ScottThePhotog's ratings

Pinsider ScottThePhotog has rated 8 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms ScottThePhotog's personal top 8.

Rating comments

ScottThePhotog has written 6 rating comments:

2 years ago
Atlantis is a classic Gottlieb wedge-head. It's got that Gottlieb look, feel, and sound with those classic chimes. Gottlieb definitely made the best sounding chime units. If you like drop targets, this is a great game. While there are some with more drop targets, that large 10 bank on the left immediately grabs your attention and is great to shoot. The drop targets alternate between white and blue. This pin has one really neat trick up it's sleeve. If you hit both a white and blue target at the same time, they score 10x value for 5000 points! There's even a light on the playfield that lights up when you achieve this making that even more satisfying.

The second main feature of this pin is the "waterfall" on the right side of the playfield. The main object is to hit the rollovers 1-9 when they are lit and advance 1-9. Some careful nudging can result in achieving 1-4 or 6-9 in one run of the waterfall which can be difficult but is awesome when it happens.

Overall, this can be a challenging and rewarding pin to play and fits very nicely in a private collection. It's difficulty in achieving 1-9 or completing the drop target bank means that the replay factor is high. The gameplay can be fast and the ball is quick to drain down the sides.

The artwork is beautiful both on the playfield and backglass. However I was not drawn to this pin by the artwork but by the playfield layout and gameplay. Unlike some of the other themes from this time (card games or pool), I feel like the theme doesn't integrate into the pin as well, but it certainly doesn't detract from the gameplay.

I think the biggest downside to me is there is no add a ball version. In a home environment with the game on freeplay, achieving replays/credits isn't a big deal. Once you have advanced 1-9, getting replays doesn't matter and there isn't much else to do other than hit the drop targets and go for the 10x scoring double drop. Fortunately, achieving 1-9 isn't super common.
2 years ago
Manhattan was the first pinball machine I purchased with my own money. I had played a wood rail at someone's house and decided that I wanted one. Fast forward a couple of months, and I find this Manhattan for sale dirt cheap. It needed a lot of work, but the playfield and backglass were in excellent condition. In addition, a previous owner at somepoint added flippers to the upper playfield (This was originally a flipperless machine - in fact the last flipperless machine, and it was common for people to add flippers in the early 50s).

The backglass is very colorful. Scoring is done by lighting up the value on the backglass (scored in 1,000s from 1,000-890,000) Each of the values are different colors and really pop. There are 2 people dancing on the front which are backlit as well as a little United MFG logo. Unfortunately, The rest of the backglass is dark which is a fairly common design for EMs.

The playfiled is symmetrical in design with nice artwork and colors. The bakelite pop bumper caps and inserts are really beautiful as they have a marbled appearance. The passive pop bumpers look best when they are lit, which is at the start of the game.

The game's main and really only objective is to spell "Manhattan", which is done by hitting the corresponding 9 bumpers (one for each letter), or by rolling over the targets which activates a group of 3 letters ("MAN" "HAT" "TAN"). When a group of 3 is completed, the corresponding letters are lit on the backglass. This brightens up the backglass and helps it pop. The downside is that as you score these letters, the corresponding pop bumper light turns off, which makes the playfield quite dim. There is no general illumination like a modern pin. Only 2 additional pop bumpers are always lit.

In addition to lighting "MAN, "HAT", and "TAN" on the backglass, you also light rollover targets and kickout holes on the playfield. There are a total of 5 kick-out holes. 3 down the middle which correspond to "MAN" "HAT" "TAN", and one on each side which collect bones. Unlike modern games where the bonus is collected on draining the ball, on this game the bonus is collected by going in kick-out holes on the sides. What is really interesting is that there are 2 separate bonus counters, and each kick-out hole scores independently of the other. Completing Manhattan lights the double bonus light for a maximum of 200K bonus per side!

Looking at the fun factor and lastability of this pin, I always enjoy playing it a lot. I don't plan on parting with it, but that is partly due to the amount of work I put into it. It plays like no modern pins. You really have to rely on nudging to get the ball where you want, and it's a fine line between a nudge and a tilt. A tilt ends the game entirely and there are no warnings! It can be a challenging game to score high on and get a replay, but it sure is satisfying when you do.

My biggest gripe in addition to the lack of illumination (which is common on all woodrails and early EM pins) is there is only one bell and it is used very minimally. The only times the bell fires are when you hit a target that was lit from spelling "MAN", "HAT", or "TAN". I guess it's to help signify how special that is, but I just find it disappointing to not hear the bell more often. I know that some other machines by United MFG of that time used 2 bells for different score values. I wish something like that had been done. I may alter it in the future, but probably not.

If you've got the room and come across a woodrail pinball for cheap, pick one up! They will teach you a lot about ball control through nudging, look awesome, and are a fantastic conversation piece!
3 years ago
My parents have this pin and I remember thinking it was the coolest when I was a kid. 3 levels on the playfield, spooky house, creepy organ music. What's not to like? It's still really cool.

As I've come back to this pin many years later, it's still a lot of fun, but just doesn't have me coming back for multiple games. I'll play a couple, and then move on to something else. It has beautiful artwork, fun music and nice lighting changes when you go to the basement, but the gameplay just isn't exciting enough to warrant multiple games in a row. There's just not that much variation game to game. Also, the fact that the music cuts completely for a sound effect to play and then starts over at the beginning once the effect is done drives me insane! I guess they hadn't figured out how to play 2 sound files at the same time yet.

If I had the chance, would I own this in my collection? Yes. If it was my only pin, probably not.
3 years ago
Another great Bally pin designed by Greg Kmiec. This is always tied with Bow & Arrow as my favorite Bally EM.

- Fantastic spinners!
- Variable award for the kick out hole (changes each time 10 or 100 is scored).
- Great drop down targets.
- Nice pop bumpers that create some action and add to the random factor of the upper playfied (when combined with the variable awarding kick out hole)
- Nice artwork on the playfield and a great looking backglass
- "King of the Road" light and buzzer when you roll the score reels over 100K!
- Beautiful 3 note chime unit that is tuned to a major triad! I think I lucked out with mine as some other ones I've played are no where close to in tune.

I don't really have any cons, just okays. The cabinet artwork is fine for the time, but looks plain compared to modern cabinet artwork. Gameplay can be fast, but sometimes slows down. There are definitely the times where you are just waiting for the ball to meander around the playfield and back to you, but most of the time, it plays fast enough. Bally flippers are interesting. Sometimes they feel great, and other times, they feel underpowered. The double bonus is frustrating at times. It is tied to one of five awards from the kick out hole, and due to the variable award, it sometimes feels like luck when you get the double scoring award, or that you got unlucky when you miss it.
3 years ago
My wife and I collect older Porsches, so this pin was a must for us. The theme is brilliantly executed. Beautiful artwork all around and one of the best back-glasses I've seen. I love the little things like the key on the left for the start button, the matchbox 911 on the playfield, and the shaker motor that rumbles when the engine revs up.

Overall, fast and fun gameplay with a challenging multiball jackpot. The biggest downside is it's a one ramp shot pin. So much of the game is shoot the right ramp. There is the far right lane and the left lane with the spinner, for some awards or lighting others, but typically, the main shot is the single ramp. They did make it challenging with the MPH speed requirement on the ramp to advance the RPM. Each time you redline, the required speed increases making it more difficult. It's a really good thing they implemented that. It keeps you coming back game after game trying to get faster and faster. In addition to the standard high score, there is a fastest speed award that rewards points and initials on the game.

Playfield layout is fairly good. I love the spinner on the left. More pinball machines need spinners. Completing the "fast" letters 4 times enables the opportunity for fast scoring. During that time, all targets are worth 55K and you can rack up some serious points with the spinner. The 7 drop targets are fantastic. It reminds me a lot of Black Knight 2000. The pop bumpers, flippers, and slingshots are quite strong and really get the ball moving quite fast. Sometimes a bit to fast and the ball flies over walls or hits the glass.

Another similarity to BK2K is the music. Brian Schmidt did the music and sounds on both and they are top notch. The select-able music at the beginning is clever and can change the tone/vibe of the game. My wife and I have our favorite selections. I usually go for rock and she picks classical. The classical is hilariously similar to Wendy Carol's album "Switched on Bach" from the '60s. There are lots of fun call outs and the sound effects are wonderful. It's cheesy and delightful.

The lighting is fantastic. A great use of lighting animations and the RPM gauge is great. This is the first game with a DMD. It is a half size DMD and has some good animations on it. I wish they had made more use of it, but for the very first DMD machine, they did a great job.

Out of the pins in the collection (granted only 3 at this time), this is usually the guest favorite.
3 years ago
One of 2 cocktail style pins that I would ever pay money to own. The other is it's sister pin, Caribbean Cruise.

- Amazing music. Extremely 80s and fits the theme super well. The sound quality is really quite good as well. 2 speakers (upper end and woofer). It has some nice bass tones which really bring out the groovy bass line.
- Brilliant use of lights and lighting animations. I am blown away by the lighting on this machine. The center "Night Moves" lights use 3 bulbs. a middle for general lighting, and 2 outer for animations. Very clever and super well done.
- Multiball. One of 2 cocktail pins to have multiball. It really steps this game up and adds to it belonging with full-size pins.
- Kick-out holes. You lock a ball like normal, but then if you lock a second, it releases the first. It helps to keep you on your toes. Multiball is started when you hit the release target (which turns on and off every bumper hit). This combined with the varying kick-out hole location helps keep the multiball fresh and slightly unexpected at times.
- The playfield layout is brilliant. Lots of great shots and loops that really help the ball to pick up speed. This machine can play fast, especially with a polished and waxed playfield. The space and custom size is incredibly well used. They packed a ton of shots and targets on this playfield.
- Standup targets. These are brilliant. When you hit them, they light up. When you get to the last one in the bank, the target required to complete the bank moves back and forth across the bank. It makes is quite a bit more dynamic and keeps the pin feeling fresh and exciting.
- The artwork is beautiful. They really nailed the theme on this one and the artwork and colors really pop.
- The blue alpha-numeric displays are perfect. They look perfectly in place and I love them being in the middle of the playfield. Super easy to look at and still keep your eye on the ball. The blue looks so much better than the orange ones.
- There is also a randomized award that starts when you roll over an in-lane, then make the skill shot. The reward is displayed on the screen. If you miss the shot, it's gone.
- While it is marketed under the International Concepts brand, it's really a Gottlieb. This gives it a huge advantage over other cocktail pins. Much better design, greater parts availability, and a better knowledge base.

- The biggest issue I have with this pin is a lack of a goal/jackpot in multiball. If it had this, it would be perfect. I'm not sure if they just didn't feel like implementing one or if the Gotlieb System 11B couldn't handle it.

- The case is rather bland. It's a fake 70's wood veneer which is typical for cocktail pins. It's not horrible, but it's not great. It's just meh.

Overall, this pin really surprised me. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I do. It currently gets played the most in the collection, and I think my wife actually likes it best. Replay and fun factor is high. It's so easy to spend an hour or so on it and not realize how much time has gone by.

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