Pinside rating

This game received 601 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.134 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #62 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 8.334

Artwork: 7.882

Sounds/Music: 7.384

Other Aspects: 8.41

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 8 of us have rated this game.


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Found 332 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 332 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 14.

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86 days ago
While this game can be brutal and offers no ball saves, the layout, sounds and overall gameplay make it a tremendous title, even in 2023. But ESPECIALLY in 1989! I've owned this game previously and decided to get a replacement with a new playfield and sideart and I am very pleased.
3 months ago
“Looks like rain!”

Even after nearly 100 recent plays on Whirlwind, I still feel like the pin is a very challenging one. The shots are straightforward, but the spinning discs add a whole lot of chaos, and can easily derail your game, especially with the unforgiving side alleys.

Scoring is a bit uneven, as the million ramp becomes a direct way to rack up chunks of points, while other missions don’t yield as much. Difficulty is high, but fun.

The topper is amazing, and the art is peak.
4 months ago
This was my favorite game in the early 90's so I went and picked one up used. It is very much as I remember it, which is to say a total combination of fun and frustrating! It had some cool innovations when released, the biggest being the spinning tornado discs that can throw your ball in various directions. Definitely has a retro feel to it now, which is cool, but the shots do get tiresome after a bit. The only way to really score is to land the Million/Million + side ramp with the upper right flipper, but it is a real challenge as the ramp is steep and you don't get a lot of opportunities. The music and call outs are repetitive but that is okay, as the game is still a ton of fun. The topper is still the best in the business and the outlanes are absolutely brutal! All in all I am happy with the purchase and plan on keeping it in my office for awhile.
5 months ago
Whirlwind is my favorite System 11 game and one of Pat Lawlor's best designs. The spinning discs and extra set of slingshots have you constantly fighting for control, making this game fast and difficult. There is a good mix of stop-and-go (moving the storm) and flow (the 3-way combo is extremely satisfying) that test your skills and keep you engaged. I'd love to own one some day, and when I do, it will probably never leave my collection.

I'm not a fan of the Total Chaos 2.0 code or art, the original game is perfect.
5 months ago
Feel the power of the wind! Swoosh swoosh swoosh… knocker. I remember playing this as a kid so it definitely has the nostalgia factor for me. It is a Pat Lawlor classic and arguably the best system 11 game ever made. The multi ball left ramp jackpot shot never gets old and I’m always thrilled when I hit it. Sometimes I can beat it within 10 minutes which makes me start thinking it’s time to trade it. Then there are other times when I play it and can’t beat it so… there’s that. Whenever the kids come around they seem to gravitate to this one. That’s probably because it’s on the easier side and it has a lot of cool fun features. To be honest I keep it in my lineup for that fact and for the nostalgia. If it wasn’t for those reasons I would probably trade it in for something with deeper code. Definitely not knocking this game… it is a lot of fun and a classic for a reason. I’ve just played the hell out of it.
10 months ago
My favorite game from this era by far. Funhouse gets the love but I'd take Whirlwind over it any day of the week. The theme integration of the fan and spinning disks are great. The disks and 6!! pops add chaos factor. Very satisfying variety of shots, especially the side ramp jackpot, but the ball lock shot when diverted feels great as well. Great use of standups between other shots as key targets to advance toward multiballs. Rules are straightforward compared to a modern pin but great for the era. I like the cabinet and playfield art a lot but don't love the backglass art. Good setup is key, especially with ball guides, or orbit shot likes to brick stdm
11 months ago
"Uh-oh, looks like rain!"
11 months ago
The best part of this machine is the layout. Lawlor just nailed this one. Every possible angle is a shot, and this one makes use of all of them. Satisfying shots AND combinations are readily had. Choice of ramps and target progression keeps things moving and is very rewarding. This game just gives and gives. Theme integration and music are very strong. Possibly the pinnacle of System 11 pinball.
12 months ago
This is a fun game. The fan and spinning discs on the playfield do help you immerse yourselves in the theme. The million point shot (upper flipper sideways ramp) is still satisfying to hit *every* time. The multi-ball is challenging and rewarding. A good balance. The game is still fun and one of the best games from it's era. The biggest annoyances are some of the repetitions of the callouts, hitting the scoops a little too much, and isn't setup right, some bad drains via orbit shots.

Game is enhanced (for me) with LEDs and you won't burn your eyes out if you upgrade. Not always the case for S11 games.
1 year ago
Whirlwind is one of my favorite games, of any kind, of all time. I am sure it has a bit to do with my age, but the sounds in this pin literally make me smile. There is something perfect about every aspect of the layout of the music and the sounds that accompany every piece of the game play that are immersive and enjoyable. It makes for an interesting comparison to say Addams Family that I want to love, but it seems to become overbearing and repetitive with the audio. I won’t pretend that Whirlwind doesn’t have repetition, it just always feels fun when you hear it. This table is simply every aspect of the experience I want to have when I play. It seems to hold the test of time as my kids love it as well.

This was absolutely a must have in my collection. A pure classic!!
1 year ago
LOOKING TO BUY A DIAMOND PLATED OR VERY GOOD WHIRLWIND! Please send me any leads to people looking to sell! Updated. 11/30/23

HERE IT COMES! Whirlwind is my favorite pinball machine. It has just enough going on to make it fun and hard to play while not cluttering the playfield. This is a punishing game if you’re missing shots. I love the playfield art and light show one of the best in my opinion. The cellar door is a little repetitive but still a hard/dangerous shot. This machine has one of the best multi balls and hardest shots once you get there. The spinning disks make the playfield even harder and fan blowing makes you feel the like you’re in the game. The extra balls are a little easy but the drains on this game make up for it. You can also progress through the table and before multi ball you can get the million ramp shot bonus then stack it on the multi ball 2 million. While also topping another million and once you hit a few. It’s basically like a super Jackpot. Very fun, punishing, high replay value and entertainment. I decided I had to have this one.

Update: 4 months later

I quit this game for a while and came back now that I’m a better player I love this game even more. The ramp shot is butter and the jackpot has to be a top 5 shot in all of pinball. When you hit it you get a great sound award the only think that would be better is if it had a shaker for the thunder. Honestly I’ll be selling mine to get a fully restored one to bolt to the floor. If you see this and have a diamond playfield or are selling a brand new restored one let me know. I’d be interested. This is better and more challenging than funhouse. I think two things I would change would widen the left lane to be a skill shot with an award and make the shooter lane in play somehow but I understand they didn’t do this back in the day. God I love this game!
1 year ago
The biggest attraction on this one was the spinning disc in the middle and the fan topper that would blow on you. I didnt think about it back in the day but I wonder what kind of wear that disc did to the pinballs? Wasnt a very complex game, but definitely one that you can easily enjoy
1 year ago
Its a classic. I love when the fan blows. One of the best OG toppers.
1 year ago
very good pinball with it's 3 discs and it's 6 bumper the game is nice super I recommend it
1 year ago
Played several times at Pinball Republic, Croydon, London.

I found it bland. The layout feels weirdly bare and the playfield artwork is functional at best. I wasn’t remotely excited by the spinning disks nor the fan topper (my five-year-old son loved the fan). After playing, I thought maybe I’d missed something, so I watched a PAPA tutorial and, again, I couldn’t even finish the video because it was too dull to watch.

I’m sure this was fun and innovative when it came out, but it feels like it hasn’t aged well at all. It feels like a thousand other pinball machines, but with a cooling fan on a hot day.
1 year ago
This is one of the best System 11's for sure, but it has a few annoyances that keep me from wanting to own one again. I owned a diamond plate version for a few years. The main annoyance for me is the cellar holes. The balls just go in there WAY too often, and the audio that goes with it gets just as annoying. The nice things about this game are the artwork, there are some satisfying shots, especially the combo. I think there might be a 5 way combo that the software recognizes if I remember correctly? The loop shots are great also. Overall this is a good game, maybe a great game even, but I'd be happy if I never hit a cellar shot again for the rest of my life.
1 year ago
One of Lawlor’s best!
1 year ago
One of the first pin i played when i was a teen and the first one i bought when i started my collection. Very nice playfield design and a more complex ruleset than any of the other system 11 machines which greatly improve the lastability.
1 year ago
The best System 11 game around. Lots of variation in shots, you can keep playing with simple shots but there are difficult ones as well. The spinning discs on the playfield keep things interesting. The theme is fun and the fan on top is really cool (pun intended) The biggest knock I would have is it is an impossible game to play if it's not taken care of. Weak flippers make the game miserable.
1 year ago
I played this machine when I was a kid in the 90s at a Pizza place. It's in my Wishlist because it's part of the good memories of my childhood. However, this game has grown on me. Not only is it a classic diner pinball machine, but it has 6 pop bumpers and not 3.
2 years ago
Love this game
2 years ago
Whirlwind is an excellent game. The topper and spinning discs integrate well with the theme. The lightning show is also great. Gameplay is a lot of fun. There is plenty to do and the rules seems advanced for the era. The layout is similar to Earthshaker. I owned both and decided to keep Whirlwind. The callouts are fun. Overall just a really enjoyable game.
2 years ago
Good game.
2 years ago
Did not like this machine,not as good as others in same ranking.
2 years ago
Really great and fun game. The sounds are wonderful, with some very catchy music and callouts. Maybe some more callouts would be nice to let the player know where to shoot or what happens during a game. Layout and shots are nearly perfect, everything feels really smooth and flowy. The only thing I don't like is the dropdown target that goes into the pops, that feels like a slow down to me. Also the target in front of the upper pops feels a bit boring. I like how the topper actually interacts with the game and player, really nice idea. The theme is also a great original one and blends everything together very nicely.

The only downside for me is the shallowness of the rules. Getting the wind directions to start multiball gets repetitive, and after achieving the Super Cellar Door Value there's not much more to go for than another Super Cellar. I wish there was some more progression to work towards, but since it's a System 11 this has to be viewed in its own timeframe.
There are 332 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 14.

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