Gold Ball

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This game has received 9 approved Pinsider ratings. 41 more approved ratings are needed to get a rating and for it to be eligible for the Pinside Pinball Top 100 ranking.

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Found 6 ratings (with comment) on this game

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4 years ago
This table is pretty terrible.
5 years ago
Surprisingly fun and simple. The gold ball is fun to play, and rare to get.
7 years ago
Nice art. Awful game. Simple as that.
8 years ago
Not an easy game with the crossing inlane on left and lack of inlane on right. Artwork is ok though not great. Sounds seemed basic and no speech in 1984 is just cheap. Rules seemed interesting. Glad I got to play one in such good shape. Wasn't excited by it though.
8 years ago
Gold Ball maybe one of the last Bally games before switching to their cheaper tables and systems that is actually fun to play and challenging.

The design is fairly simple. However, there are plenty of games throughout pinball’s history with simple layouts that are still fun and challenging to play. There are many games with more complex or feature heavy layouts that are terrible. There are also many worse games than Gold Bally made during Bally's solid state design era. A couple of good examples that come to mind are Star Trek 78, Playboy, Lost World, Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton and Spectrum. I'm not going to look but, I wouldn't be surprised if all of these games are rated higher than 1/10. As bad as some of these games are, none of them deserve a 1/10 and neither does Gold Ball.

The rules again are simple but, with a pretty important caveat that makes Gold Ball much more interesting than a lot of games with similar rules. IMO the spinner is a key shot since it is always worth 1k a spin and leads to the top lanes which advance bonus and eventually an extra ball or special. Now that you've got some bonus you might want to multiply it by hitting the 1-2-3 touch targets in the upper right. Sounds similar to hundreds of other games right?

Here's where the game takes an important turn from other similar less interesting Bally games, there's a gold ball in a separate trough waiting to come on the PF and give you 3x scoring. Did I mention that Gold Ball is actually made from a different metal than the regular ball and similarly to the powerball feels different? How do you get this ball you might ask yourself. By default there is a percentage chance at the start of every ball that it will appear. This feature sucks like most random features but, it's a lot of fun when casually playing with your friends. If you are losing and are the lucky recipient of the gold ball, there's a good chance you might make up those points and beat your opponents. This is because the Gold Ball gives 3x to all scoring including bonus countdowns. This creates a fun dynamic with friends because you still have to have a good ball to come back. It's not a score swap or some other crappy gimmick. Still having a random feature like this can make a game unsuitable for tournaments which is frustrating!!! So, to fix this issue Bally came out with a new service ROM! What does the service ROM do? It creates a dip switch setting so that only after you spell gold ball do you get an extra turn with 3x scoring.

Now for the other elements of the PF that I previously didn't talk about, because they are worthless and dangerous without this new ROM addition. Most people know that shots near and directly between the flippers are death shots. Think of the captive ball on Fish Tales or an endless number of EM's from the 60s. Gold Ball has a similar bank of death shots. Hitting the center gold target awards one letter of Gold Ball but, the arrow above the words gold ball must be above an unlit letter or you get no letter and advance to the next position. There are other things that change where the arrow is like the spinner, slings and bumpers. You can also hit the stand ups to the left and right of the center gold target to move the arrow. So what if you want to skillfully gain the letters and maybe only risk mostly certain death, shoot the small lane on the right with the star rollover to claim an unlit letter. Spelling Gold Ball also advances awards. The first of which is 100k I believe and eventually a special. Another interesting aspect of gold ball is there is a skill shot that you can only claim while the gold ball is in play. If you avoid all of the top lanes and hit the star rollover to the right of these lanes you get a special. Not that great if you are playing for score but, a cool feature regardless.

Unlike the later Bally games that use the "cheap squeak" board, IE black pyramid, 8 ball champ, kings of steel, spy hunter etc, Gold Ball has some great sounds that still remind me of skate ball and other legendary Bally games. The sound package for Gold Ball is exceptional. If these sounds were in another more revered Bally game no one would complain I'm certain. The game does lack speach however and the constant background sound loop could be grating for some but, no more than any other game from this era.

Lastly the artwork is great. Most characters in the art appear to be a mixture of Daft Punk and Judge Dredd and are from a future where everyone plays golden pinball machines while wearing gold platform shoes. I believe this game is called the TARG 100 and someone who resembles the silver ball mania guy is materializing from out of the back glass inside the back glass, trippy, to hurl pinball’s at you. Luckily you can see your own reflection in the gold ball and you are ripped to shreds. Then there’s a few other characters on the left probably playing the TARG 100, "Watch your heel man! Get that thing out of my butt crack!!!" Lastly a Ms and Mr Daft Punk lovingly embrace after a killer game of TARG 100! Really I dunno WTH is going on in the art package but, its cool and the art is well done.

So before you rate your next game, I would suggest you try a game that truly deserves a 1/10 and is also from 1983, Gottlieb's Ready...Aim...FIRE! In the future please use Ready...Aim...FIRE! as the gold standard of bad before giving a great game like Gold Ball a 1/10. There are better Bally games out there and this is one of them.
11 years ago
Goldball ushered in the era of from Bally being the best pinball company in the world making hit after pinball hit, to a company that released cheap decks with lackluster designs, just to stay afloat. Sad really.

The Pros:
They made less than 2000 of them and most were parted out to save other more worth Bally titles. It has a spinner.

The Cons:
The Christian/Ramunni combo is pure pinball death, in the bad way. Not pure pinball death in the good way (Ritche/Jarvis or Lawlor/DeMar).

The Takeaway:
Possibly my lowest pinball rating ever. This game is a bore and it looks like a gaping axe wound. I said... gaping.

Alright. I got to play the game with the Home Rom that spelled out goldball by hitting the swinging target in the middle of the Pf to spell G-O-L-D-B-A-L-L. I also have to say that the artwork appeals to the comic book kid inside of me. So, I got to play a super-cherry copy of this game and I still couldn't get with the goldball program. If a drop bank would have been added under the spinner lane and where the standups are on the upper right hand side of the pf... there might be some game to be played there, but nope. no fun to be found here... nope. Not only that, but this game stole it's gimmick from a Chicago Coin game of the same name from 1947. I betcha that game post ww2 table plays better than this boat anchor, and that game doesn't even have flippers!

So some of you are going to ask me, "Caucasian, err, Mr. 2Step... why do you bring the hate to this game?" In response I do not hate this game. I just hate playing it. And the reason I hate playing this pinball game is because it is not any fun, at all, whatsoever, to play this game. That is the whole point of playing pinball, isn't it? To have fun? Well, this game isn't just not any fun. At all. Ever. Even in primo condition with updated software. No Bueno. Peke. Fershlugina. Ugui mend. Charlie Don't surf. The rating score stands.

And as if not being fun is not enough. It is boring. And there is not a worse insult to be given to a pinball game. And you know what, I could be wrong. This could be the best game for you. And if that is the case, rock on. Just remember kiddies that this is just a pinball review. And yet another chance, for me... to write, yet another run-on sentence.

Yeah, well... that's just like my opinion, man...

Update v2.
I got to play a decent copy with someone showing me around the game as we played.

I admit it, I had fun.

This game still is not a good example of what a bally game of this era should play like and the novelty factor is heavy with 3x scoring (on a 6 digit display...).

What do I like about this game?

Chance/skill in spelling out GOLDBALL. Make sure to get the newer rom! The contrast of the skill on the in/outlane on the left as compared to the single outlane on the right. The spinner shot on the left (3x). And good geometry on the lower half of the pf.

Are there other games out there that are better? There sure are. This would be a great first game on an inexpensive budget. It also may be good in a larger collection. While not for me, I am willing to try a sweet copy and be shown to be wrong. And that’s fine. Because then I learn.

Scores upgraded, emotional retardation downgraded accordingly.
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