Earthshaker (Williams, 1989)


Pinside rating

This game received 258 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.748 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #87 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.861

Artwork: 7.74

Sounds/Music: 6.984

Other Aspects: 7.961

Rating comments

There are 119 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 8 of us have 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 119 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 119 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 5.

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27 days ago
This along with Whirlwind are great Pat Lawler games that are a precursor to one the best pinball machines of all time Adam's Family. I love the call outs, art, and music. However, For me the fun factor isn't as good as Whirlwind. The playfield is a little to busy. I love to play this game once in while but in a smaller collection (under 10 pins) its loses its fun factor quickly. I've owned it twice but both of mine were players pins. I'd buy it again if I could find a collector quality one for a fair price.
4 months ago
Not a good pin for a smaller collection. Got it to pair with my whirlwind but it’s just way too repetitive. It does have a good jackpot shot with multiball but doesnt play much into high scores. It’s hard to play it again after hitting the center ramp for 99 miles.
5 months ago
I've played this game two days for hours on end. It's a game that needs precisely aimed shots and punishes missed ones. At first I really liked the challenge, but after the second day of playing I was a lot less excited. There is just not enough variety, and the lack of flow also started to bother me. Still, the challenge of the game is what makes you want to try again, and that is a good thing.

The artwork is nice, as I really like the 80's style graphics. The cabinet is a real missed opportunity though, as it's kind of bland.
5 months ago
Owned this machine for several months. It is fun but not a keeper.
6 months ago
There is enough variety to make this a fun game to play. Lots of ramps and places for the ball to go. The Music was OK, not outstanding. The sound effects ok. There is a playfield animation of California breaking away from US which is unique. The notable feature of this game is the “Earthquake” that occurs during the Multiball. The artwork I think captures the “flavor” of Southern California pretty well, but the middle of the playfield is empty to me. Racking up miles up the ramp is a pretty good skill shot, with the final goal of getting to the end of the road. Overall a good game.
7 months ago
Excellent system 11 game. Playfield layout is excellent. Art is also really good. Hope to get my hands on one.
8 months ago
I really wanted this game to match my Whirlwind with the cool Lawlor disaster duo. It really is an amazing system 11 that is super fast and has some great call outs. I have the sinking building mod and it is pretty cool but not necessary as it really down't effect the game play. The original back glass is classic and the artwork is fantastic. The shaker motor is the perfect addition to the earthquake theme and integrated very well/ Works best in a larger collection as the variation gets redundant after a while but a classic nonetheless.
8 months ago
Fun game. The first with the shaker motor. Some interesting features that keep you coming back.
8 months ago
Love this game. One of the best System 11. Very similar to the twin game Whirlwind. Simple rules but fun nonetheless.
Make sure you live in a house when owning this, because it's a earthshaker when that shaker motor starts.

Beautiful backglass art.
8 months ago
Earthshaker is one of my favorite games. It really makes you want to keep playing. The shaker inside of it is awesome and when it yells out Earthshaker! Some people don't care for the side art, but I love it! Awesome game!
1 year ago
Not much to accomplish besides getting the multiball, but still a very fun game to play.
1 year ago
Has a couple of rules shortfalls, otherwise a great game.
1 year ago
Earthshaker isn't ever going to be a maven's game because of a couple of scoring faults -- you can basically run up the score by hitting the center ramp shot over and over again, one which can be made from either flipper. So from that perspective, despite loop shots, quick multiball and a nice three-ball multiball, and the gimmicks (a tower going up and down, a map of California and Nevada splitting, the first real shaker motor), it may not rank terribly high.

But as a pure Fun Quotient game, this is great. For the era, it's got a few funny sound effects, and the theme of the earthquake -- complete with shaker motor -- combined with the ubiquitous Pat Lawlor / Williams obsession with highways, entrance ramps, and getting around by car in general -- is original, unusual, and cute. More to the general point, kids love it right away, and it's not so complicated as to be inaccessible. A great bridge between eras, and a very good game room machine.
1 year ago
This machine stands the test of time. It is my all-time favorite pin, and the skills shots are awesome. Max out the miles to max out your score! If you see it, play! You will love it!
1 year ago
This goes in the category of fun because of difficulty. It keeps me coming back, and keeps me frustrated with its strange shots. I always look forward to this one in tournament play.
1 year ago
Driving around to get some spare parts for my first owned flipper I get the chance to play many different machines. Just fell in love with that piece!!! So much fun to play, definitely the next one for my beginners collection :)
1 year ago
So I'm a bit biased, but ES is my favorite pin from BITD. I looked for one for many years, and finally managed to snag one.

Sure, there's not a TON of depth, but what there is makes up for that -- it's fast, it's fun, you can literally play it all day and not get bored. There's something magical about the cabinet shaking and the callout, "EARTHSHAKER!!!". Makes me happy.

I was lucky enough to get one with a sinking institute (just like the one I remember playing on), so that definitely adds another dimension to it aesthetically. If you can't find one of those early 200, then get a sinking kit. Either way, it's great fun.

Just about the best back glass in pinball, I'm sorry, it's awesome.

I'll agree with others that there are a few deeper and more "powerful" sys11 games out there (this one's cousin Whirlwind comes to mind), but for my money ES is still the best.
1 year ago
Earthshaker is surprisingly agile considering its crowded playfield and numerous loops and ramps. The skill shot is fun (like PIN*BOT), but it might take up too much room. The VUK is a nice touch to change momentum and, of course, the shaker motor fires up for multiball, which adds to the thrill of the game. If it weren't for some of those little touches, the game would fall flat and be a run-of-the-mill late SS, but there's enough going on to keep me wanting to shoot a few more balls. Not addictive, but not repulsive.
1 year ago
This is one of my favorite pinball machines of the late 80s. I actually enjoy this one a little bit more than some of Pat Lawlor's other more famous titles of the same era. I like the layout of this playfield and really enjoy how the ball flows. Basic but still fun.

Update: Still a fun table because of it's unique layout, but not enough going on for me to warrant a purchase. After playing a few more System 11 pins, I find this one not among the best but not the worst either. Good pin if found for under 2k and especially if you have a large collection.
1 year ago
This machine really makes me feel happy when i play it. I suppose its more of a nostalgia thing. I find myself humming the music from time to time. It's a very straight forward game, which makes it easy to understand for beginners.
2 years ago
"Earthshaker!!!" (Screaming LOUD voice)

One of the pinnacles of the System 11 machines of the era.
Outstanding artwork package by Tim Elliot.
Strong gameplay and ruleset design by Pat Lawlor.
Chris Granner masterpiece on the music.
If you own a Whirlwind, you have to partner it up with its sibling here, Earthshaker.
The shaker motor used long before it was popular today.
Backglass is an ACTUAL backglass with FULL mirroring, which was becoming more uncommon at this point in pinball history.
If you are going to buy an Earthshaker, make sure you go find one with a prototype sinking Earthshaker institute (or kit from Mark Davidson) and the proper Nevada/California split assembly feature.

An example of a machine that holds up well against most modern games of today.
You do not need fancy "doohickeys" to make a great game, just a great design.

Pay attention Pat Lawlor fans to my statement here.
The final trifecta of disaster pinball machines is coming soon!
2 years ago
Nice original theme
Good shaker integration

My main beef with Earthshaker is that I do not any satisfying shot. The clunky right ramp is the worst. The playfield is cramped. The center ramp is repetitive and seems to be the most valuable shot in tournament mode. Skill shot is not interesting. Not a big fan of artwork…
2 years ago
Fun game, great action on the playfield and the shaker is fun. I could play this game all day.
2 years ago
Part one of the Lawlor natural disaster series.

The theme is great.
A really cool skill shot.
The through-the-pops orbit loop is fast!
The rules are the standard system11 fare - which I enjoy.
A fault line toy that directs the ball to lock when the quake is active.

Not as good:
The right ramp is really, really clunky. It's nearly a right angle, and there isn't much satisfaction in hitting the shot.
The center ramp is easy to hit over and over again, if you choose to.
The playfield is a bit cramped, because of all the area the skill shot needs up top.
2 years ago
another great williams classic easy game play, nice flow,shaker is sweet ,califonia and nevada breaks apart the upper playfield is classic one of a kind..upper left flipper to side center ramp not the smoothest but ok... i like this game..keeper in a bigger collection
Re edit .finaly got one ,gonna restore it, got it working good before I drop it off , it is a great game ,simple, yet fun, there are many other newer games I can have for the money I'm putting into this one....but I truly enjoy this classic, nostalgic Williams pin, having it in the line up give me a warm feeling inside that no other game does!! Seeing it in arcades in the late 80's it brings me back today!!.it is worth the money I'm spending on it to me, ..only a whirl wind nxt to it could make me happier! !
There are 119 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 5.

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