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Black Knight

Pinside rating

This game received 287 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.609 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #134 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.778

Artwork: 7.968

Sounds/Music: 6.559

Other Aspects: 7.733

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have rated this game.


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This game is part of a group

Note! There are multiple versions of this game!
This is "Black Knight".
The other version is: Black Knight Limited Edition

Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 146 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 146 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 6.

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13 days ago
Ahead of its time with the magnet save and upper level. Fun target-shooting game and although an older model it holds up well.
33 days ago
I’m loving this game!

This is my first “Early Solid State” game and there is a lot going on in this game.

3 Ball Multiball
2 Levels
12 Drop Targets
The rules of the game are simple but it is hard (for me) to achieve the goals. There are 4 banks of 3 drop targets. Complete one 3 bank before the timer runs out. After knocking down the first target you will hear “hurry up” beeps. Complete both 3 banks on the top 3 times each to light the extra ball on the left ramp, the same for the bottom level. This sounds easy but trust me it’s challenging. The right inlane lights a short timed super spinner, while the left inlane lights the center ramp mystery value. Start a multiball by locking 2 or 3 balls in the upper playfield lock. Lock the 3rd ball up top to start a 3 ball multiball or lock a ball in the top and hit the center green multiball level on the lower level to start. The loop on the lower level increases your bonus multiplier which can be significant.

If find I spend most of my time trying to keep the ball up top. Knocking over targets is easy, but knocking them over before the target banks reset is hard. If the targets and inlanes were not timed, this game would be super easy, but the timers on everything make the game super challenging.

Many of these have trashed playfields as they were very popular, but an outside edge hardtop is now available and CPR makes a very nice playfield, backglass, and plastics set. I was lucky enough to get one with already rebuilt/reflowed electronics, and would recommend going that way from the start if that’s an option for you. The art on this is “meh” to me but I love the sound. I am adding some titan and retro warm white LEDs to mine.

Great game! I would strongly recommend this as a first early Solid State to add to your lineup if you have been only a DMD and modern game guy.
3 months ago
Great ramps, drop targets, artwork, and overall game design. What else can I say? It's a classic.
3 months ago
Love the extra flippers for Magna Save
Such a cool feature.
5 months ago
Great game fast
5 months ago
This is the machine that made me a Williams lover! Previously, I preferred Bally and then Gottlieb machines. Actually, I didn't like Williams at all.

But this machine, this Black Knight, changed everything for me. Multi-ball, Magna-Save, two levels, speech, a cool and fun game to play -- all of this in 1980! I know it wasn't the first with speech or multi-ball, but it was the first to have all of it.

I bought Black Knight Sword of Rage (Premium) because of my fond memories of the original Black Knight. I would like to have one in my collection at some point.
8 months ago
In the early 80's I simply could not get enough of this game.

When everything falls into place during a game, the multiballs with the magna saves are EPIC!
9 months ago
This pin is rightfully a classic. Very innovative in its time and fun to play. Of course it can’t measure up to its newer and contemporary counterparts. But, relatively speaking, it’s a great pin
9 months ago
Still remember when Black Knight came out in the arcades. It raised the bar in so many ways: multi-level, multi-ball, Magna-save (couldn't believe it the first time I saw it), and that screaming bell on a replay that made everybody stop what they were doing to look. Even the 'bonus play' for the winner of 2+ player game was unexpected and fun. It also forced you to improve your pinball skills, I found it a really challenging when I first started playing (first plunger shot rewarded me with an unexpected lightning fast drain straight down the middle). When I finally started to get the hang of the game, I really felt like I had accomplished something. Only criticism I have (and perhaps a bit unfair this far in retrospect) but the seemingly constant sound-effect when you drop a target on one (or more) of the banks is very annoying over time. I wish they had been able to utilize and rotate several different sound effects so it was not so repetitive. This game deserves its place in pinball history.
9 months ago
Great for its time...needs good flipper power to play as designer intended. Great art and sound for an early ss.
10 months ago
Very loaded for a 1980 pin. Has enough different rules, satisfying shots, and playfield gimmicks to easily match plenty of pins 5 or 6 years newer. A landmark machine in a lot of ways, and the upper-playfield is very fun to shoot. Speaking of the upper playfield, the ball-lock shot from the upper left-flipper is very satisfying, and the sneak-in shot from the upper right-flipper is still nice too.

Really nice design from Steve Ritchie. I'm amazed at how much ball-action he got out of a single pop-bumper. That being said, the 25v flippers mean the only real way to get back up top is on the fly. No cradles up to the ramps. But when the ball does get moving, it can really rocket around.

Magna-save is very fun, and once you get the muscle-memory for it, you'll start trying to phantom-press it on lots of other machines! Also, a surprising amount of customizability in the service menu. You can tweak a lot settings just to your liking. For example: setting the locks to carry over from ball to ball really does a lot to make it feel like a more modern machine.

CONS: 1. It is very level-sensitive. If you don't have it just right, then the saucer-kickout/cave is an instant drain, and a lot of shots won't work smoothly. 2. Can be frustratingly-mean. You can easily go from a 1.5mil game to a 70k game. And I find I just get tense trying to beat or re-achieve a high-score, and I can't focus on having fun. 3. BIGGEST ISSUE, and it somewhat relates to #2, but the LASTABILITY of the pin is not good. Its fun to learn all the ins and outs of the rules, but once you do, and once you crack 1 or 2 mil, or the high-score, then there's not much to keep you coming back. It has a lot of broad, but shallow rules compared to modern pins. The satisfying shots are too hard to consistently make, so you can't just play and enjoy the flow. It lasted about 6 weeks for me, before I decided I wanted to let it go. But I only can fit in 2 or 3 machines in my space, so YMMV.

Final Thought: Landmark game, with a lot going for it, but probably won't last in a small collection.
11 months ago
So this is a game that is either fun to play or just completely garbage. Because, only a handful of black knights I have ever played in the wild have proper flipper strength. With proper flipper strength the game is actually pretty fun. It has one better upper playfield layouts in the history of pinball, and in my opinion might be the best upper playfield game ever made. I might rank Hardbody over this game only cos I LOVE the theme of Hardbody so much more.
On the topic of theme. There are no toys in this game, as for the toys and gimmicks... I think there are no toys, but two gimmicks. The first gimmick is the magna save, and that is awesome. One of the coolest features in all of pinball. Really nice way you have to unlock them, but can be frustrating to a newbie if you don't know the rules. The 2nd gimmick is the extra ball time you can win in this game. not really necessary and just confusing and doesn't do much.
For the rules. The game is not deep, but it has a lot of cool simple rules. The first being you need to complete the drops within a certain amount of time after the first hit activation or they reset and you get basically nothing(small points). But, if you do complete a drop then you get one magna save activation. You complete the bank... That is something as well, but honestly I forget... And if you complete the upper drops thats a type of special or reward you can get, and the same for the lower... Doesn't really matter... That I forgot. The important thing in this game in the rules is the multiball. You don't need to light the locks, but if the ball drains before you activate MB, then you have to relock the balls in the next ball. They don't drain, but they'll kick out until you lock them again.
I really like how the playfield scoring multiplier in mb works. Basically its x times the number of balls you have in play. So you drain to 2... You get 2 x. MB is fast, but can really be lucrative if you hit the right shots.
Game also has some hurry ups. Might be one of the first games to have hurry ups. Right inlane I believe lights the spinner for the left ramp. Left inlane lights the center ramp shot. These points can be big and add up. Especially the spinner rip.
Game is pretty hard and brutal. Even with a strategy. But, I believe is pretty fun to play. Not the most fun I've ever had, and I might get bored with it after 15-45 minutes. But, I know each time I see one, I wouldn't mind a few games on one. Always worth the challenge.
And as for having in a home collection... One day I might want one in my home. Right now I don't have the space for one. But, I do like the speech in the game, and the callouts. There are not a lot, but it works and its fun. The other sounds are okay. The artwork to me is good, but not great. The cab looks nice, the playfield nice, and has a cool but not amazing backglass. If you love medieval knights and who doesn't its a cool theme. No toys as I said before. But, this game doesn't need toys. Its a good shooter, with a classic and unique layout, with good rules. Game will kick your butt more often than you will kick its... But, that's part of the charm. I mean the game's titled Black Knight, and no one defeats the black knight.
11 months ago
What an absolute classic of classics. This early 80's gem has it all. Multiball, speech, two playfields, drop targets, two magna saves... and an approachable ruleset. Easy to understand, hard to master. Very innovative, very addictive. And a great looker, too. The backglass is one of Williams' best.

In short: modern pinball would not be the same without the existence of games like Black Knight.

Black Knight does need stronger flippers than it came from the factory with. I recommend adding 'modern' style WPC flipper mechanics.
11 months ago
This was my "Holy Grail" machine up until I bought it. I so much enjoy this machine and have had numerous hours of enjoyment. This brings back so many childhood memories and I am lost in it every-time I play. This is a classic game and represents the best of the SS games from the late 70's and early 80's.
1 year ago
Theres a reason its legendary status and into the 3rd game of the series.Black knight is a symbol of excellence that blew people away in 1980 and it holds up amazingly to this day.Probably the greatest theme in pinball,im a steve richie fan for life
1 year ago
Fun game that allows players to make mistakes without being punished too severely.
1 year ago
Recently acquired this and I'm loving it. Makes me feel like I'm 13 again. Tons of shots and great layout. I'm biased because this is a game from my youth that blew us all away when it first came out.
1 year ago
You might think that giving this game a 10 is stupid. I purchased 4 of these for my route. They all made over $150.00 plus a week with one making over $250.00 a week in 1980’s dollars. Find me a pin that earns that today and it sold for $2200.00 new. It had features operators had never seen, magma save, upper and lower playfield,great speech for its time plus mutiball a relatively new feature in pins . The black night could also command 50 cents per play that no other pinball at that time could command. It would rate much lower because of today’s technology but for its time it was the best pin out there battling against the Pac-Man and Galagas and still doing that well. There was a reason they sold 10,000 + of them. I can still remember in in crating them and how beautiful it looked. I wish I had kept one for HUO but operators didn’t think like that as what was in the cash box,that made us a living, although I did keep a routed version which I still own today. My rating is based on what pins were out there in 1980 not what has been produced over the following 35 plus years.
1 year ago
One of my favorite pins of all time and it still holds up.
1 year ago
For the era, I think they did a pretty good job on this game. It’s really tough to stack it up against much newer machines.
1 year ago
Fun to play with groups.
1 year ago
Black Knight WAS the game when it came out. Fun to own for a few years.
2 years ago
Not a deep ruleset but game rocks when you really get it rolling with three balls. Makes it more interesting to have it set so the multiball lock isn't lit until you hit the loop first, instead of it always being on. Sometimes I think it wears kind of thin, until I have a real killer game on it and then I love it again.
2 years ago
A masterpiece. Con Delcos, Perth
2 years ago
An absolute classic that really suffers simply due to the rise of DMD's and the deeper ruleset games that are out there. If you have the space then for sure pick one up, I would have it if I had a big enough room for it and it came up at the right price, a toruney staple.
There are 146 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 6.

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