The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard (Data East, 1994)

The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard

Pinside rating

This game received 206 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.797 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #81 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.941

Artwork: 7.434

Sounds/Music: 7.778

Other Aspects: 7.809

Rating comments

There are 96 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 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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68 days ago
Great multiball machine for early 90s.
4 months 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
6 months 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.
9 months 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.
11 months 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.
11 months 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.
11 months 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.
1 year 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!
1 year 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.
1 year 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.
1 year 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!
1 year ago
Good Data East title. Gary scrimped on the licencing and licenced the musical show, not the band. Still a cool game though.
1 year ago
One best pinball from data east!!
1 year 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.
1 year ago
A top notch, fun game. One of Data Easts finest.
1 year 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.
2 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.
2 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.
2 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!
2 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.
2 years ago
BEST MUSIC PIN! - I give this high rating, but it is for a game that is freshly shopped with latest coding, pinsound board with Julien re-orchestration, an external sub, and shaker. I didn't enjoy this game when it had poor sound without the Who, weak flippers and non functional controlled lamps - real easy fixes though!

Find a game with these modifications and you will be hooked. You come back for the play and the music. So many shots are very enjoyable to make on this gem.

Another pin that the kids and wife enjoy too!
2 years ago
great game want to get one soon
2 years ago
I loved the DMD animations. I liked the music and thought it was a solid game but it bored me a bit. Solid game but do not think it will be a keeper.
3 years ago
I get "Pinball Wizard" a lot, but they more than likely have never heard about this machine before. Tommy is a great playing game. While having a bit less sound quality than Williams, there is a great ruleset within the game, similar to that of Addams Family, and a great Multiball feature as well.
There are 96 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 4.

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