Fathom (Bally, 1981)

Fathom

Pinside rating

This game received 154 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.032 /10

8.032

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #44 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.091

Artwork: 8.926

Sounds/Music: 6.353

Other Aspects: 8.146



Rating comments

There are 64 rating comments for this game.


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 5 of us have rated this game.

8.076

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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 64 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 64 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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8.592/10
80 days ago
One of the brightest points of Bally's super, super hot streak of the era and a game clearly designed by people that understood inline drops are the greatest thing ever. The game also looks amazing. Fathom came out within 4 months of Centaur and Medusa. Can you imagine if 3 works of art were released in such short succession today? 1981 was really the good old days.
7.605/10
5 months ago
"Fathom" is everything "Paragon" wasn't -- a great theme and art but with better audio that goes far beyond "bloop" and "bleep" and much better gameplay thanks to a reduced playfield and the removal of the awful "double right flipper". This one had interesting "water" or "wave" sounds as you played and a voice that taunted the player as they played. It's dated as hell but one can tell that effort was put into it with great targets and a rewarding set of shots that actually work thanks to much smoother gameplay. Even in the dark, the lighting makes this table look great in a gameroom.
7.003/10
5 months ago
Great art but game is WAY to expensive for what it is. Sounds are also very annoying to me.
9.639/10
8 months ago
This is the first ‘80s game in the Top 100, and it’s a Pin from 1981! Amazing! Art, theme integration , layout, gameplay, it’s got it all. Get one while you can.
8.862/10
1 year ago
When you look in the pinball dictionary this should be the example. It's a Classic for sure just on looks alone and the game play holds up to its looks. The 1st game even my wife said "wow that's a nice looking game"
8.737/10
1 year ago
Plain and simple fun! The gameplay is so easy to learn, yet near impossible to master. The art is gorgeous and the theme of mermaids and sea nymphs drowning dudes is genious! I'm normally not a huge fan of early 80s pins, but it just doesn't get better than this!
8.231/10
1 year ago
Fathom is THE classic Bally SS title. Multiball, two bonuses, two banks of inline drops, what more do you want?
8.705/10
1 year ago
This game is so much fun. It offers a challenge, which is what I love in a pinball machine. The best part about this machine, however, is the artwork. It is GORGEOUS. Seriously. I don't say that about a lot of machines.
9.069/10
1 year ago
Excellent game. Another simple Bally that can bring you to your knees. Beautiful as a pinball can get.
5.832/10
1 year ago
Game did not live up to its internet hype. Sorry. Just another Bally SS to me.
9.500/10
1 year ago
I recently had the pleasure of fully restoring a Fathom. I didn’t get too many games on it before the restoration because it didn’t work well when I got it. I knew it would be a good game from all the positive comments of others; so I just dove in with restoring the playfield and cabinet. It came out way better than expected and plays silky smooth! As expected, the game play is great all around. Rules are easy to understand, shots are challenging and multiball is rewarding. The artwork on this game has got to be among the top for Bally.
Since finishing my game, I’ve played others at shows. There is a huge difference in a player that isn’t tuned well and a minty example.
1.616/10
1 year ago
Reminds me of an old EM machine from the 50's . I just don't get some of the 80's machines which so many hold in high regard. I played this a few times back in the 90's and remember disliking it very very much .
4.161/10
1 year ago
This game back in its day was pretty awesome. For me it has not aged well however compared to modern Solid state games. I guess I like 90's+ games with speed and toys. This game has neither. It's a looker, not one I would want to own however.

Pros
The backglass and playfield art are fantastic

Cons
Cab is bland
Sounds and lighting are typical early 80's, does not age well
Gameplay is slow, but appropriate for its time
8.476/10
1 year ago
A beautiful game that's also fun, classic layout.
8.400/10
2 years ago
"Help, surface, surface – Fathom!"
Who can forget this classic Early Bally?

Greg Freres really outdid himself on this one with all aspects of artwork on the playfield and backglass.
It not a surprise the playfield and backglass have been reproduced, as the PFs were beat to $#@! on most games.
Gameplay is challenging and extremely satisfying with the inline drop targets.
Interconnected left bank target memory AKA Eight Ball deluxe which score inlines as well.
Good voice speech for the age.
Simple but memorable, "d-lup" water background tune.
Very collectible for a reason.
First price spikes were all the way back in the 2000, long before PinSide.

A must have if you like Early Bally machines, even if you have to build your own.
Collector quality examples are not going to be cheap now.
7.958/10
2 years ago
Fathom is one of those games that no one noticed for a long time. It was available to be picked up for a cheap bargain in fact. Then somewhere along the way, someone noticed the fantastic art package and the decent gameplay, and the price skyrocketed through the roof.

Personally, I love the way this game looks! It's beautiful. But ultimately, I'm much less impressed with how the game actually plays. I've played two copies of this game now and I felt that what looked to be a great layout left me wanting so much more. It feels clunky to me, the shots don't feel quite right, and it even lagged a bit IMO. I really wanted to love this game but ultimately the gameplay is a turn off for me.

UPDATE: Played this one a few more times recently, and I'm getting it now. It is a truly addicting game ("I was SO close to getting that multiball!!") that demands one more play. Not a huge fan of the way the early 80s Bally flipper system feels (it does feel like it lags a bit, like you have to time shots differently than other games), but that's a minor gripe. The only design flaw I can find in the layout is the shot straight to the top right bumper. Not sure what Ward could have done with that space, but that spot feels like a waste. Cool game!
9.260/10
2 years ago
I would love to have this machine. Beautiful game.
7.838/10
2 years ago
Gorgeous game. The light show is my primary beef and it isn't as fast as Sterns of the same era (I'm looking at you Dragonfist and Quicksilver). I would absolutely have one of these in my collection if the right one came along.
9.318/10
3 years ago
I'm still learning this table, but wow! Shots galore, and the ruleset is awesome.
8.385/10
3 years ago
One word, Gorgeous! Wait there's more to this this beauty than its looks. It is a great looking machine, but it's also a great player. A very highly sought after machine from a murder's row of great games from Bally during the early solid state era.

From the reverse inlane/outlane layout to the two sets of inline drop targets that lock balls at bay....and they even managed to put a spinner in there too. I wish many of the current games being made could reuse some of the ideas that this table used.

The game is a challenge, as many others from this time, so don't expect a cake walk into getting multiball, it is a chore.

The sound package does sound dated and repetitive, but that was what they had at the time.

It's too bad they didn't make more then 3,500 of these babies...since its such a classic!
9.859/10
3 years ago
Terrific game. Fathom keeps me coming back game after game, I can't get enough of those inline drop targets. I'm sure anyone who has seen this game would also agree that the art package is a stunner also.
8.273/10
3 years ago
Truly great artwork. Definitely one of the top 5 prettiest backglasses ever. I like the ball lock behind the drops. Other than that, gameplay is average.
8.310/10
3 years ago
Very solid and fun machine, very nice to look at overall. Love the ball locks and the stand up targets that rise afterwards, making it truly "captured". If you see it, play it.
6.339/10
3 years ago
The best looking IMO
Drop target in-line is great.
Just not my taste, too slow and not enough deep and entertaining.
7.719/10
3 years ago
This was a grail title for me when I first got into pinball & I had to hunt long & hard to obtain a nice one finally got it & while I do enjoy it & think it may be one of the most beautiful pins ever made to look at , it just isn't all that fun to play for me at least it just doesn't compare to the fast & crisp feel of newer more modern pins ..... lots of center drains & keeping multiball alive is a bit of a challenge
There are 64 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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