none needed. Not common with Sterns which have a very fast and narrow vertical game
Orbits (Repeatable): Yes, there’s one orbit. I think it’s repeatable.
Outlane Fun: unknown - don’t remember
Pops: boring: they completely hold up the game.
Rules (time/order): unknown
Shots (total): 12 - VERY high for a narrow-body single-level game
Skill Shot: yes, but unknown what it is
Slap-Saves: super important, really gotta become an expert to play this game
Spinners: 1 super spinner top left. Great design it rips well. Good sound.
Stop'n'Go: poor. Pros: the cellars grab and release quickly, but there are a few points where it holds the ball, and you watch like 15 seconds of dots, it’s really amazing, I would guess it’s the longest holdup of all time.
Taunting: none?
Toy/Gimmick: good. Slimer is quite cool.
Voice / V. choreography: unknown. I was in a bar, couldn’t hear all the coolness.

ART: A. Super art package
SOUND: B+ I hear good stuff.
DISPLAYS: C+ Red dots. Not sure red dots can ever score higher than a C+
LIGHTSHOW: A- Gotta dock a little bit for the LED flashers - totally obnoxious.
FEEL: Felt just fine, as all new Sterns do

OVERALL: A-... A little early to declare it, but this may very well be the best Stern of all time: Would have to play it back to back with LotR, Metallica, ST… I really like where Stern is going.
7.325/10
3 years ago
pros: Love the horse shoe and feel of those double hanging spinners.
cons: Outlanes are TOO evil.
-mof
7.899/10
3 years ago
Got in about 20 plays at PAGG. Have played this game 3-4 times over the last 4 years. Such a looker.

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: great
Backhands: yes - right flipper gives good backhand to right lane.
Bonus Multiplier Goal: inline drops... painful risk though
Dink Donk: fair. ball kinda dribbles out of the middle, lots of "nothing to do" in the middle area. too many posts.
Drops: 1 bank of 3. fair. kinda bricky.
Drops Sweep: good.
Extra Balls: couple ways to earn em
Flippers: 2
Goal -EB/BC: unknown.
Inlane Lane Change: none.
Inlane Swoosh : weak - bally
Bonus Collect: saucer top left - it's great
Lane Change: NONE
No Multiball.
Nudging: great - since u have fun outlines.
Orbits. NONE
Outlane Fun: Best in pinball.
Pops: Best in pinball other than perhaps black hole.
Rules (time/order): one hurry up for 50k standup
Shots (total): 7
Skill Shot: YES !!! really good
Slap-saves: good - Bally flippers have a little extra distance though.
Spinners: 1 really good one
Stop'n'Go: great. single ball. ball never stops other than a saucer
Taunting: none.
Toy/Gimmick: pops over outlanes, and great outlane save gates.
Voice. NONE

SOUND:
ok. not good not bad.
1. 1978 Atari 2600 sound set with a Space Invaders sound thrown in.

ART:
Amazing hand drawn reds, purples, and browns. Couldn't ask for a better art package.

FEEL:
feels good like all 80's Bally/Williams/Sterns feel

OVERALL:
It doesn't make my top-20 1980's list due to the ok sound package. Get me an upgraded sound set with voice perhaps and we have a top-20 winner.

UPGRADEABILITY
CPR: plastics, but NOS PF is very hard to find.
8.566/10
3 years ago
After 20 plays at an arcade, here is my first review of the almighty Hobbit:

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: good
Backhands: both L and R had good backhand shots
Bonus Multiplier Goal: unknown?
Dink Donk: none - Great
Drops: 3 banks, 11 total, smart drops like Barracora, even could lock in place. Amazing
Drops Sweep: indirect only
Extra Balls: 2-3 ways to get em.
Flippers: 3
Goal -EB/BC/MB/Jackpot: Yes all goals present
Inlane Lane Change: NONE
Inlane Ramp Release: WEAK - clunky ball return, bounces a bit before you get it. Velocity lost.
Inlane Swoosh : good
Jackpot/Bonus Collect: unknown?
Lane Change: NONE
MB Earning: average difficulty
MB Fun: EXCELLENT
Metal Ramp: yes, 2
Nudging: good — very surprising for a wide body.
Orbits (Repeatable): YES, excellent
Outlane Fun: Yes, very manageable
Pops: fair. moderate risk on exit, but they don’t do much.
Rules (time/order): best in class.
Shots (total): 20: most of any single-level pinball machine ever.
Skill Shot: Best of all time. Tops Whirlwind.
Slap-saves: good
Spinners: 2 but there are no spinner sounds (HUGE LOSS-but fixable with code updates)
Stop'n'Go: fair: quite a lot of stop n go.
Taunting: none. if it’s there, it’s not very rude, imo
Toy/Gimmick: very good: smart drops, lockdown bar button,
Voice / V. choreography: fair, but it’s not very locked in verbally.

SOUND:
very very weak.
1. it doesn’t sound like a pinball machine. Mostly explosion and sword swoosh sounds. If you didn’t hear the click-clack of the flippers, you’d have no idea this is a pinball machine. I think they missed the mark here in a BIG way.

DISPLAYS:
mini-display on PF is important for hurry ups. It’s in a good place to look. I never once looked up at the 27” LCD, since I was trying to play pinball, and not watch a movie. I am concerned that you won’t know what to do if you don’t look up. Could be a BIG negative here. Need to learn more.

FEEL:
Very solid and stable. fun shaker motor. Big plus.

OVERALL:
It’s the best modern by a landslide in terms of rules and layout, but if you are a sound-first guy like me, I have no problem if you want to stick with Metallica as the best modern.
7.499/10
3 years ago
FINALLY!
I got to play this at a local collector's house. I got in about 5 games in his garage.
I was really impressed, and proud of Spooky for this being their first ever release.
Does it look like a home-brew pin? Yes.
Does it play like one? Not really. The ball travel is exquisite, as one would expect from any new pin.
The flippers had "something" off, and I couldn't put my finger on it. Perhaps they were too spongey to launch, or they were too slow to retract into zero position. Not sure. Just not the "same" as Williams games (80s-90s)

Sound package is strong, although I'm not a fan of all the constant talking. Not at all. I prefer sounds over words in general.

Most important is the layout, and shot flow. Game is a little stop-n-go for my taste. Gosh I wish the left orbit shot would pass through and return to the flippers, but instead you wait for it to come out of the scoop.

The ramp-jump is a neat shot, and the hellavator is neat too.

#1 most important thing is that it shoots well. I have no idea about the rules and how well this lasts as a keeper in a collection.

Bottom line, is I give big props to Spooky for this being their #1 pin. It's a VERY good start.

I don't even give the "average" art package as a down-vote on the pin, why? I'll tell you why. It's an original theme, and they are in a very corny way capturing a recent theme, and this is what good art does. In 30 years, this game will have a LOT of charm the way Firepower or Black Knight might have to many now.

Well done Spooky!
7.827/10
3 years ago
Need more plays to complete rating.

* Asymmetry: Excellent.
* Backhands:
* Ball Time: Excellent.
* Drops (Sweepable): Excellent.
* Flasher Blinding:
* Flippers (extra): Excellent. 4!
* Free Ball earning: ?
* Fun/Lastability:
* Hazards: Excellent. middle drops are at a good height. danger post on right saucer
* Inlane Flow: Good. Left is like Fathom, right is a 50/50 post in the middle. bizarre.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Excellent.
* Multiball: NONE.
* Originality: Excellent.
* Outlane save-ability: Good. rubbers on both sides
* Pop bumpers: Good - just for 1-2-3 scoring
* Rules (Time and Order-based): ?
* Scoring Balance: ?
* Shots per flipper: maybe 10 total.
* Skill shot: ?
* Slap Saves: Bally, so it's OK.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Weak, no voice, and the sounds are weak.
* Spinners: 1
* Stop n Go/Flow: Excellent. just a saucer.
* Taunting: NONE
* Theme/Art/Lights: Excellent.
* Toys/Gimmicks: 4 flippers is neat.

PROS: Great art package, 4 flippers and tons of drops. Decent inlane/outlanes.
CONS: no skill shot, no multiball, no voice, weak sounds.
8.030/10
3 years ago
Need more plays to fully rate.

* Asymmetry: Excellent.
* Backhands: Great, Too bad left sling doesn't allow for LBH into captive ball area.
* Ball Time: Seems a little easy.
* Drops (Sweepable): Excellent. Two sweepable banks (top one must be hard) - sometimes they sweep passively too
* Flasher Blinding: great - none
* Flippers (extra): Good. But #3 in a weird position. That's a minus.
* Free Ball earning: has some
* Fun/Lastability:
* Hazards: Excellent. 5-drop bank is really low and tough to miss on.
* Inlane Flow: Excellent. Wide open, and 4 lanes.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: you def nudge the outlanes
* Multiball - entering: seems pretty tricky to earn it
* Multiball - enjoyment: ?
* Orbit Shots: NONE
* Originality: Excellent. unlicensed theme. Totally unique PF layout
* Outlane save-ability: Decent. Both are tough outlanes, but at least it's a rubber post.
* Pop bumpers: Weak. they just score drops and standups.
* Rules (Time and Order-based): ?
* Scoring Balance: ?
* Shots per flipper: 9 overall?
* Skill shot: ?
* Slap Saves: Fair. Gottlieb is always far apart.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Decent. has voice, but it's the SAME voice for black hole, which does NOT fit the theme of a devil. Weak. sound is a bit annoying and repetitive.
* Spinners:
* Stop n Go/Flow: Excellent. Just ball locks.
* Taunting: NONE - plays a silly theme when you drain... not a fan
* Theme/Art/Lights: Good, but whole pin is missing the colors Blue and Purple, very strange.
* Toys/Gimmicks: horseshoe behind drops is neat. drops that allow a new passageway is cool.

CONS:
* music, voice that doesn't match theme, weak pops. no taunting.
6.848/10
3 years ago
AC/DC LE is an average overall package.

Originality: low.

Art/Lights/Theme: So bad I could barely look at the playfield.
This is the typical weak art package from Stern with photoshopped pics of band members all over the playfield. (Unlike what Dirty Donny did with Metallica)

Sound/Callouts: Can't hear since I was in an arcade… I did hear a bell.
Flow: weak. But there was a nice orbit shot in one direction only.

1. no orbits / orbit shots get trapped to pops
2. pop pen is a mindless waste of time ...zzz...
3. the way the ball dribbles out of the pop pen is insulting

Toys: There's a bell. If you miss this shot, wait a while and you may have a ball SDTM. (but not too often)

Ball Control/Hazards: weak. The stand ups might as well just be solid walls. The ball ricochets off them at full speed -- sometimes straight to the outlane, without giving the player a millisecond of any ball control to help avoid disaster. It's another fast "vertical" game from Stern that doesn't allow for much nudging. Most of their games are configured like this now.

Balanced Scoring: (unknown) I haven't played enough games to know how the scoring works

Fun/Lastability: 1 game was enough for me. No desire to play AC/DC again. I never finish it. I keep trying.

Symmetry: good. I’m rather sure its an asymmetrical design.

Use of pops: POOR. They only have scoring opportunities. They cannot hurt the player. I still have no idea why manufacturers continue to hide pops in the upper corner of the playfield in a spot where the cannot harm the player. The way the ball dribble out, when the game is busy keeping you from playing adds insult to injury.

PF Visibility: POOR: I didn't like the use of the cannon over the right sling, and some junk over the left sling, which makes playing a ball off the outlanes impossible (a la STTNG) -- this REALLY kills the game for me. It's like playing with blinders on. Steve Ritchie hasn't had much respect for outlanes in a long time. First the gaping kickback hole on left in the early days, and now putting toys on top of them, so you can't see what you are nudging/saving.

All I can say is, thank goodness that Stern got pinball right with Metallica.
-mof
7.805/10
3 years ago
24 things I look for:

* Asymmetry: Very good
* Backhands: Very good -- you can make the 8-ball shot with a backhand.
* Ball Control/Hazards: Very good: pops middle of PF, and posts around the inline targets, makes for some danger
* Ball Time: Excellent. Super short game.
* Drops (Sweepable): ok -- not sure how sweepable they are, but you can likely get two at a time on some shots.
* Flasher Blinding: Excellent. I don't think there are any flashers on this game.
* Flippers and shots: Good. 3 flippers, and the top one can't easily make the 8-ball shot. It's kind of a bummer.
* Flow/Stop n Go: Excellent. Ball never stops, unless you hit a specific 8-ball shot and then it pushes right out of the saucer.
* Fun/Lastability: Excellent. It's a very punishing game, and you want to keep playing "just one more".
* Inlane Flow: Depends. Some EBD's are not set up right, and the flow is weak like on a typical Bally. There is an opportunity for good flow, since it's using a long plastic inlane guide.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Excellent. You really want to laterally nudge this one, and try to manage the ball from going to the outlanes.
* Multiball: NONE.
* Orbit Shots: NONE.
* Originality: Decent. There have been a lot of billiards games.
* Outlane save-ability: Fair. I find most shots to the outlanes are tough to save, it's all metal.
* Pop bumpers: Very good. One very mean pop center of PF, while the other two kinda just hold up the ball a bit. I played on two games where a pop hit did NOT push the ball up into the A / B lanes. I would like to see that.
* Scoring Balance: I presume it's fine. No idea.
* Skill shot: Fair. You plunge, then nudge for A or B.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Very good. The famous Bally voice is there with many call outs. Not very sinister though.
* Spinners: NONE.
* ThemeArt/Lights: Very good. It's a nice art package and lighting, but I wasn't blow away by it.
* Toys/Gimmicks: The gimmick that makes you play is that you can earn a SPECIAL doing almost anything 3+ times. It's really neat. But I'm wondering how interesting that would be in a home add-a-ball situation.

One of the BEST location pins of all time. Short ball times, yet LOOKS so easy to play.

-mof
9.205/10
3 years ago
I got in my first 10 games of Defender. 10 quickly turned into 20.

* Asymmetry: excellent
* Backhands: very good. Not sweepable, but you can backhand both target banks AND other shots
* Ball Control/Hazards: Really neat to "sometimes" have a drop target in low to hit, otherwise on the "easy" side of ball control with a wide open playfield: (similar to Nine Ball, Pinbot)
* Ball Time: (I wasn't on a fast 6.5° leveled machine, so hard to know. Being an early Williams, I'd guess an average ball time)
* Drops (Sweepable): fair. I think I got a few 2-3 combos but certainly not ALL 5.
* Flow/Stop n Go: good. There are locks and releases for multi-ball of expected 1-2 second length.
* Fun/Lastability: Very good. I didn't understand the rules, and I was really enjoying the geometry of the PF.
* Inlane Flow: Good. Right inlane has a low ceiling making for less swoosh on this side.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: unknown. I didn't try much nudging. Not too much lateral (iirc) since there are drops on both sides, instead of standups.
* Multiball - entering: good. Not easy, not hard. I think I got into multiball every 3rd game or so.
* Multiball - enjoyment: Excellent. Open PF designs shine for multiball play. Good detain shots with the 1-2-3-4 lanes
* Orbit Shots: NONE. inner orbit TO pops, but otherwise no orbit shot
* Originality: Excellent - completely unique PF design and rules
* Outlanes: Fair: it's a modified Firepower format. kickback lane on left (ouch) and a difficult outlane on right, that sometimes blocks off like Space Shuttle.
* Pop bumpers: excellent. TWO top middle that can help AND hurt you
* Scoring Balance: unknown, no jackpots afaik, so I assume it's good point balance
* Skill shot: none. confined 1-2-3-4 lanes with lane change.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: no voice ! great sounds from Defender vid. No background sound attempt at all.
* Spinners: none.
* ThemeArt/Lights: good. Didn't pay attention to know if it's great or not. Interesting big RED plastic in middle of PF with 4? flashers below it.
* Toys/Gimmicks: excellent. smart drops, smart bomb button that kills the drops, manual-ball-save, 3 drops that pop up in middle of PF and upper PF.

Pros: Innovative, captures the vid game very well.
Cons: Outlanes that are not fun/easy to nudge and save. Not enough made, no voice (this would have put the game over the top) -- but it's ok. WHY? Because the vid was VERY quiet as well other than the sounds in the game. One speaker middle of BG seems weird to me. Looks awesome though.

Early Williams top-3: Black Knight, Barracora then Defender.
7.275/10
3 years ago
Good pin for operators. Easy to understand. Shots are easy. Forgiving game.
For the home market, this might be good for beginner players.
* Asymmetry: decent
* Backhands: very good
* Ball Control/Hazards: very good, on the easy side
* Ball Time: long, on my table, all outlanes were maxed, so the right outlane was a pain
* Drops: none =(
* Flow/Stop n Go: good flow, VERY little stop n go for a DMD.
* Fun/Lastability: decent
* Inlane Flow: smooth as butter. Super smooth inlane guide flow
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Good - this surprised me.
* Multiball - entering: A little tough to enter demon multiball, but not too "hard" -- could get it most every game I played. (I played 10 games on a new machine)
* Multiball - enjoyment: very good - open field
* Orbit Shots: no spinner, but a good orbit. Seems 100% uninterrupted (most odd)
* Originality: decent
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: good. th ball comes off both ramps rather quickly
* Pop bumpers: good. I like having a pop *right* at the end of a stationary target set
* Scoring Balance: (no idea)
* Skill shot: none ?
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: couldn't hear, in a bar
* Spinners: yes, but didn't get to focus on it and enjoy it
* ThemeArt/Lights: decent
* Toys/Gimmicks: I liked the randomness of shooting the Gene disc
5.839/10
3 years ago
I can't get past the level of obfuscation on this pin. There is simply more "stuff in the way" on this pin than on any other I've played. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a shot on this game. I like the theme, and I appreciate the theme integration. Every pin expo, I try and play a game, and I'm overwhelmed time and time again with how unseeable the ball is on this pin. Blocking the view of the ball is not good for pinball.

-mof
7.882/10
3 years ago
Big Game is a fantastic playfield design by the great Harry Williams himself.

* Asymmetry: very good
* Backhands: YES, you can back hand all the important shots
* Ball Control/Hazards: The 3 pops and the post between the spinners are the main hazards
* Ball Time: seems like an easy player, but if I owned one, it would be steeper and faster
* Drops (Sweepable): (maybe the right bank?)
* Flow/Stop n Go: very good flow -- only ball stop is the saucer, and it's momentary
* Fun/Lastability: very good
* Inlane Flow: very good
* Lateral movement/Nudging: always a little tough to nudge a wide-body, but this is smaller as wide bodies go
* Originality: yes
* Pop bumpers: excellent, three mid-field pops
* Scoring Balance: very good
* Skill shot: barely, it's a 1-2-3 without lane change
* Sound: good Stern sounds
* Spinners: yes 2 of them
* ThemeArt/Lights: good, but you'd better like a jungle theme
* Toys/Gimmicks: 4 flippers

CONS:
* no voice
* no multiball
* no orbit shots
7.090/10
3 years ago
Xenon is a real looker with a very good sound set that has a horribly weak background music track that sounds like a jack in the box meets fiddler on the roof song. The game has about 3 fun shots, and the other 1-2 shots are not fun. Fewest shots in any solid state that I have ever witnessed.

* Asymmetry: good
* Backhands: weak
* Ball Control/Hazards: center of PF is a hazard mess with 4 pops
* Ball Time: short
* Drops (Sweepable): none
* Flow/Stop n Go: a bit stop n go without any orbits and relying on saucers
* Fun/Lastability: it's ok
* Inlane Flow: very good -- single wireforms
* Lateral movement/Nudging: good
* Multiball - entering: good, not too easy
* Multiball - enjoyment: ok, not much to do
* Orbit Shots: none
* Originality: excellent
* Pop bumpers: 4, and they are very mean, but take up too much of a range of the playfield shots
* Scoring Balance: good
* Skill shot: yes
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: voice is annoying as a 10-pt sound, background sound is very annoying. scoring sounds are great. The celebration sounds of xenon when you lock a ball and get a chorus of "xenon"s is great.
* Spinners: 1 - decent shot
* ThemeArt/Lights: very good
* Toys/Gimmicks: not really. In 1979, perhaps a tube is a gimmick, but in 2015, it's just a form of a ramp.
8.123/10
4 years ago
Let's get this out of the way: Fireball was a breakthrough game in 1972, and the sequel would have to be brilliant in its year to match up. FB2 is not a breakthrough deck. It is a good overall package.

Asymmetry: Good
Backhands: good. I can make the right saucer with a backhand on a live action shot.
Ball Control/Hazards: Good balance, lower playfield feels "just right"
Ball Time: short but the deck I was on was on the easier side
Flow/Stop n Go: Very good flow -- surprisingly so
Fun/Lastability: Too early to tell, felt good to me
Inlane Flow: Ok, there are posts that slow the ball down, then it has a tiny short inlane, like in Fathom/Embryon
Multiball Lock: Clearly marked, and both are challenging shots, the right side is a little tougher.
Multiball Play: Very good, there are objectives, and space, and you can re-lock balls during MB.
Nudging: Amazing. You nudge every outland ball drop. Required, lots of lateral motion, lots of dead ball passing
Originality: While it's a continuation of a theme, it's nice being very devil-like
Orbit/Spinner Speed: No orbits, no spinners
Pops: On the friendly side. They help score standups and A-B lanes
Scoring Balance: No jackpots, and too early to tell. Likely it's fine
Sound/Callouts: Fun callouts, with Zap, Pow, etc, when you use the moveable post between the flippers.
Taunting: a little, when you tilt, cackling laugh.
Theme/Art/Lights: Very good. I didn't stay long enough to watch the attract mode lights, but seemed average. Typical nice spread of colors from 1981 Bally.
Toys: Center post-flipper is a very cool toy
Voice: Yes - it's the classic 1981 Bally voice

Overall, it's a narrow version of Embryon. If you are on a budget, it's only 1 step down from a Centaur/Fathom for less than half the price. Rules-wise it's very simple -- like the Bally version of Stern Seawitch... Recommended.
7.492/10
4 years ago
What a looker with a repro cleared PF.
Upper playfield is a bit "meh"
Lower playifeld is solid and very fun.
Three sets of sweepable drops
Three spinners
Evil pops
Interesting approach to inlanes...
-mof
7.995/10
4 years ago
SUMMMARY
I think this machine is in the top-5 single ball players for solid states. It’s in elite company with four Sterns: Seawitch, Stargazer, Quicksilver, and Big Game.
Blackout is a fascinating piece of pinball history being smack in between Williams Gorgar, and Williams Firepower. Here’s how it's similar to what came before it:

GORGAR:
* rules
* light show
* sounds

FIREPOWER
* art package
* cabinet
* backglass

LAYOUT:
Action/Per/Minute: high
Backhands: excellent. left flipper can make the left orbit
Dink Donk: very good. Not much of it.
Drops: two banks, neither is directly sweepable
Flippers: 2
Goal: Complete 3 banks of targets to earn Blackout in the saucer. Repeat a bank up top to light the spinner to rip it.
Inlane Lane Change: no
Inlane Swoosh: excellent, best in class like in Baracorra
Lane Change: yes
Nudging: I didn’t nudge too much
Orbits (Repeatable): Yes. Shooting left, you get rewarded for hitting multiple left orbits, but sadly there is no hurry up.
Outlane Fun: Great outlines
Pops: 3 - fun to relight 1-2-3 lanes
Rules: just ok, a bit simple.
Shots (total): 8
Skill Shot: none ?
Slap-Saves: early Williams, for sure best slap saves there are
Spinners: 3 — very fun. Raises the pitch of the background sound. You have to get used to it.
Stop'n'Go: excellent, you just earn blackout for a few seconds.
Taunting: poor. none, there’s voice but it never taunts you.
Toy/Gimmick: blackout is a cool gimmick
Voice / V. choreography: poor. not sure there’s much choreography in the game, it just lets you know what you’ve completed.

ART: very good spilled primary color crayons: red, yellow, blue, green all over the place.

SOUND: pretty good - same set as Gorgar

DISPLAYS: fun backglass

FEEL: feels great

OVERALL: it’s almost an excellent game: I give it “a very good” due to:
* single ball
* no taunting
* average rules for that era
* I’d prefer better sounds on the spinner rips
8.069/10
4 years ago
Nine Ball is a very good overall package. We have multiball but no speech.

Originality: medium.

Art/Lights/Theme: Very good.
The blue on orange looks fantastic.

Sound: Good sound effects, but they sure take their sweet time to tally up a score.

1. no orbits
2. single pop bumper
3. horseshoe (fun as hell)
4. "hidden" ball lock
5. 4 sets of drops totaling 15 drops
6. Spinner hovers over the table

Ball Control/Hazards: Very good. There's a lot of space in this game, and the ball draining is very forgiving (with outlane posts on novice)

Balanced Scoring: (unknown) I haven't played enough games to know how the scoring works

Fun/Lastability: Fun to keep trying to achieve a few tough goals like a max-spinner rip, a 173,000 shot, or earning the special by knocking down the timed drop target on left.

Symmetry: good. I’m rather sure its an asymmetrical design.

Use of pops: good. It's a little weak only having one pop, but at least it's smack dab in the middle of the upper playfield.

PF Visibility: excellent, you always know what's going on.

This game makes me want more early SS Sterns...
7.736/10
4 years ago
No wonder so many of these were made...

* very balanced game
* 8 shots for 2 flippers
* BOTH flippers can backhand critical shots (snake pit, and spinner)
* no lane change is great (real skill shot)
* fun timed arrow that pulses from standup to standup to earn a special
* fun timed "cave shot - special" that expires in 10 seconds
* neat rules on the spinner, only lit "half" of the time based on your bonus level
* voice sounds great (first ever with 7 words)
* heartbeat sounds great -- install speaker upgrades if possible
* strong pop pen, left pop is mean!!! (can score for you as well, a perfect pop)
* Eugene Jarvis sound effects are great
* incredibly satisfying drop target banks. Both are sweepable. (GOR) is easier.

Highly Recommended!
-mof
7.794/10
4 years ago
This rare licensed system 11 theme, is AWFUL beyond all imagination. So bad, that I avoided this title for years.

A few wise friends encouraged me to put my blinders on and give the pin another chance. Thank goodness they pushed me to get to know Rollergames beyond the theme.

It is without any question, the real SEQUEL to High Speed. It's High Speed II.

Now, we know it's not really High Speed II, but every quirk of High Speed 1 is solved in this pin.

What's present from High Speed?

1. TWO full orbit shots WITH spinners in both directions.
2. Upper right flipper that can shoot to three exits in the ramp
3. Three pops hidden safely up top in the center of the PF

What are the improvements?

1. The magnet shot is very satisfying. I like that you can nail it at varying strengths and it always sticks. In High Speed, if I nail the saucer shot too hard, it bounces out. Bad.
2. The addition of the inner orbit shot that is repeatable with the left flipper is brilliant.
3. One standup bank was replaced by drops. (drops are always more fun)
4. Addition of "pretend" action via 2 balls in a habitrail that loop around to mimic action.

If you can get past the cheeseball gooey sticky 80's horrible licensed theme, and just accept it as KILLER theme integration -- a resounding success, then you can really enjoy this pin for it's flow and depth improvements over High Speed.

It should be in the top-125 for sure. I can only assume the "theme" has it down at #166.

-mof
6.653/10
4 years ago
TWD is T.O.A. (Turd on arrival)

I'm playing one that must be brand new, the ball movement is like silk.

I've never seen the show, and so I have no response: positively or negatively towards this theme.

Artwork: Really bad photoshopped TV show art. Really bad.
POPs: hold up the ball, and dribble it out far too often. You need to love stop-n-go to love this title
Bash toys: (2 of them!!!) and they are both nightmarishly boring and they do nothing for the game.
Lighting: really bright, and I like it.
Inlanes: A bit narrow.

TWD has some ridiculous shots:
1. Shooter to pops to dribble out to SDTM to ball save. And then it repeats. You don't even need to bother flipping!
2. Nail the bash toy in the barn dead center, then get drained SDTM for your efforts.
3. Sometimes the ball will dink-donk around near the barn, (a center toy area that is just very poorly implemented) and then glance of the edge of the off-center bash toy, and SDTM. There are at least 3 shots where you don't need to bother flipping.
4. Inner orbit shots flow to pops, which just holds up the game even further.

There are also some nice positives with this title:
1. Like STLE -- the clear plastic ramps are smooth as silk.
2. The DMD programming is more interesting than the game itself. The match sequence is excellent.
3. The lighting is actually GREAT in this game. It's VERY bright EVERYWHERE, and you really see the ball well everywhere.
4. It's brand new -- the build quality feels good.



-mof
3.460/10
4 years ago
My one-liner rating is:

I would rather play BBBB over PStE Any day of the week.

This game is so horrible, it doesn't deserve my time typing in these characters on my keyboard.

Ugly.

Horrible visibility on most anything on the main PF.

This game should have never been allowed to be made.

-mof
6.802/10
4 years ago
AC/DC Pro is a weak overall package. To put it in perspective, I'd rather play WoZ than this game, and I can't stand the theme to WoZ. I actually like AC/DC music. I don't own their music, but I like them in general as a band.

Originality: low.

Art/Lights/Theme: So bad I could barely look at the playfield.
This is the typical weak art package from Stern with photoshopped pics of band members all over the playfield. (Unlike what Dirty Donny did with Metallica)

Sound/Callouts: Can't hear since I was in an arcade… I did hear a bell.
Flow: weak. But there was a nice orbit shot in one direction only.

1. no orbits / orbit shots get trapped to pops
2. pop pen is a mindless waste of time ...zzz...
3. the way the ball dribbles out of the pop pen is insulting

Toys: There's a bell. If you miss this shot, wait a while and you may have a ball SDTM. (but not too often)

Ball Control/Hazards: weak. The stand ups might as well just be solid walls. The ball ricochets off them at full speed -- sometimes straight to the outlane, without giving the player a millisecond of any ball control to help avoid disaster. It's another fast "vertical" game from Stern that doesn't allow for much nudging. Most of their games are configured like this now.

Balanced Scoring: (unknown) I haven't played enough games to know how the scoring works

Fun/Lastability: 1 game was enough for me. No desire to play AC/DC again. I never finish it. I keep trying.

Symmetry: good. I’m rather sure its an asymmetrical design.

Use of pops: POOR. They only have scoring opportunities. They cannot hurt the player. I still have no idea why manufacturers continue to hide pops in the upper corner of the playfield in a spot where the cannot harm the player. The way the ball dribble out, when the game is busy keeping you from playing adds insult to injury.

PF Visibility: POOR: I didn't like the use of the cannon over the right sling, and some junk over the left sling, which makes playing a ball off the outlanes impossible (a la STTNG) -- this REALLY kills the game for me. It's like playing with blinders on.

All I can say is, thank goodness that Stern got pinball right with Metallica.
-mof
7.744/10
4 years ago
AFM's playfield layout is the easiest one ever designed due to the following design elements:

1. a barren, empty wide open rectangular playfield shape
2. the side walls are very vertical in angle, and don't try to force the ball to drain
3. the PF is very symmetrical, and so the ball travel is very predictable
4. the playfield hazards are as far away from the flippers as possible
5. lower playfield is a standard Williams lower that we've seen since the 70's.

The game has all the design aspects present in DMDs since T2 forward that make games less enjoyable for a defensive-minded player who seeks non-stop challenging action:

Stop n Go is everywhere: (meaning there is the least amount of player action possible)
1. pops trap the ball with no randomizing, or ability to drain the ball -- horrible pop placement (top right, T2)
2. scoop takes the ball out of play and creates stop n go
3. ramps hold up the ball and return the ball to the flippers (spoon-feeding) (like in T2)
4. no orbits to create speed in the game (or it's a diverter orbit that only works sometimes)
5. ball save

Other aspects of the game are disappointing to me:
1. no skill shot
2. painful color set on the playfield (lime green?)
3. seems like it's a copy of attack from mars the movie, but not precisely?

The worst design aspect to me is the use of the center shot. This is the most important shot in pinball.
If you make the shot perfectly, it drains on you. You get penalized for making a great shot. You then have to learn to only take the shot "off-center" -- I think this is a very bizarre work-around that doesn't add the the game's low level of fun.

I consider T2, AFM, and MM three of the 10 big-name Fan Layouts that have really taken the fun out of pinball due to their lack of challenge from a defensive-ball-control point of view.

I have never in my life played a game where there was less action, and controlling the ball was easier. I play for action and the challenge of controlling the ball. AFM gives me neither.

Great theme, and funny callouts. That's about all this game has to offer.

-mof
8.510/10
4 years ago
“METLE is a solid overall package. It’s a good combination of old school and modern design.

Originality: good originality

Art/Lights/Theme: Very good. Stern was very savvy to hire an artist to create this entire package. I love the blue/purple against the yellow. Very trippy looking.
1. They didn’t plaster an ugly band theme on the playfield. It is actually real art.
2. The inserts are big and there are fewer than in previous Stern designs
3. There are not band member mug shots plastered all over this thing.

(My only complaint with the art work is the characters — they look like Simpsons, and those characters have always bugged me, because they look “dumb”)

Sound/Callouts: Very cool to get the musicians to voice the callouts
Flow: very good. There are no real "dead ball" spots on this game. There’s a little bit of stop n go with the pops, that serve very little purpose in the game.

Toys: Spark is there, but doesn’t really get in the way. Hitting the ball lock, is fine, and the snake works really well. It works better than it looks like it would work.

Ball Control/Hazards: good. I could that the stand-up targets, when hit can send the ball right back down the middle.

Balanced Scoring: (unknown) I haven't played enough games to know how the scoring works

Fun/Lastability: Pretty good. I wasn’t compelled to play and “Beat” the machine, so I can’t rate the game too high, but it’s a good overall game.

Symmetry: good. I’m rather sure its an asymmetrical design.

Use of pops: fair. They only have scoring opportunities. They cannot hurt the player. I still have no idea why manufacturers continue to hide pops in the upper corner of the playfield in a spot where the cannot harm the player.

The shots: (11) shots, and each one is satisfying. 11 is a massive number for a narrow body.
7.379/10
4 years ago
Very few sequels impress me.
I especially hate to see a sequel made by a different designer.
Mark Ritchie is my favorite designer, and I hate to give one of his pins a mediocre rating, but this one deserves it...

Firepower II is a sequel that falls flat.

A few flaws:

1. left flipper to upper right orbit shot is clunky. It's a tough shot to make, but not in a good way. It's a design flaw -- one you don't see often in pinball.

2. no speech

There's a good reason there are no CPR playfields for Firepower II.
There's a good reason why there is no club for Firepower II.
There's a good reason why it's not in the top-25 of people's wish lists...

The only improvement over Firepower, is the art work...

Otherwise, it took every challenge from Firepower, and softened it:

1. easier to start multiball (this is the strength of firepower)
2. easier multiball to play

Overall, still a good game, I just have to judge it a little harshly in light of that it was cut from a much better game. Now we have something between firepower and sorcerer.

-mof
8.843/10
4 years ago
Just played this for the first time at PPM and got in about 20 games in a row on a quiet Saturday.
There were moments when I thought, "Best game ever..."
IJ really blew me away. I'm a big wide-body fan...

* multiball lock in the middle is possibly the best use of a center shot of all time
* the way the game feeds balls back during multiball is great - the fact that the balls are fed so quickly to the flippers
* I like the dual orbits
* I like the 1-2-3-4 lanes up top

My only negative marks on the game is that it's a licensed theme, and I think the artwork is weak.

It's another masterpiece from Mark Ritchie, one of the most underrated designers of all time...

Taxi/Diner/IJ -- all top 20 games in my book.

-mof
7.656/10
4 years ago
This is a great. game. I'll give it careful scrutiny another time.

Imagine putting the pinbot visor in the middle of the field (well balanced risk-reward), and having the most solid quick ramps ever -- short loops. Ingenious ball locks. Great balance of colors.

I didn't get to play at night, so I couldn't judge the light show.

Fun game, make sure you put some time into this one at the next expo...

I'd rate it higher if the music didn't loop what sounds like a rip-off of footloose?, one of my least favorite songs of ALL time.

-mof
8.477/10
4 years ago
“STLE may be the best overall package of all time. It is the smoothest, fastest pin I’ve ever played. The shots felt really good, including the left and right outside orbit shots.

Originality: fair originality

Art/Lights/Theme: Very good. Stern has made huge improvements in this release:
1. They didn’t plaster an ugly movie theme on the playfield. It is actually real art.
2. The inserts are big and there are fewer than in previous Stern designs
3. There are not actor mug shots plastered all over this thing.

Sound/Callouts: Couldn’t hear it with all the noise from the other pins

Flow: very good. There are no real "dead ball" spots on this game. The playfield is a little condensed and dink-donk in the upper middle area.

Toys: The starship middle top can pitch the ball back at you at lightning speed. I was screaming “what the hell” the first few times it happened. 4-ball Multi-ball that doesn’t feel too cramped. The ramps are smooth as butter, and it’s really taking ramps to the next level.

Ball Control/Hazards: fair. Like most modern Sterns, I found this game incredibly easy to play.

Balanced Scoring: (unknown) I haven't played enough games to know how the scoring works

Fun/Lastability: I was just playing at a house with 15 top-20 pins, and this was by far the best playing pin of the lot. TOM was a close second, and Fathom a close third.

Symmetry: good. I’m rather sure its an asymmetrical design.

Use of pops: fair. They only have scoring opportunities. They cannot hurt the player. I still have no idea why manufacturers continue to hide pops in the upper corner of the playfield in a spot where the cannot harm the player.
6.620/10
4 years ago
Finally got to play this system 11 at a friend's house, and the more I played it, the more it grew on me. It has a solid feel, and I really like the backward left shot. Unlike Black Hole, it's a lot of space used for 1 gimmick, so I feel they took a lot of risk including that in the game. I was a huge Warner Bros fan as a kid over other animation.

Give this one a chance, I hope you get to play a shopped version.
-mof
8.041/10
4 years ago
2nd best sys80 made after Black Hole (I'm not a HH fan).
The game has something like 19 shots in it. I think it's the most I've ever recorded.
Backglass is second to none, and the bass coming out of the stock speakers is crushing and feels good.
Plays very well, and you keep coming back for more.
I'd love to have one in my collection if I could hold 20, it would make the "top 20 1980's machines"...
-mof
7.356/10
4 years ago
Pretty good sys80. It's no Black Hole, or Spirit, or Devil's Dare, but it's a close 4th best system80 in my book.
If I could hold 30 pins, it would make the cut, and be a keeper for me in my 1980's collection.
Left outlane is horrible. Big strike against this deck.
-mof
9.462/10
5 years ago
Originality: excellent.

Art/Lights/Theme: Great. Like Centaur, there are a lot of colored inserts here. Very colorful light set. Not as many insert colors as Centaur and Embryon. Artwork and backglass are second to none. Dark theme about mermaids killing male divers. Awesome x 9000.

Sound/Callouts: I love the voice synthesizer sound from 1981. Overall, I'd say the sounds are decent. It appears this one has no control for reverb like on Centaur.

Flow: Good. However, surprisingly, there are a few "dead ball" spots on this game, which for me puts Centaur far above this pin.
1) The 1 o'clock shot just hits the right pop. A surprising use of the 1 o'clock shot, which is really powerful off the left flipper.
2) The ball can come to rest just to the top-left corner of the bottom pop.
3) I don't like when the 3rd flipper (in any game) has its tip hanging out and you can nail the tip full power off the left flipper.

Toys: good 3rd flipper, creative use of inline targets (twice) to release multi-ball.

Ball Control/Hazards: Good risk / reward balance. I would say there are any specific super-risky shots, but a LOT of balls drain in the inlanes which are hard to nudge and a LOT of balls drain SDTM. It's not a game about "risky shots" as much as it is a game about having incredible finesse and ball digging skills when the ball slows down around the flippers. It's also a bit of a shell game, when the slings take control of the ball and you may have a 1/4 second at some point to save the game. You really have to stay on your toes.

Balanced Scoring: Seems good. No big jackpots to throw things off as far as I know.

Fun/Lastability: Very hard to start multi-ball brings you back over and over. Very Difficult pin. Requires a lot of finesse and patience.

Symmetry: Zero symmetry except around the flippers. Really well done.

Pops: Excellent: All 3 can score A-B-C lanes, and two of them can burn you. Second best set of pops only to Black Hole that I've ever played.

Backhands: Excellent. All three flippers can do VERY cool things with backhand shots.

Skill Shot: none!

Pros: Astonishing overall art package. Feels so good to be in front of this machine. Super touch on all plays to manage your drops in the right order. Great layout overall. If the multiball mode is more fun/manageable overall, then this game is tied for 2nd best ever with Centaur and Black Hole.

Cons: TOUGH play during multiball, 2nd ball drains quickly. (Some day I may have the skill to manage it) Overall the space feels a little bit cramped.
7.807/10
5 years ago
TL;DR: 3 Spinners that can spin at once! Awards for Repeatable Orbits! Great Saucer shot! But Steve, where oh where are the drops ???

High Speed was a pin with breakthrough design in 1986. Dream team worked on this.

Originality: Very good originality with a car chase theme.

Art/Lights/Theme: Very good. You have red/yellow/green all over the place, and then the blue lights flash when important things happen. The tachometer is very good looking. Sounds carry over from Defender!

Sound/Callouts: Funny callouts from the "cops" "He got away..."

Flow: good. There are no real "dead ball" spots on this game other than the shot straight up that hits the end of the pin and then returns. Sometimes the ball "donks" into various posts on the way back to the flippers...

Toys: Cool ramp with 3 exits. Cool catapult/habitrails that return the ball "near" the flippers with force -- which keeps things a bit random and risky.

Ball Control/Hazards: Good risk reward balance. The use of stationary targets keeps the speed up in this game. The game might be a bit on the easy side. I built one out with new parts and just go for maximum speed on it, and see how that plays.

Balanced Scoring: (likely good) I haven't played enough games to know if there are knockout scores, but from what I understand there are not. There's an "escape" jackpot, but from what I can tell it gets reset often.

Fun/Lastability: The home run shot of making the ramp is simply fun. locking the balls during mutli-ball is the second challenge. PL with Whirlwind then copied this design (imo).

Asymmetry: nearly symmetrical, but it's not... So the asymmetry is Fair.

Use of pops: POOR design. They only have scoring opportunities in 1 of 4 directions. They cannot hurt the player. Just not having interactive 1-2-3 lanes nearby makes these pops a total yawn.

Shots: OK: very few shots in the game, like 9. Top flipper has 1 shot...

Doesn't have much JOM (just one more) factor -- it's fun to rip the spinner to the tunnel, and the re-ripping of the orbits are nice, and the top flipper shot is nice, but... It's just not a top-25 all time game. Once you have the main shots, you have them...

Left outlane is a leftover from Firepower, and is still not fun.

I think the dependability for OPs, number of copies made, and the nostalgia keep this game in the top-100.
8.303/10
5 years ago
Embryon !

Originality: Excellent. (3 center captives!, 1 center!, 2 side captive balls, putting a stand-alone 1-2-3 lane top LEFT that is nearly isolated from top right/plunger flow)

Art/Lights/Theme: Excellent, even the color choices are great and feel good. Like Centaur, there are a lot of colored inserts here. Very colorful light set.

Sound/Callouts: Same "Best of all time" voice actor from the classic Ballys from 1981. (Fathom/Centaur/Fireball II)

Inlanes: Very good, they have more flow than a Centaur, but they are not super-fast like Williams inlanes. I like the asymmetry.

Flow: Excellent. There are no real "dead ball" spots on this game other than when the pops hold up the ball a little bit, and a few spots the ball can come to rest next to the pops for a moment (rare). Only one ball lock, and it's such a hard shot that it almost never happens. When it does, it's a VERY short stop.

Toys: Very good. 3rd flipper, center captive ball, bizarre flipper in the outlane!

Ball Control/Hazards: Good risk reward balance. I would say on the whole the risk is low on this table, but the speed is high. I find since it's a wide-body, that nudging is a bit tougher than what I'm used to, but it could be that I'm playing in the garage on a plastic floor. The far left pop is mean.

Balanced Scoring: Seems very good -- no system 11 jackpot nonsense.

Fun/Lastability: Very hard to start multi-ball brings you back over and over.

Symmetry: Zero symmetry. Really well done.

Pops: Very Good: they score, and one of the four can send the ball SDTM.

Cons: No skill shot (bummer), no lane change (I can live with that though)
2.703/10
5 years ago
Worst.
Game.
Ever.

I cannot think of a game I'd rather not play as much as this one.

Steer clear, and keep running.
6.747/10
5 years ago
Another follow up to an original pin that doesn't do justice to the original pin.

Originality: yes

Art/Lights/Theme: It's ok to me. I am not a fan of the masculine looking faces.

Sound/Callouts: Can't hear them, I'm playing in an arcade.

Flow: none. Shots die out or get their velocity altered somehow. Zero flow, with the exception of the horseshoe shot.

Toys: Big space-waster. Very cool the first time you play it. Not so cool the 10th time.

Ball Control/Hazards: Barry Orsler is notorious for evil outlanes. They are here as well. Other than that, it's an easy game to play. Easy to milk ramps over and over.

Balanced Scoring: The fact that you can milk ramps means you can soak up big scores with little effort.

Fun/Lastability:
I see little reason to play it again.

Symmetry: Too symmetrical. Ball flow is too predictable over all.
7.703/10
5 years ago
* Asymmetry: Good asymmetry
* Backhands: Great backhands of the left flipper - supercharger, and right flipper - tunnel
* Ball Control/Hazards: Very fair. The real gotchya in the game is the left outlane.
* Ball Time: Good. Medium ball times I’d reckon.
* Drops (Sweepable): ZERO drops. =(
* Flow/Stop n Go: Very nice flow. A little “dink-donky” when the ball comes out of the pop area.
* Fun/Lastability: Pretty good in terms of the sounds, animations, light show, and stacking the house of cards for the big jackpots, and going for loops. DMD is mostly informative, (not just animations) and it does not hold up the game much.
* Inlane Flow: Typical smooth Williams. The balls tends to slow a hair in there, I suspect my sling rubbers are a tad big?
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Fair. not too much in this game.
* Multiball - entering: Decent. You have to accomplish a few things before it starts up.
* Multiball - enjoyment: A really good multi-ball.
* Orbit Shots: Two big juicy ones, with no spinners. It awards loops. Brilliant.
* Originality: It’s a remake of HS I, so I can’t really grade it here. HS I is original.
* Outlane saveability: LOW: This is disappointing. Both sides are metal, and the open curve on the left side is REALLY tough.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Decent. One ramp feeds back to inland flippers aka T2, and it does slow the ball down. Metal ramps is a HUGE plus in both how they sound and how long they will last.
* Pop bumpers: Decent. They only help you, and never hurt you. They don’t hold up the ball forever, and when they do, at least you can SEE what is happening.
* Scoring Balance: Fair. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the monster jackpots you earn. At least they are not like in system 11, where they just sit around uncollected.
* Skill shot: NONE.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Fantastic. The cops are goofy, and there are good “denial” sounds when you miss shots.
* Spinners: NONE
* ThemeArt/Lights: Very good light show. Not Bally early SS great, but good.
* Toys/Gimmicks: EXCELLENT. The supercharger is SO 70’s Mattel toy, it’s a home run. The diverter is great. the up/down ramp is great. It’s a great re-use of space.

Summary:
Decent flow, but much like a Lawlor, it has a few dead ball zone issues in the middle. As DMDs go, it’s not very stop-n-go. This is a great all around package.

I give High Speed the tiniest of edge over High Speed II, since there is more space, and more ball control going on.
6.515/10
5 years ago
Got to play Transformers Pro for 2 hours at the local mini-golf. It was set up fine, and the flippers were very responsive. Ball travel was nice. Everything seemed to work fine. I loaded it up with 4 games, and on the second round, once I calibrated myself to the speed of the machine, I was getting a replay on every other game.

Art/Lights/Theme:
I have no idea what half of the lights seemed to be flashing most of the time. The lights were not pretty, and had little or no contrast against the gaudy playfield. One of the more poor art packages I've ever seen.

Sound/Callouts:
Being in a mini-golf meant I couldn't hear things well, so I just didn't grade the pin for this section.

Flow:
Good flow. I liked the outer orbit. It felt like I had played this layout before. Whether it was T3 or some other Stern (I don't know all the Stern games all that well.) There was certainly nothing about the layout of the pin I thought to be creative or unique.

Toys:
The idea that you launch the ball into a rubber figure, so that ball can dribble away slowly and land back near the flippers is a decent randomizer. I could see how some kids might like this feature. I didn't find it interesting at all.

Ball Control/Hazards:
I found that most drains were when I chose to NOT control the ball. What this means is that this is a very VERY easy pin to play. I was able to win a free play on my 5th game, and then once I loaded up 4 players, I got replays on all 4 accounts. This is knowing zero rules, or using any lights to my advantage. This is simply with ball control skill and decent multiball skills, I was able to win replays at 6,500,000. My high score in roughly 2 hours was 16mil. Once the replay jacked up to 12,000,000 I had still covered the replay score. I'm not very impressed by pinball machines that allow me to win a replay in 5 games, let alone 20 games.

Fun/Lastability:
I found the game somewhat fun to play like most modern Sterns, I just found the art/lighting/zero-creativity/commercial aspect of it to be disappointingly boring.
9.569/10
5 years ago
Black Hole is the total package

Originality: incredible originality, lower playfield !

Art/Lights/Theme: Very strong. The blue pops look great against the orange inserts.

Slap-Save-ability: Poor: Wide gap between flippers. You watch a lot of balls drain STDM.

Sound/Callouts: I love the voice synthesizer sound from 1981. The Blips and Bloops are good from Gottlieb, but they are in third place behind Bally and Williams from that era.

Flow: Very good. There are no real "dead ball" spots on this game other than on the lower PF on the left side.

Toys: Lower playfield, the Spinning backglass, the mirrored backglass, the counter-spin motion of each one. Two directional multiball (with tons of room to play) makes it possibly the best multiball in pinball. It tears your mind apart trying to handle it.

Ball Control/Hazards: Good risk reward balance. I would say on the whole the risk is low on this table, but the speed is high, and the gap between the middle flippers feels wide. I find since it's a wide-body, that nudging is a bit tougher than what I'm used to, but it could be that I'm playing in the garage on a plastic floor The pops are in mean places to fire the ball SDTM and the Left outlane. There's another mean pop downstairs.

Balanced Scoring: (likely good) I haven't played enough games to know if there are knockout scores, but from what I hear there are not.

Fun/Lastability: Very hard to start multi-ball brings you back over and over. You scream and yell. That's how you know it's one of the best of all time.

Symmetry: Zero symmetry. Doesn't get better than this.

Pros: Stunning BIG BLUE and BLACK machine. Top-3 most impressive looking machines of all time with Fathom/Centaur. Smash-mouth drops and pops, VERY fun to play.

Cons: BIG gap between flippers, too many SDTMs. No lane change (good for a skill shot, not good for putting the ball back up in there.)
8.833/10
5 years ago
Finally got to sit on a TZ for 3 hours and get some games in. One of the best designs of all time.
I usually count 7 to 12 shots in a game. TZ has at least 18. Off the charts.
Another stop-n-go design from PL.
7.288/10
5 years ago
Just a kind reminder, kids...

"Bogus" was designed to help us weed out the "1" and "10" ratings that clearly have no thought or consideration behind them (the more emotional responses)

A 7 out of a 10 is an "ok" rating. However, feel free to continue to abuse the "bogus" button. Soon enough, we'll need a "bogus" button for "bogus" votes on valid ratings.

---

Since all the new Stern games feel and play the same to me, I was hoping -- rather praying -- that JJP would release a masterpiece as the newcomer/underdog. The did release a visually stunning -- best looking pin of all time. It's jaw-dropping and a marvel to look at. I only wish I enjoyed listening to it, or playing it as much as I like to look at it.

What we got was really quite an amazing accomplishment, but that doesn't mean I'm a huge fan of the visual spectacle that is WOZ.

Biggest drawbacks to me are:
1. IN YOUR FACE LCD -- I don't want game information from a screen. I don't want distractions from a screen. I hope LCDs do not catch on.
2. BLINDING LED's below the playfield in the inserts -- they are EXTREMELY bright, and unbearable. Makes it near impossible to see the ball most of the time.
3. The only two possible "fun" shots are the two center shots, which basically are made roughly 1 in 3 attempts. Those 2 shots are SOOOO far away, that only a perfect shot makes it. Far too many shots are delivered SDTM stamped with 'you failed', when you know your shot was good enough to make it. Compare these two shots to the top two shots in TZ. Those two shots are made every time they have the strength to be made properly in TZ.
4. Lacks flow: lots of stop n go, and waiting for balls to return slowly on habitrails.
5. Tries to do too much with toys and such at the expense of good flow, and good shots.

Biggest pros are:
1. THEME. This is one of the best themed pins of all time. They went overboard. Way overboard. If you are not a fan of cute and super-sticky sweetness, you may be very disappointed. A 10 year old girl would LOVE pinball if this was the first machine she ever saw. Think sparkling unicorns.
2. It feels solid, and plays good.

I hope to get in more games, and find more things to love in this pin. Until then... It's a 6 out of 10.

If this were the first pin from my newly formed pinball company, I'd be damn proud of it -- it's a risky pin to bring to market, and it's going to polarize people based on the them alone. If I were Stern, I'd be very concerned. Perhaps creativity is a good thing for pinball after all?

Can't wait to see what they create next.

--- UPDATE ---

I've updated the rating from 5.99 to 6.59 as of March, 2014.
I've updated the rating from 6.59 to 7.00 as of August, 2014.

I have more of an appreciation for WoZ now after the software upgrade. I also have a much better understanding of what makes this pin unbearable for me.

1. IN YOUR FACE LCD - not a fan of this distraction
2. BLINDING LEDs - wondering if these can be turned down?
3. TOO MANY BLIND SPOTS - too often the ball is obscured by playfield toys, especially when the ball is slowly being set up to the upper right flipper, you have no idea when it's going to arrive.
4. TOO MUCH UNDER-PF BALL TRICKERY - too frequently something under the playfield is tweaking the natural path of the ball, whether it's a button sticking up, or what seems to be a magnet?
5. BORING TOYS - not a fan of either upper PF.
6. SOUNDS - can't stand the witch and other voices, and I have no idea why I am hearing the sounds of a billiard table? and other dings most of the time. It's just bizarre...

A few things I like better than my first run are:

* The two orbit shots. I was glad to learn that you can make either one.
* The upper middle (right) shot. I was able to complete it 10x in a row just like it was Earthshaker or Whirlwind.
* I appreciate that there's a dangerous pop bumper in the middle left of the playfield.
* I like that the right outlane pin is ABOVE the inlane, which gives you a little bit of an edge to getting the ball to roll back into the inlane.

I was able to beat the game 2x in 10 tries this time around...
9.590/10
5 years ago
In a perfect world, Centaur is ranked in the top-10 all time.

If pinball is "art you play" -- then Centaur and Fathom are the winners.

Originality: 10+ A never-ending black and white drawing? Are you serious? That drawing took hundreds of hours to complete.

Art/Lights/Theme: 10+. Off the charts, full on heavy metal theme. It captures 1981 like no other design. Lighting is amazing. There are so many colors represented with the inserts it is very pleasing. The BG and PF artwork are spectacular. Coolness factor is off the charts. It's the total package.

Sound/Callouts: 10. Background sound is very cool. Speech is very cool. Has it's own real-time adjustable reverb unit built in. How incredible is that? An amazing voice was recorded for this. Reverb pushes it way over the line.

Flow: 10. It's non-stop action kind of flow, not one shot leading into another kind of flow.

Toys: 10. The fact that you can get multiballs whenever you accomplish almost any goal is very cool. This makes it the highest action game I've ever played. The balls never stop until you drain. (One exception: there's a magnet that occasionally holds the ball for 2 seconds, like in Gorgar, but that's it). The ability to recover some outlane drains by building one-way gates into the flipper return lanes is a neat way to train left-right nudging. Great idea.

Shots: Game has about 8 shots to take. (I count entire banks as 1 shot). -- I don't have to trap and set up every shot. I like that.

Multiball: somewhat easy to start (inlane/outlane is easiest) but the multi-ball play itself is GREAT. I use it to TRY to complete queen's chamber (I've never done it once)

Ball Control/Hazards: 10. Risk/Reward balance is very strong in this game. There are no easy shots to milk. Every shot can hurt you. It's how pinball was meant to be. Strangely, it's tricky to trap in this Bally game, which motivates you to take more live shots, which just adds to the fun.

Balanced Scoring: 10. Yes.

Fun/Lastability: 10+ You'll be pressing "start" every 2-3 minutes until mom tells you it's time for dinner.

Cons: (3)
I miss the absence of a spinner shot. I would replace the upper one-way ball gate with a spinner. I find the queen's chamber shot very difficult to make, that's not a con, that's just me complaining! Pops are worthless. They barely score for you. No skill shot.

Symmetry: Decent asymmetry with targets on right, and a loop on left, but overall rather symmetrical.
7.729/10
5 years ago
Funhouse is one of the best looking most charming games ever made.

I'm not sure it's the most fun game to play though...

PROs
* amazing art, lights, sounds, music, and toys for the best theme integration and choreography of all time. Period.
* great programming and rules

CONs
the entire layout:
* 2 very spaced apart cellar shots means a lot of stop and go for a non-DMD
* very narrow field of shooting, it feels like 1/2 of the playfield has been removed on the right -- which means it feels like "not a lot to do" -- especially with the left flipper
* low ceilings for the lower playfield makes this a very difficult pin to play... You can spend a lot of time trying to wrestle control of the ball (over and over). You can't really "shoot on the fly" this pin in anyway. It's trap and shoot. (which isn't my favorite pinball to play)
* low ceilings over the outlanes makes for weak inlane play. Typical Pat L. design...
* no drop targets, no spinner, no horseshoe. (yikes!!!)
9.097/10
5 years ago
A nearly perfect game. Thank you, Roger Sharpe.

* Asymmetry: very good
* Backhands: good
* Ball Control/Hazards: good, middle post is most evil thing to avoid
* Ball Time: short
* Drops (Sweepable): in this game you shoot drops in order, so sweeps are meaningless
* Free ball: only one way to earn: the bullseye target.
* Flow/Stop n Go: very good, only the saucers hold the ball 1 second, or force a re-plunge
* Fun/Lastability: excellent
* Inlane Flow: perfect 10/10
* Lateral movement/Nudging: very good - big part of the game
* Multiball - entering: very enjoyable 2 and 3
* Multiball - enjoyment: great - lots to do, and TWO detain shots
* Orbit Shots: none, but you "can" remove the ball gate
* Originality: very good -- slight borrow from geiger
* Pop bumpers: not evil, but balanced for sure
* Scoring Balance: very good - no jackpots
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: no voice !!! (great sounds from defender, galaga, etc)
* Spinners: 1
* ThemeArt/Lights: excellent look and feel (red/blue/yellow)
* Toys/Gimmicks: excellent: 1-2-3,4-5-6 lanes, horseshoe, bullseye, drops in order. Lots to do.

Pros:
* 9 shots
* Teaches you to practice very precise end of flipper aim (the toughest shots)
* Surprisingly good flow. Especially the two-way Horseshoe shot
* Only 2 low hanging posts to punish poor aim - very playable
* Very interesting double 1-2-3 lane feature
* Gorgeous yellow/blue/red theme, legendary artwork and backglass
* Great early 80's Williams sound set. Part Galaga, part Defender, part Barracora

Cons:
* No skill shot (typical of most early SS games)
* No voice, no callouts
7.797/10
5 years ago
It's a great game!

- Simple sounds that are just fine -- easy to play heavy rock over this sound set
- Incredible Flow. Only the slings and pops keep you off the ball for 1 second here and there.
- Non-stop action to the point that you don't miss multi-ball at all. Case closed.
- 2nd Best pops I can think of in pinball after Black Hole. 1/5th harmful 4/5ths helpful. Fantastic balance.
- Lovely artwork and light blue-yellow-white-black color palette
- Great use of 4 flippers. They all have cool shots and traps.
- Fair outlanes
- Smooth ball return guides.

My only wish is that it had 1981 rules on the drops like in Black Knight/Centaur... hurry ups and getting 1-2-3-4 at once or in order should be rewarded. I'm talking minor tweaks from 1980 to 1981. It would be very cool if it had some reward for when you do the coolest thing in the game -- send the ball around the loop AGAIN with the upper right flipper.

Only has one moderate design flaw. A lot of shots hit into raised upper flippers. I will try and adjust my flipper buttons to minimize this in the future.

Theme could be better implemented with the art work, I don't know what the Seawitch story really is.
6.776/10
5 years ago
Step down from T2. The machine I played, the flippers could extend too far, so you couldn't hold pass. Don't know if that is by design or not. I think the backglass toy is silly, to put it nicely. This was the first Steve Ritchie machine I played that I wasn't very impressed by right off the bat. Will report back after a few more plays.

It feels like it's ALL RAMPS. This isn't good for pinball. It's boring and uninspiring.
-mof
8.021/10
5 years ago
Amazing sounds. Interesting difficulty to reach multi-ball. Very weak artwork. Has false "vanishing points" for the lasers that are unbearable to look at. It's like looking at 2+2=5. Did I mention the amazing sounds? Theme does nothing for me. Love the fonts.

Pops are great randomizers that help you score 1-2-3-4 lanes. They are completely neutered and harmless
Ball locks feel really good.

Getting to multiball is an incredible challenge. I might reach it 1/25 times (at least an hour). The multiball itself is "ok"

This game will teach you to slap save and nudge until you are pro. I love games that teach me to play better. Much like Cyclone.

An absolute classic.
7.096/10
5 years ago
Played this at CAX 3-4 times, and was thoroughly non-impressed.

PROS
* funny callouts
* nice use of a Bally inlane on one side (respect)

CONS
* The background music is really a chore on my ears.
* Lots of dink-donk near the pops, that slows the ball flow down.
8.206/10
5 years ago
Great game!
8.729/10
5 years ago
* Asymmetry: excellent
* Backhands: very good
* Ball Control/Hazards: excellent! very tough lower PF
* Ball Time: medium
* Drops (Sweepable): no drops !
8.952/10
5 years ago
Flawless game.
Non-stop action.
Almost zero stop-n-go with the only stop being the single ball-lock.
Best artwork after Centaur.
Best laugh after Black Knight.
Great sounds (mix of Black Knight and Space Shuttle).
Incredibly well-balanced game. Has a little of everything. The genius of Mark Ritchie shines in Diner, Sorcerer, and Taxi...
9.021/10
6 years ago
Possibly the best game for a novice, but the flow is solid enough for an experienced player. Has few lower PF posts to quick drain the novice. Outlanes are very fair. Fun theme. Fantastic 3-ball multi-ball with a SUTM jackpot shot that is very rewarding.

Flawless game.
6.838/10
6 years ago
This game is all about the art and music. I got in a few games and found it to have possibly the worst flow I have ever experienced. I was so disappointed. I very much wanted to love this pin. I have never seen so much "nothing" happen when playing pinball before. It was like 3 long minutes of no shots being made at all.
---
Put up the GC on this game at GPSF -- 5mill plus... not as bad as I had once thought. This one must have been set up better. Still not a fan of the one-way ramp shots. The orbit is nice. The middle fire shot is nice. The horseshoe is nice... no drops! no spinner! C'mon man...
8.034/10
6 years ago
Another daring and brilliant design from Barry O. No inlanes! What this means is novice pin players have one less thing to manage. It is by far the favorite of the games for novices in my game room. For more experienced players it is still a very interesting pin. Great sound effects and music. Cool callouts -- "You must re dock!." Multi-ball: Green mode is very cool, where a second bank of lights are used, and the whole pin turns green. This game is small a step down in design and fun from it's predecessor -- Space Shuttle. It's a very tough game to beat. Ball trapping is a whole new experience on this game, worth mastering. Sound would pair nicely with PinBot.
9.282/10
6 years ago
Summary:

Epic Classic.
There are a few solid state pins that have a classic feel thanks to the artwork. This one of those few games.

Great artwork. Cool sounds. Taunting Vocals. Chrome Ramps that are sharp like a guillotine, and cut you down fast if your reaction isn't perfect. This game demands your best play. Novices should run screaming from this one. It's a complex puzzle that takes REAL time to solve and learn the best approach. Unlike other games in my collection -- it took me weeks to earn a free ball on the machine. I have so much respect for Steve Ritchie for this one.

Getting multi-ball going on two playfields at once is GOOD for your brain. You play the PF with 2 or more, and then switch when it changes. Very cool stuff. You want to maximize your bonus multiplier on the lower PF during MB.

Cons: weak skill shot, right outlane a but cramped. Lower playfield a bit cramped. No orbit shot. Entering multiball is too easy.

* Asymmetry: Very good.
* Backhands: Very good.
* Ball Control/Hazards: Excellent. Lower PF is almost too hazardous. Play with care.
* Ball Time: Low. But this is ALL dependent on being at 6.5° -- game is much more fun and playable at 5.5° or so.
* Drops (Sweepable): Fair. Not really a sweeping drop game.
* Flasher Blinding: The game goes dark during launch of balls during multiball, which isn't fun.
* Flow/Stop n Go: Very good. Only the ball lock stops it.
* Fun/Lastability: Excellent. Has plenty of JOM (just one more) to keep you coming back.
* Inlane Flow: Decent. Left lane is open for a swoosh, right lane is a bit cramped for it.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Good, but the game is a bit FAST-paced with the two cramped playfields to do too much nudging.
* Multiball - entering: POOR: Way too easy. Almost a safe-gimme.
* Multiball - enjoyment: Excellent. One of the best ever. Go for (all drops) and a free-ball, or go for 2x-3x-4x-5x which is a very un-safe shot...
* Orbit Shots: NONE.
* Originality: Excellent. So good, its 2-level style was copied many times over. Pharoah, Jungle Lord, etc.
* Outlane save-ability: Excellent. They put magnets there. There you go. That's one way to save the ball. Otherwise, left is very saveable, with an open ceiling, and the right is tougher.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Excellent. This means the ramp from top PF to lower PF is fast and tough. You tense up every time the ball comes down the "Steve Ritchie Expressway"
* Pop bumpers: Decent. It only helps you.
* Scoring Balance: Very good. No issues.
* Skill shot: Decent. You use the plunger to not over-shoot the top PF. Shoot as weak as possible.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Excellent. Great sounds, and a great taunting laugh.
* Spinners: Very good - one sweet one on left
* Theme/Art/Lights: Breath Taking red/yellow/blue/green/black/orange. Looks classic.
* Toys/Gimmicks: Excellent. Magnets are very cool - split playfield very cool.
9.158/10
6 years ago
Best flow I have EVER experienced...

I love the defensive playfield. Ball can fast-drain at any second when in the lower PF.

* Asymmetry: very good.
* Backhands: good.
* Ball Time: very good.
* Drops (Sweepable): very good (2 banks)
* Flasher Blinding: Fair. Too much blinding to try and mess you up.
* Flippers (extra) 4 !!!
* Free Ball earning: 2 ways
* Fun/Lastability: Excellent.
* Hazards: Lower PF is as mean as it gets.
* Inlane Flow: Excellent.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Yes. Slings are a total shell game once they grab hold.
* Multiball - entering: On the easy side, but with a lot of risk.
* Multiball - enjoyment: Decent. Ends quickly, but it's fun to try and get 2 or 3 balls on the top field
* Orbit Shots: NONE
* Originality: Excellent.
* Outlane save-ability: Excellent. Magnets are great.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Very good - feeds to upper PF.
* Pop bumpers: NONE
* Rules (Time and Order-based) Very good. On drops
* Scoring Balance: No stupid jackpots
* Shots per flipper: tons.
* Skill shot: None
* Slap Saves: Excellent.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Funny sounds and no voices.
* Spinners: 1 Very fun one dead middle.
* Stop n Go/Flow: Best of all time.
* Taunting: Yes. The monkeys yell at you.
* Theme/Art/Lights: Very good.
* Toys/Gimmicks: Magnets, lizard head, 4 flippers.

Pros: Best flow ever, 4 flippers, variable magna save.
Cons: no skill shot, no voice.
8.858/10
6 years ago
If this game isn't in your top-10 list, you're nuts.
2 orbit shots, inner and outer
spinner
captive ball
2 ramps
great toy
nice secret trap door
it has as much action as a wide-body without being a wide body. Just incredible.
-mof
9.009/10
6 years ago
"Hey, Comrade! TAXI" Classic callouts, great music, Amazing yellow PF with primary colors popping off it. Fastest game I own. You must master dead ball bounce to wait for the ball to slow down on this one. Ramp shots are very satisfying. Drac Catapault is funny every time. Skill shot is brilliant. Other than the fact of how brutal this pin is, it's a near perfect pin. A little too stop n go for my taste with the "Joy Ride" feature (6+ seconds). The brutality makes it hard to play for long periods. You will be sure you have no skill after an hour with Taxi ! This pin made me a better player, I will always be thankful for that.
7.802/10
6 years ago
23 things I look for:
* Asymmetry: Good. Feels symmetrical, but the location of PF elements is actually not.
* Backhands: Very good. Left flipper CAN make Cyclone shot, can the right flipper make the Comet?
* Ball Control/Hazards: Excellent. It's almost too hard. Very challenging lower playfield post minefield.
* Ball Time: Short. Tough game.
* Drops (Sweepable): POOR. One drop that is a dead-center shot.
* Flasher Blinding: Very good. There are flashers, but they don't try to blind you.
* Flow/Stop n Go: OK. The ramps are VERY fast, but the Ferris wheel is your stop and take a drink shot. Same with Dracula.
* Fun/Lastability: Very good. It's a "just one more game" at 3 balls, and it looks so deceptively easy, it's hard to not try again.
* Inlane Flow: Very good, although mine sticks a bit on the left. I need to make sure I have the right sling rubbers installed.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Excellent. Best lower nudge solid state I have other than perhaps Seawitch.
* Multiball: POOR. No multiball.
* Orbit Shots: POOR. no orbit shots.
* Originality: Excellent. While there was a "cyclone" EM game, there's nothing like this one.
* Outlane save-ability: Very good, but for some reason the outlane posts being a bit LOW, means saves are really tough. My dream would be posts about 1/4" up higher in the lanes.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Fair. Entry to ramps is 100% fast, but there is a deliberate slow-down on the return. This is no Taxi.
* Pop bumpers: Very good. They are 95% helpful, and score the VERY important 1-2-3 lanes for you for the 20-second double scoring.
* Scoring Balance: POOR. BIG jackpot (can) ruin the balance of the game. If you are serious about your scores, drain that jackpot once before starting a game.
* Skill shot: Excellent. It's all about a great release in the right spot.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Excellent. Love those callouts and the music is great.
* Spinners: POOR. None in the game.
* Theme/Art/Lights: Very good. Pleasing lights. Fun theme. Feels warm and inviting. Stick with 44s.
* Toys/Gimmicks: Very good. First scoop in a game, and ferris wheel never gets old. Just relax and enjoy.

SUMMARY
Cyclone is a darling. The music is endearing. The sound effects and callouts are memorable and classic. Beautiful art work and lights. Has a solid tight feel. Both ramp shots feel very good. It's a little stop n go for my taste with the Ferris Wheel, and Cellar Shot taking 10 seconds to complete. I like how challenging the lower PF lateral bounce is. You really have to pay attention on this pin, it is deceivingly difficult with frequent outlane drains. Forces you to become a nudge-master. Upper PF pops are rewarding and powerful. Cyclone is very good. It has a few posts that get in the way of "great" flow, and so it's just "decent" flow. Outlanes drain too easily with no remorse. Keep an eye open. Better yet, keep both eyes open. You'll need 'em both.
8.292/10
6 years ago
23 things I look for in a pin:
* Asymmetry: Excellent. Lower and upper PF are asymmetrical.
* Backhands: Very good. Yellow cellar you can shoot backhand, same with under the ramp off the right flipper.
* Ball Control/Hazards: Excellent. Fail a cellar shot, and you post into the outlane
* Ball Time: Short. tough game. Many long balls go top and return center post, and you have to use the force a lot.
* Drops (Sweepable): Very good. Center bank, can only hit with right flipper sweep.
* Flasher Blinding: Poor. Game lighting is really designed to blind you. I can't stand it.
* Flow/Stop n Go: Poor. Cellars are quick to return the ball, but it's quite the action killer. Ball trap under ramp is ok. Two sets of pops doesn't help get you a ball any quicker.
* Fun/Lastability: Good. Game takes a lot of focus and feel with the spinning discs, and VERY tough outlanes.
* Inlane Flow: Fair. The design is the worst of any pin I own, the edge of the playfield hovers over BOTH lanes, which makes it tough for any outlane nudging and it means the ball doesn't "zoom" into the inlanes very often.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Good. You'll want to nudge every collision to wrestle control again in the lower PF.
* Multiball - entering: Very good. Takes 3 good ramp shots.
* Multiball - enjoyment: Poor. Not a very fun multiball. Cramped PF means there's not much room. (Thanks Lawlor!) Cellar, Ramp, and Pops are your detains. Goal is get ball set up for upper flipper. Not much else to do.
* Orbit Shots: Excellent. Both directions. Right to Left sometimes gets held up in the pops. Nice 3-way combo to be aware of.
* Originality: Excellent. Weather theme with a fan. Are you kidding me?
* Outlane save-ability: Poor. Metal outlane guides with really bad angles. Worst I've seen.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Good. Ball comes back off the upper ramp shot.
* Pop bumpers: Fair. Top set is one of the worst in pinball. Hits the ball up towards nothing. Sometimes scores the drop for you. Left set is worthless.
* Scoring Balance: Excellent. No stupid system 11 jackpots here.
* Skill shot: Perfect. Best of all time in pinball. Huge risk for big rewards. OR you can go for the loop if you want.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Excellent. Funny callouts, and great music.
* Spinners: Very good. One for upper right orbit. Don't recall if it ever lights up for big points though...
* Theme/Art/Lights: Very good.
* Toys/Gimmicks: Excellent. Fan is a great toy. Spinning disks are great, although they are not when they are not being used. They cause the ball to move in strange ways.

SUMMARY:
Best blue lighting/art I have ever seen. Amazing soundtrack and call outs. I especially love light blue, and so this pin takes my breath away every time I light 'er up. I have more fun playing my Diner because more shots lead to "something happening" than in Whirlwind. Too often in WW, nothing happens on your shots, or you are waiting a long time to get control of the ball to "take a shot" at the ramp. There's just not a feeling of having a lot to shoot at.

Pros: Good Balance and great theme integration. Pretty machine that sounds great. A nostalgia piece.

Cons: Middle shot to standup seems like a wasted shot. This should be better integrated into the rules. Pops are all worthless. They need to hurt you, or score 1-2-3 lanes, or drops. Inlanes AND outlanes are not fun -- they have too much playfield overhang -- unlike any pin I've ever seen. Fatal flaw. Two scoops kills it for me. One of them has no value most of the time when you hit it.
8.887/10
6 years ago
Ball Control/Hazards: 12 Shots. Most of any 2-flipper standard body I've ever seen.
Flow/Stop n Go: fair: You get a lot of time on the ball except for the Genie magnet, Scoop, Ramps, Magnets, and the DMD animations... (lot's of double flipping to move out of them)
Fun/Lastability: Tops, there is so much to do on this pin.
Game Time: Pretty short game times (3-5 mins)
Originality: Excellent.
Scoring Balance: Seems fine.
Sound/Callouts: Love the music, and the callouts are kinda funny.
Symmetry: Very asymmetrical.
Theme/Art/Lights: Tops: I love the theme and the art.
Toys: Genie lamp is cool. Really randomizes the ball. Lane Ball saves are very cool.
Flow: it's rather stop n go.
Stop n Go is the downfall of TOTAN, otherwise a near-perfect pin imo.

Best DMD of all time, bar none.
-mof
9.718/10
6 years ago
Diner should be in the top-50 no question.
I consider it the best game ever designed. Flawless game.

Risk/Reward on Shots: It has 9 shots, via 7 angles. You cannot milk any one shot. Each shot has plenty of risk.

Asymmetry: The asymmetry is amazing. It is very difficult to predict ball travel in the lower playfield. Once the slings take over, look out.

Design Balance: The balance is exceptional: you have a few drops, a few ramps, a few pops, a spinner, a scoop, and no center post to save you.

Sound/Callouts: Best ever. Funny as hell. Great Taunting the whole game. "You are too slow!"

Flow / Stop n Go: Very good flow, has a little more stop and go than ideal in a two places: Skill Shot, and scoop shot.

Toys: The coffee cup and cash register ramp are good toys.

Ball Control/Hazards: You have to watch every shot and every hazard. There is no relaxing during this game.

Fun/Lastability: Nearly impossible to stop playing. You just want to try and feed more and more people on ball1, since the payoff carries over...

Skill Shot: barely. It's timed, and timed skill shots are too easy.

Theme: blows it out of the water for me. Such a great idea, and fun to imagine being a waiter having to rush and feed people.

A few factors make this game non-perfect for me, (I consider no game perfect. There are no "10s" out there in my book:

1) weak skill shot
2) unbalanced scoring on the repeatable skill shot (free points, almost a guarantee)
3) a little stop n go with the cellar shot and skill shot