Black Hole

Pinside rating

This game received 233 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.708 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #99 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.842

Artwork: 8.203

Sounds/Music: 6.42

Other Aspects: 7.871

Rating comments

There are 119 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 7 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

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Rating history

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Found 119 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 119 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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20 days ago
OK, this is the game that got me hooked in 1981 as a Junior in High school. I slammed more quarters in this than any other. Now I own a collection and I must say, this is my Number 2 all time fav behind Funhouse.

This game is brutal however, Its the most difficult game I have ever played. The left gutter is a killer and the middle drain-o seems to happen way to often. The right gate screws you as it lets a hard hit ball right through and out. The 4 yellow stand up targets are critical to the game and must be gotten in 1 ball or they reset. its difficult to get them in one ball. I consider myself an average to above average player and have only been able to achieve Multi-ball a few times since I bought it 4 months ago. That being said, I love that its so challenging, unlike Firepower which I get Multiball everytime, sometimes 2 or even 3 times a game. When you do get Multiball, you really feel like you accomplished something. I love the speed of the game, at times lightening fast, but usually a medium tempo game. I added LED's to mine, Purple and Blue, and it looks amazing. (And I usually prefer traditional lighting) Note: There are 24 volt lights in the lower PF! I learned the hard way and smoked 8 white LED's. I then re-wired it to the 6 volt circuit to accept the normal LED's. I was very pleased with the lighting on the lower PF, not so much with the top. I hung a Blue LED floodlight over the game and it made a huge difference in being able to clearly see the ball.
I have learned that this game is about survival. I play a lot of defense, I try and let the ball hit the flippers to slow it down and gain some control. Then I switch to offense and focus on those right yellow targets to light the captive hole. I do tjhis by hitting the captive hole repeatedly (IMO the easiest shot of the game) when the ball ejects, a skillfully (Hard to do...) shot can hit those yellow targets.

So I will wind this up by saying if you get the chance, at (almost) any price, I recommend buying this one!
55 days ago
Black Hole is one of my favorite early solid state games. Not only is it one of the most beautiful pins ever made, but it's also a lot of fun to shoot and very challenging. The multiball is quite difficult to achieve, and very rewarding when you can pull it off. I love how you can play both the upper and lower playfields at the same time, each one going in the opposite direction. Speaking of which, the lower playfield is awesome and very well designed. Whenever you go down there, your heart starts pumping because you know it's do or die time. If you fail to complete the target bank, your ball gets sucked into the Black Hole forever.

The backglass on this game is absolutely stunning! Between the infinity mirror effect and the motorized spinning black hole artwork, it's just gorgeous to look at. The motor can be a bit loud, but there are aftermarket ones available that are much more quiet.

The sounds can be a bit annoying at first, but they definitely have a certain charm. I even really like the speech. It can be somewhat repetitive, but every time the game talks, it immediately takes me back to my youth ... "Re-entry attempt has failed!" Simply awesome!!!!
71 days ago
Best part is 3-ball multiball with the lower playfield lit, and it is rare to get it. Not my fave game by a longshot but the thought of losing that experience keeps me from ever parting with it after all these years. No cinch flipper shots on this game, they are all of moderate or high difficulty. Even the easiest shots are not "I can hit that with my eyes shut" stuff.
84 days ago
The best System 80 game and I put this as my favourite game of the early 80's. My favourite lower playfield out of any machine. I just wish someone could update the code on this way before the time to make it more current.
3 months ago
Fun game and pioneer at creating the lower playfield
3 months ago
A legend. Con Delcos Perth
6 months ago
Black Hole is as unique today as it was in 1981. Very innovative and eye catching, the backglass of this one is outstanding. Lower playfield, instantly recognized early digitaized voice, multiball, and even though it isn't directly related to the creepy Disney film of 1979, it has a similar "feel" to it. Fun, enjoyable and I like it!
11 months ago
This is a classic solid state game. Everything coincides with the theme: voice, background sound, cabinet, backglass. Good shots, only wish there was a ramp added just to the right of the black hole entry shot. Actually, I purchased a vivak playfield protector for one of my black holes and installed a ramp glued to the protector and I have a switch mounted to it that is wired to the left ball lock for crazy ramp points. With the ramp it's a 10, but without it it's still an amazing piece of pinball history.
11 months ago
Very interesting layout ,love the 3-d type animation of the back glass. Very hard to get multiball but this game is so different from a flat table game that it’s worth the investment...would love to have seen a topper for this game and more appealing cabinet art....
1 year ago
Love the three level aspect, but the bottom PF is tough to see if you're not 6ft tall. I like the "black hole" element... hit the drop targets or lose the ball coming out. A good add to the collection. Love the infinity BG.
1 year ago
Very difficult machine. Slower upper pf feels 70s and fast lower pf feels 90s. A good one to own due to its difficulty, will improve any player. Great for both smaller and larger collection.
1 year ago
Some might think it's only about the lower playfield but actually it has a lot more going for it than just that. One of the best pins of its era. Really fun and challenging.
1 year ago
Love this game. It's always a challenge to enter the black hole (descend to the lower playfield). Once you are here, there is no other solution than to succes with targets, or you will loose the ball. Getting a "Re-Enter Success" is always stressing, but also stimulating. The switch at the outlet of the tube has something diabolic.
1 year ago
Excellent machine. Very, very challenging. Hard to get Multiball.
1 year ago
Total classic and among the best of it's era. Black Hole with that subterranean level that obsessively must be gotten to. The speech sounds like a garbled Stephen Hawking but then again that's fitting given the nature of the theme. I could play this for days. Great to practice on Pinball Arcade virtual recreations because you can get plenty of practice in on the lower level playfield so that you aren't thrown off when you get it on the real machine.
1 year ago
Gottlieb's Black Hole (BH) first hit the arcades it made a lasting impression on its players and arcade operators. BH was the first pinball game ever to feature a second playfield that was inverted away from players. It was viewable below the main wide body playfield through a blue tinted plexi-glass that had its own score display. The pinball head featured a dual back glass that was animated and absolutely hypnotic in the dark arcades. The chasing lights around the edges were reflected back into it to create a very 80's infinity lighting effect. The center of the back glass rotated counter clockwise with astronauts caught in the Black Hole's clutches.

BH also offered a very challenging to achieve 3 ball mult-iball. The multi-ball starts by releasing 2 pinballs in the lower inverted playfield and later releases the third on the upper level. BH also featured speech with low mono-tone and cold sounding computer voice. In 1981, it was still rare to hear games speaking. Great artwork, speech and dazzling light effects made BH a very popular game but not with arcade operators. The game was plagued with electrical problems and prone to failure. The numerous electrical issues have been well ocumented by Clay Harrell and can be corrected, termed bullet-proofing. For me, Black Hole with its sounds, lights and artwork encompasses my early memories of going to the arcades.
1 year ago
One of the most difficult games to consistently master. Very decent player with surprising varied tasks to complete. With refurbished boards or Pascal's or perhaps other aftermarket replacements, a solid and challenging pin.
1 year ago
Black Hole was another machine I discovered playing virtual pinball and had the pleasure of finally playing in real life at last year's California Extreme. The game is deceptive in that it feels simple but takes skill to truly master. It has a really cool retro space theme that reminds one of Disneyland's Space Mountain (and even has this cool "humming" soundtrack, reminiscent of the main loading room at Space Mountain, that plays as you play) and a really deep blue color scheme which looks even cooler in a dark room. The main gimmick is the upside-down mini-playfield below the main table where you accumulate points in the "black hole". Very cool idea that inspired several modern tables including "The Twilight Zone" and "Congo". The only con I can think of is that the ball feels like it moves too slowly even when you give it a good whack with the flippers. The main bumpers and pins are also stretched out too far on the board so there's a distinct lack of targets to hit. No ramps, either, but that's not really much of a complaint. The table is very fun to play. This is far better than "Haunted House" because it keeps things simple. I will probably take some heat for that but it's true.
1 year ago
I have only played this on location, and never in tournament, but I love how challenging it is and how often I end up swearing and berating the machine with insults. ( I would never hit a pinball table...) But I keep coming back for more abuse from this difficult machine.
1 year ago
This is my #4 Favorite game, I am trying to find one of these at a reasonable cost. I am having lots of fun with this on Pinball Arcade. I would like to find one near San Jose to play...
1 year ago
One of the best early 80s games.
1 year ago
Classic Gotlieb...The Black Hole!!
A great game, I am constantly challenged at trying to achieve multiball at this game.
Sometimes it can be tough, but also very rewarding! Definitely this game was ahead of its time with the lower playfield when it was released. Very unique, very cool. If you are into the older classic games of the early 80's this game is a must have.
2 years ago
This table is just to bare for my tastes, the secondary reverse table is neat but everything is a long shot on top. One of those tables that I never see anyone play on league night.
2 years ago
A classic gottlieb pin. The animated backglass is stunning, and the crude sounds are great. The game is built around the under playfield gimmick and it serves to keep you coming back to it well enough. Although it's big brother Haunted House is a much better overall game. Black Hole feels like a warm-up for HH.
2 years ago
For early SS pins, this one knocked it out of the park for me. Do ground mods if not done! Very hard to get multiball. Mine is on 5 ball play and will hand most folks their tail! Set pops to sneeze sensitive and it gets the ball flying with the asymmetrical layout of the game. Artwork fits well. Better than HH for me.
There are 119 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 5.

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