(Topic ID: 92226)

Gottlieb System 3 Fan Club: Haters need not apply ;)

By Gov

9 years ago

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  • 1,189 posts
  • 274 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 12 days ago by jtreehorn
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There are 1,189 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 24.
#1 9 years ago

Ok, I admit it. I love me some System 3 action. I own and have access to some great A list titles and many other titles the masses tend to love. That said, I find my self keep going back to my father's two System 3 games: Stargate and Big Hurt. I just have so much fun when I play these games. The layouts and rules just suck me in. I have played many other System 3 games that I enjoyed including Lights, Camera, Action, Waterworld, Gladiators and Wipe Out. I know they aren't super balanced in terms of rules, and that they have kind of crappy audio, and the themes might leave something to be desired, but they are just a lot of fun! And isn't that what playing pinball is all about?

It is sad that these games tend to get a bad rap here on Pinside, but there are a few of us that appreciate these often frowned upon titles. So this is the place to show your love for those quirky little games that bear the Gottlieb Premier badge.

If you are a System 3 hater, please do not comment. We want to keep this a friendly place

What is your favorite System 3 game and why?

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#2 9 years ago

I love them, kinda drawn to them in a wierd way, I seem to always look for them as well, have three now, I think I have owned 4-5...

My fav is Stargate, rules and theme are awesome, some real innovative stuff on sys 3 games as well, not to mention they have the best board system in all of pinball as far as durability.., looking for a gladiators and a wipe out right now.. I never understood the bad rap, but I suppose its what you have mentioned above... your Big Hurt looks nice..

#3 9 years ago

I have had 8 or 9 of them, or maybe more, LOL... I think the most I had setup next to each other at one time was 5. Great layouts, very different than typical machines from that era. Rules were just so-so, and the playfields were painted on by Crayola unfortunately. I am down to one System 3 now (R911), but will always pick one up when I come across them as the deal is usually too good to pass up.

I dont have a favorite, but 1812 lasted here longer than any other game in my collection.

#4 9 years ago

I love my Deadly Weapon. There is -zero- fancy to this deck, and the art is terrible, but it is packed with so many fun shots. This pin has outlasted many trade deals (probably because no one wants it - ha), and I've even let go two of my favorite games ever (Flash Gordon and a near-perfect Genie), but Deadly Weapon is still hanging on. Part of it is that my wife really enjoys it too, but really Gov, you nailed it in your post; these games are just pure fun.


#5 9 years ago

I love my Stargate and Cue Ball Wizard .

#6 9 years ago

20140527_041450.jpg20140527_041450.jpg20140527_022518.jpg20140527_022518.jpgMy first pins are wipeout and super mario as much as I love them and credit them to getting me started in this hobby I maybe looking to trade them . I have no issue with them or any system 3 pin just wanna stir thing's up. I love the simplicity of them and anyone who comes over to play my machines ends up on them the longest of any .

#7 9 years ago

Way back in 1995/1996, the local Chuck E Cheeses had a Super Mario Bros pinball and that is the one pinball machine I remember growing up playing. It was my holy grail and it is NEVER leaving. I also love playing my Stargate, but it has less, if any emotional attachment.


#8 9 years ago

stargate is still one of my top 8 favorites of all time. Had SMBMW as well. I would love waterworld to get a ROM makeover, same with barb wire. Both have great playfield layouts, just need better rule sets.

#9 9 years ago

I have owned a Street Fighter II and a World Challenge Soccer. Not the best games, but fun (and SFII a very nice layout, just to lineair in rules after a while to me.... if I had more space, I would have kept it, but hey.....I have to make a choice in which to keep).
I still own Stargate, and that's my favorite game. So much different strategies to chose! And it's a beautiful game too! It's in my top 5 pinballs existing (and the nr.1 in my collection).

If I ever have more room, I think I'll start looking for a Gladiators and maybe a Barb Wire, Big Hurt, Shaq or Waterworld.

#10 9 years ago

Love my Cue Ball Wizard. IMO, it's one of the most underappreciated pinballs ever made.

#11 9 years ago

my first game was a Mushroom World that I brought back from the dead. System 3s have very little problems once you get them working...

I'd rather work on a System 3 than a WPC game

#12 9 years ago

Love my Stargate! So far it's my only System 3 but I would love to add a Barb Wire or Waterworld.
Glad to see some love for these games on here. Cheers!

Stargate leds.JPGStargate leds.JPG
#13 9 years ago

Another Sys 3 game I would like to play some more is Operation Thunder. It is a really cool looking game with some cool shots. I have only ever seen one in person.

#14 9 years ago

the rules are unbalanced but overall not bad.

#15 9 years ago

Love my SF2. Shooters Game, completely stop and go. Unlike most pins and is incredibly unique...plus it is STREET FIGHTER.

#16 9 years ago

Freddy's home..... Why this game gets a bad rap is beyond me. If the rules are learned it is a fun game. It is also good for the avg non-pinhead as it is a fun experience with the easy multiball.

#17 9 years ago

Owned CBW in the past (my first DMD) which was fun.

Have had Stargate for a couple years and it's great. Such a great design, lots of toys and a real challenge.

Would love to try 'Class of 1812'.


#19 9 years ago

i have to agree. Stargate looks better natural, and it ghosts like crazy. I did put blue LED's in the gate tho, now you can actually see them lit.

#20 9 years ago

Owned many throughout the years. Would buy the same titles back again with exception of R911, Wipeout, CBW, and 1812. Those were all fine games, but I had my fill of them. Like a previous poster said, Deadly Weapon is one I am actively looking for. I really miss that game.

#21 9 years ago

I have a Tee'd Off and I love it. I only have one complaint about it! The backbox with the topper attached is too tall for my basement ceiling. I had to remove the topper in order to fit it downstairs with my other pins. Who would have guessed that it is taller than my Big Guns by about 10 inches!! I never even gave it a second thought when I bought it. Some day my game room will be on the main level in my home and the ceilings will be high enough to be able to fit them in there. At least you can still hear Gunther taunt you! It is very easy to remove/replace the topper. Just one wire plug to disconnect and 4 bolts and it's off. Nothing to it!
It's super clean inside and out and has very little damage to it. Who ever had it before me took really good care of it. Enjoy! BigB

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#22 9 years ago

I have Big Hurt and I love it. One of my favorite machines ever.


#23 9 years ago
Quoted from HighNoon:

I have Big Hurt and I love it. One of my favorite machines ever.

I played my dads clearcoated Big Hurt today, I finally broke a billion Game is super fast!

#24 9 years ago

Thanks for starting this thread. Stargate was my first System 3 game back in 2004 or so. I don't have it any longer, but to me it is the deepest of these games. I mainly let it go because it had too much emphasis on multi-ball for my tastes, but I still think it is a fantastic game. I do still enjoy giving it a few plays when I come across it.

In 2008 or so I went to the Pinball Hall of Fame and liked several of the System 3 games out there. World Challenge Soccer was by far my favorite, so when I saw one go up for sale shortly after my trip to Vegas and it was only 5 hours from me I asked the seller to just tell me when to show up. I can't imagine it will leave my collection unless for some expected reason I have to reduce things down to under five games.

Back then I didn't really pay attention to who was behind the rules on these System 3 games, but I eventually noticed that Jon Norris is behind almost every one in some sense or another. He's my second favorite rules guy after Keith Johnson. I think if he had been given the resources and time that Keith had it would have been a most excellent battle. Lyman is my third favorite, but in most cases for me anyway there's usually something missing that Keith and Jon put in (except for S-M that is).

I got the opportunity to exchange emails with Jon and he sent me a picture of a bare Car Hop playfield. For some reason that lead me to search for similar playfields on Pinball Resource and I was able to buy a solder sample for World Challenge Soccer. I posted about it in the main forum, but of course it went unnoticed. Here's a link to some pics I took. I hope it will be better appreciated within this group.


#25 9 years ago

I hear a lot of people say they dislike all of the multiball, but once I started looking at the modes as modes instead of multiball, it stopped bothering me. Basically it makes the modes harder and more challenging. Most modes on SG and Big Hurt start out as 2 ball and only become 3 ball if you hit one of the required shots. Then as soon as you lose the multiball the mode ends, whether you got that 3rd ball or not. That sounds easier but it makes the modes harder in my opinion. Several of the modes would be much easier just trying to keep one ball in play. The Ra's temple mode is a good example. It is such a lucrative mode if handled correctly but hitting that kicker target on the right while juggling one or two more balls is tough, but if you can get through a few hits it lights the pyramid shot for 50 mil per. Big points if you can do it but that kicker target is such a dangerous shot it is tough.

#26 9 years ago

Oh and another thing I love is the printed outline of the components on the bottom of the playfield.

#27 9 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

I played my dads clearcoated Big Hurt today, I finally broke a billion Game is super fast!

Great game! I've only broken a billion once and I play it quite a bit. It's kind of embarassing to say, but I actually have yet to get a Super Jackpot.


#28 9 years ago

Has to be Shaq Attaq for me, the first machine I ever owned and just an all round fun game for everyone from experienced players down to kids. The rule set is deeper than it's given credit for and it is just 4 flipper awesomeness!

I'm a confessed Gottlieb System 3 fan, I think they just have a 90's feel that is really unique. I've recently picked up an Operation: Thunder, the first system 3 before the move to DMD. It was in pretty bad shape and I'm taking great pleasure in bringing it back and get it looking sharp!

Couldn't be happier that GS3's are less popular than Williams/Bally as it always means you get a good price!

#29 9 years ago

I own Tee'd Off and Startgate. Both are amazing games. I would love to find a spare stargate pf to get touched up and clearcoated.

#30 9 years ago

Sign me up. SF2 was the first pin I owned. Must have broken it one way or the other about a dozen times, but I still come back to fixing it. Don't think I could part with it.

Depending on how I wake up in the morning, my outlook on Gottlieb System 3's are either they are highly underrated...or they desire the flak they get. It's a quirky series of games, for sure.

3 months later
#31 9 years ago

Another vote for Wipeout... Of all the noises going on in my basement, the constant taunts coming from this pin make me laugh nearly every time:

#32 9 years ago

I have a "Gladiators" and we really like it. It was my first DMD pin....when I went looking for a game of that era I had asked around for recommendations for games that were afforadable, fun, dependable and servicable. The System 3 games always came up. Mine was missing the shaker motor, but I was able to piece one together with the schematic, parts from PBR and a few items from Radio Shack.
And if you need parts, they are prety much all just a call or click away from PBR.
Maybe in the future I will add a "Stargate" and a "Barbwire". Maybe even a "Waterworld"...I seem to be one of the few who actually enjoyed that movie!!
I think they are a good deal for the price.

#33 9 years ago

I wish there were a way to upgrade the sound quality on the System 3 games or to add custom audio. Having the movie soundtrack for Stargate would be awesome!

#34 9 years ago

GOV. The first time I played SG I thought the same thing. I love the music in that movie.

#35 9 years ago

Changing the music, improving the audio to DCS quality sound and having a few little rules tweaks, Stargate would be a top 3 pin for me.....ever. It is pretty close as it sits, but that would push it over the top.

1 week later
#36 9 years ago

Cleaning up my first System 3 a Cue Ball Wizard. The ball release solenoid once in a while chatters instead of cleanly opening and letting the ball out to the shooter lane. It only does it occasionally but often enough that I can't get a ball. Also it occasionally seems to get confused during 2 ball multi ball, it will give me the second ball to shoot but release the first one before I can plunge the second one. Any ideas on where to look?

I keep reading about the transformer ground modification that should be done, is that one those, don't think about it just do it, mods?

#37 9 years ago


Not sure...but here is the pinwiki on sys 3's. I didn't fully read it yet, but maybe it has some info?

#38 9 years ago

It just jumps into how to make the modification, it does not really mention the type of symptoms it is supposed to cure.

#39 9 years ago

I enjoy the system 3 games. I find them to be very fun and most of them like lights camera action to be a challange to play. I only wish they made more of them.

#40 9 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

It just jumps into how to make the modification, it does not really mention the type of symptoms it is supposed to cure.

ohhh :/ sorry.

Where does that solenoid connect back to? I just dealt with some BS coil issue on my lwjp...oh my gosh you can trace that crap everywhere, but it ended up being in the board.

You can test the unit itself, the diode, continuity of the wires, then the transistor and back.

2 weeks later
#41 9 years ago

Hi All

Having an issue with my Wipe Out. Just finished cleaning the playfield and leding the game. Replaced the resistor board under the back underside of the playfield with a new one. Just looked as though this has gotten pretty warm and did not want to have a failure going forward

I turn the game on and the attract mode seems just fine. Go to add credits by tripping the coin chute wires and no credits are added. Put the game into test mode and the flippers do not seem to work although before the clean/leding it was ok. Had viper tell me to remove P4 from the large transistor board and see if that would make the switches come back to life as he felt I could have a defective led that is affecting the switch matrix. This did not seem to affect the operation if the coin chute switches or the flippers in test mode

Any help would be very much appreciated from the Gottlieb System 3 guru's

Many thanks guys


#42 9 years ago

haha i like this one mystery castle en a class of 1812 DSC01262.jpgDSC01262.jpg

#43 9 years ago

I don't own any system 3's right now, but I have owned some in the past. My brother still has a Surf 'n Safari. I've had Lights, Camera, Action!, Surf 'n Safari, Operation: Thunder, Cue Ball Wizard, Tee'd Off and Stargate. The Stargate I never got working.

I especially dig the alphanumeric System 3's that I had: Surf 'n Safari and Operation: Thunder. Great games with super fun rulesets. Very different from each other as well: S'nS has a really laid back vibe, where O:T is very intense.

When I had the O:T, I made a gameplay video for it. The video shows all the modes being played, with a short explanation of every mode. And, the video has a quite amazing ending. Why? Well, as you might know, the flippers drop dead on this machine when you're 'out of fuel'. You 'refuel' by hitting the left lane. In the video, I refuel in the last second before the flippers drop dead. During the Wizard Mode. Immediately after it, I hit the final shot to win the Wizard Mode. Quite cool.

You can check out the vid here:

#44 9 years ago

Picked up a Stargate. Now I have Stargate and Big Hurt.


2 weeks later
#45 9 years ago
Quoted from HighNoon:

Now I have Stargate and Big Hurt.

That is what my dad has. It is a great pair

#46 9 years ago

I guess I'll have to start the love for Silver Slugger. It's the one my wife and I play religiously. 10-15 games a day. Score doesn't count, only runs. If she would try a little more ball control, the series wouldn't be so one-sided.

#47 9 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

That is what my dad has. It is a great pair

My two favorite (of the DMDs...)!


#48 9 years ago
Quoted from eeperjesi:

I guess I'll have to start the love for Silver Slugger. It's the one my wife and I play religiously. 10-15 games a day. Score doesn't count, only runs. If she would try a little more ball control, the series wouldn't be so one-sided.

I like Silver Slugger quite a bit. Don't see it very often...I wish I could get some more games in on one.


2 weeks later
#49 9 years ago

Just picked up a Lights Camera Action!

#50 9 years ago

I was in Las Vegas and had a chance to go to the Pinball Hall of Fame. I was surprised how many games I had hoped to play were turned off. Among the machines I wanted to try was Cue Ball Wizerd since I just finished resurrecting one. They have another ~20 machines at the Riviera Casino on the main strip and there was a CBW, hurray. What a disappointment. Most of the machines had problems but CBW was awful. The right flipper was weak, the shooter never fired although the motor was running fine. The GI lighting was almost all out. The green central targets the cue ball hits never once registered. The bumpers were really lazy. The drops were entirely missing their stickers. The game was just not playable. The casual gamer would probably not know so fixing it would not earn more money. At the main PHoF the older EM machines were in consistently good condition, so were the newer Sterns. In between those years, lots of issues.

I realized that arcades were like that in my youth but I never knew any better. So I guess the experience was authentic. Now that I own some machines, they all play perfectly in comparison, of course they get a lot less use. I also realize how much more I enjoy playing my own machines.

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