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Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Pinside rating

This game received 33 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 6.843 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #290 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.835

Artwork: 7.448

Sounds/Music: 5.224

Other Aspects: 7.013

Pinside staff rating

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


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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 17 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 17 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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59 days ago
Roto wheel needs a lot of adjustments
71 days 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)
1 year 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.
1 year 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
1 year 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.
2 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.
3 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.
3 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.
3 years ago
fun game ,specially when you play with friends.not so easy as it looks.
verry addictif!!!!!
4 years ago
Killer game.. after a good waxing and a few light changes this game is addicting for a late 70s classic.
5 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.
7 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.
8 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!
8 years ago
Slightly above average System 1 machine. I really like the color and artwork, the wheel in the upper right was nice.
8 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.
9 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.
9 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 17 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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