Blackout

Williams

Blackout

Pinside Rating

This game received 105 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.652 /10

7.652

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #154 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.



Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.773

Artwork: 7.79

Sounds/Music: 6.588

Other Aspects: 7.81


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 4 of us have rated this game.

7.361

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Found 48 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 48 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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7.932/10
3 months ago
A great 80's theme.
Fast and flowy. Not crazy deep rules
Make the shots light the spinners. Hit the drops
Fun, repeatable, replayable many times
7.930/10
6 months ago
Did a restoration on a pretty dead machine for an acquaintance. Play a LOT of games on the machine while 'tuning it in'. It can be fairly easy to rack up a high score, but can be maddenly hard to get to high points. Big complaint, lack of 1 million score. It was too easy to roll up to and over flow the score board. This is a machine that I would add to my own line up if a reasonable opportunity arose.
9.872/10
11 months ago
The pinball machine that made me understand 'flow'. Overlooked would be an understatement. I play this over my Eight Ball Deluxe almost every time, starting to make me wonder about selling EBD which is insane.

The game that made me love spinners. The game that made me love orbit type shots. The game that reminds us that you don't need a million toys and a bunch of ramps to enjoy pinball. The same way a good steak just needs some salt and pepper, a good pinball game needs a layout that doesn't get old, makes sense, and has tons to shoot at... and Blackout is it.

80's all day, sound effects that scream arcade, and while some people don't like the background soundtrack, frankly I find it sinister, dark and brooding. The theremin like effect the spinners have on the sound is incredible and imo is one of the highlights, especially the pulsating sound it makes after you light up the right spinner after knocking down the targets twice. All three spinners effect the sound once activated.

I remember when I first got this game, the entire time I kept trying to get Blackout. Why not? It's cool as hell and made me feel good, but it's only after playing this almost daily now for a long period of time have I come to realize BLACKOUT isn't what I'm after, it's nice, but I'm really after the bonuses from the spinner lanes.

Killer game. Won't leave my collection. Probably the best of the Williams System 6 offerings. While FIREPOWER (the game this is compared to most often) is an absolute blast to play, this is a superior pinball machine in all other aspects (layout, rules, gameplay) and is also a blast to play as well. Really underrated, and essential 80's machine for a collection.
7.707/10
11 months ago
Neat game, I'd say it's better than Firepower by a good margin.
7.656/10
1 year ago
You have to consider this game to it's era and my rating is with that in mind. Other comments here get into the games objectives so I won't restate them but it is a straight forward shooters game to hit the drop down and stand up targets and ultimately get BLACKOUT! It is not a real difficult machine but it is fun, the sounds take you back to the early 80s and I like the playfield and back glass a lot. If you like the early solid state era of machines, it would be one to add to a collection. If you need all the bells and whistles of today's machines to keep you happy, then you would probably be bored by it.
8.146/10
1 year ago
Blackout is a somewhat overlooked gem that finally seems to be getting the recognition it deserves. It has a great theme and art package with one of the coolest mirrored back glasses out there. While the rules are simplistic by modern standards, they’re still fun and give players a variety of strategies to choose from. Do you go for the three “conditions” to light the saucer for Blackout? Repeat the super satisfying and increasingly more lucrative orbit shot to rack up points and light an extra ball? Shoot the top right drop bank twice to juice the left spinners for 1,000 points? Or try your luck and go for a combination of everything? The speech and sound effects are classic Williams and the oscillating background drone sounds like the interior of a spaceship and really suits the game. Achieving Blackout, the game’s signature feature, in a dark room still feels cool, even if it’s not as mind-blowing as it must have been 40 years ago. When set up correctly, the game plays fast and somewhat merciless. This means it’s even more satisfying to send the ball careening around the orbit or rip one of the three spinners with a well timed shot. My only critique is that the spinners change the pitch of the background sound which can temporarily affect one’s enjoyment of the game. Sometimes you’ll wind up with an ear-piercing shrill until you hit one of the spinners again and it drops back to the bottom of the range. This happens less frequently than some have stated, but it still can be distracting when it does. Overall, Blackout is an underrated early solid state game that is finally beginning to creep out from under the shadow of its more popular brother, Firepower. In my opinion, it’s the better of the two games with a more interesting playfield layout, better shots and a better executed space theme. A must play on location if you’re a fan of the era and a great addition to a home collection.
7.723/10
1 year ago
Played a few times at Pinball Republic.

I knew nothing about Blackout when I started playing, and didn’t know either the history, the rules or about the ‘blackout’ lightshow.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed shooting the drop-down targets (especially the top right-hand set) and ripping the left-hand spinner. The shots were generally extremely satisfying and the playfield felt stacked with features for the period (multiple sets of drop targets, pop-out holes, etc.).

The sci-fi theme is cool and I liked the 80s artwork.
7.131/10
1 year ago
This is one of those machines that if you play it a few times it gets you hooked. I bought this game at a low price because it "had to go" with the intention to repair and sell but I've quickly gotten addicted to this game. It's somewhat simple but I play it a few times a week with each power on getting me hooked in for a good 40 minutes or more. It looks good and if you turn the volume down the more obnoxious parts of the game audio are tolerable. You can change voice vs effect balance but be aware some of these machines may not have the voice as it was an optional add-on.

It's not easy to get into, the rules aren't clear, the flow is a mystery, and the messages are confusing, but once you learn how it works from play you can get into it. I have yet to figure out the full gameplay stepping and how specifically to advance. Orbit makes sense, the green lights make sense, The voice call outs are satisfying once they trigger and honestly getting a "blackout" is pretty awesome with the animation and audio. There is no music and the constant hum sound is fine but if you hit the spinner lanes you can hit a pitch that loops and it's ear piercing at times. Some of the effects don't consistently trigger and it outputs either effects or voice but not both.

For an early game with voice and lane selection, some of these features for the first time, it's good but it has flaws in play and indicators that aren't entirely clear. Gameplay is fast in play but ball launch to first flipper hit can take a while. Some of the playfield does feel warpy especially the plastic light covers. It can alter play a bit and this might be because mine doesn't have a coating on the playfield. A playfield protector may solve this though. This was one where the backglass image cracks really bad over time so seal this if you can.
7.556/10
1 year ago
Owned this one after having it on my wish list for quite a while. Great flow for an early solid state machine. “Orbit Completed” is always satisfying! It is always fun to rip a lit spinner, though I dock this game for not giving you a reason to shoot the right spinner. Such a cool shot that is totally wasted! Sad. Also points deducted for the ever grating rise in background sound pitch that begs you to hit the spinner just to cycle it back to a less grating sound. Achieving “Blackout” was a decent gimmick for its time. Love the outer space theme though the backglass art is a mixed bag. Still, the mirroring and overall presentation is nice. Ultimately the rules were just not satisfying enough for this to be a keeper. Hoping that someone does a rewrite someday!
9.305/10
2 years ago
This game is SOLID for the era. I have newer games and find myself playing Blackout a lot more than some of the newer games. IT is great old school pinball without being boring. Sounds and light show for the era are GREAT. Game is tough, but makes me always want to play one more game.
8.061/10
2 years ago
Blackout is the earliest SS game in my collection. I bought my copy in rather poor condition, and have done a fairly extensive "restoration" of the machine. In my case, the previous owner had been given the machine by his brother-in-law as a non-working parts donor, and decided to see if he could make it work again. He installed all new boards (except the main MPU), re-pinned the connectors, and got it functioning again. The only electronic addition I have done is to add Frank's coin battery holder (for Williams System 6 machines). I gave it a pretty full cosmetic work-over, including installing the wonderful Pinball Hardtop polycarbonate playfield. Of course, this required removing and de-populating the entire upper part of the playfield and sanding it down to prep it for the Hardtop application. I also added Comet LEDs and a brand new mirrored backglass. Then, after that, I spend a fair bit of time tuning all the stuff that I had removed and replaced!

This game is really fun to play. The ruleset is simple and understandable--the goal is to complete the three sets of targets and qualify the Blackout shot. That gives you the incredible Blackout light-show! (I say this tongue in cheek, because it's incredible only by 1980 standards.) The shots that get you there are very interesting and satisfying to hit. Particularly with the ultra-smooth Hardtop playfield surface, it's really fun to pick off the shots needed to accomplish the mission. The drops are fun to hit, the stand-ups are way more fun than you might expect, and the three separate spinner shots are smooth and pretty awesome.

Sounds are pretty bad--but again, you need to remember that some of this stuff was pretty ground-breaking clear back in 1980. I added a hidden modification that involves a micro-MP3 player under the playfield that is triggered by hitting the Blackout saucer hole. When that happens, a song is played through a sound bar that is in the coin box area. I selected the song "Blackout" by Breathe Carolina, after being inspired by a Youtube video that incorporated the song as background music at the end.

This particular machine is special to me because of the work I did to it--work which really helped me learn a great deal about how early SS games function.
7.564/10
3 years ago
My first pin ever.
Yes, it is old, yes no multiball.
But to reach the goal is a nice journey and the effect is mega. BLACKOUT BLACKOUT BLACKOUT.
Would i buy this pin again?
Yes, but only for sentimental reason.
Pins of today are more interesting than the old ones (only my opinion) with few exceptions (Fathom, Centaur,...).
7.127/10
3 years ago
this is a fun entry level game or 1st pin.easy to find at reasonable prices
7.899/10
3 years ago
One thing is for sure, I like sci-fi themed games, especially generic ones like this. I love the artwork style and the gameplay keeps me coming back. Games do not last long which is typical of this era and there isn't a multiball, however I'm focusing too much on my strategy to miss it. I feel this game is a little more forgiving than others of its era like firepower. Not only are you trying to complete the backhole but you're also racking up bonus and building up the spinners, there is surprisingly a lot going on. I've had this game for a few months now but I still keep coming back for more. It's definitely a great "just one more game" pin. I also really like the sound in this game. I've played others with a background drone, but I really like the way the spinners affect the drone, it's a very nice touch.
7.292/10
3 years ago
The artwork is amazing, and I really enjoy the computerized voice. The gameplay for me is good, but not great.
6.586/10
3 years ago
Simple Williams layout. Space theme is cool.
8.044/10
4 years ago
The good: Best of the early Williams solid state artwork as far as I am concerned, Flash, Gorgar and to a lesser extent Firepower all take a backseat to Blackout. The backglass is iconic and the playfield art works great with the theme and backglass. Sound effects are suitably 80's and match the game. Game rules are simple on the surface but if you look closer there is some flexibility on how you can achieve certain goals. Light the red-orange-green and making the collect, preferably with the extra ball lit never gets old! Getting that last drop on the top right often takes some finesse or luck. Making a complete orbit without draining is often nerve wracking and adds to the fun.

The bad: Cabinet art is utterly meh. Some sound effects shared with other Williams pins of the era.

The bottom line is Blackout is a fun pin if you have 5-10 minutes to kill, set to 3 ball which can make things more interesting and have at it. Great example of early solid state pin.
8.823/10
4 years ago
I can't get enough of this pin.

If drops and spinners are your thing, THIS IS THE PIN!

Takes you back to 1980 too. Those sounds. That voice!

Edited to include:
Honestly, when someone asks you what pin they should buy as their first pin Blackout should be one of the first few that come to mind.
It has the "one more game factor"
The game is simple enough to learn for beginners.
It remains challenging (those greens ain't all that easy to aim at) and the Blackout hole is frustratingly easy to hit when you haven't met the mission objectives and elusive when you have.
The worst is when you hit everything on the first ball and mercilessly drain in short order right from the spinners.

This is fast, pure pinball.

The only complaint is that it is a single ball game.

I love this pin so much I own two!
7.836/10
4 years ago
I love this game!Its a excellent package overall,cab arts a little boring but who cares when the theme,gameplay,gimmick(blackout) and sounds mesh toghter so well,highly recommend to anyone and must own for early ss fans
7.718/10
4 years ago
Blackout is a very straight forward game, the oldest in my small collection so I am wondering if old games are always like that.
Things to do are easy to get, you never feel cheated by anything.
The blackout hole is quite hard to get to but the other targets and features are easy to reach.
I need to play it more but for now I don't understand why it's so well rated compared to others pinballs I have that are well below in the pinside top and that feel a lot more appealing to me.
8.464/10
5 years ago
When got mine done I change my mind
9.804/10
5 years ago
Great space theme, very fast and challenging to get the blackout completed. Game flows well and has nice lighting, spinners and sounds with early speach. 7 digit score displays help.
7.954/10
5 years ago
Great game, Love the Blackout effect.
8.294/10
6 years ago
My favorite System 6 game. One of the best backglasses of all time. The primary colors really pop against the black. Cabinet art is nothing to write home about, but is still decent for the time.

The machine has an extremely easy to understand objective (blackout) that is still difficult to achieve and always brings you back for one more game to get there. Explaining the high-level objective to a new player takes all of about 30 seconds and they are off and playing.

Great game for learning shot accuracy. Watching the blackout and then the progressive relighting if the playfield is always awesome.

Sound is great for the theme. Gorgar-style language was about as good as it was at the time. Resume Blackout Mission!
6.947/10
6 years ago
I am only 2 months into collecting pins and this was my second. The family did not like it. Not enough things to do, sort of slow and boring. Maybe for 1980 it was great but not so much now. Art work was cool and getting it to black was too. Just not for our family
There are 48 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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