F-14 Tomcat


F-14 Tomcat

Pinside Rating

This game received 323 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.592 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #174 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.576

Artwork: 7.411

Sounds/Music: 7.098

Other Aspects: 7.851

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 6 of us have 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 198 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 198 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 8.

List options

51 days ago
A game that is greater than the sum of its parts. A classic Ritchie game with incredible for its time adversary callouts and engaging rules.

For its value, there genuinely isn't a better money to fun ratio in pinball.
3 months ago
This game apparently hates me.... never play it well.
For sales. One nice F14 Tomcat pinball game ...
3 months ago
Tomcat is an excellent playing pinball machine with some of the coolest and interesting upper flippers that direct themselves into the pop bumpers. Even from my first play, the rules made sense and I was able to keep some longer balltimes; even though it can be a fast game it never felt too out of control and had a great time all the way.
4 months ago
This was my first non-EM pin. I kept it for a couple years, then moved to other things. I am glad to have owned it, and it will always hold a special place in my heart for progressing my love of pinball. My son and I are RC plane pilots, and we're both plane fanboys. The theme was fun, and the integration is great. The General Yakov trash talk is fun (and that shot's kickback if you have it cranked up is fun to watch new players get smoked by it), the radar beacon light is blinding, but cool. The sirens on the back box are great, as is the music, light show, and everything that comes from starting multiball! It's definitely up pretty high on my preference of System 11 titles.

Will I own it again? No. will I put some quarters in it when I see it out and about? You betcha!!
4 months ago
Best light show from the 80's. Fun gameplay that is simple and challenging. A great tournament game. The callouts are incredible and iconic. This is a Steve Ritchie masterpiece.
5 months ago
F-14 Tomcat is an amazing game.

The layout is one of Steve Ritchie's least flowing ones since there's no ramp shot on here and the orbit's more of a u-turn. Nevertheless the two upper flippers actually serve a purpose and the kickback on the left under the ramp is an interesting feature.

Highlight of this gamecode is starting the multiball for me. In terms of sound it is great and the beacons on top of the game are really well incorporated. For the few features the game has it actually pulls of more uniqueness with its gamecode than some of the more modern games.

The artwork is quite good. The backglass looks excellent and the playfield and cabinet are alright.

Overall F-14 Tomcat is still a decent game as it is still unique and fun to play. It's a bit difficult to play like many of the older games, so I wouldn't think it is beginner friendly.
9 months ago
game is super duper fun and really has that one more play vibe. Every single time, probably because Im not good I alwasy say ok I have to go or i have to go to work or to sleep but just one more!!!! This time I can do it!. The layout is a little frustrating and it is a bit more one trick pony due to its age, but the game is still a lot of fun and still gets you all jacked up and tense when the sound changes because your sooooo close to multiball. I do wish I got to hear some danger zone or something from top gun. and I dont super like the upper playfield but Im not really a fan of any upper playfield or upper flippers really.
9 months ago
Tomcat looks a lot more complex than it is. All those wireforms are very misleading. At the end of the day, it's basically an early 80s game with excessive hardware solely to setup multiball. However, you don't have to be that complicated to be a good time - always fun for a few games, and the light show is fantastic.
1 year ago
F-14. My first in-home pin. Ahhh...There's a love/hate relationship here. On one hand, I love your fast play, theme, and dazzling light show! On the other, you get a bit repetitive and I feel really confined here in the layout.

The locks are cool. The play is incredibly challenging. But what path can my ball really travel on the playfield? And those cheap drains! Ooooh...You infuriate me like none other! How can I go from having a multi-million score first ball to 2 back-to-back drains where I feel ABSOLUTELY cheated and destroyed? Maybe even humiliated! You really are a Yagov!

That said, I really enjoyed my time on this pin. It's a screaming 80's style Williams with super fast play that can be punishing...or rewarding. Depending on which spectrum of the score you're on. If I had the abillity to keep a dozen pins, could F14 fit in there somewhere? Probably. Because I love Top Gun, fighter jets, the 80s, and pinball. But is it a game that I want to play over and over again with a smile? Or with a hammer to smash the glass? A little of both...

Play a few flips if you want a fast, punishing pin with a light show. Just PREPARE TO DIE!...A lot.
1 year ago
Big steve!!! Big fast classic !!!
1 year ago
The light show is perfect, but the game is not so attractive.
1 year ago
A fast and fun classic! I owned it for a few months. A superb starter pinball, and also a keeper among collectors.
The sound is cool for the time. The rush of mutliball was crazy along with the sirens on top of the cabinet. If you’ve not had a chance play one. Classic classic pin.
1 year ago
Super fast game. The table I played drained too many times when ball is initially put into play, so I’m looking forward to playing a different machine. I can see why this table has so many fans though, fastest table I ever played.
1 year ago
F-14 is a game I can definitely understand the mixed reaction to, but I personally think it's one of the better System 11 machines, if not one of the best.

Music is just great, definitely one of the best System 11 machines sound-wise.

Layout is great: the fact it has tight shots and is brutally fast when finely tuned says a lot about the game itself and the quality of the design.

I personally really like the backglass artwork is well done: it perfectly reflects the action this game has to offer.

Lighting is fantastic: even with incadescents, the game does not come across as dim. The usage of flashers in particular is excellent, especially with the floodlights on top of the backbox.


Cabinet artwork is just okay, and the playfield artwork is pretty bad in my opinion. The playfield just looks so barren of things that are actually going on when it comes to the drawings themselves.

The game is a System 11, so the ruleset is fairly barebones, which is understandable, but means it could never be a masterpiece of any kind without a better ruleset.

If this game is not finely tuned, it can be miserable.

Not something I truly hold against the game, but the insert ghosting on this game is bad enough I have to mention it as a flaw.

Overall, while a divisive game, F-14 Tomcat is still quite a good one that holds up fairly well.
1 year ago
Finally added the F-14 to my basement arcade to go along with Pin*Bot ...
Game plays different than most which is the draw for me as it is wicked fast ...
Love the Yakov kicker ...
Love the theme with the lightshow ....
Great layout, but the playfield is darker than I like (plan on converting to LEDs soon) ...
4-ball Multiball is short lived, but a adrenaline rush none the less ...
I added 3 toys (2 tomcats & 1 mig - Matchbox mighty wings are perfect as I put MiG at the Yakov kicker, and then the Tomcats, one over the upper flipper and the other on the spinner - makes them look like the are flying in unison) ...
Also created new instruction cards & added the decals/stickers over the upper playfield clear plastics ...
Highly recommend, one of my top 5 games of all time, should be way higher on the list!
1 year ago
A tough shooter with the center of the playfield obstructed and ready to send your ball right back down the drain. Love the theme as there was no official Top Gun theme, this one is pretty close. The lightning kickback feature of General Yagov shooting at you is pretty awesome. The light show for killing the General is epic for it’s time!
1 year ago
F-14 Tomcat is just a game that I “get.” It flows extremely well; the upper part of the machine functions as a large, separate upper playfield with an interesting placement of the table’s single pop bumper. Hitting the kill shot on the left side never gets old, as successfully doing so seven times gives the player a fair and generous reward—an extra ball. Multi-ball brings a sensational sensory experience, though it can be very short lived. Hitting that jackpot is super satisfying, however, if you can land three planes by hitting the upper right shot.

Every time I play F-14, I enjoy it, but it’s not a “one-more time” game. I can play two to three games in succession, but then I have to take a break from it. F-14 just doesn’t have the beefiest rules. If it had just one or two more objectives in addition to defeating Gen Yagov and completing the multi-ball, its replayability would be a notch higher. Nonetheless, it’s a great 80’s Williams machine with eye-catching reds and blues, great music and personality, and it is plain fun to shoot.
2 years ago
Fast, brutal Steve Ritchie. Not that deep, not that complex, but a true player's table for sure. I'd love to own one someday. Fun but unforgiving.
2 years ago
I only bought this game because it was too good of a bargain in a package deal to pass up, but I am so glad I did.

This game seems to be chronically underrated on here, because it's an absolute blast to play. It offers a brutally fast game, with some serious challenge, in an excellently executed theme.

Are the rules simple? Sure. That's the beauty of it, though. Theoretically, you're in a fighter jet, and your objective it to take down your target and avoid being taken down. Get locked on, get your crew ready, and unleash a flurry of an attack to eliminate your opponent.

For someone to truly enjoy (and get angered) by the machine, you have to play it in its 3-ball setting. No matter how good I get at the game, it always presents enough a challenge in this setting, because this game can cruelly drain a ball no matter what you do, and it always seems to pick the worst opportunities to do so. In one game, I'll score in the millions. In the next, I'll struggle to break 300k. It's amazing.

Then there's the sounds and the lights - I can't think of anything else in the era that even competes. It's amazing by today's standards

This is a keeper in my collection for sure. Part of me is angry that it's rated so low, and it definitely deserves its spot in the Top 100, but at the same time, I'm glad it's underrated. Otherwise I never would have had a chance to snag it when I did.

The other game I got in the package deal? It shall remain nameless, but I can say it's the one I was after, and it's also the one I'd get rid of first if I had to part with one of the two machines now.
2 years ago
Good machine, music on multiball is epic
but very very repetitive
2 years ago
Put alot of quarters in this game back in college. If you like the 80s and the movie Top Gun, then you'll love this machine. The theme and rules fit it perfectly, the light show is almost unmatched even compared to today's machine and it is an extremely fast machine Not very deep, but it is a Steve Ritchie machine so it is all about the flow. Always a good time to play! Glad I finally have one of my own!
2 years ago
If you're looking for a fast and challenging game this is it. One of the fastest playing pins out there. Going for multiball and plane takedowns is addicting and the kickback on the left part of the game is cool. This one will give you quick games and constant challenge. Fun and addicting.
2 years ago
One of the greatest light shows in pinball, and that’s just the attract mode! If the light toppers are operating, the game becomes almost blinding in its dazzle.
That said, F14 Tomcat is a Steve Ritchie hit and miss.
Game design:
There are a lot of good feeling shots on F14, ramps, ball locks, loops, etc. This draws you in. Sadly, once you have these under control, there is very little else to shoot for. There are areas that are a little too easy and objectives that are challenging. When I saw a 12 year old girl shooting the same loop over and over and getting the high score because of it, I realized the flaw in this game. On the other hand, if you play by the rules and attempt to complete the objectives, it will chew you up and spit you out.
There are a lot of repetitive loop exploits on pinball machines, but this one, as that little girl showed me, took very little concentration.
“Welcome to Top Gu…. Oh wait, we didn’t pay for the licensing rights!” I thing just about everyone was making a Top Gun ripoff in that time. Look at Gottlieb/Premier for the most blatant one. (Hoo boy!) when I first saw this machine it was sitting right next to an AfterBurner II sit down arcade. What an awesome combination the arcade manager came up with!!! Because of that, when I play F14, I feel like I am playing the pinball version of AfterBurner. It’s like drinking a Mountain Dew when you expected Coke. The cabinet art is nice and the Translite is really awesome. Again, there’s that attract mode light show and those stupid gimmick lights up top to blind anyone who looks at it at the wrong time. I love it!
How do I mod it to play the AfterBurner II theme? Seriously though, The sound and music are good, very Top Gun and maybe Cold War era James Bond bad guy mixed in. Too loud sometimes too staticky sometimes, but you really can’t turn the volume down to a quiet level because it ruins the overall effect. This game would really have benefited from the later WPC DCS system sound. There’s just too much going on for a System 11.
Gameplay and Funfactor:
This is where F14 Tomcat is a real winner. All those ramps and loops, the noise, the lights, it all comes together to make a fun experience. Admittedly, this game is not a keeper for most people, and it’s not a low cost hidden gem by any means. Just a good solid machine to add to a collection until something else comes along. Some say it’s a good “starter machine”, but I disagree. It’s too complex for a noob to repair their first time out and potentially flammable because of the bridge rectifier issue (they haven’t all been fixed yet)! Fully shopped and battery modded F14’s would probably be good starter machines, but I would still warn against it if you have ceiling height limitations (it’s tall with the lights) or feel you can’t repair or maintain the thing.
F14 Tomcat is still cheap as chips and needs to remain so. These machines need to circulate in and out of both home collections and public locations. As I said before, it may not be a keeper for most people, but it is a good game to own for a time.
2 years ago
Of the System 11s I own (Big Guns, Pinbot, and F-14), F-14 is likely to see the least play in my arcade. That's not to say it's a bad game, far from it. I find the other two more fun to play, and so do guests. F-14 feels unfair at times, too many shots result in a SDTM drain. It's hard to achieve multiball on factory settings too, which kind of alienates new players. Thankfully, you can change this so that when you achieve a lock lit by spelling "Tomcat", the game will award you two locks the first time instead of one. Since you have to lock 3 balls and then hit the lock again to release, it cuts down the number of locks you need to earn in half.

Gameplay is fast and furious. This is an expert level pin, and you really have to be ready to do some damage control if you miss a shot. The kicker in the upper left playfield is a great feature, it feels like you're actually fighting the machine, but it's also very fast, and a very dangerous shot. It's the only way to earn an extra ball though, so you have to go for the kills if you want to extend your play. Overall, the game flows nicely, it's just very punishing.

Where F-14 truly excels is in the sound and music department. Zero complaints. All the sounds are fantastic, and the music is some of the best the system 11 tables have to offer. Best multiball music in all of the system 11 family in my opinion, even better than Pinbot's iconic music.

Lighting is very good, and there are some really good light shows in the game. The table doesn't feel dark or hard to see, and the topper lights are a MUST have on this game. There's something really special about right before you get that multiball seeing those lights spin around and around. In my opinion, it's one of the best toppers in pinball.

I like F-14, but it doesn't always achieve one of my biggest standards for owning a pinball machine, the "just one more game factor", and this has to do with how brutal and unfair the game can be. I have to dock it lastability and fun points for that. I really like challenging games, but even by Steve Ritchie standards, this game is hard. I'll play it some more, it's still very new in my collection and my only experience with it previously was through Pinball Arcade, and virtual pins aren't always a good representation of how a game will play in real life. If my opinion changes, I'll update my review accordingly.

Update to my review 11/8/21: I'm enjoying this game a lot more now. It's currently seeing the most play from me because of the challenge. Now that I have a feel for the table and the shots, I'm getting into multiball more frequently on factory settings. Before, I would achieve multiball maybe once every 10 games or so and usually on the 3rd ball. My nudging skills have gotten better and most importantly, I have fixed the weak pop bumper which is making spelling "Tomcat" A LOT easier. I still think F14 is not on the same tier as something like PinBot, High Speed, Taxi or Whirlwind, but of the system 11 games I feel like it's at least better than Big Guns which is also in my collection, so I'm adjusting my score accordingly. I'm finding myself more and more fond of it because it's challenging. It makes for some intense games, and man the light show and music never get old.
2 years ago
An ok game. There are better games of its era.
There are 198 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 8.

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 https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/f-14-tomcat/ratings 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.