Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Pinside rating

This game has received 42 approved Pinsider ratings. 8 more approved ratings are needed to get a rating and for it to be eligible for the Pinside Pinball Top 100 ranking.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


Your Rating?

You need to be logged in before you can rate pinball machines. No account yet? Registering only takes a sec!

Found 24 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 24 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

List options

42 days ago
Love the theme and the melding of the roto-target into the early SS game. This is one game that just cries out for better sound given how much sound played a part in the movie - And the sound in the movie was pretty basic. However, it is really easy to rack up the score on this game, not a lot of challenge.
1 year ago
Close encounters is a great classic pin. It's interesting that there were both SS & EM versions that I think were basically the same. I loved the bonus countdown scoring, great sound! I think the game was better than the movie, lol
2 years ago
Pleasantly surprised with the playabiltiy of this machine. Good rules and extensive use of the roto-target feature will have you really shooting and nudging for extra balls and replays.
2 years ago
CE3k is a well laid out middle of the road system1 game. Theme is well done with great art work. Rules are good and keep you working but its disappointing that you can not collect your bonus until you drain.I had never really played this table much when this project came along and i got it up and running and was really bummed out when i discovered one hit of the star on the roto target increased the bonus multiplier . The EM version only has 2 stars were the SS version has 5 stars so its just to easy to get 5 times multiplier . 2 stars on the roto and the ss version would be out of this world
2 years ago
I have had this machine for sometime. The artwork on the back glass is better than the art of the playfield. Usually its the otherway.

Good lighting

Playability is ok but there is nothing special about this one.

I have a janin board on they way and will update my rating once that comes in
3 years ago
I love the theme and game play is good but the Bleeps and Bloops don't help the game much. A downgrade from the EM chimes.
3 years ago
Roto wheel needs a lot of adjustments
3 years ago
Didn't like the feel or the game play on this one. Way to boring. Maybe it was set up wrong? (We also got the HD game the same week, so that could be an issue)
3 years ago
Neat variation on the flippers and slingshot layout with one smaller slingshot without a kicker. I had to get this pin due to the roto target and the theme. Difficult pin to score big on, but still you want to play it again. You should try it even if you didn't like the movie.
4 years ago
Owned this machine for a few months now. LED lighting makes the playfield stand out. With a well maintained playfield and a hefty angle, the ball can really move. Yes, the outlanes do sometimes seem to attract the ball and yes, the ball does sometimes drain easily. While I might not recommend it as your only pin, it is often a lot of fun to play.
4 years ago
As an early system 1 it’s pretty decent.. at least it’s not Charlie’s Angels.. the shot flow is fun, and the outlanes are hungry but the roto target is a joy to hit and the spinner lane is a fun shot as well.. lighting it can be a nuisance but when you do, you feel accomplished! The playfield art is fantastically 70’s and cheesy but is offset by the glorious backglass art , with modern LEDs you can really make it shine.. I like this game.. it’s on location at my arcade
5 years ago
You can pick this machine apart and it certainly is far from perfect. However, I find myself really enjoying the play. It is a bit of a ball drain, but it makes a good run that much more satisfying. In my opinion, high scores are illusive but attainable. The mirrored back glass is awesome and the playfield and cabinet art and color scheme is excellent. It’s a great machine that can be found for a reasonable price. A good entry level machine.
5 years ago
Had the chance to own this one for a while. I got it to fix up and donate. By the time it was ready to leave I was very sad. Had very little expectation, but ended up loving this one. Spinner, drop targets, pops, and unique play field really make this game fun. The bonus countdown is a blast. The mirrored backglass is gorgeous. The playfield art is ok, but the cabinet art for some reason really shines for me. The roto-target is an interesting toy. It does add some variety to the game, but took a bit of work to adjust to make it work right. The game only has one sling, the other does not have a solenoid. So really messes with you. I liked the rules. Very easy, but lots of room to add multipliers. Great game and surprisingly did not get old. If the family I donated it to ever tires of it, I will gladly take it back.
6 years ago
This game pales in comparison to System 1 contemporaries Joker Poker and Sinbad, but is head and sholders above Charlie's Angels. In short, middle of the road fare. I've never been a fan of games that relied upon the roto. It is a neat feature, and some interesting scoring possibilities are built in here, but there's no satisfaction for the senses in hiting a roto target. Lighting the spinner is a tough shot to the left, but its just that: one standup to hit and its sequences to complete, no bank of targets to shoot down. No satisfaction there either. The art package doesn't really do it for me. Needs a bit more to tie it to the Columbia Pictures licence.
7 years ago
The SS version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is not impressive. It feels like an EM (not surprising since it is one of those border EM / SS machines), and it plays like a slow, boring EM at that. The theme isn't even executed very well, so I felt like I was forcing myself to play a few games just to say I did. Even then, it wasn't worth it. Not much worth discussing about this game - I'd say avoid it unless you are like me and want to play every pinball machine ever made.
7 years ago
fun game ,specially when you play with friends.not so easy as it looks.
verry addictif!!!!!
7 years ago
Killer game.. after a good waxing and a few light changes this game is addicting for a late 70s classic.
8 years ago
I bought this game only after seeing a very nice one with LEDs. With some of the new innovations in lighting, you can really make this game pop! The artwork for the backglass and playfield are really cool.
I've kinda wanted an EM machine, but this is my compromise. I don't have the bells and reels, but its essentially the same game.
The rules are simple and the layout is nice. The two things I don't like are the unbalanced light plastic spinner and the always hungry outlanes. O, and also there is a post that constantly gets bashed to the left of the roto target. If it's bent, it will just send the ball straight down the middle when you hit rollover C.
10 years ago
I feel that close encounters is a fun game once you get into it. It's a simple layout but its hard to score big. You have to land the roto target to line up correctly to score the big special. It's a great game to have if you have other games in your collection. It would def show a different aspect of pinball. I enjoy the game and am happy to have it. I have 5 machines and I play this always in between playing my other machines.
11 years ago
I enjoyed playing Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, but I didn't feel like playing it again afterwords, even with my free game. I think it's fun, but there isn't enough going on for me. The art is amazing though!
11 years ago
Slightly above average System 1 machine. I really like the color and artwork, the wheel in the upper right was nice.
11 years ago
I like this machine it is just fun to play, great for the kids. When Gottlieb designed game, they used the “let them have a win and they will play more” theory, and this describes this machine to a tee, it's not hard to get a reply, and you want to play again.
It's a keeper for me, love the blue alien dud.
12 years ago
I owned an almost mint example of this machine and it was a pretty decent game. only negative would be its a real ball drainer.
12 years ago
I think this is one of Gottlieb's better games from this era. One of the few I could play for a while before getting tired of it.
There are 24 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

You too can add your own comment by rating this game! Click here to rate this game!

Over the years

Visualizing this game's rating and rank over the years

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!

This page was printed from and we tried optimising it for printing. Some page elements may have been deliberately hidden.

Scan the QR code on the left to jump to the URL this document was printed from.