Hercules

Pinside rating

This game received 75 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 4.999 /10

4.999

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #346 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.



Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 5.049

Artwork: 6.192

Sounds/Music: 3.037

Other Aspects: 4.667


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 3 of us have rated this game.

6.493

Your Rating?

You need to be logged in before you can rate pinball machines. No account yet? Registering only takes a sec!


Found 46 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 46 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

List options






3.355/10
43 days ago
Strictly a novelty game. It’s a must-play-at-least-once game because of the size of the game and the fact the ball is a cue ball, not a pinball. But one game is usually enough. If the flippers are weak the game is unplayable.
6.018/10
84 days ago
It's one of those games you just have to play once. It's a must.
5.842/10
3 months ago
I remember when this machine first showed up at Noah's Arcade in the front of the arcade prime play "new machine" show-off location.

It was (and is HUGE), but sadly that is about the most this machine has going for it. The game play as I still recall was very uninspiring and the ball was a slow moving boulder (and not in any positive sense). My friends and I played it a fair amount the first few weeks after it initially arrived, but ultimately did not hold our interest, after those couple of weeks.

I encountered this machine again many decades later at the Pinball Museum in Banning CA. I had a brief temptation to play, but it quickly passed, and I went off to play my other "old" friends. I did enjoy showing to my daughter and being able to relay my first encounter stories to her.
2.396/10
3 months ago
What a terrible game, though it’s incredibly obvious why, and considering where Atari was at the time, this game being released is logical.

Pro’s:

I like the backglass and playfield artwork.

The game does deliver on the fact it is, in fact, humongous.

When you first play it, it’s admittedly kind of funny how bad it is, though that wears off quickly.

Con’s:

I have played 4 of these in my life, and no matter the condition, they are always slow, clunky, and miserable to play. You can immediately look at the layout at be able to tell this game sucks.

Cabinet artwork is, admittedly, weak.

The plunger on these games are always incredibly stiff, which is rather annoying, especially when your reward is a lousy machine to play.

Overall, of course this game was bad. It was almost destined to be. As much as I dislike Thunderbirds and Playboy 35th Anniversary, I feel this game should take the crown for the lowest rated game in my opinion.
4.534/10
5 months ago
Ah, I finally got a chance to play a working Hercules at the Strong Museum in Rochester, crossing another one off my list.

And....it played just like everybody else said it plays. It's sort of amusing for a couple of balls and then the novelty has completely worn off by Ball 3 and it's like you're playing a computer game that suddenly slows down because the refresh rate required on your screen isn't matched by your processor.

I will say though that in terms of thematic reach, having the mighty Hercules as the theme for a REALLY BIG machine was a decent idea, and honestly the playfield layout isn't that bad considering. What they probably need to do to make this sucker work better was to juice up the flippers and the bumpers, and instead of using the cueball provide a special steel pinball that is the same size but with a slightly hollowed out core to provide just the right weight.

My 14 year old played a remarkably good game on this just feeling out the flipper action -- he's better at playing the flippers as they are without muscle memory intruding, and essentially working the machine up the slot from bottom right flipper to the bumpers, and around the right "orbit" from the left flipper worked quite well for him.

I do have a use for this: this should be the tiebreaker machine at a big tournament sometime. I mean, it's an unusual test of skill, it's different from any other machine, and the very fact it's a bit of a stinker for gameplay would be its own test. Meh, yeah, OK, maybe not.
4.488/10
8 months ago
Hercules is more of a pinball gimmick than a game you would want to play consistently. Is it cool to play once when you see it? Yes. Does it have the rule set and lastability of traditional sized games? No. It's cool to see though and is definitely unique.
5.509/10
11 months ago
Cool gimmick but this game plays like a big pile of @#$%!
8.241/10
1 year ago
This is a fun unique game and a very cool piece of pinball history. Should not be compared to traditional pinball. This is a novelty game and if setup right and working correctly with strong flippers and a lighter ball it is fun to play. This is usually the most popular game at pinball shows. Unfortunately many experience this game on location where they are poorly maintained and setup.
2.110/10
1 year ago
Worst game ever.
5.933/10
1 year ago
First time playing: Wow this is really cool, unique, biggest pin ever, etc.
Second time play: Yeah this sure is a big pinball, I wonder if the flippers could be stronger?
Third time play: I wonder how many other machines could fit in the place of this game?
Fourth time: (I'll let you know when I play it the 4th time)

Yeah, it's a novelty but it won't be in my lineup. I'll play one for yucks and giggles if I see one again. Probably not more than 2 or 3 times.
2.628/10
1 year ago
A large heavy useless turd.
4.057/10
3 years ago
A neat novelty game and is an eye catcher when you walk into an arcade. That said, the playability is not fantastic. The nostalgia factor is high as I remember my younger brother and I being too small to reach each flipper button so he would take one side and I'd take the other. Certainly worth playing if you get the chance.
2.504/10
4 years ago
I've never walked away from a game of pinball in my life...even when location games have had maintenance issues. I walked away from this game after two balls. It is butt. Pure butt. An hour later I felt bad and tried again, but just couldn't do it. I let ball one drain and continued living my life. I have no regrets.

I do think it is important to always find at least one nice thing to say about everything. So...

Sure, the gimmick (I'm throwing you 3 Pinside ball rating thingies on this rating scale for Toys and Gimmicks) of a giant pinball machine is a curiosity. Yes, I can brag to everyone about how I've played this game and how special this should make me. And the backglass is better than at least 50 others in the annals of pinball history - especially if you are tired of looking at all the scantily clad women that grace just about every other machine in history.
2.065/10
4 years ago
What a disgrace. Worst game of all time.
6.572/10
4 years ago
It's kind of neat to play "The Largest Pinball Machine Ever!", but it's more of a novelty than an awesome game. Playfield runs kinda slow because it so large. You're constantly waiting for the ball to come back. Over all, fun the first few times, but I might pass on this in the future.
5.305/10
4 years ago
A true novelty game, if you ever seen it out in the wild watch people point at it excitedly, start a game and then struggle to even play all the balls before they walk away.
6.149/10
4 years ago
It plods along, but I find the extra patience and different physics really appealing. And the theming is kind of perfect. I always play a bunch of games whenever I have the chance. A very unique and pleasant experience if you can find one that works.
Probably the lowest-rated game that comes with the caveat that I'll ALWAYS want to play it when I see it.
4.957/10
5 years ago
This pinball machine is just like Andre the Giant late in his wrestling career. Imposing size and impressive to see in person, but slow, plodding and painful to experience. It is a game that you have to play a couple of times just to say you've played it, but it's really nothing to write home about, and offers little in the way of "fun" beyond having someone take your picture beside the game once your game is over. It fits in with the rest of Atari's bland pinball lineup. I can actually say I've tilted a Herc, not on purpose, in regular play trying to nudge a ball out of the outlane. I'm lucky I didn't pull a muscle.
3.392/10
5 years ago
sorry but what a waste of wood. They would have been better off letting that tree grow instead of it dying to make this turd. When I first saw it I thought, Wow, this is going to be GREAT!. nope. SUCKED.
2.093/10
5 years ago
The entire game concept is a gimmick. It is really cool to play it once just for the "gimmick". Way oversized game that plays extremely slow. The pinball is not a nice small metal ball, but something like a plastic ball from a toddlers baseball and bat kit. "Lastability" for me might be to play it once a year (if I see it that often) just to smile at the gimmick concept of it. Not a "serious" pin for me.
6.444/10
6 years ago
Everyone pretty much knows this was an Atari novelty pinball machine, but it still has historical value.

It is not as much that it is a "turd" as people think in terms of gameplay (but it is VERY SLOW), but it is hard to find replacement parts for machine.
Gameplay is average, if the game is well maintained, but most are not.
Reliability is average, but many of the assemblies were not really designed well for this game.
Game code is below average, and sounds and music is minimal.
Basically, it is like any other early Atari SS game.
Backglass makes a great wall hanger though, if you can find a parted out game which has reached an equilibrium these days.

It uses a cue ball as a proper ball, if it shipped with something different from the factory, I don't know, because I never saw one NIB, as this was just a few years too young before I started tech work.
Maybe gameplay could be fixed with a new improved polycarbonate or ceramic ball in the modern age?
Nah, not really.

When I owned one, I had to get specially built machines assemblies when something broke like pop bumper assemblies, yokes, and such. That was the real PITA.

As a game it has plenty of value in museums or businesses.
Really draws the crowds and makes good money.
Still REALLY EASY to get $1 a play.
No change in mentality today.

It is not always about pure collector value, this game was never meant for that consideration when designed.
If you have the space, a full size pick up truck, and a small wad of Benjamin Franklins, certainly a consideration, but make sure it is COMPLETE, as many seem to be missing parts these days for the reasons I mentioned.
5.936/10
6 years ago
OK, Hercules is far from a good game, but I think it's better than it gets credit for. I played the one at Flippers which is in excellent condition with strong flippers. It looks like you'd want to play half a game and walk away but I kept coming back to it. I mean, it's kind of a pinball machine. It's got loops, pops, slingshots, targets, a... "spinner" that never really spins. Ball control is easy because the ball often comes to a dead stop or rolls up the inlane if you just hold the flipper up. And hey, left lane up to the rollover lanes and the right loop shot... I'll say those are two decently satisfying shots for a novelty monster. And for such a simple slow beast... the rules are fine! There are definitely worse novelty games out there, even the polar opposite Super Mario Mushroom World is worse IMO.
3.497/10
6 years ago
The first and last of its kind!! And for good reason.

I really wanted to like Hercules! It looks so cool. But the hype is true: it plays terrible. In some ways, it's not as bad as I thought it would be; in other ways, it's worse. There's just not much to shoot at, there isn't much skill involved, and the whole affair just feels overly clunky and unnecessary. If you're looking for a unique conversation piece, sure grab one...otherwise, I'd steer clear.
3.500/10
6 years ago
This game is NOT fun. End of story.
3.377/10
6 years ago
The novelty wears off very quickly and all you are left with is a sparse, boring play field
There are 46 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

You too can add your own comment by rating this game! Click here to rate this game!

Over the years

Visualizing this game's rating and rank over the years

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, become a Pinside+ member!