(Topic ID: 311792)

What is Pat Lawlor's Top Pinball machine?

By Hammerhead

3 months ago


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Topic Stats

  • 111 posts
  • 53 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 21 days ago by naf_llabnip
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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“Pat Lawlor's Top Pinball Machine”

  • Banzai Run 1988 4 votes
    1%
  • Earthshaker 1989 2 votes
  • Whirlwind 1990 35 votes
    8%
  • Funhouse 1991 33 votes
    7%
  • The Addam's Family 1992 74 votes
    16%
  • Twilight Zone 1993 155 votes
    34%
  • Road Show 1994 11 votes
    2%
  • Safe Cracker 1996 5 votes
    1%
  • No Good Gofers 1997 12 votes
    3%
  • Monopoly 2001 2 votes
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon 2001 2 votes
  • Ripley's Believe It Or Not! 2004 7 votes
    2%
  • Grand Prix/NASCAR 2005 4 votes
    1%
  • Family Guy/Shrek 2007 8 votes
    2%
  • CSI 2008 3 votes
    1%
  • Dialed In! 2017 48 votes
    11%
  • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 2019 46 votes
    10%

(451 votes)

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There are 111 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 3 months ago

In the spirit of another recent thread, Pat Lawlor is my favourite pinball designer. I've owned Banzai Run and Shrek, I currently own Road Show and Willy Wonka, and I will be getting Toy Story.

What is your favourite? Pat has so many unique and iconic titles to choose from. Given the rumours that he's retiring after his next game now is a perfect time to acknowledge his illustrious career designing pinball machines.

#2 3 months ago

Easy TZ here.
Whirlwind easy second.
RBION

#3 3 months ago

Banzai Run is by far the best game by Pat Lawlor. Whirlwind is second.

#4 3 months ago

Tz will always be the popular vote at 1 but
I'm a whirlwind guy love that game.

#5 3 months ago

Addams
Dialed In
TZ
Funhouse
Whirlwind

In that order. All amazing. The rest of the bunch I find pretty middle of the road but I haven't put much time in on Wonka. His non-classic williams games and some of his Stern stuff tends to be weighed down by poor code.

#6 3 months ago

TAF by the length of the straight

#7 3 months ago

Dialed In is still my favorite. Wonka is exceptionally good, except those JJP flippers feel like wet noodles. They just don’t have the same snap.
Even with that, Wonka and DI are my favorites. TZ is awesome. I don’t understand the TAF love at all.

Banzai Run because it was his first and such a groundbreaking game concept.

Monopoly because it’s fun and I enjoy the bank vault and that stupid fast train vertical ramp

#8 3 months ago

Fun topic, also my favorite designer, all Lawlor pins are fun! My top 5 in order:
TAF
Wonka
Dialed In
Roadshow (call it a guilty pleasure but man it makes me smile to play it)
Twilight Zone

#9 3 months ago

It's interesting to see that Whirlwind is a lot of people's favorite here. I route 30 pins on location (mostly Williams games and a few Sterns) and Whirlwind is dead last in terms of revenue.

#10 3 months ago
Quoted from schudel5:

...Whirlwind is dead last in terms of revenue.

Tough for newbs?

#11 3 months ago

Tough for newbs
no ball save
"seems old" with the alphanumerics
unlicensed

I guess I'm not surprised it's not raking it in. In it's day it made a shitload of money on location but that was a different time.

I think we all know it's an awesome game to play.

#12 3 months ago

I honestly don't get the love for TAF or TZ. I've played them both extensively but they just don't click for me.

I'm surprised Funhouse has such a poor showing

#13 3 months ago
Quoted from Hammerhead:

I honestly don't get the love for TAF or TZ. I've played them both extensively but they just don't click for me.
I'm surprised Funhouse has such a poor showing

Don’t get me wrong, I like all the Lawlor games. Funhouse is even on my wishlist. But in comparison to his overall portfolio it’s very very repetitive. IMO, Whirlwind may have more depth with the compass shots forcing you to use almost all of the shots. Both have QMB, 3 ball MB, 3 Flippers, Super cellar/mystery mirror, WW has drop
Targets, FH has trap door, WW loop/ramp combo slightly more appealing than a loop/trapdoor combo imo. WW also has the spinners, FH has steps and Rudy. Very close I just think FH gets the love for Rudy but in comparison to some of the other Lawlors, can’t stand up as well to the newer ones.

#14 3 months ago

Funhouse, Dialed In, TZ fighting for the top 3, with Whirlwind and TAF rounding out the top 5. Road Show, Wonka, RBION also very enjoyable.

#17 3 months ago

Lawlor is my favorite pinball designer...

Tied for 1st and 2nd: Twilight Zone & The Addams Family

Tied for 3rd & 4th Fun House & Whirlwind

10
#18 3 months ago

TZ is the king. Lots of great games but that one stands above em all.

#19 3 months ago

TZ has the best shot satisfaction in pinball. The clink of the piano shot. The ball going in the gumball machine. The first game with an auto launcher that's fires after "don't touch the door dont touch the door!" Not to mention the best wizard mode. I mean how can you top that? If only he had his Williams design team (and Chris Granner) when designing Dialed In....

#20 3 months ago

I have the most fun playing TZ.
Whirlwind is a close second and has tons of flow. That 3-way combo? Bliss.

Unpopular opinion: Earthshaker's playfield layout is shockingly good for it's age. Shooting loops to light the pops is a blast, and the shot to the shelter thunks and clunks satisfyingly like the open bookcase shot in TAF. Too bad the code is a letdown, but a product of it's time, I guess.

Another unpopular opinion: TAF, WW, and FH are all the same game with minor variations and reflections. At least, they all shoot more or less the same.

#21 3 months ago

Earthshaker is a sleeper that with better code would really do well.

TAF for me.

#22 3 months ago
Quoted from Hammerhead:

I honestly don't get the love for (X) or (Y). I've played them both extensively but they just don't click for me.

I'm surprised (Z) has such a poor showing

Pinball Mad Libs: Fill in games from any designer or manufacturer

#23 3 months ago

I'd say addams. I remember the company I worked for bought 25+ of them. On location the game would have a crowd of 4 or 5 watching gameplay as the hand came out.
That thing hand toy in pinball was responsible for William's selling 20k units of that game.
Without the motorized thing in that game it would maybe be a 8k unit seller at best if that.

#24 3 months ago

Opinions depend on context. TAF is my vote since it sold the most. It would also be my vote as an operator. That game drew people in like few others ever did.

TZ is the best if we're talking most complex and wild.

When I was a brand new pinball player, I couldn't get enough of Dialed In. I saved up and bought one the first chance I could. Loved that game. So rookie me would have said DI.

And if new code can be a factor, then RS is my favorite. I loved that game so much I bought a second one. But it has to have the new code or else it doesn't get a vote from me at all. That new code literally makes it one of the best games of all time. I never get sick and tired of hitting the start button, and I rarely own a game for longer than a year so I get tired of games pretty quick. I keep coming back for RS.

Lawler really did create some fun and interesting games over the years. What a designer!

#25 3 months ago

Feel the power of the wind!

#26 3 months ago

TZ and FH will always be tops for me. Whirlwind and TAF close behind.

#27 3 months ago

NASCAR!!

PLD forever!

k i kid i kid!

#28 3 months ago

TZ is the king of pinball. all pinball machines.
just a complete game, crazy and outstanding in every way. I can't say enough of my love affaire with Twilight Zone.

2/ Funhouse
3/ Addams Family
4/ Whirldwind

#29 3 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Tough for newbs
no ball save
"seems old" with the alphanumerics
unlicensed
I guess I'm not surprised it's not raking it in. In it's day it made a shitload of money on location but that was a different time.
I think we all know it's an awesome game to play.

Whirlwind the bottom earner. Family Guy the top earner and it's been that way for a while.

#30 3 months ago
Quoted from schudel5:

Whirlwind the bottom earner. Family Guy the top earner and it's been that way for a while.

Pretty cool to see what makes the most money on location. Theme plays a big part I'm sure, if not the biggest, right?

#31 3 months ago

The biggest is theme.

See non moving yoda baby and big mando head on mandalorian. The game was designed for on-locarion coin drop

#32 3 months ago

TZ all day.

However, it's astounding how much is packed into RBION. If RBION was less stop-and-go, I think it would be way higher in value. I loved mine, but found myself non-stop double flipping through animations and callouts trying to get the ball moving once again.

-3
#34 3 months ago
Quoted from Yoko2una:

TZ all day.
However, it's astounding how much is packed into RBION. If RBION was less stop-and-go, I think it would be way higher in value. I loved mine, but found myself non-stop double flipping through animations and callouts trying to get the ball moving once again.

Yes if it weren't such a terrible theme, wasn't ugly, and if the game were more fun, it would be way higher in value. That's true for lots of games though.

#35 3 months ago

Addams at the top, but Whirlwind and No Good Gofers are right there. Road Show is an honorable mention.

TZ isn't my cup of tea theme wise.
Haven't played Dialed In.
Earthshaker is too over the top for me...sheltering in an earthquake?
Other than Rudy, I don't get the appeal of Funhouse.

#36 3 months ago

For me Adams blows everything out of the water. I have decided the Power and multi-ball with shaking & sounds is the most enjoyable multi-ball in all of pinball. It screams true pinball and for me is not only nostalgic but hard to beat. The layout is epic and the theme is fun.

After Adams I would say TZ mainly for the ceramic power ball play and quirky sounds and nostalgia.

-RBION with fantastic layout and rule set-never seems to get old.

-Dialed In A+ for layout and rules but a D for theme(did not last long for me)

-No Good Gophers with one of the best shots in pinball and a great theme(just a fun overall game)

Overall I like Lawlor games to diversify the collection. They are stop and go games and I prefer non stop flowing games. I definitely lean towards Ritchie designs but a good Lawlor layout is hard to pass up especially with a good theme(Love my Nascar and CSI just for theme alone)

For me Adams is a masterpiece and probably will always be Pat's best game ever made.

#37 3 months ago

I am really surprised by the poll results so far. I thought Adams Family would be leading the poll by a high margin? Surprised to see Twilight Zone taking the lead in the poll by nearly double. Interesting

#38 3 months ago
Quoted from pinmister:

I am really surprised by the poll results so far. I thought Adams Family would be leading the poll by a high margin? Surprised to see Twilight Zone taking the lead in the poll by nearly double. Interesting

Just my 2 cents: There's no doubt TAF is a masterclass in pinball machine design, but I think a lot of it's love stems from the fact that it's exceptionally nostalgic for so many people due to it's ubiquity. I don't think it has aged quite as well as TZ has.

TZ has all of the similar attributes TAF does, but it's all cranked up to 11. Plus, TAF's playfield design shares all of the same tropes that a lot of other Lawlor's designs share. When I had my TAF sitting next to Whirlwind, the shots all felt very similar. By comparison, TZ is so different from everything else, yet it still captures all that fun Lawlor "magic."

#39 3 months ago

Wonka is pretty badass for anyone who likes his games and hasn't played it much. Only JJP game I like...

Not the easiest to learn but there is a ton going on there and it shoots great if setup properly and tweaked.

#40 3 months ago

I'm interested to see how this compares to the Pinside Top 100. This is sorted by date made

PL Rating Chart (resized).png
#41 3 months ago

This is sorted by rating.

PL Rating Sorted (resized).png
#42 3 months ago

I own a fair amount of PL machines (3) but I haven't played many in the complete list so I'll hold off on voting, but my thought would be Wonka until I play the others.

#43 3 months ago

My new to me Lawlor is Ripley's. I gotta say its got a lot going on and its still relatively affordable, it might be the cheapest game by him at this moment. The shots are so familiar, the rules are fun, but very hard, and the one more game value is high. Add a colordmd, some artblades and LED it, and it stands tall next to the more coveted titles.
I have owned DI, NGG, TZ and Roadshow.
Roadshow is a pretty great value still. Thats a lot of pinball for 5k.

#44 3 months ago

Twilight zone or earth shaker

#46 3 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:Yes if it weren't such a terrible theme, wasn't ugly, and if the game were more fun, it would be way higher in value. That's true for lots of games though.

I understand it’s your opinion but this game is going for like 10000 dollars. And artwork and theme are really not bad.

#47 3 months ago

You seem to have a soft spot for Family Guy. I wonder why. lol

#48 3 months ago

Seeing them all listed like that, I realize that I like most of them but love none of them. On a given day I could pick almost any as a fave, but it wouldn't mean much. Today I'll give my vote to RCT, as I played it a ton when it was new on location, and always enjoyed it. Sure, he has "better" games, but a game's #1 job is player enjoyment, and I enjoyed RCT the most.

Would probably feel differently if I played pinball in the late '80s, early '90s. I have no nostalgia for any Lawlor pre-NGG.

#49 3 months ago
Quoted from insight75:

You seem to have a soft spot for Family Guy. I wonder why. lol

Bias aside, I think it’s Lawlor’s best Stern, one of Stern’s most B/W “feeling” games, and it has great code/rules, great Thiel sound, and tons of custom callouts.

I honestly love most of Lawlor’s games…except TZ lol.

#50 3 months ago
Quoted from delt31:

Earthshaker is a sleeper that with better code would really do well.
TAF for me.

Always preferred ES to WW. Owned both , just alwsys had more fun with ES … prefer the layout , and even with the slightly weaker code/rules .

TZ is king though.

Underdog nod to NASCAR - maybe Lawlors flowiest game with a great layout and loaded playfield. Imagine a Stern Pro with that now

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