Quoted from CrazyLevi:
Bally games just aren't very fun to play, and are by far the worst to work on with the worst quality components (light sockets, connectors, fuse holders are total junk) and the most confusing logic and schematics.
Goes without saying it's opinion but this is my conclusion.
The Bally art is certainly very nice once out of pointy people land.
They certainly turned it Around and had a very brief run as the #1 manufacturer.
I started "all Gottlieb" but have steadily favored Bally (my top three are Ballys... maybe top four). Agreed about the crappy lamp sockets but honestly after 40 years most of the Gottlieb's need replacement too. I find Bally score reels are easier to service, the relay switch stacks are easier to adjust (unlike the compressed rows found in Gottlieb's), and overall they are built like tanks whereas Gottlieb's are a bit fussy and require more finesse to get dialed in and bulletproofed. The only serious Achilles' Heel are the plastic stepper gears which will melt if the solenoid gets cooked. But I'll take that risk over those horrible Gottlieb AS steppers anyday.
As far as Fireball is concerned... I have one... but would agree it is a bit overrated. It is the "Pac Man" of EM pinball. Everyone recognizes it, but in a similar way the gameplay gets a little repetitive. After making the skill shot (which is easy to do), you're constrained to a 3/4 size playfield to flip and catch, lock and release. That's pretty much it. Positives are killer artwork, awesome spinner, skill shot, multiball, kickback, lane return... just tons of features. But overall the novelty factor doesn't contribute enough to the core gameplay for me.
It IS a cool game, no doubt about it. I rate it 8 out of 10 all things considered. But I wouldn't place it in my personal top five in my collection... would have to put Bally Dixieland, Old Chicago, and the Freedom prototype ahead of it. Along with 2001, King Pin ('73), and probably Skyrocket as well. Maybe also King Pin ('62), Heat Wave, and Paradise too. Beyond that it gets tough... hmmmmm....