The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard

Pinside rating

This game received 204 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.803 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #88 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.991

Artwork: 7.383

Sounds/Music: 7.67

Other Aspects: 7.821

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 6 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 100 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 100 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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54 days ago
Overall a fun game that lasts.
5 months ago
The best Data East pinball machine! Nice modes, multiball and wizard mode. Better than 70% of Bally Williams machines!
7 months ago
I was surprised at how much is going on in this game. I felt that it was easy to get into and easy to unlock multi-ball, which is always nice after you played a brutal game (I had just put a bunch of games in on Iron Man). I didn't really dig the theme at all and that did hurt its appeal, but I still had fun despite that.
10 months ago
This is an outstanding game. It is in many ways very similar to TZ in the way it plays. No magnetic upper mini-playfield, but the blinders more than compensate on the coolness/fun scale. The blinders are absolutely an amazing addition, and there is such an abundance of after-market parts for this feature, there is no reason to worry about fixing or replacing them should any machine you're looking at have busted or missing ones. The blinders are used to great advantage with the 5.0 upgrade, a must if you own the game.

The shots and tasks of the game are demanding at times, but very doable. the Union Jack in the lower left quadrant of the game is the same basic idea behind the TZ door panels. You knock out each one to end up with the Wizard Mode being the last - huge scoring and six ball madness. The other modes rely on hitting various targets, ramps, and holes throughout the game. some are timed, some not - instead relying on keeping multi-ball alive, which can be great fun. Ramp shots are good and the right one is rather rewarding. Some bounce out issues with the VUK shot to the right, typically bouncing out about one in ten shots. The loop is smooth and the pop bumpers are very responsive. There is also a trapped ball one the lower right side of the playfield that can be really challenging to hit.

The sound was a hard thing to rate. I base my rating on having added new speakers and a Pinsound board. The original Who soundtrack mix is similar to the stock mix [which is also available through Pinsound], but is just great if you like a rock themed pin. The call outs are really clear and the dot matrix display graphics are well done. I'm looking forward to adding a color DMD, which I've seen and is an excellent option.

I switched to LED lighting and added a couple of additional spotlights. If you do this look for an EnerGI lighting board to smooth out your GI or be prepared for a potentially seizure inducing light show. There is at least one other GI smoothing board out there, but no matter which one, I'd suggest it or leaving in incandescent. The flashers are successfully integrated into playfield artwork. Ultimately, a really nice bright open playfield.

At the end of the day, a great pin with the ability to add some subtle upgrades [I also added mirror blades, which look great and fit into the whole mirror theme]. For me a keeper
1 year ago
Great multiball machine for early 90s.
1 year ago
Tough but very satisfying shots. The upper flipper shots are hard to hit but make all the difference when playing. Skill shot is also hard but cool. The giant plane is a nice touch and it doesn’t take up any space on the playfield.
Art and music are top notch and the blind mode is amazing!
One of data east best games
1 year ago
Tommy is one of my favorite DE games. Excellent layout, great animations, great rules, and pretty good art. Music could get a little repetitive though. Definitely a game that I Recommend.
1 year ago
Coming as a TFTC owner, Tommy seems to have a recycled layout and mechanics. As a music pin, this game suffers from its age more than others. The "blind" feature is pretty cool.
1 year ago
I always found this game beautiful, i mean BEAUTIFUL, superb. I bought it a few years ago under the pressure of a friend who commented on it as an unknown treasure of the masses.

I was really disappointed by the first games, I did not like the sound (I did not even know the Tommy album at that time) and the game seemed difficult for the neophyte player that I was then.

Over time I came to understand the awesome aspect of its gameplay. The ramps right is exhilarating to take, the Skillshot is really very tricky to master and the game can be extremely fast but always remaining balanced.

Attracted by the reputation of the Addams (this joke), I exchanged my game against a few years ago and I still regret it, what a stupid mistake! Especially for a game as bad as the Addams.

This great game that still sells today at a rate that is reasonable.

Certainly the best Data East but also simply one of the best DOT Matrix, those lucky enough to have one will understand my point of view.
1 year ago
I owned this game for many years and then stupidly sold it. It is actually a fantastic machine. It includes so many way cool thematic elements that it stays entertaining for a long time. It is not a dark war-like theme which is refreshing and very family friendly. It has scooters, airplanes, captive balls, and a retracting mirror that makes a cool metallic "ting" when hit. There are even blinders that cover the flippers during Tommy mode. The broadway translite is way better than the stock one. I changed mine out early on. Then it was perfect. On the downside, the electronics had an overheating problem and frequently burned out chips and transistors. Still, I wouldn't be deterred to own it again.
1 year ago
I remember many a day in my teens playing this game. So when I got back into pinball it was on my must have list. After playing a couple at Expos I realized just how tough the game is. I came across one last year and added to my basement. With the unofficial 5.0 code it's amazing. Balanced scoring for the really tough call outs, and the blinders come into play more often. DE has struggled with their "buzz" and this one is no exception due to bad grounding. The lighting (I am still tweaking mine) is fantastic and the call outs are easy to find/see. The build and outlanes make this game tougher than I remembered. Mine is incredibly fast with fresh wax and even on a bad game, I keep coming back for more. The theme and music are not for everyone, and to some it gets old. But for me, this one will never leave the house and I will keep pursuing the Pinball Wizard.
2 years ago
Tommy is a fun game that everyone in my family likes to play. I love The Who, so a pin based on the rock opera was always going to attract me. The game has a great flow, and every game is different due to the array of game modes/story lines. The quality of the sound is pretty low res, but add a sub and you will love it. Pop bumpers, ramps, video mode, skill shots, and a color DMD option. It has it all, and I will never sell mine.

Easy to add a Nvram, so no more batteries. Cliffys are available to protect the playfield.

Be a pinball wizard like Tommy!
2 years ago
Tommy is a fun game it has good sounds and music, cool toys, and good artwork. I just wish the main multiball was not so valuable.
2 years ago
Tommy is one of Data East's better games and it's not bad at all. There are lots of modes to play through and the dmd animations are quite good. The shots are fun and the rules are like any other mode-centric game, similar to Addams Family. The sound quality is quite low like other Data East games but it doesn't bother me much. Fun pin with a good variety in modes, a good theme, and fun shots.
2 years ago
Tommy is a great pinball that will suit the novice to the expert. It has enough of the WOW factors to keep your attention. The mini challenges, as well as the sound are top notch. However, some of the callouts do become repetitive.
Good flow of gameplay make this one a keeper. Also, the"blindfolds" that block the player's view of the flippers is fun. Makes it a bit challenging. The mirror is another cool feature too. One of Data East's best!
2 years ago
Good Data East title. Gary scrimped on the licencing and licenced the musical show, not the band. Still a cool game though.
2 years ago
One best pinball from data east!!
2 years ago
What do the following games have in common?
Flash Gordon

They are all ranked ahead of Tommy on Pinside.

I think that speaks volumes as far as the rankings are concerned.

Come play my Tommy all LED'd up nicely, with a perfect PF , blinders, switches, mirror...
and tell me it isn't a great game.

Oh then if you add a color DMD and a PInSound board with Studio Recordings by THe WHo - Julian Reorchestration file...
update the ROM's for updated scoring...
And this PIN elevates out of the Stratosphere...especially if you're a fan of the band.
2 years ago
A top notch, fun game. One of Data Easts finest.
2 years ago
For a game that should be one of the best in the world (in proportion to the ubiquitous and fame of the Pinball Wizard song from the freaky rock Opera "Tommy"), this game is the pits. The shots are super-clunky, and most of the mirror / gobble hole action on the upper PF is occluded from the player. And then there's the most annoying call outs on a machine since the "uh uh uh uh"' s of Xenon. "HOLIDAY DARLING!" and "READ ALL ABOUT IT, EXTRA BALL EXTRA BALL!!!!!" are so repetitive that I want to turn the sound off - which is extremely sad because this table is dedicated to a Rock Opera!

The one cool thing about this machine is that "blindfolds" that block the player's view of the flippers can be activated (they slide out of the apron) either by normal game play or by holding the lower button when hitting the start button. Sure, that is a fun gimmick, but I can do that with a towel, so even that feature can't save this game from a devastatingly bad rating. Booooo!
2 years ago
A good game that lacks some polish, but makes up for it with a solid layout, lots of modes, and a good theme.
3 years ago
This is the oldest machine I own. I tracked it down for a while and find it extremely addictive. Early example of LFS' code work and his future brilliance is there if you look for it. The new, better balanced scoring ROM is a nice upgrade.
3 years ago
This game feels like it is younger and is in many ways a worthy namesake for Tommy, and it is very "meta" of course in that it is a pinball about pinball in which your pinball emulates the pinball player who ... you get the idea. This machine would be at the top of the charts but for one thing: its theme tie-in to the musical vs to the Who. Nobody wants to hear the Broadway rendition of these songs and frankly the feel of the machine needs to be darker to go with the awesome shots and speed of the game play. Really rewards a good player.
3 years ago
I just slapped in Chad's new code and also the Color DMD and it made this really good game great! I really like the Who so maybe I am biased a bit, but the blinders coupled with the dropping mirror and propellers are some pretty nice features on the game. The skill shot is crazy tough for me, maybe I need a better plunger/spring though. The mirrored pinball topper with Tommy written on top of the backbox is a cool touch. I agree that some of those outlanes are frustrating as the ball always seems to find them regardless how level the game is. The CPT Walker video mode sucks but it is better with the new code. Also the scoring is a bit more balanced now too. If you have a Who fan in the house they will love this game even though it is based off the musical - kind of a weird creepy kind of play in my opinion. Especially when you hit the jackpot and there are some psycho clowns with balloons grinning you down. It is even creepier when you have had a bit to drink, or some funny mushrooms, with the colored display. Give it a go!
3 years ago
This game looks great and is addictive. At first, I wasn't sure about it, but now that I have had it for a few months, it is one of my favorite games. I have never seen the movie or play, so it's tough to say whether the pinball machine does it justice. I love the layout, sounds, game play and variety. It is also by far the coolest looking game in my collection.
There are 100 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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