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Cow Poke

Pinside rating

This game received 16 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.168 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #34 in the Pinside EM Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.315

Artwork: 8.028

Sounds/Music: 1.914

Other Aspects: 8.359

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 13 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 13 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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1 year ago
This is the one found in bowling alleys and dive bars in the early 70s. Buckaroo, but better. The horse-kick EB knock-and-spin makes this one of the best backglasses of any EM pin. Set the tilt light and have fun.
2 years ago
This game , being the add-a-ball version, blows Buckaroo right out of the water. The centre roto-target is one of the biggest drain monsters and sucker shots in all of pinball, with much risk associated with it. It is much better suited for a game that will award another ball if shot at, rather than the chance of a replay, especially in the home environment. The playfield, plastics, backglass and backglass animation really bring the western theme home. Everything about it screams "DUDE RANCH". This game is a real gem amongst the Gottlieb two-inch flipper library.
3 years ago
The favorite of all games in my collection. I know a lot of people don't like add-a-ball games, but when a game is in your home, you tend to worry less about earning a replay and more about longevity and high scores. Cowpoke offers both.

With four ways to add balls -- top rollovers, lining up four numbers, hitting bull's-eye target, score threshold -- it's possible to play this game all day. Each time a ball is added, the animated backglass springs to life, making this a favorite of most who play it.

The only shortcoming on this game is that it is difficult to get the ball back up to the pop bumpers, and it's nearly impossible to get the ball back up past the top rollovers. In short, it plays like two games ... a top half and a bottom half. This makes the plunger shot important to master, because it's a key to achieving all four rollovers, adding a ball, and resetting them.
5 years ago
+I like the game, I own it's cousin but not an AAB fan. but still a fun game to play.
5 years ago
My favorite EM. What really draws me to it is 3 different ways to earn extra balls, top lanes, number sequence, and the red dots. There's significant strategy in the plunge (aiming for the lanes for EB with or without roto-spin depending on whats showing) and also strategy on the drain, I will occasionally take a drain on purpose to set myself up for a big payoff later, especially if my shot is on plunge wise in my EB lanes up top. Rolling it feels ever so good. I will at some point own one and restore it to perfection.
5 years ago
This is an early add a ball game. From the era of the wedge head that still had 2" flippers. The standard version of the game is Buckaroo. Cowpoke has a really nice playfield and backglass animation. The combination of pop bumpers, dead bumpers and roto targets make it a fun game and trying to max out the balls is another skill set to this game. The 2 inch flippers make the game challenging, but their placement is such that you can keep a ball in play with some skill. One of my favorite machines in my collection.
6 years ago
Prettier, better and rarer than Buckaroo. Lovely game. Can be very frustrating at times.
Tricky to fix due to the sequential relays for the one through seven roto target possibilities.
Own one which I doubt I will sell. Put 128 hours of work into it this far. Really pretty artwork, a game of beauty rather than skill, as the roto target simply gets in the way.
6 years ago
Cow Poke and it's better known sibling Buckaroo is about as classic as a classic Gottleib pinball game gets.

The Pros:
A nice layout with short shots that require accuracy and good ball reflection contol from the flippers. The flipper layout at the bottom of the PF combined with the pops and the lanes at the top of the PF mean that nudging and english skills need to be activated from the moment the ball is plunged until it's on the way out. Watchin' Skeeter gettin' hoofed in the buttocks is ALWAYS entertaining. Roto targets are way righteous! Art packages like this are the reason why people say... Roy Parker is the MAN!

The Cons:
Your ball time can be really short once the ball passes down by the roto-target. The activation of the roto-target happens quite often, to the point of "luck" becoming a determining factor of a game between equally matched players. Plaid cabs are weird.

The Takeaway:
There are other EM games that I prefer to this one, but I have to give proper respect to the the incredible art package, animations and good layout.
6 years ago
One of the best EMs ever. Top rate play that is challenging and fun. Roy Parker's art is amazing. The backglass animation is funny and super clever. The add a ball aspect keeps you coming back for more.
6 years ago
Very cool EM machine. Only had three games on it but it was a big hit at the Houston Arcade Expo.
7 years ago
Classic wedge head with possibly the best backglass animation ever. Art is good with a nice western theme. Fun and challenging player with a lot of nostalgic appeal. Very satisfying when you can manage to light up 4 numbers in a row for an added ball. A game that can definitely draw you in for one more try.
7 years ago
Very addictive game. Trying to line up those 7 numbers is way hard. Can get frustrating at times. Artwork is classic but not so keen on the horses. A classic, iconic game.
8 years ago
Cowpoke is a great looking, great playing machine with a very cool backglass animation consisting of a horse that kicks a cowboy bending over to retrieve his hat and sends him spinning. Also has a Roto-target in the playfield. This is the Add-a-ball version of Buckaroo.
There are 13 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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