The Pinball Circus

Pinside rating

This game received 29 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.422 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #185 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.705

Artwork: 7.458

Sounds/Music: 5.623

Other Aspects: 7.167

Pinside staff rating

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

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Found 16 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 16 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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1 year ago
What an absolute joke this machine is hovering in the 200s here. Wanted to have one ever since i discovered it in Vegas. Fantastic artwork, tons of fun to play. Here's hoping Circus Maximus will get it done some day.
3 years ago
I believe this game was on the verge of mass production before Bally tanked. So there are only a few of these in existence. Bally was clearly trying to think outside of the box and planning on taking some chances with this one by going extremely vertical in the playfield design and overall game play. Fortunately for ma, the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas had a playable copy when I was there and I had the pleasure of playing several games. The gameplay and rules are fairly simple requiring the player to complete one or more challenging shots before advancing to the next level up (literally). This kind of (ironically) shallow rule set probably runs afoul for most other pinsiders, but I was fine with it because it is a fun game to play. I don't know how much long term replay value the game would have had in the mass market. But I sure enjoyed it a lot!
3 years ago
Played this at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas and it was actually quite fun. I put up 2 high scores on it and played it several times. Not the deepest game ever as your only real goal is to hit the ball behind the clowns teeth to earn a jackpot. Never quite nailed down the exact rules and there are some things that are incomplete like the video mode which is not implemented. It's a very unique game with the 4 playfields and climbing the cabinet but it is not a game to play over and over again.
5 years ago
I've probably played twenty games on this machine. I'm conflicted in writing a review because I don't think it's a good pinball machine, but it somehow it still makes me want to play another game. To progress to the top you first have to hit the left side ramp shot. It can be completed from either flipper, but I found the backhand to be easier. The next shot the easiest, one shot up the ramp. The third level is the most difficult. I just couldn't quite get that mini-flipper down. If you fail this level be sure to use the third flipper to collect the mystery awards. Finally there is the clown level. Not really sure there is a great strategy here, just bash until you defeat the clown. In my games I only completed this objective a few times. I also don't totally know how it's collected, but I did have a chance to play the "good apple, bad apple" video mode. Would have loved to play it again because I didn't really know which apples were good or bad on my first play though.

PS: Unlike other machines, I can honestly say I've never walked passed one without stopping to play a game. :-)
5 years ago
i was lucky to play this and was amazed by the machine not typical. it is uprite video style pinball,very different one of a kind game ,not a keeper cause u cant get one. two or three made im told... the one i played was in is a trip to play but i wouldnt call it pinball,try it in vegas
7 years ago
One of a kind
7 years ago
When I first saw this game in Vegas at the PHOF, I thought it was someone's homemade experiment. I loved how it was both creepy and cool looking at the same time. They were nice enough to fix the game for me so I could play it, as it was somehow missing the lone pinball. I thought the game itself was awesome. It's really a shame there is only one left in existence, as this one will surely not last forever.
7 years ago
Pinball Circus is not your average game in a number of ways. If you love pinball, you must make your pin-jihad to the Hall of Fame in Las Vegas and say hello to Timmah!

The Pros:
I have played this game, my life is complete. The "juggling" of the ball in this game is an absolute blast. The elephant's trunk passing the ball from one PF to the next is straight out of a pinball dream. Working your way up to the top PF to knock out the clown's teeth has to be one of the most satisfying pinball tasks ever created. The best DMD animation integration I have ever witnessed. Even Circus Voltaire is in awe of the Rhinestone tuxedo'd ghost that lives in this box. The Mystery Wheel with the knife target stunt lady is spot on. Overall, the theme on this game is over the top and oozes character. Each of the 4 separate PF's has it's own tasks and gameplay feel to it. While climbing the ladder may be linear in terms of game progress, this game is a shining example of what can be done with creative design and a silver ball.

The Cons:
I have never been a fan of asymetrical flipper layouts by the outhole. There were only 2 ever made. This pinball clown frightens Rudy.

The Takeaway:
Working your way up the big top is always a fun and entertaining task. The challenge of this game may not be the biggest, but when you lose the ball on the upper PF with only 1 clown tooth to go... Gotta play this again! Would I ever want to own a game like this (if $$$ was not an issue much less availability), probably not. I can see why this game never made the production line, but I also am happy and grateful that I got the chance to play this righteous and super rare game. It's kind of like dating a beautiful model. You want the experience for the longest time and the anticipatory emotional attachment to the expectation may far outreach the actual reality of the situation, but then you do it, and it's fun, and in some ways it falls short. So playing this game is something you really should do, if only because of the rarity of the box, but also know that this game didn't make the production cut for good reasons. Enjoy!!!

Extra special thanks to The Arnold Clan and everyone who pitches in at the PHOF! My life is better for the work that you have done.
7 years ago
The Pinball Circus certainly was different. Didn't really feel like a pinball machine. Interesting expansion of the concept though. Not my thing but worth a shot for the experience.
7 years ago
It's unique! I recommend a few games of this. It's weird, but not in a bad way.
I see why this would not have taken off, but the concept is great. It's just a bit slow and it gets kinda boring after a while.
7 years ago
Finally had a chance to play this at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. I was really excited to see it in person. But after the initial games, I was a little bit disappointed. It is fun trying to get to the top, but once you've done that a few times, it doesn't feel like there is much more to do. That seems to be your only goal. It did have some fun DMD games. But for something that is this unique it's just not that much fun after awhile. It would of been interesting to see what could of been with additional themes. I do appreciate that it's different and unique. But it also needs to be fun, and it just doesn't/didn't captivate me.
8 years ago
Played it at PHOF, and what a great machine Pinball Circus is! Getting the ball onto the top level is extremely fun and addicting!!

It's too bad Bally didn't make a limited run of these, but it is what it is.
9 years ago
I feel fortunate to have played this game. It is unique and innovative. It uses its theme well and it was very addicting to play. It is hard and I suspect a flipper needed a rebuild, But it is something that i would pursue for ownership if I were a well connected and wealthy man!
9 years ago
Plays like what it is, one big gimmick. Not horrific or anything, but the feeling of playing is just too strange to have a bunch of fun on. And considering it's just a prototype, the playfield art isn't finished, as well as the software. Worth a dollar or two if you ever find yourself at the PHOF in Vegas, but I, for one,am glad it never made it into real production.
9 years ago
Being one of the fortunate ones to try this at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas,
this game didn't deserve to be mass manufactured. It was novel but not worth replaying.
11 years ago
Played this rare machine at PHOF, WOW this was fun, something completeley different and still highly addictive to play. Shame the concept never took off.
There are 16 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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