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Harlem Globetrotters On Tour

Pinside rating

This game received 76 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.425 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #180 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.502

Artwork: 7.49

Sounds/Music: 5.695

Other Aspects: 7.602

Pinside staff rating

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


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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 36 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 36 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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78 days ago
I'm not big on the theme or the pin. It's ok. For the price, I would just get a paragon.
7 months ago
The greatest of the early solid state games for reasons it's a little hard to put my finger on, but the reality is I have played this for 40+ years now and still enjoy it as much, if not more, as I did when it first came out. It doesn't make any sense in some ways because there's nothing 100% original here and the combinations may not seem that unique, either, but somehow the total is greater than the sum of the parts. I'll try to tease out the main reasons.

* Theme.

On the one hand, there's virtually no actual theme integration here, since there's no basketball-ish shots, and no "tricky ball handling" which is, you know, the Trotters trademark. There's no jokes in the artwork. But hell, it's the Globetrotters! They were a huge bridge in cultural history and they reached a cultural peak in the 70's just before this machine came out. One bar of the primitive sound chip playing "Sweet George Brown" and your whole brain just activates the FUN receptors. The Trotters were sort of a cheesy Dad joke ("I got your nose!" level, too) on top of a long cultural heritage of the outsider in America, and the fact they were proud, unashamed of repeating the same schtick over and over, and that they MADE IT TO A PINBALL MACHINE still makes me happy.

* There are no safe shots.

Really, there aren't. You can go repeatedly for a few low-scoring things at relatively low risk, but there's no way to "lay up" on this game. With the scissor flippers, for the most part you can't trap and aim, so much as you have to cajole the flippers into setting the ball up for you for the shots. And yeah, there are house balls waiting for you, so you will get paranoid about almost every ball from the get go. The same reason half the players out there stalk away from this machine saying "I HATE GLOBETROTTERS" is the reason it's great -- and when you put up a monster score it's among the most satisfying accomplishments in pinball. Because you really earned it, and you had to have gotten just a bit lucky, too.

* It's got both short and long strategies.

This is why it has become a terrific tournament game -- you can play the game's risks against what your opponents are up to. Sure, you can left orbit up top all day and take your chances with the saucer and return, but at some point if somebody's running up a total on you you're going to have to get the standups, the multipliers, and the spinners. The nudges are vital but the bonus is often so critical to doing well you have to weigh every decision to make a tap carefully. A really well-tuned Trotters puts those short vs. long risk-reward decisions on their edge almost every ball.
1 year ago
One of the better examples where a good playfield design actually can stand the test of time and be both fun and appealing even though it lacks modern sound, ramps and advanced bash toys. Harlem is a really cool and entertaining pinball that shows you some serious challenge.

Gameplay is not fast, but still intense and with variety to the playfield. Already the fact that you can rip three different spinners AND shoot at a tempting setup of 4 in-line-drops makes this a winner in my book. Playfield and backglass art isnt really something to write home about, rather lame with modern standards actually, but then again, this is a 1979 machine.
On the other hand I find the cabinet graphics pretty neat, and dont think they could have done that part better on a old school game with a basketball theme.
Sound is simplistic, but still quite OK for this generation of games. Scoring seems balanced and I would picture this pin to be a
great game for tournaments.

Summary: a cool and entertaining old school solid state pinball with both attitude and allure.

Edit: and just when you're about to launch a good ball return - you get tricked and drained by those sneaky double flippers...
1 year ago
A true classic. Great first pinball. Lots of family fun. Nostalgia at its best. Not to hard to find a used one, usually found at a fair price.
1 year ago
Played this pin for so much in the early 80's, I can not count how many hrs played. Played it many time for over 24hrs straight on 1 quarter. that machine went months without making any money :)
1 year ago
One of the best of the early SS games.
Bullet points:
* Harlem Globetrotters theme song elicits a pavlovian response
* Scissor flippers are well executed. I haven't played every scissor game, but this is my favorite of the ones I've played.
* Great tournament game for spectators, as evidenced by Keith Elwin in the finals of that one tournament last year. Or maybe two years ago.
* Not too easy. Rewards flipper skills.
* The kick-out hole is a kind of theme integration.
* And to top it all off, there's an outlane save. Will you shoot to light the save, or won't you? A lot of games from this era don't really have interesting decisions like that.
1 year ago
This is a game that I keep coming back to again and again. It's difficult to master (Scissor Flippers) which makes a lot of the games short, but it's so satisfying to drop all five drop targets and then rip the spinner and watch your score fly. It's fun to try out different strategies--building bonus that could carry over to the next ball, or going for multipliers.

Just one more game...
2 years ago
Fun Bally. 3 spinners and inline drops, wow, that's a lot of cool stuff! Double flipper makes it a hard game. Not Paragon for me, but not a dud.
2 years ago
I didn't know anything about this game. It's like a standard-body reverse-paragon, and I love paragon.

The Good:
-- Lots of stuff to hit. For a '79, that's pretty impressive.
-- I personally love the ruleset..... but.... (see the cons)
-- The double-left flipper is a great added challenge, and the detour gate is a great addition.

The Bad:
-- Rules: Weighted very heavily for the bonus and top kick-out hole.... maybe too heavily. Noobies can get lucky and win in competition, which is a big deal.

I love the game. I play it a lot but I don't play it more than a few times in a row for maybe 15 minutes total because of the repetition. However, I love how it plays and I think it's a great machine for everyone, new or experienced.
2 years ago
one of if not the best early solid state truly has that just one more game feel every time I play mine. must have for any collection
2 years ago
Classic original solid state pinball fresh from the bell and chime era. I was reluctant on picking this up, but the inline drop targets and three spinners sealed the deal. This classic game does make you want to play just one more game. Having the shot to open the R/H outlane gate is great, a little similar to my Space Shuttle pin. Sound is very basic, but hey, they just switched from bells and chimes. I like the globetrotter song at the beginning of the game though, and the classic ending song. Nice addition to my current line up. Now I have a 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's pin.
3 years ago
I have had this game for a while now and feel like I can honestly rate it. It's a fun game with a pretty diverse scoring strategy. I found that as I played it I would keep making changes to the rule set to balance the game and finally came to a set I really enjoy. The game absolutely rewards good play- passing, live catches, good nudging skills, even a bit of strategy. I rate this to be similar to eight ball deluxe in many ways- I play both regularly and admit EBD is a deeper game but I enjoy them equally. It's got a well deserved reputation for the art package- the game is absolutely beautiful. Back glass- playfield- even the cabinet. The theme integration is absolutely top notch for the era- one of the outstanding early SS Bally games- and there are a few!
3 years ago
Harlem Globetrotters has all the elements of a "Classic Bally" game--multiple spinners, in-line drops, a nest of bumpers protecting a kickout hole--but the game is important in as much as these tested and true mechanisms were starting to be used in more interesting ways. Dual spinners are placed out in the open in the middle of the playfield, the in-line drop targets protect a second kick-out, and a third flipper is thrown into the mix to give a varied shot geometry. This was a marked departure from the tested and true Bally formula of dual spinners on the extreme left and right, with mirrored banks of drops/standups on either side of the playfield (think KISS, Six Million Dollar Man, etc.) The game sold a ton of units, probably because it was a step away from the traditional layout, and paved the way for games like Paragon and Vector. The art is fantastic, and reflects sports characature art from the era perfectly. Great game with a kick-ass theme. One of my favorite Bally's from the era.
3 years ago
Harlem Globetrotters on Tour is a boring ol' brick that offer little in the way of game play. The in-line drops are there... and that's all the fun you'll have with this transition piece. Not really worth the quarters, but it's nice to set a drink on when you're playing a good game beside it.
4 years ago
This game is underrated. Want a big score on this game? The rules are simple. Aim for 4 drop targets on the right side of the game. Knock em all down. Proceed to rip the spinner for 2k a spin. Sounds easy right? It is not.

I always feel like the next game I can do a bit better, and then it crushes my dreams. Keeps me coming back for more.
4 years ago
A fun classic game.
5 years ago
For a very simple game, this is really addictive. You want to get that spinner value up, then crank it! Love the backglass. Great sounds that are satisfying when you hit your shots. Fun in tournaments cause it is easy to put up a crap score...real challenge.
5 years ago
Loved this as a kid. Had to pick one up. It is fun for everyone young and old!!
5 years ago
good machine but this machine is too simple but hard so its good for 1 game every once in a while.
5 years ago
Love the music and the backglass, but the gameplay was just mediocre compared to some other games from that era, for example Mata Hari. Maybe the machine on played one wasn't set up quite right - it just didn't have a good feel to it.
6 years ago
Played this recently at the 2014 Chicago pinball fest and fell for it. I think it's the best of Ballys late 70's machines. It has everything that my Power Play has and more. Will probably put a want add out for this one.
6 years ago
Everyone knows the globetrotters. Really colorful machine. Red white blue. Very basic, boring game play. Machine looks like a 9, plays like a 4.
6 years ago
Good early SS game cool theme. Nice classic feel to it.
6 years ago
This one is right next to a Paragon and I much prefer this one over it.

There isn't much of a difference in the two but I have more trouble keeping balls in play on the paragon. One feature I really like is the fact that I can put up to 10 free games on this machine for the kids to play on by shooting the left row then shooting the extra ball, then shoot left row again, now every time you hit the extra ball it gives a free game. This feature can be disabled and it seems to frustrate the owner when I leave free games on the machine so it may disappear but it's mainly why I always choose the globetrotters over paragon.
6 years ago
Oh, the hours spent at the College Lunch in Fairmont, WV...
There are 36 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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