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Cue Ball Wizard

Pinside rating

This game received 83 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 6.767 /10

6.767

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #304 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.944

Artwork: 6.577

Sounds/Music: 6.366

Other Aspects: 6.873



Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 2 of us have rated this game.

7.341

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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 44 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 44 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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4.240/10
10 months ago
The big huge cue ball in the middle of the playfield is unique but often frustrating and annoying. The best thing about this game is the fake clint eastwood quotes which have become private jokes among my collection of friends. Not a bad game, but probably like sixth tier in it's fun factor. May throw some games on it if i've grown bored with whatever else is available.
5.816/10
1 year ago
A very familyfriendly pinball with real nice playfield lightning. The first rounds you play with this table are absolutely fun and intense. Part of this I attribute to the country style background music with Eastwood-esque call outs and the unexpected movement of a fullsize cue ball that moves along a curved steel pin in the middle of the playfield.

Unfortunately this impression does not last very long. Rather fast the table becomes onedimensional and kind of predictable – even with that awesome cue ball randomizer taken into account. Shooting the horse shoe over and over will not be as tempting after a while, especially if this pinball is standing next to some half decent machine from Bally or Williams from that same era. Far from being bad- but there are so many other good pinball machines around that are better than this one, even in the B-list or low price category.

In a home environment I would try to imagine how that loony comic western style music will sound after hearing it a million times…..but that of course goes for many pinball machines. So soundwise it does not really have to be an issue, unless you passionately dislike that western/country-style sound.
8.451/10
1 year ago
Gottlieb is the best - many good hours!
6.701/10
2 years ago
Cue Ball Wizard certainly has a long lineage of a gazillion pool-pinball themed games; other than cards and bowling, billiards is probably the most popular theme of all time. So what does CBW bring to the table, as it were?

First is the toy, of course - the real cue ball and eight ball are fun, and the cueball adds random pinball trajectories and the need to shoot around a rolling ball. In some modes this can be quite lucrative and as a shooter's game, it really is a nice change of pace from the ramp-ramp-ramp games of the era.

Second is rotating a number of pool-like shots around the playfield. As an emulation of real pool, it does a decent job - and incorporating a theme so literally makes the theme pretty relevant. There were a few EM pool games that tried to do this, not equally as successful.

This is not a multiball-happy game; there are only two multiballs, one a two-ball mode multiball and the other a frenzy mode upon completion of all the modes, Pinball Mania, which can result in a player racking up (no pun intended) lots of points with a controlled hold multiball that could go on forever. If you're in competition and are good at the Elwin pose, just light and drain the modes, start Pinball Mania, and shoot one ball into the upper playfield forever.

The biggest criticisms I have of CBW are pretty much the same as I have for other 90's Gottlieb DMDs. The basic shots to start modes -- in this case, the long ramp with the short approach that can be hit from either flipper -- are just too easy. And the early programming on the DMD is more than a bit simplistic (this game probably features the two worst video modes ever invented; if there are worse video modes, name them). And: Gottlieb flippers. They're high, don't allow easy bounce passing but are just a bit too easy to trap, and as such there's little incentive for doing drop-catches or fast flips. There's also less tip action. (I suspect this was a deliberate design choice by Gottlieb to make the games more beginner-friendly, but the classic Williams/Bally flipper action of the 80s and 90s is as big a reason as the more complex game designs, IMHO, as to why the latter have retained their popularity so strongly.)

But CBW sort of makes up for this by having a reasonable set of three mini-wizard-mode like goals to go for -- the relatively easy to achieve Pinball Mania, the difficult and challenging 1/2 billion 9 ball shot (which can be doubled), and spelling WIZARD (like WILLIAMS in Rollergames) in a non-frenzy 10M a shot mode. It's simple, and allows multiple approaches for getting high scores.

There are some balance problems in the scoring. The bonus is cute - racks times multipliers times a base bonus -- but they're not really worth it to actually go for the hazardous short bonus X advance shot in the corner pocket on the lower left. The bank shots are relatively easy to start getting extra balls and 20 M shots, although it does require the risk of a bad recovery out of the top. And if a player wants to avoid the center shots with the cue ball/eight ball/side pocket toy, they can and still can get a high score. (As a low-risk option in competition, I recommend that.)

I do like the callbacks to previous generations of machines in CBW. High drop target banks, a horseshoe, and accretive non-multiball goals, plus of course the theme in general.

The callouts are super clear and funny, and while you may go insane with the repetition (like any machine with talky callouts) there's a benefit here that it's good for beginners, especially kids, to have something to go for. The C&W music theme is pleasant although late-solid-state-era repetitious. As far as the artwork: I really like the basic design of the playfield layout, although good secondary lighting (or PinStadium, something I'm considering for this machine at home) is a necessity. The side cabinet artwork isn't exceptional but is fine. The translite/backglass though - good heavens, it's a kind of Urban Cowboy shot to go along with the western saloon vibe of the machine, and it's annoying. I'm considering getting a custom translite to replace it. I'm not sure what the appeal was supposed to be here.

Ultimately, I think Break Shot (a later DMD pool game from CapCom) is more fun, albeit as a pseudo-EM throwback with no ramps and a baby upper flipper, but CBW is the only game this side of Cabaret Voltaire that has the moving spherical target incorporated into the play (and CV it's just an annoying obstacle, not an actual target) and has an interesting variety of shots. Yes, this was developed while Williams was coming out with Addams Family, so it's really hard to compare to that level of state of the art. But it's fine. Very decent DMD that can usually be had for a bargain price. I doubt anybody would have this as a centerpiece for their collection but as a complimentary machine it's a great break from other machines.
6.539/10
2 years ago
CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! Very cheaply priced game so if you can tolerate the obnoxious call outs and not so great art, I would pick one up. Game just isn’t that great. Modes would get very repetitive although wizard mode is “sorta” cool. Good beginners game at a good value.
6.058/10
2 years ago
unique design for sure. Has the typical gottlieb clunkiness of the era.One of the worst video modes I have ever seen, but I guess it was 1992. There isnt much flow or depth to this game. The back part of the play field is almost completely blocked off and unused. I would never want to own this and only sunk money into it as it was the only pin in the joint.
6.648/10
2 years ago
To be honest I bought this game for the price. The call outs let you know what they want but really get annoying fast. The only way to win is keep up with the call outs. I play again and again more to get even with the game. It does have that play me again fee if you never played before. Your time limited on the call outs so when the ball makes it to the flipper to make a go of it it is usually to late. The game talks to much for my taste.
6.870/10
3 years ago
Music and themeing can seem a little hokey at times, but the main rules and modes are fun enough. Lots of opportunities to get extra balls and the wizard mode is fun to play. Scoring seems balanced with the 1/2 billion shot appropriately tricky. Double is a fun addition to with a narrow window of opportunity to get it. Multiball could have been implemented better though as it seems to happen every game, not something you really work for. Some better artwork, music, and another ramp would have made this pin really shine.
8.188/10
3 years ago
very under rated pin. i think people are down on this game because it is very simple. in this game's case, simple is awesome!

pros: awesome open playfield. great lighting. fun multiball every play. sounds are great and quality of sound is impeccable. very well timed sound effects for certain shots. fun theme.

cons: the pool ball in the playfield is annoying, so i removed it and playability is enhanced. a bit slow playing. only one ramp (two would have made this pin a contender). some sound effects are repetitive.

overall, this pin is very lasting in my garage. i love the change of pace that it offers. it has a solid feel and smooth action across the playfield. the ball seems to glide on this game, which makes the shots satisfying every time. while a bit slower, it is no easier than other pins. it offers challenging skill shots and quick timers on certain modes. definitely a bargain priced, fun pin to own. pick one up if you can.
2.558/10
3 years ago
Don't like it at all.
6.859/10
3 years ago
I think this game has some cool features and the various "rounds" make it clear what you are supposed to do to get the most points. The animations are average and some mini games are annoying. In general I like the game but I probably wouldn't own it... the theme is a bit too countrified for my taste!
7.860/10
4 years ago
Really enjoyed this game on Microsoft's Pinball Arcade, then on Pinball Arcade, then recently at ReplayFX. While it is a nostalgia game for me, it does kind of get old after some time and is usually worth a few plays every now and then. It's still an enjoyable one, though.
7.496/10
4 years ago
I like this machine. The quotes might be my favorite "What kind of a cow-pie shot was that?".

The drop targets are rewarding, as is hitting the cue ball, but beware of SDTM. Ramp is sometimes hard to get under time pressure.

Fun to be had overall! Great theme. One of the better modern Gottlieb games. Underrated.
6.242/10
4 years ago
CBW is the best game with a cue ball on the playfield, I'll give it that. Points for a gimmick that seems insane but is actually reasonably well implemented. The layout is boring: overly symmetrical with only one ramp. It suffers from being able to time out modes to get to the wizard mode, so if you're aiming for replays or high score you probably only want to play extra ball mode and time out the rest. Not really a shooters game, half the drop targets you get by lobbing the ball up top and hoping the pop bumpers do the work. It's decently fun, but one of the cheapest DMDs for a reason.
8.132/10
4 years ago
CBW is a fun game, and works smooth if fine-tuned. I've played some in a "player's condition", and even they were fun. The display animations are a little bland compared to other games of that era, and there are a ton of shots to make on this pin, even though it seems you just have to push it up to the right or the left of the platform (ton of drop targets hidden up there). Even so, it is well-designed for the early 90's era in which it was released. The BG / translite artwork is OK, but more than fitting for the theme. Oddly enough, even though the cabinet is not riddled with artwork like some other pins, I really like the black cabinet and what artwork this game does have. Very clean looking.

That being said, the PF design on this game is fantastic, and the light show is great. The full-size cue and 8 ball definitely add a twist, constantly changing the direction of your ball that would otherwise customarily drop right down to the flippers or to a return lane. The call outs get a little redundant at times, but they are funny and instruct you on which shots need to be made. A simple rule set to this pin, and oddly enough, despite having a Batman Forever and BSD, people are drawn to this pin when they're over. Luckily my game is cherry condition, which definitely helps the lure of it. If you can find one, I would definitely give it a whirl to see what you think. It's a great, family-friendly themed pin to have in your collection, and one that newbies can enjoy, as well as experienced players.
7.912/10
5 years ago
I really enjoyed this game. There are many modes and many shots all over the playfield. The cue ball is a little underutilized for it's prominence on the playfield. It only factors in to the skill shot and jackpots but those jackpots take a little skill to time just right. I love the humor with the Clint Eastwood sound alike and the art is a little bland but works with the theme. The animations are non existent and could have easily been done with a alphanumeric and just got rid of the video mode.
7.469/10
5 years ago
Cue Ball Wizard is a table that really puts an emphasis on getting high scores, and constantly having a specific shot to put a ball to maximize your score. While the ramp is where you'll want the ball to go for the most part on Cue Ball Wizard, the many "missions" require you to shoot it certain places, including one where you need to hit the physical cue ball in the middle of the table into targets. There are also quite a few opportunities for multi-ball on this table, regardless of how good or bad you are at pinball. While I find the sound to be comical/cheesy, it's somewhat endearing in an odd... creepy way. I haven't played a ton of pool themed pinball tables (in fact, only three, I believe), but this is one that I can say that I enjoy, and it's one of my preferred Gottlieb machines.
8.628/10
5 years ago
This was the pin that made me realize (at 16 years old) that pinball was not just about keeping the ball in play as long as you can. It made me realize there are rules and if you understand those rules and execute them, you can score tons of points. Me and four of my buddies played this all summer long at a comic book store in 1993. I promised myself that one day I would buy one for my house, and 20 years later I do. Will always have a soft spot in my heart for this pin.
8.000/10
5 years ago
For a quick game of pinball this table is fun, love the drop targets during the final round, which is way to easy to get to, the modes are really short and still can't get my head around finding elvis.
5.421/10
6 years ago
Not my favorite billiard themed pinball...
8.120/10
6 years ago
An Underrated game for pinheads, but I enjoy it very much. I like the music and some of the speech calls.
7.436/10
6 years ago
This was my first pinball...I think it is a solid game and I will always keep it. It was the start of pinballs for me. Its the first pinball my son ever played and so I still love the sound of the machine.
6.872/10
6 years ago
Fun pin that is totally unique....what other pin has an enormous pool ball in the middle of the playfield! Reminds me a little of Circus Voltaire.

Right ramp shot is key to scoring but the targets tucked away in the back are also important. Would be right at home in a bar in Tennessee...
5.840/10
6 years ago
Cue Ball Wizard is an interesting design by Jon Norris.

The Pros:
Great shots all over the table. Vertical drop targets high on the PF remind me of Gottlieb 2001. This game features 2 (yes 2) billiard balls on the table. The cue ball on the lower PF has got to be one of the best randomizers ever put on a pinball deck and the next time we see it (to a lesser effect) would be Cirqus Voltaire for training animals. The upper playfield is simple, but really well done and does not affect the play underneath it over the pops. The u-turn loop will keep you on your toes especially if that cue ball is rolling about.

The Cons:
Suffers from Gott/Premier one shot ramp rape syndrome, big time. There is more to the game than this… but that ramp just supersedes everything else on this deck. A shame, really.

The Takeaway:
Other than being a one shot wonder, this is a great layout with some really cool shots on it. You can find them inexpensively and I have known a few pinheads who I greatly respect as players who have modified their own copy to make it more of a player. Find one on the cheap and play on!
7.964/10
7 years ago
Fun game. Cue ball on the playfield is different.
There are 44 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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