Old Chicago


Old Chicago

Pinside Rating

This game received 60 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.800 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #133 in the Pinside EM Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.586

Artwork: 8.4

Sounds/Music: 2.023

Other Aspects: 7.961

Pinside staff rating

None of the Pinside.com staff have rated this game. Sorry, no rating from us.

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Found 32 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 32 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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8 months ago
played in vegas, it was fun for awhile
9 months ago
challenging but fun...treacherous but not impossible to overcome lower pops...once you get into the flow...you can play for hours&hours without having to pay again...
1 year ago
If you have a chance, pass a kidney stone instead of putting time into this game. It is far less painful. The only redeeming quality of the game is the artwork. The layout on this is odd. Out lanes under the bumpers and a wide center to drain are brutal on this game. Can only imagine how it chewed through quarters.

Spinner goes to the bumpers instead of up top. Most other games seem to go all the way up so you can hit the Lit lanes and then bumpers.
1 year ago
Rip the spinner to build bonus and collect it over and over in the middle hole.
1 year ago
Nice game to see,not to play.
1 year ago
I’ve owned a handful of em games and played at least a hundred others. Old Chicago is hands down my favorite. Might be the only game (including my solid states) that I keep forever.

Like most em games, condition and setup are key. I restored and clearcoated my playfield. It plays fast and true. I also took some windings off the coils of the lower pops to punch them up a bit. Takes the game to a whole other level. I’ve restored five EMs now. Old Chicago benefited the most. It’s stellar. I’ve played tired, worn examples elsewhere and was completely underwhelmed, like oh good do I really have to play all five balls of this underwhelmed.

If you own this game, go full resto (at least of the playfield) and juice up the lower pops!
2 years ago
I really like this game. Reflexive type flipper action. Very fast with lower pops. I have the hardest time hitting the spinner on this game (no idea why). Just an overall fun fast em.
2 years ago
Had the chance to play a really nice example of old Chicago at the Holy Frijoles bar in Baltimore, Maryland. This was the only EM machine in a line up of some of the best solid states ever. Lord of the rings, scared stiff, mousing around, avengers, munsters, creature from the black lagoon, just to name a few. Let me just start by saying that the game is beautiful. The old Chicago theme is gorgeous and made this game look so attractive surrounded by all those new games.

So how’s the game play? Even with all the solid states, my girlfriend and I could not stop going back to the old Chicago for another game. The drop targets were impossible to clear, the spinner was satisfying to rip, and the back glass was a pleasure to gaze up at, especially when you can see the faint outline of Bally’s famous “over the top” feature right on the upper center of the BG. It seemingly taunts you with the idea of rolling that score over, which on this game is quite a task.

I must admit that my experience with this game is somewhat tainted by the arcade setting as I realize the drop targets, while necessary for a special, don’t really mean that much in regular play. It was neat having to pay for the game and wanting to earn a free credit from the target bank, but if I owned the game I’m sure those drop targets would soon loose their allure. Keep this in mind.

Finally, the elephant in the room. Those pop bumpers down by the flippers. Boy does that change everything. Gone are the days of trapping and carefully picking off a shot to regain control on the flipper, this game is CHAOS! I think the reason this game was able to be such a player in a room of DMDs is because of the chaos on the lower field. Without this gimmick, the game would be to slow to hold interest in the company of those other machines. Those pops make the game an absolute scramble to control and often blast the ball straight into an outlane or right between the flippers.

All in all, a really fun title that looks just as good as it plays. I want one!
2 years ago
Very fun game, I remember when I owned one the whole game felt like a tank, really built. Very good game play and killer artwork all around.
3 years ago
Great game! One of bally best em machines! Like that it looks a lot different then most pins. Really nice artwork and theme, with a great backstory. Spinner is a really satisfying shot, lots of nudging with the all the pop bumpers. Fast and fun, keeps you wanting to play it again.
3 years ago
Chimes sounds on this pin are mediocre. Gottlieb s chimes are better by far, but then again I never got to clobber 100,000pts on it to hear the big buzzer. I find this to be a fun exciting game. Art work is great but I think it's a little rich on the pink tones on the playfield, maybe it would look better with coloured led lighting in strategic areas of the playfield. I almost bought this pin but I thought he wanted a bit to much so.i passed it up. Old Chicago can be a real drainer at times, sometimes 3 or 4 lousy games in a row followed by a real good one. Pretty challenging , it keeps me coming back to hit to try for 100,000 points which I keep failing
4 years ago
Not may favorite game ever. I've played it a few times at a local spot and I'm getting used to it, though. This particular game has a lighter ceramic ball in it which makes game play faster, but maybe not better. The main issue may be the ease with which the ball can drain on the sides. I think the targets are a good touch, but not really enough. The center kicker hole is hard to get, but worth it. The problem is the ball often shoots right down the middle after it kicks out. I don't like the graphics, but they are kind of '70s interpretation of the 1930s-40s. This makes them look VERY 1970s, if you are into that kind of thing. I give it a solid - Meh.
4 years ago
Old Chicago is a great themed game. The back glass, playing field and cabinet are truly beautiful, though I would have liked a little less pink, maybe some richer colors. Still, it’s one of the classic themes that still looks good today. Game play is ok, some drops but otherwise a spinner and saucer. Lower pops can be a problem, as most lower pops are. Not much of a ball launch “skill” shot, just two lanes to aim for.
4 years ago
Really fun and challenging game, control is key and learning to control this machine can be frustrating but extremely rewarding when you get the hang of it. I think this is an underrated EM that deserves more attention and will be a permanent piece of my collection.
4 years ago
This might be the perfect EM. Multiple pops & saucers, drop targets, great spinner shot, & difficult outlanes. The layout leads to a struggle for control on every ball. Nudging is absolutely essential. Plus its a 4 player game with an incredible Christensen backglass & jazz/Dillinger theme. Old Chicago will make you a better pinball player.

This is the game that enlightened me to the entire world of EM pinball, and while Gottlieb 70s wedgeheads are some of my all-time favorites, OC is still a great EM. Prepare to take a beating!
4 years ago
The outlanes lead to some darn good nudging moments.
5 years ago
Love this game play!!!!
5 years ago
An exceptionally fun, but exceptionally brutal layout. A standard late 70s to early 80s Bally, but it has all the elements in a tight little package. Drops, stand ups, spinner, saucers, and then there are the 5 pops, 2 of which add a very high level of excitement. Build up your Old Chicago bonus, and really get those points by collecting in the center saucer.

The game I play is set up with a rubber on the post at the back of the center saucer, which adds a bit of fight when trying to seat the ball.

Old Chicago was the game I bought on the way to my wedding, and was set up for our reception. The best $400 I’d ever spent on a pinball machine.
5 years ago
Fantastic game layout... pop the left side spinner to increase bonus and hit the middle out hole for bonus scrore... beware of bottom left and right pops that make mandatory ball control more difficult. Hit right side to down the drop target bank for score/extra ball/special. Beautiful artwork on backglass and playfield. Cabinet art is ok; downgrading since the inferior maroon paint suffered fade much more than just about any other game out there.
5 years ago
The theme "Old Chicago" is a bit of a subtle pinball pun. Yes, the streamlined artwork has 20's art deco flare and a snazzy backglass (featuring an anachronistically busty pair of ladies -- that was not the idealized form of the 20's -- but see also the poses from the 1978 Bally 'Playboy' for exactly where this imagery was coming from) and despite there being no blazing Tommy guns, there's a vague whiff of jazz age Chicago gangsterism about the whole thing. Check out that zeppelin! One might note the subtle shape and colors of the playfield are a bit more Georgia O'Keefe than Marsden Hartley, though.

No, the hidden "Old Chicago" is the throwback design to the early golden age of electric pinball in the 30's and 40's -- Chicago being the hub of pinball then and still, albeit greatly reduced, now. The lower playfield is riotously difficult to control, with bumpers and straight rubbers (no slingshots) forcing nudging and rolling and very quick reactions on the flippers. The flippers aren't retro 2 inchers, at least, so with difficulty the ball can be controlled. It has the feel of a very early flipper game without the eccentricities like reversed flippers or no center drain.

There are basically only three shots in the game, though. To the left is a somewhat harder than usual spinner to build bonus that will only then send the ball over to the center trio of bumpers (two at 100 points, one incongruously at a useless 10 points). In the center is a collect bonus saucer with two side rails - hit the post and you're in peril, hit the saucer it returns to the right flipper. On the right you can glance off the dropdowns to spell OLD CHICAGO for bonus or skim up to the right saucer to score five G's and some bonus. The skillshot is nothing; it's a binary of hitting the lit lane at the top and there's virtually no way to return the ball. While there's points to be had with lit inlanes -- which are extremely dangerous -- the smart play on this machine is to go for the bonus.

It's a challenging game, despite the simple rule set, because of the chaos in the lower playfield and the lack of safe returns from the upper part. I think a bit of the potential playield space was wasted by the choice of the top playfield from the ball launch, which might have been used to add a true third tier to the game. But it's fun enough. That said, it's sure to be frustrating because of the very fact that it does recapitulate the gambling-game-era bottom wiggle-and-drain.
6 years ago
Picked this up as my first EM. It played so so until I adjusted some switches and stepper units. Also had to repair the sunken inserts and fix some bad light sockets. Now it plays like new and it's fun. Not too fast, but lots to shoot at...drop targets, spinner, and 2 saucers. Makes for good play. The artwork is great -- playfield and backglass have that nostalgic look. Won't be getting rid of this game any time soon.
6 years ago
After hearing about how good this game is from @nicovolta, I kept my eyes open for one. I was lucky to find a copy in great shape, because it sat unworking for many years. Using some newly acquired volta-skills, it’s running great again! Fun and challenging game with drops, spinner and saucers to shoot for. Most notable feature is the outlane pops that keep things interesting. Love the John Dillinger theme!
6 years ago
One of my fave EM
6 years ago
At first glance, Old Chicago seems like a pretty straightforward game, but the amount of punishment and misery it can beset upon players is immeasurable! It is a game I've had absolutely no success playing over the years, but I'm drawn to play it each and every time I see it in a collection or at a show. THIS is the sign of a good game. The claustrophobic area around the flippers makes ball control difficult. I'm not sure what is harder to get the hang of--the lack of slings, the lack of return lanes or the two pop bumpers just above this area. It's really fun playing Old Chicago in a group and watching other players get taken to task by the punishing layout. Add a really beautiful art package to the game (boy, Dave Christensen was good at what he did) and the game is one of the best Bally EMs ever produced, with legs to make it hold up in a small or large collection.
7 years ago
Brought mine back from a $120 nasty beater to a gleaming gem. New CPR backglass, repainted cab with a sweet Pinball pimp stencil kit, replaced EVERY light socket, rebuilt all mechanicals, cleaned & adjusted every switch. Added a clear protector to cover the suprisingly nice playfield. Looks & plays how I remember from back in the day ---- brutal.
I avoided this pin when they first went on route, it was too difficult & quarters were too scarce. Different story for a home pin. Has that "one more play" feel. Nothing better than nailing that spinner when double bonus is lit. Cringe when you get a lower pop bumper power drain on one of the outlanes.
Artwork is fantastic - Dave C's best IMHO, art deco cab art is really different & stands the test of time.
THis one is never leaving my collection!
There are 32 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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