Flash Gordon

Pinside rating

This game received 219 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.941 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #93 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.99

Artwork: 8.296

Sounds/Music: 6.795

Other Aspects: 8.106

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 4 of us have rated this game.


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Found 108 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 108 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 5.

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19 days ago
Flash Gordon was the first game I ever bought. I love the movie, and the fact that this was available near me sold me on it. Mine had a torched playfield (common on this era of ballys), but I didn’t care. It was a great first game. It’s famously difficult and brutally mean, but that’s the charm. Overall the art package is great even if some of Sam’s features aren’t exactly to scale on the back glass.
40 days ago
Flash Gordon is quickly becoming my favorite Solid State pinball machine. I remember playing this one as a kid at the local roller skating rink. It's a great looking and great playing pinball machine. You can have some very quick games, so it can be very tough that way.

I love the playfield with three ramps that connect the upper and lower levels. The kickout hole is really cool how it will kick to the upper and lower levels.

The machine had advanced speech, sound, and lighting for the day and it is still impressive and fun 4 decades later. I appreciate the 3 flippers and 3 banks of drop targets. Getting the in-line drop targets down to earn an extra ball is such a great feeling of accomplishment. Also being able to collect the bonus by getting down a drop target and having the ball go back down the shooter lane was a neat idea.

To score well you need to get the drop targets down and that forces you to make shots over the entire playfield. It's extremely challenging and makes me want to keep trying one more game to see if I can get a better score.

I also like how Emperor Ming the Merciless taunts you during the game and tells you to try again after you have drained your ball.
68 days ago
Love to hear "Flash"!
3 months ago
I spend a week playing Flash Gordon every summer at a lake resort and this was year three where the game finally really clicked with me. I spent 2 minutes looking up the basic scoring strategies so I finally really knew what scored what and how. This was the week I had enough moderate playing skill to keep a ball going and open the game up for more than 15 second ball times.

WHAT A GAME! It's mean with a great layout and just enough rules to make you have to shoot at everything. I can tell why it's a tournament staple. I don't have a lot of time on classic Ballys and Sterns, but I understand why after a few years of pinball ownership, it's common to start gravitating towards early SS games. It's just pure pinball. Colorful designs, lots of standups, funky layouts and the minimal sounds and voices are part of the charm. I'm a sucker for multiballs, but there really is something to focused single ball play.

I'm seriously thinking my next pin should be from this era. And I wished this very game into my lineup, like this review was on a vision board or something stupid!
7 months ago
Taking into account the time, this game is an all-time great. The playfield and backglass are flat out great. The music and call-outs are fun - especially for those who watched the movie as kids.

The gameplay is hard but such a fun challenge. The upper playfield old-school flipper integration is a fun touch and the focus is drop targets. The bonus targets on the right are not the easiest shot but certainly hittable. The timing on the left side targets is a fun touch. Get the spinner value up and rip away! So many shots to hit for a game of this era.

Always find myself coming back to Flash Gordon, even for just a few games to put one good one together.
10 months ago
I knew this would be good, but wow. Not this good!


Fantastic layout with plenty to shoot for. Not a single bad shot.

Points are REALLY well balanced. Closest to an endlessly valuable shot are the in line drops, and even those are extremely tough and are pretty much impossible to hit repeatedly (unlike paragon).

Art, while not the best of the era, is brought out by the fantastic lighting and color choice.

Sounds are pretty fantastic, mainly the callouts and when you get a solid lit spinner rip. A huge bonus countdown is also awesome on the same level as Paragon.

Upper playfield actually has a lot of usage without being overpowered.


Sound quality is average, it’s 1981, though, so it’s not a huge issue.

This is an odd game in that despite the fact I have had good games on it, it feels like I’m fighting the game rather than in sync with it.

Super mean, so if you don’t like that, avoid this at all costs.

Overall, excellent. I’ve also been graced with playing multiple copies in great condition.
1 year ago
Recently got this on trade. It’s brutal and awesome. It will raise your blood pressure more times than not, but if you can survive long enough it will shine. Great gameplay.
1 year ago
O man... Flash Gordon is a great game for so many reasons. First of all, even though the actual art on the machine is just okay, the overall package makes it colorful and bright and ever so slightly garish, which fits in with the theme perfectly. I never knew the lettering in Flash in the backbox as shown above lit individually until I brought mine home and got it working 100%. Same with the ridiculously bright strobe in the backbox. As to the game itself, it is very challenging and fun. As a general rule, going for the in line standup targets to the extra ball is where my shots go when the ball is on the left flipper. When it is on the right it goes to hit the drop targets on the left, and then the spinner once lit. When the ball is on the upper playfield I try for the drops, but it is hit or miss. The sound on this though limited, is great. Overall this is an excellent pin with an excellent presentation. Pairs great with other games as it is fast and brutal. You can get a full game in on this in 5 minutes while LOTR and other games are great, but not good in short bursts.

For those of you who have not seen it, here are the backbox lighting effects you can't see in photos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzV7kPmTF4c

Note the strobe is much brighter than it appears on video. I'd equate it to a disposable camera flash.
1 year ago
Fast and I do mean fast.
This game will make you cross.
I'm really falling hard for these early Bally titles.
No Multi ball?(don't care it's a blast to flip)
1 year ago
A wonderful Bally pin with a huge variety of targets packed onto the playfield, including inline, side drop targets and a challenging upper playfield.

The bumpers on the lower playfield, and the placement of the saucer above them, is a work of genius, adding lots of interest and challenge. Likewise, the bumper on the upper playfield and the drop targets add lots of interest and challenge - more so than the superficially-similar Black Knight.

Fully restored, this is also a stunningly beautiful pin with a colourful playfield and mirrored backglass. I also love the movie music (not intrinsic to the pin, but can now be purchased as a separate Squawk and Talk board),
1 year ago
The movie was great and the soundtrack was even better - I still listen to it even now 40 years later - the pinball not so much the back glass and cabinet are very nice, but I just did not find it that enjoyable to play.
1 year ago
Great theme from a great, cheesy movie in 1980. I always want to play this pin when going to the Pacific Pinball Museum....totally fun and brings back great memories.
1 year ago
Hard as nails and very addictive. Cult theme and classic backglass. Quite the looker.

Flash Gordon is a bad machine to play for money (as in it sucks it right out of your pockets) but a great machine to play against each other on with a few beers.

Ball times are very short. The feeling of accomplishment when scoring well is very high.
1 year ago
Very punishing. Not for the new to pinball. Found this very frustrating and had some fast games. Because I was playing this in closed venue I couldn't nudge or anything... so fast games. I can't see owning this even though I wanted one very badly.
1 year ago
The ball seems to avoid the upper flipper in a weird and frustrating way. Not much fun.

This machine’s theme holds a lot of nostalgia with many people, if this is you, seek it out, otherwise nothing special here.
1 year ago
I. Loved. This. Movie! The pinball is on my “wish” list!
1 year ago
Some view this as a rip off of Black Knight. Google Steve Ritchie's story on it. Played them both. While they have some similarities, this machine is much harder. Fits the theme well. Not much flow. Can be a drain monster at time. And frustrating too. But always want to play it if there is one around.
2 years ago
Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum
Ahh ahhhh!!!
Okay, nostalgia for a cheesy 80’s movie with Queen music makes people take notice of the pinball machine.
Would you believe there was a time when Flash Gordon was a big failure?
Thanks to repeated showings on cable (blame Ted Turner) the film became a cult classic.
The pinball had a slightly more favorable reception. I remember the teenagers at the roller rink talking this machine up. “The movie was bad but the pinball is cool!”
8 year old me immediately tried it and it took my quarter in less than a minute.
That’s not fun!!!
Although it was a permanent machine in the roller rink until the day it closed, I never tried it again.
It became more interesting in my mid twenties. A local arcade had one, staring me down and laughing at me. I fed it money many times until I got mediocre at it.
Besides, we were halfway through the 1990’s by then and new games were demanding that I play them.
I recently played it again and it beat me up and took my lunch money, as usual.
Enough about me, Let’s talk the finer points.
FLASH!!! Ahh ahhhh! Sorry. This is how a film based pinball should look. It is the movie poster and imagery you expect. The only downside is Flash himself on the backglass. Does he need to poop? Does he have a toothache? Is he worried about the state of affairs in the Falkland Islands? Who can say. Should have used the “Yeah!” Jump from the end of the movie.
Playfield design:
Pop. Bumpers. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Playfield.
What genius thought “Amazing! They will never cause the ball to always instantly constantly fly at Mach 3 downwards towards the drain.” Yeah it’s a love hate playfield, and probably one of the hardest and accuracy demanding ones ever designed. The best way to play is to shove two crushed pop cans under the front legs. (Kidding! Nobody ever did that back in the day, wink wink.)
Great for 1980 standards. Repetitive, even then though. I like to use what I call the Sinistar scale. Sinistar said like five things but it was done in such a way that it was taunting and even a bit scary. Anyway Gorgar speaks, The-Black-Knight-Challenges-Thee and Flash… shut up Ming! It tries and in many ways succeeds but it feels like maybe they should have a cheap squeak style board instead. Maybe I’m being too picky but I never liked the sound.
Gameplay and fun factor:
It will chew you up and spit you out and you will like it and beg for more. I can’t say this is a game for everyone. More like a game to train someone to be a better player. The fun factor suffers because of this, until you get your first successful score out of it. I would give it a better score, but there are many people who want to play a game for fun, even if they generally suck at pinball. That’s the fun factor this game lacks to those not interested in precision or discipline. An eight year old will have a blast shooting the ball around on Attack from Mars, Gold Wings, Comet, or Night Rider (just to name a few). Put them in front of Flash Gordon and they will probably instantly hate pinball. People that want that extra challenge will seek it out when the feel they are in top form and ready for a good fight. There’s the fun factor but it doesn’t have a balance between both casual and serious play.
But it is in the top 100 on here, and on other top pinball lists. The reason is because you want to like it, you want to be challenged you want to master it, learn from it and, most importantly, you want to beat it.
That’s what a good game is all about.
2 years ago
I got flush gordon to make me a more controlled player, and it did that. It is challenging, but that is what keeps me coming back for more.
2 years ago
I went and saw Flash Gordon in the theater back in 1980 when it came out. I have always been a fan. I have always had the game on my want list.
When the chance to buy it came up i jumped on it.
This game packs so much punch. For a game from the early 80s.... it keeps you hitting that start button as much as a 90s WPC or a modern stern.
Pound for Pound one of the funnest and brutal games out there.
This one will be in my collection for a long time.
2 years ago
Flash Gordon is an awesome pin so many ways! Its one of those games that keeps you wanting to play again and again! Its fast and challenging with so many shots to take. Spinners, drop targets, roll overs, ramps and plus the upper level playfield. Although its a fast game, it also gives the skilled player a lot of options increasing your score. Hitting the right side drop targets is a great strategy and also very challenging to hit... The backglass is iconic and looks really cool! The audio sounds when you start the game is also cool... Overall, Flash Gordon is pretty awesome! Super challenging and super fun to play! I highly recommend this pin! Five Stars!!!!
2 years ago
I love my Flash Gordon. One of the best pins ever made!
2 years ago
Great Art Work, Upper PF, super fast and super hard - what else do you want from a Pinball? Too bad the movie hasn't held up as well as the pin has over the years. If you only had one early Bally SS in your collection - this is a top contender. If you want to be reminded your pinball skills are not as good as you think - this is the game to play!
2 years ago
A difficult and challenging game to succeed on (at least for me), but one that I kept going back to in a room of over 30 machines. Nice artwork, and nice early use if voices.
2 years ago
This is one of the best Bally early SS games. It is very challenging and will punish you for a poor shot. PF is a work of art and it has a ton of shots.
There are 108 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 5.

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