Pinside rating

This game received 196 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.030 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #76 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 8.016

Artwork: 8.965

Sounds/Music: 6.564

Other Aspects: 8.069

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.


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This title is part of group: "Fathom"

Found 89 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 89 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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58 days ago
Played at Electric Circus near Birmingham.

Great pin with an interesting two-ball multiball. Lots of things to do, given the period and single-level layout, and satisfying to play. A true classic.
87 days ago
Great classic and truly fun pinball for an 81. Love the eerie theme of killer mermaids and great concept of ball locks and great drop targets. Could use another spinner but still awesome.
4 months ago
One of the true greats- of the era and ever. Fun tough shots, amazing layout, great use of drops and saucers, I will play this game any time it's available. It's also gorgeous to look at, and while I'm not as concerned with aesthetics as are other folks, it does add to an already great game. There aren't that many important shots, but the two locks are at tough angles and have some risk involved, so it's not too repetitive.

Pros: Challenging and rewarding! Few games are as satisfying to blow up. Putting up 2,000,000+ on a single ball is something I've only done a few times, but chasing that keeps me coming back. The imminent danger of drain adds to the excitement of doing well.

Cons: This can be extremely frustrating and the reversed in/out lanes can take a normally safe return and turn it into an unavoidable drain. Also, placement of rubbers can greatly influence how the lanes function, and that is an enormous part of the game.
5 months ago
Most beautyful EE pin.
I also like the droptargets, makes a lot of fun.
10 months ago
Looks good but a bit slow
1 year ago
I HATE this game... it has so much going for it on paper. I traded my 9-Ball for a beautiful one of these but just could not get into it. It is a shame as 8 Ball Deluxe and Flash Gordon are right up there with Deadpool and LOTR from my perspective.

The game is absolutely beautiful! From Backglass to playfield, it is a looker.
The game has 15 drop targets and a 3 ball multiball!
The in-lane / out-lane switch is really neat.
Hit that spinner!
In line drops!
3 Flippers!

Build up your bonus then shoot the in-line drops for a multiball. Then... shoot the spinner? Rinse and repeat. Not really alot to do and kind of along player with not a lot of risky shots.

I found it slow and boring and had a nice one in my basement for months. Great game for a collector but I think other Bally games of the Era like Flash Gordon and Eight Ball while not being lookers, are much better shooters.

If you are into games of this era and want to look at them, buy Fathom. If you are a shooter and like games of this era, play Eight Ball Deluxe. If you hate yourself and want something "NES hard", play Flash Gordon.
1 year ago
Great game I wish I had. Great layout and artwork.
1 year ago
A nice early SS game, more typical Bally. Not close to top 100 in my opinion when played.
1 year ago
For an older table, it’s fun.
2 years ago
I personally was shocked to see Fathom climb out of the depths of obscurity over the last few years and land a place on many top 100 lists.
I used to think Fathom would always be floating around somewhere in the top 200, because most of the machines that used to be in public locations sailed off to private owners or got broken up for parts. It’s hard to get a good score from new people if they can’t play it. (Emulation players please stay out of these rating systems!!!)
The first time I played Fathom was as a little kid and I was hooked. It floated around the arcades, the roller rink and bowling alleys where I lived for years. You knew it was the same machine because some couples had carved hearts with their initials in them on the right side. In the early 1990’s that machine was cast off to a private owner, and I didn’t see another until about 2008 at a bar on Pensacola beach… Irony!
As a kid I couldn’t imagine the scale and depth of the gameplay, I was looking at the (heh heh!) mermaids and shooting the ball randomly. I got better as time went on and really realized how much I loved Fathom. Years later at the bar on the beach, I played it as much as I could fathom. I even asked if it was for sale but it was still making good money for the owner at the time. Probably mostly my money!
Again, I never thought it would be a top 100 game, There’s even a nostalgia trip modern remake, for all those people who are too young and have no nostalgia for it but just right for investors and flippers!
It’s a good game, but not $6000+ good! Maybe $2000 in good condition.
You would think the people remaking Fathom would try to make new games instead of riding on the coattails of the past, but that’s what happens when people want to make some of that fast and easy lucrative nostalgia $$$ and have absolutely no creativity, skill, or ability to make or do anything original. Stay attached to your shark remoras, and feeding on the scraps left over of the stupid people who went out in the water.
I am at a loss to think of any time a copy or reprint of anything by a knock off company sold for two to three times the value of the original… except in the pinball hobby.
Unfortunately, I believe Fathom did not make it into the top 100 because of its own merits. It’s probably a bunch of hype and fake reviewing by those involved in flipping originals and those involved with or invested in the remake. Which is too bad, but money talks and scammers are everywhere.
I suppose if anyone wants to stop pinball from going through the same hobby destruction that coins, cars, comic books and videogames have gone through, I suggest we all refuse to play along. Pay only fair market value…
That value is determined by how much YOU and other HOBBYISTS are willing to pay not flippers and blue chip investors. Check out ebay for stupid people pinball prices! $4,000 to $6,000 for a Kings of steel that’s worth at best $1200!!!
Also, don’t buy the remakes. Make them realize that pinball is not their free ride to fortune. In other words, treat them as the crappy overpriced off brand knockoffs they are.
Ask yourself, would you buy a brand new copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 printed by WhetFaartz publishing under “official license” from Marvel comics? Would you pay twice the price of the current value of the original comic for the tear resistant gloss coated paper, minor bonus story material, limited reprinting run, and special gold colored foil cover they slapped on it? I didn’t think so, but pinball people do.
Anyone wanna buy a fake medieval madness? Oh yes please!!!
How about an 1878 Morgan silver dollar made from all new space age materials (plastic) for only $399.99?
Would you buy a brand new 1968 Mustang fastback assembled with the cheapest aftermarket reproduction body panels China has to offer for $200,000? It will have the Mustang logo (licensed product) but it won’t say Ford, instead it will say Nanjing Automtive Group limited edition and be numbered for your personal bragging rights.
No? Then I ask again, WHY pinball???
Unfortunately this won’t stop anyone from being dumb and soon the top 100 to 200 pinball machines will all be owned and controlled by shady big name auction houses and shareholder investors gambling on the prices increasing and frequently selling those machines back and forth in huge fake news articles to create money. Oh wait, it’s already started with the Museum of pinball auction!
My review: Fathom - a good $2000 game, but it isn’t anymore.
2 years ago
A classic classic, one of the best.
2 years ago
This is easily my favorite pinball game of all time. I love how if you learn to hit the shots that hit the traps/inline drop targets, you build up your bonus multiplier AND trigger multiball once it's at 5x. It's such a gratifying machine to play, colored in soothing blues. The one I play even has a blue plasma display for the scores. I am lucky enough to live near one in the wild and I play it many hours a week. I learned how to live catch and dead flip and nudge on this machine.
2 years ago
Entirely biased review here :) First game I ever owned, love the game, which doesn't mean it couldn't do things better, but this is as good as it gets for pre-90's games for me.
2 years ago
A solid Bally Title, and an amazing art package.
Great use of colors and the illustrations are quite frankly some of the best i've seen in pinball.

Lots of fun drop targets and even multiball.

A simple, fun and elegant game to play and a wonderful piece of art to admire.
2 years ago
My buddy, Glen, bought a fathom and restored it to its former glory. I have always enjoyed looking at the fathom art on the cabinet and backless, This is when i could find Fathom in the wild. Glen proceeded to showed me the rules and the shots!! OMG! What a great game. Spinners, saucers, drop targets!!! The rules are deep. Glen explained the backless. Mermaids dragging a scuba diver down into the bottom of the sea. Beautiful and crazy..
2 years ago
Simply the greatest early SS pin from any manufacturer...nuff said!
2 years ago
Glad I was able to put quite a few games on this one that you do not see too often.

Not my favourite of the classics (gasp), but generally a solid game overal.
2 years ago
Impressive pinball from 1981.
Excellent gameplay, design, art, addictiveness, sounds, etc.
One of the best machines of that time.
Classic of the classics
3 years ago
Looks the part. Real fun. Unique theme. One of my favourites as a child.
3 years ago
Fathom. Ahhh, Yes.

Up front, I am fond of early Solid State games. Fathom ranks at the top in my humble opinion.

I love the inline drop targets. The task of knocking down barriers for a greater reward is very satisfying. Drop targets appeal to me in general and adding in two banks of the standard variety along with the double inline targets gives us plenty to aim for.

Good shot options. Hitting the left orbit shot to the inline drops/saucer with either right flipper makes me smile. Good spinner shot. I like spinners as much as I like drop targets and this one is well placed/directs the ball nicely to the A-B-C rollovers. The only clunky shot I find myself hitting is the area between the right pop bumper and outside edge of the Cave Trap. Every drop target and the standup can be hit with a well aimed flipper shot. . . I just need to work on my aim ;).

Artwork is amazing -- the backglass, playfield, and even the cabinet draw you in and provide a treat for the eyes. Enough said.

Sound is very good, especially considering the era and compared to my other games of similar vintage. The speech incorporates well with the sound -- not sure if its normal but my game provides a lot of "Ahhhh"s.

Lighting is decent. A little dark in the middle of the playfield but translucent rubbers help.

Scoring and gameplay seem to consist of two parts.

Scoring involves collecting playfield points but a good score also involves a well built bonus. Luckily you have two area of bonuses to build and multiple ways to multiply it!

Gameplay has a right/left or green/blue feel. Using the large drop target bank and center 1-2-3 target bank to build your blue or green bonus ties the two sides together. Hitting the 1-2-3 in sequence lights the yellow standup. . . but can you hit it in time? I appreciate like the additional features provided by the A-B-C rollovers and the fact the letters can be moved with the flippers. The inlane/outlane reversal is a fun mix up of the usual anatomy in this area. Multi-Ball is great; the fact that playfield scores are doubled/tripled during makes achieving and maintaining MB worth your while.

I really do like this game. No ramps, no DMD, no modes. . . just classic pinball. It is a treat to look at and a blast to play -- very glad to have the opportunity to restore and add one to my collection.
4 years ago
I had one for awhile. Pretty game with the blues and greens. For me the play was so-so, and I quickly tired of it. IMO it is overrated. Again, beautiful, but far from a total package.
4 years ago
Gorgeous game! It has that old-school charm. It is easily one of the top early SS games. It is a blast to play and it has that "one more game" feel.
4 years ago
Having read all of the hype with this game, I was excited to find one to play nearby. I must say that I was a bit underwhelmed, and maybe that's the reason for my scoring - I may have been more generous without the lofty expectations. I feel that the game plays a bit too slow for my taste. I also didn't find it all that enjoyable while I was playing, though some of that may have been due to the setting (a bar). I'll give it another go if I come across it elsewhere and see if my impression changes. If so, I'll be back to edit my review for sure.
4 years ago
Fathom is a beautiful game that should be in every early solid state collection. Multiball and speech are great in this game!
4 years ago
Just became the proud owner of one of these games. Played one in mint condition at pinball at the zoo in 2018 and loved it. Took almost another year to aquire one under $5000. If you appreciate the early Dawn of multi ball talking pinballs,; whereas, the entire goal is to achieve multi ball, then Bally fatham is right there with firepower! I have firepower and for the longest time couldn't appreciate the increased cost to fathom, but if you collect early solid state pins as your hobby, having a fathom is required in your collection. Great game and even better shots, unique outlanes....Fathom!
There are 89 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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