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Pinside rating

This game received 186 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.786 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #101 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.798

Artwork: 8.827

Sounds/Music: 5.561

Other Aspects: 7.893

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 7 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 96 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 96 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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38 days ago
Great wide body game. This game is one of the best in its era and is very addictive but very, very fun. The layout is very unique and the artwork is incredible.
4 months ago
One of the best early solid state Bally tables that is just loaded with features. Inline drops, 3 saucers, rollovers, an outlane pop bumper, plus a nice spinner shot that crosses the playfield. I love pinball with interesting shots that orbit across the playfield instead of traditionally around it. The extra flippers keep things interesting with ball control. Paragon definitely holds up to this day with everything it has to offer. I wish Paragon had music, but it's just a minor gripe and theres enough going on so no big deal. I do like the sound variation. This table is both a great player and a work of art.
5 months ago
This was my first pinball machine purchase and has guided each subsequent purchase. This is the game I always return to in hope of getting a better score. I never feel cheated or robbed even when it drops down the beasts lair. It begs strategy in a way my other Bally games of the same period struggle with. There is a good variety of things to shoot for and can be a very fast machine for a wide body. I'd like to own a better example someday but I believe I'll always have a Paragon in the collection.
6 months ago
Great wide body with lots of fun themed shots (beast’s lair, golden cliffs, valley of demons and falls).
7 months ago
I have a love-hate relationship with this game. It’s so difficult at times that I feel like screaming; yet the challenge keeps me coming back. The artwork on the pin is one of the best ever.
8 months ago
I was soooo stoked to play this.

Wow.... Don't care if I never see it again. Pick any other wide body from the era and it's at least as good, if not better than this game.

So much hype for ZERO reason. None. Sad....
8 months ago
I've really wanted to like this machine, it is from the era in pinball that I tend to gravitate towards, and there is a local Paragon available to play. I give it a try each timebut after a few games, (and even during the games) I find myself getting bored with the wide open playfield and the slow speed of the machine. The artwork is great, and I think the nostalgia factor may boost its playability for some, but I just find myself ready for the game to end and move on to a different game.
1 year ago
For such a classic it is still a blast to play as it was when I was a kid. 4flippers. Awesome! For the 1970s yes wicked cool 4flippers. The art work is right off the side of a cruiser van I love.
1 year ago
Paragon is pretty widely considered to have the BEST artwork in pinball. That alone makes it worth getting. It has a lot more going for it than just that, though. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, however....this game is tough. It separates the men from the boys. It is always one of the favorites with tournament players due to its unique gameplay that can be as smooth as butter or drive you mad. I have no doubt that many a pinballer has stepped away too soon because of the vast learning curve.

The beast's lair pop bumper, waterfall, and right outlane drains are brutal. You can loose control...but thats what makes this game so great. It teaches you control. It is a super widebody game that can play very fast.

The only real knock on this game are the sounds, which is a bit unfair...since this game was made in 1979. They aren't bad, but compared to a game from 2019, they just are not as advanced. I actually find the sounds charming.

This is easily one of the most UNDERPRICED pinballs out there. If you have the chance to really get into this pin and learn it...I highly recommend it. If you can buy it...even better.
1 year ago
Paragon is an ultra-wide-body machine that is imposing before you even start a game. The game play can vary from slow and steady to fast and brutal depending on how you approach your scoring options. The inline drop targets are the biggest challenge in the game as you need to properly line your shot up on the tricky double right flippers with out draining between them. The artwork is fantastic and tells enough of a story to let your imagination run wild as you play.
1 year ago
After bringing home a project Paragon and spending many months refurbishing it I feel I've finally spent enough time playing to rate it. I am probably more of an early solid state fan when it comes to pinball so I will likely be biased in that area as well.

Right off, I'd consider giving Paragon a spot in the game room for the artwork on the playfield and backglass alone. Cabinet is nice, but the other features are superb. I feel there is enough variety in the layout with the kick outs, drop targets, spinner, etc. to keep the game interesting. The challenge to build up a bonus and then multiply it is very rewarding. Paragon has one of the best spinner rips just behind my Meteor, especially when the ball exits the spinner and moves laterally across the playfield and into the waterfall. A pop bumper in an outlane? Fantastic! More than once I've lost the ball thinking I could trap it in the right lower flipper (ball drains between the upper and lower flipper). This game is teaching me patience as well as technique. Yes, the sounds do not keep up with the artwork in their appeal, but they have a vintage vibe that is growing on me the more I play.

I am glad I put the effort into resurrecting the game -- it may just stick around for awhile.
1 year ago
One of the best Art packages out there. Great game to play. Would love to own one someday.
2 years 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.
2 years 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.
2 years ago
A great solid state by Bally. Fun and challenging with great last ability.
2 years 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 not lined up well with the flippers. The placement of things on the playfield is just arbitrary as Bally basically rips off some of the layout from "Black Hole" with the two right flippers and the drop target tunnel on the top left. Even if you do your absolute best to sling the ball off the bottom right flipper, there's almost no way the ball makes contact with that area. In fact, you can't really make many shots except up the middle or on the right side's drop targets. 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.
2 years ago
One of the two best wide bodies by Bally, the other one in my opinion being Future Spa.
2 years 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.
2 years 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.
2 years 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.
2 years 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.
2 years ago
Beautiful game that draws you in with art and keeps you there with great game play
3 years ago
One of my favorite games
3 years 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.
3 years 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.
There are 96 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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