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Old Chicago

Pinside rating

This game received 41 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.013 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #70 in the Pinside EM Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.852

Artwork: 8.357

Sounds/Music: 2.373

Other Aspects: 8.232

Pinside staff rating

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

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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 21 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 21 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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6 months 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
8 months 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.
10 months 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.
1 year 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.
1 year 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 thankfully now I have one in my collection. If given one credit, I'm playing this over a modern pinball every time. I don't know how this game is not in the Top 10 of the EM list.
1 year ago
The outlanes lead to some darn good nudging moments.
1 year ago
Love this game play!!!!
2 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.
2 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.
2 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.
2 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.
2 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!
2 years ago
One of my fave EM
3 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.
4 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!
4 years ago
Some great art on the backglass and playfield. Fun layout with that will kick your ass with sloppy play.
6 years ago
Was really looking forward to playing this game and was very disappointed. Plays extremely slow and does not have enough going for it. Weak for that era. Thank you I know this won't be my next addition to the collection.
Artwork and playfield are great.
6 years ago
my favorite EM. there is a lot to do on this playfield.
7 years ago
Old Chicago is a Kmeic table that was fortunate enough to have Dave Christensen create the artwork for it.

The Pros:
Mad Dog is the man! A damn fine art package for a straight forward game. Flipper arrangement means that your control time on the flippers themselves is limted. Pops being so close to flippers and outlanes means that it can be very random and out of control with ball movement. The upper right saucer has determined more than a few games on this table for me, don't neglect it.

The Cons:
Spinner and center saucer... That's pretty much it.

The Takeaway:
A great game to look at. Can be fun to play, but it had better have pinball neighbors in the gameroom to keep it company. Simple, but rarely easy. A much better control/reflex game than many people give it credit for. And it has breasstesssesssss of righteous proportions on the BG!

I recently played a super dialed version of this game at the Louisville Turkey Fest in Colorado that was tuned, waxed, and set to sneeze sensitivity with the pops. I heard more players curse this table as it was so utterly difficult to control. Just like any game, if it is properly cared for and maintained, it is a challenge. So, if your game is too easy, chances are your maintenance is slack on this deck.
8 years ago
Great looker, so-so player. Had it more then 10 years.
12 years ago
A really fun EM to play. I think the entire machine is a work of art, especially the backglass.
There are 21 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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