Skateball (Bally, 1980)


Pinside rating

This game received 59 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.714 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #98 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.964

Artwork: 7.83

Sounds/Music: 5.331

Other Aspects: 7.833

Rating comments

There are 26 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 3 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 26 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 26 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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5 months ago
Probably my favorite of the classic Bally SS games. Weirdly flow-y for a single level game. Play one in good condition, and just try to stop. The pringles of pinball. Just
6 months ago
I enjoyed skateball, and can see why others rate it quite high, though I never really fell in love with it. A fun game for sure, just not my exact style. Has solid flow though, and an awesome backglass.
1 year ago
Fast and fun with eye catching artwork! Can be brutal but helps to keep you coming back. Decent rules / strategy and the outlanes are a great challenge of your nudging skills. Overall a very fun classic!
1 year ago
Skateball is a players game. Very fun shots and nice rules. If it's setup just right, you can really capitalize on building up the multiplier hole by knocking down the drops a few times. Then, when the ball pops out of the hole, hold up the right flipper to have it arch into the left inside-out lane for a shot right back into the hole. Easy to say, but tough to do. I love the artwork and layout of this game, it just flows so well! It has many similarities to Williams Flash, but Bally did a much better job with the upper right flipper placement. The outlanes, extra drop bank and mini flipper add more complexity and more to shoot for. By far, this is a superior game to Flash. Bally just had the unfortunate timing to release this game. I could see operators saying "why would I buy this when Flash is basically the same". Well...who knows what went down. Either way, great game. Glad it's finally getting some love with new plastics, backglass and playfield available.
1 year ago
My uncle had this game in his pizza shop for years back in the 80's. I despised it then , and I despise it now. THe 80's really had some crappy pins IMHO theres a reason the estimated value is $800. Not because its a to p 50 game. hint hint
1 year ago
One of my favorites from the era, plenty of hard shots and often unforgiving bounces that will kill your dreams of pinball glory. The left drain and return lanes in particular are cruel and mean spirited. Watch the PAPA finals to see how cruel the game can be to even the best players in the world.
1 year ago
Skate ball is one of the best solid state games ever. Very fun game. The right saucer dominates the strategy, along with the SKATE targets on the left. Great outlane design.
2 years ago
If Skateball had better art and multiball, it would be right up there with Fathom and Centaur. The shots are fantastic and the rules are well laid out. Drop target delight. 4 flippers means lots of shots (the geometry on this deck is seriously good). Plus I love the brief reprieve you get when hitting the saucer shot.

The sounds are also really fun, with the waves crashing (white noise). No voice, which let's be honest: what the heck is a game called "Skateball" going to say to you? "Shoot for the mustache!" "Don't tilt the shaggin wagon!" The sounds work just fine as is.

Unfortunately, it's not multi-ball which turns off a lot of players. The artwork is also distinctively late 70s/early 80s, which I personally love, though it obviously doesn't have the timeless punch of a Fathom.

If you're looking for a great player with tons of shots, lots of drops, and great rules: grab a deck and go!
2 years ago
Played C2S's and really like this game. The backglass is good in a cheesy sort of way. Dude reminds me of my Dad in the 70s. Too funny. Anyway, the gameplay is fast and fun with a good variety of shots. And fun is the key word for me. I want one.
3 years ago
Need more plays to complete rating.

* Asymmetry: Excellent.
* Backhands:
* Ball Time: Excellent.
* Drops (Sweepable): Excellent.
* Flasher Blinding:
* Flippers (extra): Excellent. 4!
* Free Ball earning: ?
* Fun/Lastability:
* Hazards: Excellent. middle drops are at a good height. danger post on right saucer
* Inlane Flow: Good. Left is like Fathom, right is a 50/50 post in the middle. bizarre.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Excellent.
* Multiball: NONE.
* Originality: Excellent.
* Outlane save-ability: Good. rubbers on both sides
* Pop bumpers: Good - just for 1-2-3 scoring
* Rules (Time and Order-based): ?
* Scoring Balance: ?
* Shots per flipper: maybe 10 total.
* Skill shot: ?
* Slap Saves: Bally, so it's OK.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Weak, no voice, and the sounds are weak.
* Spinners: 1
* Stop n Go/Flow: Excellent. just a saucer.
* Taunting: NONE
* Theme/Art/Lights: Excellent.
* Toys/Gimmicks: 4 flippers is neat.

PROS: Great art package, 4 flippers and tons of drops. Decent inlane/outlanes.
CONS: no skill shot, no multiball, no voice, weak sounds.
3 years ago
I'm glad to say that this pin is in the lineup. It is one of those machines that you can have a great game and a horrible game back to back. This keeps some people from playing it, but it brings me back for more.
4 years ago
Played it at the Belgian Open 2014, nice ruleset for a game of this period, and very cool backglass that is real 70s.
5 years ago
with good (hard) settings this game is top !!!!

update: I think that the right saucer's value is to high. This makes Skateball's scoring unbalaced. :-(
5 years ago
Drop targets are the name of the game here. I really liked the small flipper in the top left. You can rack up some serious points if you can control it up there for awhile. Very fun to play as there are lots of targets to aim at. Backglass is ugly at best...pretty much weird al on a skateboard. Worth a quarter if you ever see it.
5 years ago
A great 70's solid state by Bally. What's not to love about the art package? The shots are good, and definitely one of my favorites.
6 years ago
I love the artwork of Skateball. The mustaches, nipples and the van on the backglass make me feel like I'm in the early 80's. I am a big fan of the bright colors used on the machine and it looks great in the dark. The gameplay is fun, more fun than my Gorgar machine. The sounds aren't great but they suffice. Fun overall game, great artwork.
6 years ago
I owned this machine for about a year.... It just wasn't that great. pretty slow, and I was this machine's target market back when it was new, and I thought it looked pretty dorky back then.... The BG is very lame. Not sure if I didn't have my machine set up correctly, but I just wasn't really a big fan. Targets are good, but middle ones are a drain monster. Many others seem to love, I just am not one of them
6 years ago
Skateball is a shooters game that keeps you on your toes at all times.

The Pros: 11 drop targets and 4 flippers. Lots to shoot for. Hit the flashing arrow on the top target bank 3 times to light the collect bonus award. Build the game up and hit the saucer on the right. With bonus maxed + 100k, it can be huge. The outlanes make you work your nudging skills and flipper traps. The art package is nicely done and the colors are warm. Kinda makes you want to go skateboard, or surf after you play your pinball game. The stabbin' cabin is way sweet on the BG. The Freres/Hudson package is fantastic. Note that there are a great deal of options to work with for this game in the software. Set this game up and try some different options. A real shooter and a true player.

The Cons: In my dreams there is a saucer in the upper right hand corner of the pf (Pssssst... multiball). Clip the switch on the right inlane to prevent the bonus cheat that players found from the twitching the right flipper.

Takeaway: Get one if you can. This PF is a borrows heavily from the layout of Williams Flash and considering what a landmark game that was... Claude and his team did a great job and gave it that "Bally feel" that made so many of the Bally decks of this vintage great. Quite possibly his best design. Considering how much I like Flash Gordon, that's saying quite a bit. I was lucky to get mine with a super nice pf and bg. There are many ways to get a good score, but if you do not set your shots up or you miss a target, this game can be hard to recover from a mistake! If you think this game is too easy, you have set it up too easy. Own your game and play/adjust it as it should be. For me, playing this game never gets boring, ever. Low raters on this game need to do their homework... or play my table to feel the the pin-pain of the Skateball love.

Got my BG signed by Greg Freres. Righteous!!!! You gotta love, the love van... man.

I love this game sooooo much! I have set mine up super nasty, so getting the ball back into the proper lane for the ball return is not laughing matter. Between that and a tight tilt, this game is very unforgiving to uncontrolled play and lane drains. The feed out of the saucer is strangely inconsistent and makes every shot into the saucer something to consider. Will it feed the ball nicely to the upper flipper for a reliable shot from there? Do I need to make sure that I am able to trap the ball on the lower flipper? You'd better be on your toes as you have a fraction of a second to make a decision. Asymmetrical inlane/outlanes require different techniques and choices depending on whether you are on the left or the right hand side of the deck. Find a copy and play on Players!

Note that this game has many reviews where people either own or used to own this table. The people who have really gotten to know this deck have let us know that this is a righteous deck. And just in case you don't believe me, talk to the person going around here with the name "Sk8ball". I think he knows a think or two about this game and what makes a deck a quality player, or not.

Skateball is Tom Sims (RIP) approved!

I had someone point out to me the glaring similarities between this layout and Williams Flash. While I acknowledge this similarity, these games are different enough to warrant a separate entity. Man... Steve Ritchie must be forever pissed with Claude Fernandez. Well, if you are gonna steal... steal from The King!
6 years ago
Great early 80's Bally! Great and rewarding shots!
6 years ago
Just like skateboarding on the street. Lots of crooks and crevices on the playfield to explore.
6 years ago
Skateball is a cool looking game concerning playfield & backglass. Even has great pop bumper caps. Cabinet artwork is ok, but could have been made awesome w/ a bit more effort. I like the gameplay & speed of play. Another excellent game from one of the greatest years of pinball -- 1980. I'd be happy to have one in a home collection.
6 years ago
Skateball is a great early SS game. Fairly straightforward rule set: 1) hit drop targets 2) build up your multiplier 3) earn that extra ball.

It's the younger brother to the legendary Flash. Personally, I like the theme and art on Skateball more than Flash. I realize I am in the minority on that one.

Skateball plays fast, has great flow, and is a drop target paradise! But, don't shoot at the middle bank. It's a sucker's shot where you're probably going to wind up with a ball straight down the middle.

It's unfortunate that Skateball does not have a multiball feature: if so, this game would be a MONSTER!

Unfortunately, lots of the playfields get really worn on the crossover plunger shot and in the orbit shot. I'm luck enough to have come across a NOS playfield to bring mine back to life.

It's hard to call Skateball underrated because those that have played it give it high praise. But, it is certainly not recognized as often as it could be.

It really is a great player. My first pin. When I bought it, I had no idea what I was buying. It's all been downhill from there :)
6 years ago
very underated
7 years ago
I love this machine...the colors, the "summer" theme, the many different shots, the on field specials, 1 mil. scoring so no annoying rollover issues, love the "ocean" background noises, 4 flippers, interesting ball launch path. Out lanes are different, and easier to save an otherwise drained ball with some nudging. Upper 3 bank drop targets are easy, whereas the "skate" bank has some tricky shots, saucer is a tough shot. That classic solid bally "feel".... this one is staying in the collection (unless I find one in even better condition!)
8 years ago
One of the first Bally games to have 1 million 7 digit scoring. A little busy on the rules but thats the nature of the game. Fast playing lots of scoring. I like the flipper button changes the lane lighting on the top. Pretty neat feature. You can set 4 sound variations, I picked the futristic sounds as it lends well to the game. Backglass is cool, the van sums up the period perfectly.

Cool game, not the most challenging. Looks great in your collection. I keep mine mainly because its a cool looking game. Backglass is cool late 70's. Don't really play it.
There are 26 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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