Paragon (Bally, 1979)


Pinside rating

This game received 173 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.653 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #110 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.638

Artwork: 8.732

Sounds/Music: 5.437

Other Aspects: 7.715

Rating comments

There are 86 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 6 of us have rated this game.


Your Rating?

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

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 86 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 86 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

List options

3 months ago
Paragon has the best art package of all time and is fun to play too. The backglass and playfield are amazing! I owned this game for about a year and wish I had never sold it. It has that "I want to play it one more time" effect. It is a wide body game so it is big. I highly recommend this game to folks that enjoy having an older solid state game in their collection. The only thing I don't like about most older solid state games are they start to loose their lastability in a smaller collection.
4 months ago
This game is what helped me learn ball control

The Good:
-- I love the way it looks, from the cabinet to the playfield.
-- It's such a heavy and solid wide-body. It has a great feel to it.
-- The ruleset is awesome. All the points are in the bonus, so you don't want to tilt it.
-- Layout is great. Lots to hit for a machine made in 1980.
-- I love how this game gives players a great way to practice ball control.

The Bad:
-- The ball kind of floats around a little too much for my liking.

I love this game. I play it every chance I get. It's a rush to get 20,000 bonus on ball one and even more of a rush to crush the bonus multiplier on the left side. I was even able to get the extra ball & special in a game... which was amazing! I could play this game everyday.
5 months ago
A great solid state by Bally. Fun and challenging with great last ability.
6 months ago
"Paragon" might be one of the most overrated tables I have ever played. I mean, I get what it means to be "challenging" but there's "challenging" and then there's "just plain inaccessible". Shots are incredibly hard to make and it doesn't help that there's little to no ball control. There's a sense that every shot made is lucky and not from skill. The theming and art is the best part of the game and that's unfortunate because the playfield, cabinet and backglass all recall the art of Boris Vallejo and you're stuck with slow gameplay, a wide open field, constant, really cheap ball drains (especially under the dual right flipper or coming down from the right upper tunnel - holy christ on a crutch, that's aggravating) and some of the worst audio I've ever heard in a pinball game -- even by 1979's standards. I don't want to say it's like listening to an Atari 2600 cartridge game...but it is. Even a light little musical theme might have helped out a bit. "Paragon" was simply born in the wrong time. Today, with a Jersey Jack or Spooky Pinball makeover, this could be something.
6 months ago
One of the two best wide bodies by Bally, the other one in my opinion being Future Spa.
6 months ago
Paragon is an awesome looking machine that seems like it would be a great play. There really doesn’t seem to be too many ways to shape or control the ball so gameplay is erratic at best.
7 months ago
This was the game that got me interested in early solid states. I tend to gravitate towards games that are harder to keep the ball in play for long periods. Similar to newer games, there is more going on under the covers then at first glance. Obviously the rules aren't as deep, but it doesn't need to be.

I think in this game it's especially important to fine tune it. lot of things to watch out for death shots, scissors flippers, a waterfall drop (that throws the ball down the middle), and beast lair as well as the normal outlane, It keeps you on your toes constantly.
Unlike most games where you nudge mainly around the flippers or outlanes. Here you utilize that skill set a bit more. If your looking for a challenging early SS under $1500 then this would easily fit the bill. Unlike other popular SS titles this seems to come up somewhat often, so getting one shouldn't be to hard. At least at the time I wrote this.
8 months ago
The game's brutality is what really draws me in. Set up with a high pitch, this game is fast and in your face. The lower right two flippers and left inline target set up make for shooting the left drops challenging but rewarding. The lower left pop bumper is a nice change to the traditional inlane/outlane area. The games of this era are simple to understand, yet challenging and enjoyable. It definitely makes me want to press start just one more time. The art package is arguably one of the best in all of pinball.
10 months ago
A challenging and interesting layout, one of the best classic SS era widebody games. The overall playability and art package makes this one a keeper and one to be sought out.
11 months ago
One of the best classics ever. Unique playfield layout makes great use of the wide-body. The double right flipper forces you to think twice before attempting to trap up and taking an errant shot. Love the single pop bumper in the beast layer and having the work the game to get it out. The inlane drops, golden cliffs, spelling PARAGON, so many great ways to play this game. It is deceptively difficult and has a huge replay value. Great art package.
1 year ago
One of my favorite games
1 year ago
This machine was my introduction to pinball. We owned one for several years when I was a kid. For its time, this game was superb in virtually every way, except perhaps the sounds effects. (But still, a lot of the sounds are fun -- especially when you rack up a bunch of bonus and get to listen to the chime sequence at the end of the ball ticking through all of the bonus points.) Even today, the game still holds up remarkably well if you keep it in perspective as a 1978 game. The playfield features and layout are excellent for their time and can be fun today too if you play a machine with properly rebuilt flippers to maintain the original speed and power of when the game was new. (I recently played this machine at Southern Fried Gameroom Expo. Sadly, that unit had very lackluster flipper rebuilds and insufficient playfield angle, which really detracted from the fun this game can deliver when set up properly.) The playfield artwork and backglass artwork are absolutely classic for the genre. Any collector with the dedication, skill, and funds necessary to restore and maintain one of these machines to top condition will have a true gem.
1 year ago
The Good:
-BRUTALLY HARD. Putting it on 3-ball almost feels unfair, but I can't let myself go to 5-ball on a SS game.
-The playfield layout is absolutely brilliant. Wow. Such great shots all over the place and every flipper serves a purpose. Truly, a brilliant layout.
-The artwork. While certainly not at the same level of his later stuff, Paul F serves up some delicious artwork on this one.
-Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide body that doesn't play like a widebody. For real, if Atari had come up with this layout for ANY of their widebodies, they would have been in the game much longer! This game, once properly setup and waxed, flies.
-The pop bumper area on the left is so cool. You've really gotta have your nudging skills down for that area. The whole table for that matter, requires good nudging skills. The saucers at the top require some nudging if you're gonna stay up there, and the right outlane is brutal if you gots no nudge game.
-Rip the spinner and go for the 5x. So rewarding when you hit those and so frustrating when you don't.
-Draining between the 2 right flippers is hard to not do. Trapping the ball just ain't gonna happen on that bottom flipper. Additionally, tap passes are required on this game and the Bally software lets you do it (unlike other manufacturers from different eras)

The Bad:
-the sounds man. C'mon Bally. The tech was definitely there to have much better sounds. This game may have even been better with chimes like the EMs. The sounds just don't draw you in like they should.
-I feel like another spinner on the right (i.e.: the early Sterns) would have been much cooler than what is up there. To be honest, the left flippers don't have nearly as many shots as the right.
-99.99% of Paragons have cupped inserts at this point. Like almost all of the early Sterns, Bally used non-star inserts which caused serious cuppage after only a few years. Even NOS PFs have cupped inserts. In addition, most Paragons have horribly beat up PFs due to the inserts sinking and the original operators not repairing them. Just realize that if you buy one, you're probably gonna have some insert work to do or the game isn't going to treat you fairly.

TAKEAWAY: Why is Fathom going for $4,000+ and Paragon isn't? Probably because they made so many, but let's be honest...finding a Paragon in great shape isn't easy. Most were played to death and the inserts....argh. I've owned Fathom and Skateball (and played a lot of Centaur) and honestly, this game is every bit as good. If you're on the fence about grabbing a Paragon, jump over.
1 year ago
Wide body action that has a ton of shots and targets. Did it need to be a widebody? I am not sure but it works to show off the great artwork.
1 year ago
Ah, Paragon. You have to earn your pinball stripes before you can begin to amass the greatness of this machine. One of the most challenging pins ever, hence one of the best. Pure love.
1 year ago
Inline drop targets, lower pop in the lair - when set up correctly it's a very fun and brutal game.
1 year ago
Decent game for it's era. Don't like the artwork so much, but I know that's subjective. Plays well but I don't like how the ball can slip between the extra flippers. It's a wide body machine so it may not fit through your doorways if you want to take it home.
1 year ago
very solid game..has all that d&d stuff that made it popular
1 year ago
Great wide body game ... one of the classics.
1 year ago
The trick to this game (and others from the same era) is to find one that set up correctly and properly maintained, i.e. not too shallow/floaty, good flippers and properly gapped switches.

Many people get this game and don't invest anymore time or money into it but when you do the payoff is there with a fast, challenging game that has you beckoning for more. This game will teach you nudging and flipper skills and will also have you cursing when you get double flipper bitched!

Factor in the AMAZING artwork on the backglass and playfield and you've got one of Ballys best solid state games!
1 year ago
This game is so much fun but can pick you up and throw you down sometimes.
1 year ago
Paragon often gets a bad rap, but I found it nearly impossible to tear myself away from the beast. It's a widebody with in-line drops, a 2" flipper and a killer three-flipper set up (on the version I played) that punishes trapping (not always great, but changes the strategy). There are so many cubby holes and challenging shots that the game never got boring for me.

I'd love to own a Paragon over a Hotdoggin' because of the fantasy theme alone. Play one if you haven't already.
1 year ago
Kind of hate the lower left area, but still a favorite among the wide body tables, haven't played a live one in a long time.
2 years ago
This game is beautiful. There is something odd looking about the guy with axe on the BG, though. That's a big head, mister.
It's an ultra wide-body, but with good operating solenoids, it can be really fast.
There are pretty cool shots here. The spinner lane, across the playfield, through the waterfall back to the right flippers is pretty cool, and the in line drop targets uncovering the treasure is hard to complete, but very satisfying.
The rules are basic, but there are lots of opportunities to hear the knocker go off by completing different shots.
It's not a great game, but it's still pinball, and can be really fun. Glad I finally scored one.
2 years ago
I grew up with this pin as a kid. I've been trying to buy one for 4 years with no luck. This pin has a lot of meaning to me because I played it so much as a young kid. The playfield layout is simple, but effective. What makes this pin stand out are the inline drop targets. I always liked trying to spell PARAGON. Brings back memories.
There are 86 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside