Theatre of Magic

Pinside rating

This game received 942 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.443 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #19 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.612

Artwork: 8.571

Sounds/Music: 7.951

Other Aspects: 8.46

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 10 of us have rated this game.


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Found 503 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 503 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 6 of 21.

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4 years ago
This is a great game. Played it for years and still. Very fast and fun but not easy to complete (up to The Grand Finale) this game. Love the gaming rules.
4 years ago
Great game play
4 years ago
This is my favorite game of all time. I love the trunk and multiball mode. There are several game modes that keep you entertained. Have never owner this game, but have spent lots of money playing it over the years, have driven far away to play it, and it will be in my collection someday.
4 years ago
This is one of those pins that makes you feel like you are a better player than you are. I loved this machine when I was first learning how to play. I instantly wanted one and still do. That being said, it does have a number of flaws that leave it overrated in my opinion. Going for the magic trunk over and over gets old. Also not a fan of how easy it is to start MB. The call outs get old and the wizard mode is kind of a joke. I still have fun playing this pin but it gets old.
4 years ago
Another one of John Popadiuk's overrated pinball machines by new players whose rating is skewed on PinSide.

The game is an AMAZING piece of (f)art (for collectors).
I did decide to keep a NOS translite on my wall as a keepsake.
Artwork does not equal a good pinball machine, folks, go study some pinball from PAPA and come back after watching around 50 videos, and you will change your mind.

A VERY WEAK ruleset that appeals to people who "think" they are pinball aficionados.
It has the ruleset depth of a rain puddle that you will know from memory in less than 20 games.
Do not get me wrong, it is NOT a bad game, however Capcom's Pinball Magic (PM) makes ToM look like it has its pants around its ankles, and getting spanked repeatedly the whole time.
PM has better "tricks" too, immediately starting with the "skill shot", and it just keeps getting better from there.

This game is notorious for magnetizing balls and getting them stuck all over the game including just below the trunk, not just the trough. It really sucks when you have to constantly jiggle the game to play it.

99% of all people who play/own this machine really like the game...for the first 100 games or so.
Then they realize the game is just "shoot the trunk", "shoot the ramp", and "shoot the trapdoor".
After that they go, "what was I thinking"? (Insert Bill Engvall)

If you own the game, you WILL eventually get tired of it, and sell it off hopefully for equal or more than you paid for it in the first place as the prices rise to pass it off to the next new collector, and then the cycle begins anew. It has been that way for 2 decades with no sign of stopping. History proves me right. (See the review below...)

I owned mine for over 4 years as a serious collector, mostly for the artwork and the fact it is a good game for beginners or non-pinball guests, and then let it move on down the river...for profit.

Good overall shot flow on the ramps and orbits.
Good DMD animations, excellent sound, classic Popadiuk "windup" to MB, and then POOF! that is it.
The music starts looping again.
The artwork saves this game from being a 7.5 or less overall.

Absolutely one of the WEAKEST wizard modes in the history of pinball, for those that actually have one in the code.
There is NO "Grand Finale", it is a joke, and can be obtained with very little practice.
Some people do not even know they played it, let alone completed the game.
It is almost like Jeff Johnson said "ah $#%@ it, they will play the game anyway, who cares about a wizard mode".

"Must play"? Yes.
"Must own"? No.
"Deep gameplay"? 1 * 10^6 HA + HA.
"Must be a 9+ out of 10"? No $#%@ing way.

Bottom line, go buy a Capcom Pinball Magic.
It is $3000+ cheaper and 10X the overall game value.

"You have the MAGIC"!
Actually, it does not, and if you rate this machine 10/10, you have been collecting for less than 4 years, decided live in your parent's basement or at the top of a mountain as a hermit, or have just not sold the machine yet. You will.
Get out of your basement and stop fapping on this machine.
"Fap, fap, fap, this game feels so good, fap, fap, fap".
4 years ago
The machine is a work of art.
4 years ago
I've owned a TOM for the last 2 years. It is boring. It will be the first game I replace in my collection. Hitting the trunk all the time gets old. The use of magnets is great. I don't understand why it is ranked so high, but when I go to sell it that will help my profit.
4 years ago
Sure the trunk is cool and I like the visual effect of the mirror in the back, but it gets a bit repetitive and doesn't pull me in the way many of the other top games do.
4 years ago
Loved having this game and kept it for quite a long time. If I didn't have room/budget restraints this would never have left. Good fun fast and flowing with great rule set for all type players.
4 years ago
another great game ,great ramps , rules,trunk is sweet,another machine that is a keeper if i can get one at a decent price,skill shot is jus alright the only bad in my opinion but i still want one someday,play it, if you find one somewhere you will love it,i cant find a good one to play in the wild anymore,so sad!
4 years ago
Loved playing it in the late 90s so much fun, and now I own one and I'm still loving it.. I'm a big fan of the Bally and Williams pins..
4 years ago
This game is a blast (from the past) to play! The trunk shooting can be boring in the long run, but many other machines have worse "bashing" toys. Love the magnet save and shooting onto the trunk magnet for multiball.
4 years ago
For sure one of the "must have" of Bally !
4 years ago
A bit overpriced. However nice game fun too.
4 years ago
There are a handful of pins as good, but none better. Deep gameplay, perfectly executed theme that everyone loves, beautiful flow, gorgeous art... Theatre of Magic has it all. I've owned mine since 1999 and while I've sold many others, I'll never sell my ToM.
4 years ago
I absolutely love this game!!! If I were only allowed to own one pin this would be one of my top three choices. If prices ever decide to come back down to planet earth I will add one to the collection.
4 years ago
I play this one often, and it goes nicely with a Circus voltaire (about same theme) and maybe pinball magic.

-I like smashing the big trunk
-Game layout nicely balanced with plenty of shots
-Trunk shot is nice
-Outlanes magnets are nice

-The lane around the trunk is designed to make it drain instantly through the middle if you shoot it hard. Just like with Circus Voltaire. WHY?? What a frustration
-Smashing trunk can lead to drains, although not that often
-Outlane magnets often dont work that good. If the ball goes a little fast it drains anyway
4 years ago
This is probably the pin that started it all for me. I played plenty of games before this but nothing kept my attention quite like this game. Growing up in the 90s, whenever I saw this one I had to play it. Classic John Popadiuk smart game design. The game music and sound really draws you into the experience. The trunk bash toy is the centerpiece, the spirit ring is cool but seems a bit unnecessary. The basement kickout/scoop is the best piece on here. The rules are simple to understand but it takes a lot of work to complete all the objectives with only 3 balls. A true classic, when pinball was at it's original climax.
4 years ago
This is a great game. Another true Popadiuk game (I'm not talking about his recent endeavours). Playfield/cabinet artwork and theming are great. It takes a while to get the hang of the gameplay, and sometimes balls are over quick, but in other cases they don't seem to end, and you'll have lots of fun.

The trunk could have been used a little less, I think the gameplay revolves around it a tad too much, but I could be worse. A cool feature is the ball save in the outlanes, that uses magnets to pull the ball back in gameplay. Unfortunately they do not work with fast balls.

The tiger saw captured ball is so satisfying to hit!
4 years ago
What a beauty, the only thing to complain about is the "Grand Finale" is kinda lame? And the same call out "You have the magic "gets old after a thousand times!
4 years ago
The theme of this title drew me in right away. One of my favorite original themes, TOM just leaves me totally satisfied each time I play it.
4 years ago
I really enjoy Theatre of Magic, and it's highly regarded for a reason. It's a table that's simple for pretty much anybody to get into, but there are some tricky shots that need to be made to maximize score in a more efficient way. I feel like this table gets a little buried underneath tables like Medieval Madness or even Cirqus Voltaire, but I think it stands up pretty well. If I were to criticize anything about this table it'd probably be the redundant and at times cheesy sound, but the table plays very well as a whole. It's always nice to play a pinball machine that has a somewhat deep ruleset that is easy to follow, and with a playfield that very clearly shows what shots need to be made next.
4 years ago
Some animation, including the "BOX" was not working, but I got the gist of the game. I have seen before but unable to play working model. I feel that if maintained could be fun for years to come.
4 years ago
TOM is another one of those pretty girls that is popular for exactly one reason. Looking good. Classic JPop flow...the shots really fly around on the ramps which give you this smooth warm fuzzy feeling inside. The sounds and lighting are excellent and compliment the theme. Overall, it's an extremely well executed theme.

I've had the chance to get quite a few games on TOM (50+) and this is another top 5-10 that really comes up short in the rules and depth department. It comes down to shooting the orbit and going for MB. Rinse and repeat.. sure you could go for the grand finale but it's completely trumped by racking up combo shots at 2,4,6,8,10 etc etc. million and possibly the X multiplier without over exposing yourself and completely losing control. TOM suffers from the linear OP (overpowered) strategy. Nothing else in the game is worth as much as pegging the left orbit over and over and over.

This is my opinion and I'm sure people love playing TOM but I can't really get past the scoring because that's what I play pinball for...high scores that require skill and challenge. This is another snooze fest waiting to happen once you break this one down. If I'm playing for high scores then I'm going left orbit all day. ZzzzzZzzzZzz. It's really a shame once you start to figure out the exploits and it can ultimately ruin a game you've always wanted in your collection. At this point I couldn't ever justify the price tag this one commands. Top 50 maybe....

AS one fellow pinsider would put it:

4 years ago
When I first approached Theatre of Magic, I thought, "There seems to be an awful lot of empty space on the lower playfield." I thought maybe the designers were cutting corners or going for a minimalist style. But after I played it a few times, I realized what all that space is for: 2 speedy orbits, 2 ramps, the "box," and some other well placed features.

First, any game that does tricks with magnets (especially off the surface of the PF, e.g., on the side of the "box") usually wins some points with me for ingenuity (Dracula, X-Men, etc.). I found the skill shot challenging but fun to try for - I like how the release of the ball determines the prize.

I also liked call-outs ("I'm a great magician" - just me!!!), and the art.

The captive balls (usually another feature I like to see implemented well) are so-so, and the multiball was challenging for me.

I'd recommend this game to anyone, and I'll probably put it on my top 25 want-to-own list.
There are 503 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 6 of 21.

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