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Pinside rating

This game received 27 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.051 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #259 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.234

Artwork: 6.959

Sounds/Music: 6.099

Other Aspects: 7.047

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has 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 17 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 17 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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1 year ago
I've played this game on several occasions at the Museum of Pinball in Banning.
Really interesting and unique game thats basically a hybrid of a pinball machine in an arcade cabinet.
It features some pretty interesting innovations, like using a mirror in a similar manner to early arcade games like Space Invaders to give the illusion of vertical game play.

Keep in mind that this came out in kind of an experimental era.
This came out in 1982, the same year as games like Baby PacMan and Caveman with integrated arcade monitors and the following year Joust pinball was released.
All of these are somewhat oddities of the era and highly sought after by collectors.

As far as gameplay, I find the game quite enjoyable.
The use of joysticks to control the flippers actually works fairly well once you get used to it.
The sounds are cool, as is the overall look and fell of the machine.

The low production and survival rate adds to the overall mystique and desirability of the game.
Certainly not a game for someone just looking to put a few pins in their home.
A great conversation and collectors piece, not an everyday player.
2 years ago
Seriously cool and unique game. Really neat technology for the time it was made. Feels great to play. Only put two games on it so I’m unsure if it would get boring after a while.
2 years ago
A great bucket-list game to play if you can find it in the wild.

The joysticks are actually fairly responsive and make for an unique interface with the game. Unlike what others have said, you can easily accomplish lane changes without taking your hand off of the joystick - you just need to tap the buttons with your thumbs. Did Demolition Man steal its control configuration from Varkon? Probably not...but, still!

A bright display helps with the enjoyment of this game - when it is dim, the game feels less intense.

Ranking this among other pinball machines isn't fair any more than ranking a video game pinball would be appropriate, and yet here I am. I think it is fun to play. Will I ever own one? Nope! However, if anybody wants to store theirs at my house, I'll keep it safe and show it some love.
2 years ago
Fun for a play or two when you see one in person. Not a game that justifies it's own price tag (obviously due to rarity). Williams knew what they were doing when they pulled the plug on this...not enough long-term appeal for players.
3 years ago
Varkon is a seriously cool novelty game. Its concept is flawed, which is why so few got made.

It sits in a cab that is identical to the ones used in video games dating from the early 80s. The pin table is reflected in a mirror, so you look at a vertical playfield. This is kind of eerie.

As you flip using up-down joysticks, you feel a bit disconnected from the game. It has very few solenoids in it, so you do not get the sense of vibration you do from most pinball machines. So it actually feels like you are playing a video game rather than a pinball machine.

It also has a countdown to the ball release, there is no plunger. Lane changes are done on separate left and right circuits using regular arcade cab buttons. So you have to let go of the flipper joysicks to lane change.

It has a second mini playfield too. To get big points you have to get all 4 top standups, then shoot the ramp to the mini playfield. Spend as much time as you can in the mini playfield as you cannot drain from here. Completing the lanes also enhances your score. This game is end of ball bonus heavy.

Weirg game. Weird controls. Weird scoring. Weird art. The world was a better place when folk experimented with stuff like this
3 years ago
Unique game, but a clunker. If you like having unique stuff, get one. Otherwise, pass. Not fun at all. Played in league and would rather never play it again.
4 years ago
Got to play one of these rare games, good fun but I can see why they only made 90 - I don't think they would have lasted in arcades long. If you see one, play it! Interesting playfield mounted in an arcade game cabinet that is multi level and you play in a mirror.
4 years ago
Unique pinball machine that at first appears to be a video arcade game due to cabinet design.
Flippers operated by up/down joystick handles on front of cabinet, instead of flipper buttons in std position on side of cabinet.
High marks for artwork and theme.
I like the game design, game play, and fun factor.
Look forward to seeing it be used in a pinball tournament someday. :-)
4 years ago
A couple thoughts about my ranking: the play field layout is so strange and unique I ranked it a six since there really isn't any other layout like this kind, I have no reference of comparison. Also, the game doesn't really have a back glass per se, it is a 1/3 size translight like you would see on video games, the artwork is good but it is on such a small surface that it is hard to detail it much for ranking purposes.

Obviously this game is non-traditional in that it is a stand up arcade and you are playing with joysticks off a mirrored reflection designed to make you feel that you are playing a vertical pinball machine. The effects on the game with the lightening and floating scores are just straight up super cool.

The game is hard to find since not many exists and most of the ones that do exist are in rough condition. The game is hard to find parts for. The game is really pretty though, first class artwork and I like the mini play field, it remains me of an early 80's version of the ACDC miniplayfield. The left ramp is a challenging shot. I'm still struggling to figure out the lane change rules.
4 years ago
Very unusual game but it gets a A+++
5 years ago
I am fortunate enough to have played this game more often than the average player. Some say the novelty wears thin after a few plays, but I absolutely love this game and have never tired of it.
5 years ago
The appeal is in the rarity and novelty. Looks pretty cool, but I think it would get old quick.
5 years ago
Great unique game. I wish there were more games with this platform, would help with space a great deal.
7 years ago
Talk about a unique and rare game. It is a shame more of these were not made as they would fit in a lot of places where you simply can't put a regular pin. I think the game is fun and the shots are challenging. The downers with this game is it is obviously very simple and it is not a good multiplayer game or particularly a good game for someone to watch someone else play. I'd like one in my collection anyway though.
7 years ago
Varkon is a throwback to games like spooksville with 80's design and tech.

The Pros:
A nice novelty for it's time. The joysticks as flipper buttons make for interesting play. Look DEEEEP into Varkon. Second PF is nicely done. Using the joysticks to flip takes a bit to get used to, but is an interesting part of the fun.

The Cons:
Unfortunately, the novelty gets old quick. The copy I played on could not get the ball up the ramp with the flipper strength it had. Will revise ratings if I get another chance to play (and that's a big IF) a game where I can get to the lower PF. Yes the ops want less square footage taken up by a game, but this just doesn't play that well.

The Takeaway:
Pinball disguised as a video game isn't fooling anyone.
9 years ago
A neat little novelty pin. It's definitely worth checking out, but I'm not sure about shelling out the bucks it would take to own it. The gameplay is pretty solid and the lower playfield is a fun objective, but there's just not a lot of room to bash the ball around on the small playfields. It is good for some quick 1-on-1 matches. The cabinet is just flat black so it's not much to look at unless you are looking into the machine.
9 years ago
Fantastic design and great fun in a collection but I wouldn't want to play it every day.
There are 17 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 1.

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