TheShameGovernor's ratings

Pinsider TheShameGovernor has rated 36 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms TheShameGovernor's personal top 36.

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Rating comments

TheShameGovernor has written 16 rating comments:


5.906/10
6 years ago
Hercules is a game that every pinball fan should play once.



Once.
7.832/10
6 years ago
Gigi is almost perfect. Almost. The layout and concept are great - light all bumpers of the same color to advance your bonus. The beauty of it is lighting one color turns off the corresponding bumper of the other color. So simple. So frustrating.

The flaw holding it back involves the unbalanced scoring (or too balanced to be more accurate). The upper yellow set awards the same bonus advance as the lower red one. While this makes sense at first, and most players wouldn't notice it after a few games, the problem becomes much more pronounced after extended play or home use. Ultimately, completing a set of red bumpers is easier than yellow because they are closer to the flippers and less obstructed. Over time, one begins to focus on completing red over yellow (less risk, same reward), and the game becomes too concentrated on the lower half of the playfield. Had Wayne Neyens and Co. made the yellows worth 2 advances, or made it a requirement to complete 2-3 of each set, we would be talking about something really special. As it stands, it is merely one of the greats - just not the greatest - and that's good enough.

Really though, at the end of the day no matter how many good or critical things I can blabber on about, what Gottlieb has gifted us is a pinball machine where Marilyn Monroe is about to be gangbanged by a bunch of homeless clowns.

Theme = 6/6
8.646/10
6 years ago
Here is the genius of Ed Krynski.

Walking up to Royal Flush for the first time gives the impression that you are about to play an unfinished, rushed machine. For starters, the table seems almost embarrassingly sparse: 3 scattered standups, 1 (one!) pop bumper, a couple rollover lanes, and some drop targets. Most of it clustered around the top left 20% of the table. It doesn't appear to be a good use of space, and just doesn't seem like there is much to do - and there isn't (spoiler alert, that's a good thing).

The playfield art, while serviceable, is really nothing special other than some swaths of colored shapes that really aren't very cohesive at all. Not disappointing or ugly, but certainly not captivating - especially considering what we know Gordon Morison was capable of. The backglass pops, but again, not really cohesive. Is this a magic trick? A poker theme? Whatever, I'll give it a game or two.

After the first couple games you'll realize you've been tricked; this is about as complete of a design that has ever been realized. The greatness of it can be boiled down to this:



That one thing you want to shoot at the most? Yeah, not only should it be the LAST thing you shoot, it's also the most dangerous.



That's it. The essence of pinball. Every truly great machine has some variant of the above statement, but Royal Flush distills it to the cellular level, drops the mic, and walks off stage. I was literarily shocked how perfect the placement of the drop target bank was and how well the rules were implemented. There's not much to do, but what IS there is addictive, challenging, and satisfying.

Like the Hollywood director John Ford, or Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, Ed Krynski was just a company man, working a job day to day while effortlessly pumping out product so far above his peers it changed the language of the medium. This is one of his finest tables, but unfortunately it is not one of Gordon Morison's, so my rating reflects the complete package.

If Leonardo da Vinci was correct in saying that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, then Krynski was easily the most dapper motherfu--er in the room.

(see also: Card Whiz)
8.646/10
6 years ago
Here is the genius of Ed Krynski.

Walking up to Card Whiz for the first time gives the impression that you are about to play an unfinished, rushed machine. For starters, the table seems almost embarrassingly sparse: 3 scattered standups, 1 (one!) pop bumper, a couple rollover lanes, and some drop targets. Most of it clustered around the top left 20% of the table. It doesn't appear to be a good use of space, and just doesn't seem like there is much to do - and there isn't (spoiler alert, that's a good thing).

The playfield art, while serviceable, is really nothing special other than some swaths of colored shapes that really aren't very cohesive at all. Not disappointing or ugly, but certainly not captivating - especially considering what we know Gordon Morison was capable of. The backglass pops, but again, not really cohesive. Is this a magic trick? A poker theme? Whatever, I'll give it a game or two.

After the first couple games you'll realize you've been tricked; this is about as complete of a design that has ever been realized. The greatness of it can be boiled down to this:



That one thing you want to shoot at the most? Yeah, not only should it be the LAST thing you shoot, it's also the most dangerous.



That's it. The essence of pinball. Every truly great machine has some variant of the above statement, but Card Whiz distills it to the cellular level, drops the mic, and walks off stage. I was literarily shocked how perfect the placement of the drop target bank was and how well the rules were implemented. There's not much to do, but what IS there is addictive, challenging, and satisfying.

Like the Hollywood director John Ford, or Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, Ed Krynski was just a company man, working a job day to day while effortlessly pumping out product so far above his peers it changed the language of the medium. This is one of his finest tables, but unfortunately it is not one of Gordon Morison's, so my rating reflects the complete package.

If Leonardo da Vinci was correct in saying that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, then Krynski was easily the most dapper motherfu--er in the room.

(see also: Royal Flush)
8.164/10
6 years ago
I really wanted to hate this game. I just can't; it's too much fun. The Bill and Ted comparisons are somewhat accurate, but I think even Wyld Stallyns would find the good doctor a bit too cheesy. Shoulder pads and leopard print for Ted Theodore Logan? I don't think so. Somehow though, Dennis Nordman and Greg Freres make it work. By using classic themes and tropes found in the back of comic book ads (geek to stud), and making it so completely over-the-top 80's cliche in appearance, they've created a table that has an instantly recognizable place in time.

The story is simple: collect the ingredients needed to concoct the perfect formula turning you from zero to hero. Along your way you can test your reflexes, and show the resident gym bully what's what.

This is a great pin for casual players because the goals hit that sweet spot between simple to understand and just out of reach for beginners. The playfield is really busy, which is great for looks, but can make sorting out the rules unnecessarily confusing. The layout is somewhat of a hybrid. It's a fan layout in regards to target/lane placement, but the game is much more stop-and-go than flow. Its a nice mix that helps one improve both aiming skills and ball control simultaneously; it's pretty inspired design to be honest. Flippers need to be nice and strong to consistently hit the steep ramp, and the mixmaster needs to be dialed in to get any real action up there.

Collectors looking for complex, ultra deep rulesets and serious themes will likely become bored/annoyed with this title after a while, but it's perfect for those looking to round out the home arcade with tables that appeal to a wide audience of players and non-players alike. I can also confirm that this game looks a~maz~ing under blacklights.

While I think Elvira and the Party Monsters is a better Norman/Freres package, I keep coming back to the Dr.

In summary: I used to be a 90lb weakling, but Dr. Dude made a player outta me!
8.596/10
6 years ago
At the age of 13, if I sat down to design my own pinball table, Swords of Fury would be it. Just being in proximity of this game now makes want to break out the ol' Ral Partha collection. I still love this game today, but there are a couple issues I have with it:

While the music is fantastic (Holy Christ, the music is fantastic- seriously some of the best FM synth in pinball), there are two sound effects that I think would get on my nerves to the breaking point: The sword "swish" everytime you hit the flippers, and "Lionman!"

I can stand, and even enjoy, a lot of crappy pinball sounds, but for some reason those two just grate on me like no other.

The upper-right plastic playfield piece looks unfinished and cheap; just a large piece of black plastic that sticks out in drastic comparison to the rest of the beautiful playfield art. A decal would have been nice.

The lightshow is great, and the inserts look awesome when LED'd.

The game is fast and smooth. Lots of cool tunnels to shoot through, and the mini playfield is challenging without feeling cheap. I found multiball too easy to start, but that is OK because I can't ever get enough of that awesome multiball theme.

I don't think I would ever own one (I think the repetitive sounds would be too much), but I would definitely spend some time and money if I ever see it in the wild.
7.722/10
7 years ago
A fantastic playing EM that has that perfect, "one more game" addictive quality to it. The asymmetric layout is awesome, and getting that 7 or 8 up by the pop bumpers will infuriate you (in a good way!).

I really, really wish the art package was better on this table. The playfield is barren with only a couple geometric shapes of color, and while the backglass is well illustrated, it's about as boring as it gets. It does absolutely no justice as to how fast and exciting the table actually plays. I owned one in the past, and I would definitely pick up another.
7.615/10
7 years ago
I love the backglass on this table. Playfield art is serviceable, but nothing that stands out from other card themes.

The drop target placement looks deceptively simple, but getting those last one or two is where all the challenge is. The saucer in the middle is a cool idea, but it feels like you hit it more out of luck than skill. I wish the drop target banks would reset after clearing, but it's still a good time.
7.713/10
7 years ago
Deadly Weapon- with better art, and more produced - this game certainly could've been a contender.

I've played 5 of the "Street Level" series games now, and this faaaar and away the best of them. For a single-level playfield with only one shot that returns your ball to the flippers, the table has some serious flow to it. Lots of nooks and crannies to shoot thru, and lots of aiming skills needed.

The main goal of the game, collecting arrests via police cars, definitely keeps you busy enough, but the game is constantly throwing new objectives at you all the time that can make you dizzy if you don't keep your head straight. The only flaw in the rules that I have have found is when the ball exits from the pop bumper area, all other objectives stop for a few seconds so you have a chance to collect the pop-bumper bonus. Since this can happen several times in a game - it does break up the flow a bit.

Also, the "catch-up" feature (which allows trailing players' scores to be bumped up to the leaders) kind-of kills any serious competition, but if you think of this game as more "Mario Kart" and less "Gran Turismo," you'll have the right attitude.

There are two sets of scoring: points and arrests, and it's fun to aim for different goals depending on the game. I think the lighting effects were implemented really well, and the sounds aren't anything special, but it has never annoyed me like it does to some. (Caveat: I also love the sounds in Genie, so.... take that FWIW).

The art is....not my favorite, and I'll just leave it at that.

At the end of the day, the game is reliable, fun, challenging, and never boring which is all I really want. Is it deep? no, but it is jam-packed full of satisfying shots, has a respectably-crazy multiball, and is a multiplayer blast. The family has a great time with it, and so do I. With only 809 produced you don't get much of a chance to see one, so if you do, check it out; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised (just pretend the art is better).
8.007/10
7 years ago
From a composition and color standpoint, I think the playfield art is Gordon Morison's best work. The game is a beautiful example of a late 70's pin from top to bottom. SS with a chime box? Yes, please.

inline flippers make for some hilarious mistakes during group play, and the playfield is simple and clean enough that complete newbies to pinball are not intimidated to try it out. Games are quick, but addictive. Highly recommended.
8.516/10
7 years ago
The one thing I'll give this pin is that it is great, really great, at communicating the massive amounts of information and goals clearly. Excellent design and flow. This type of layout just isn't my style.

At the price, you could get 2-3 way better DMD games, or an entire arcade of fantastic early SS tables. To each their own.
9.740/10
7 years ago
The machine I spent more money, time, and attention on than any other as a teenager. Playing it now, I've lost no respect for it at all. When nostalgia meets quality - it's a combination that can't be beat. Pat Lawlor's design is incredible, and Raul Julia provides probably the best voice work in pinball history.

I still think TZ is technically the 'best' machine ever made, but AF is my favorite.
8.798/10
7 years ago
Really enjoyed this ultra-mega-supra-widebody. The play is slow, but varied, and I think it's a nice change of pace from the high speed thrills we covet so much.

You would be hard pressed to get a Gordon Morison machine in your house that doesn't look good, and this is no exception. Backglass is stunning, and the playfield is beautiful. I would own one in an instant.

Owners Edit: After finally nabbing this machine and putting a couple hundred plays on it, I have to say this is one of Gottlieb's finest. For such a simple ruleset, this game constantly has you on your toes. Are your lower drops lit? get that multiplier before it's gone. Is your spinner lit? It won't be for long - crank up the bonus and just try to collect from the very top. The 50/50 outlanes are a nudger's dream, but I set my tilt tight so there is always a risk/reward with every bump.


It's the subtler things in Krynski's design that reveal themselves only after extended play. The way the game has you chasing every inch of the table. The fast choices between bonus building or multipliers. The way each of the flippers can make a shot into the mini playfield, but the most satisfying (IMO) is from the left flipper, through the spinner, ricocheting off the left pop bumper into the mini-field with some serious speed. These were master pinball makers at the top of their game.

I was barely a toddler when machines of this era were out earning on location, so I have zero nostalgia for this time period - but I do have an appreciation for craft - and it is clear that Gottlieb had it once - in spades.

Bonus edit: While my review is based off of the original design, I recently put in Pascal Janin's System 1 board, and it completely takes this game to another level. 35 new dipswitch settings add so many nuanced improvements, it should be considered a mandatory purchase (working original boards or not).
9.540/10
7 years ago
One of pinball's highest achievements. Can be overwhelming for beginners, and I'm assuming pretty high maintenance for owners, but it's a small price to pay for being the best.
8.036/10
7 years ago
Played this pin for the first time last week. Reached Scared Stiff on game three. I thought it was dumb luck because I'm not that great a player, but in the ~15 or so following games I reached it 2 more times. I know difficulty can be adjusted, but still..

With that being said, I absolutely loved every game. The layout is fantastic, the crate is a blast to nail repeatedly, and the lighting was some of the best programming I'd ever seen.

If I had the means for a large collection, this would absolutely make the cut. I know there are some deeper achievements that I still haven't seen (spider mania), but with a small collection, I would fear that it would get boring after a while. You could certainly do much worse, though.
9.392/10
7 years ago
Flash Gordon, what a fantastic game that has aged incredibly well. It's both frustrating and addictive, two qualities I find to be essential when deciding what stays and what goes in a home collection.

When I would play this in the arcade, I would drop two or three quarters in and walk away in disgust; it was just too tough to spend hard earned paper-route money on. That same difficulty is exactly what makes it perfect for the game room; extended play sessions help overcome the learning curve and continue to reward.

In-line drop targets, upper and lower playfield (with separate bonus rulesets), 2-way kickout saucer, real strobelight in the backglass, excellent art, and Emperor Ming taunting you throughout. Simply one of the best from that era; no multiball required.

Caveat-- This is not a table for those who enjoy a relaxing evening of pinball. This is a brutal machine. Every shot puts you in danger, and Ming is greedy with his spoils. It is a game that demands the best from you every plunge, and punishes you Mercilessly (wink) if you don't bring it. I completely understand that is not everyone's idea of fun.

If you can find one, spend a few games with it. It may feel clunky to start, but light that saucer bonus up and you'll understand why FG fans keep coming back.