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Pinside rating

This game received 562 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.088 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #52 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.26

Artwork: 7.896

Sounds/Music: 7.367

Other Aspects: 8.368

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 9 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 296 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 296 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 12.

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29 days ago
This game is fantastic. Love the super cellar awards working towards mega door bonus and 3 distinct multiball modes. Million plus ramp jackpot is very satisfying and although not worth many points the 3 way combo is my favorite shot when I can manage to make it to hear the air raid siren. The spinning disc add a randomness that makes sure no 2 games are exactly alike! Easily the best system 11 that was ever made!
32 days ago
Definitely my favorite system 11 games of all time. The shots are butter and I love the unlimited score you can make on this pin.
49 days ago
One of the greats.
81 days ago
The fan will never get old. “Looks like rain” will be forever in your head after playing this game.
3 months ago
This is the 2nd or 3rd pin I owned and it was the first I got really obsessed with. I think I have played this more than any other pin simply because it is so easy and fun to play. There is nothing bad about this pin and I end every game wanting to play another. It is hard to review because there is nothing specific about it that is great but the combination of everything is great.

It is obviously (Pat Lawler Design) very similar to Addams family in layout and I like the two about equal. Whirlwind is a much better value.

If someone comes over and doesn't have any pinball experience this is the machine I start them on. That being said I still play it and love it.

But to be complete here are my Pros and Cons:


Great Layout - The shots and 3rd flipper are classic. All the shots are smooth and satisfying.

Rules - This is a great rule set. The multiball goals are clear but challenging. The wizard mode is awesome. Super well balanced. Fun on easy and extra hard setting. This is the steak and potatoes of pinball.

Easy? - So, on mine. It rarely drains to the outlanes and it has a center post. A good player could play all day on this. The goals are challenging but the play is pretty friendly. I learned many ball handling techniques on mine (dead bounce, live stop etc) because it is really generous to the player. I would say this is a con but as my skills have improved I still enjoy playing it...


Theme - Firstly, I think the theme is really well done and integrated. However, it is still about the weather.... It is fine, the callouts are good and it is fun. Sometimes it is nice to have an original theme but it is not the Avengers.

Toys? - So not a big deal but the toys are pretty innocuous. I thought the playfield spinners would be crazy to deal with but actually they rarely effect gameplay. The fan is "fun" but I turn it off in winter and on in summer.

Too Easy? - So I listed easy as a pro, but also it will probably not challenge an experienced player. I would recommend this highly to someone starting in the hobby but if you have 10 pins this might underwhelm you.

Overall, I love this pin but it is what it is. Highly recommend as a value pin to someone starting out but no real surprises for someone experienced.
3 months ago
Such an amazing pin for 1990!!
Fast and fun, great theme and amazing art throughout!
Love the skill-shot type ball launches and this has a tough one.
Will never part with mine!
3 months ago
This game rocks. Full on Midwest. Love the accents, reminds me of home.
4 months ago
I've watched the forum/classifieds for awhile and would notice a lot of wanted ads for Whirlwind. . . I also noticed when one was listed for sale it would sell quickly if priced reasonably. As an Earthshaker owner I decided to keep watch for one for sale in my area and after about a year I brought home a Whirlwind.

Simply put, this game is fun to play.

I seem to like "generic" themes, and crazy weather is just as good as any for a pinball machine. The playfield is bright and colorful, as is the cabinet and backglass. Playfield art is attractive and is probably my favorite area of the three -- important as that is what you are looking at 90% of the time. The best part of the cabinet is the topper -- possibly one of the best toppers in pinball -- because you actually feel a breeze on your face as you play.

Sounds are good -- the music is catchy and there is enough variety to keep things from getting old. I could do with a little less hillbilly voice though. Well looky here. . . .

Plenty of lighting and flashers (lights flashing = lightning) to keep with the theme. I've played a number of games with the room lights off and it was a bit dark around my upper flipper -- it could just be my game though.

A variety of shots and ramps are well placed around the playfield to keep the player on his toes. More than once I've hit the upper orbit with the upper flipper only to have the ball fly around and drain before I could flip it again. I'm working on that -- really want to score the triple combo. ;)
The ramp diverter is cool. . . and of course there are the spinning discs on the playfield (grippy decals a must). The sight/sound of the discs spinning and how they influence the ball is/are exciting and sometimes frustrating too!

I can see why this game is so often paired up with Earthshaker. They do seem to be made for each other -- too bad there is not a way to link them together! I'm glad I decided to add a Whirlwind to the collection. . . and now I know why they never seem to last very long on the marketplace :).
4 months ago
Another great Williams system 11 game!
4 months ago
A great System 11 game, second only to Earthshaker & Taxi. Shoots well and easy to follow rules. Keeps you coming back for more.
5 months ago
A truly great game. Everyone should own this at least once in their lifetime. Has a very nice layout, with satisfying shots. Has some of the best/deepest rules of any system 11. The way you work your way to ball-locks and eventually a storm multi-ball feels very mode-like. The flashing shots change from ball-lock to ball-lock, forcing you to make a variety of different shots. Plunge is great allowing for a challenging skillshot with a psuedo-ballsave, or a loop around the orbit to the upper flipper.

Topper fan and spinning playfield discs are very fun, as is the moving ramp and the double scoops. Fan feels great in a hot room--I wish more pins had fan toppers! Jackpot shot through the left ramp from the upper-flipper always feels great. Not much that you can complain about really. Doesn't have as much depth as newer pins, but more depth than most pre-DMD games, and it feels great to shoot.

Layout was so good that Pat Lawlor largely re-used it for TAF, and DataEast basically copied/stole it again for their Jurassic Park.
6 months ago
Whirlwind is my first owned pin.

I couldn’t get away from this game at the arcade and was excited to bring it home.

This is a good pin for beginners and keeps more experienced players engaged. The super cellar door is challenging and brings on an exciting mode when all seven are achieved.
6 months ago
Had this game for almost 20 years and still love it.
6 months ago
In my opinion, one of the best of the oldies
very very cool. not a lot of modes, but so fun ! I am absolutely a fan of this windy game
7 months ago
A game I will own again one day. My favorite system 11 sold to buy a LOTR. Great music, cool topper, spinning discs, and awesome side ramp shot with a set up shot via lift ramp. Only criticism would be in a small collection a good player can get bored as with any older game.
8 months ago
Love this game.

Unique playfield layout and gimmicks, scoring pretty easy to understand and follow. Casual and serious players find it an enjoyable machine.
9 months ago
Didn't dig it. In a line up with similarly rated games I only played it like 3 times. Didn't care for it. The spinning discs just piss you off. Fan is gimmicky even if it is part of the theme. Cool I guess.

Wasn't feeling it.
9 months ago
This is the first pin I started on when I began playing pinball. It was the only 50 cent machine at LVL UP in Campbell, CA, so it was the best/cheapest candidate for losing games over and over as a beginner. Balll saves are very seldom, and the gameplay can be a little unforgiving if you are a new player. It's easy to drain balls if you are just starting out but the more I've played, the more I think this is a pretty fair table. As I play more machines, I still keep coming back to Whirlwind. It's fast, fun, and challenging. There are popular tables that are easy to play even with poor understanding of the rulesets, but Whirlwind requires accurate aiming and flipper skill to progress. It's fun everytime I play, and I also think it's a good introduction to pinball as hard as it can be.
9 months ago
Looks like rain! One of the disaster theme pins, with a fan topper that turns on when you starts the storm. Start with the skill shot for up to 300,000 points, then use the lit compass directions to help identify what targets to hit to start the storm. The three spinning disks randomize ball trajectories.
The callouts are ok but a little repetitive, the music is a little annoying IMO. Overall, it’s a solid Pat Lawlor System 11 game that is a lot of fun to play.
11 months ago
Has its challenges. Playfield is packed with ramps and hills. Loaded with lot's of goodies. Unique playfield with lots of twists and surprises...
11 months ago
I'm not much of a fan of the rotating discs on playfields ala Fireball and TMNT. It makes shot accuracy impossible which takes a ton of the fun of pinball out of it. Otherwise I actually love a lot of aspects to this game. The playfield layout is a strong point of this game and I've a feeling it was developed in conjunction with Earthshaker. Also on the plus side, arcades tend to be hot so the little whirlwind fan at the top of the back box provides a little welcome relief when playing.
1 year ago
The good: Interesting somewhat challenging shots. The fan and spinner things are great. Plays fast if you want it to, less stop/go than other Lawlor stuff. Great, I mean great callouts.

The bad: Stock-ish lighting is poor. Cabinet art is uninteresting.

The overall: Why isn't this game higher? I guess some prefer the bells and whistles, but as of 11/2019, I'd prefer to play this over any of the new Sterns or any JJP outside of Dialed In (which would be a close call). Shots are satisfying, the theme is timeless and integration is WAAY better than almost all of the new pins (see Wonka for example). Need a big screen in a game, go play your playstation. This is a solid, solid pin. I'm looking for one for home and always seek it out on location.
1 year ago
I love my Whirlwind! When I first started out in this hobby, I really wanted a Data East Jurassic Park because the dinosaur ate the ball and the theming was perfect. I really enjoyed that game, but after doing more research on it found out that the layout is a complete ripoff of Whirlwind, so I had to try the real original. As far as playfield layout goes, I don't know how you could get much better than Whirlwind. The third flipper adds a challenging ramp shot that is not easy. It has the classic shot through the pops Lawlor uses as a signature as well.

When I first played my Whirlwind, I was sorely disappointed and wondered why I had purchased the game. The game is really big on extra balls, and in less than a week my games were lasting 45 minutes and I was maxing out at 6 (6!) extra balls. However, after doing some more research, I figured out I could open up the outlanes which makes the game much more challenging, and the games much quicker. I also rebuilt the flippers and switched out the rubbers with the end result that the game now plays much faster and is much more difficult... like Walking Dead/BKSOR difficult... I love it!

The playfield art on this one is meh, but this is one game where sideblades and or a skirt look really good. I have the lightning effect ones from Tilt and they are nice.

This game isn't super deep, but it is a product of it's time.

As far as other items go, the topper on this one is fantastic, and the backglass is great. Any child of the 80s or 90s is going to atleast recognize that iconic wood paneled van. I also really like the spinning disc gimmick for the added randomness to the game.

All in all I really like this one. This one will not be a forever pin for me and I will switch it out for another Lawlor eventually, but if set up correctly this can be a fast skill based game as opposed to a long story based game.

If you are looking at this review because you are thinking of buying one, be advised that mylar lifting over inserts is particularly common on this one, and that grippy new spinning disks are hard to get.

As far as mods go, on mine I have:
Tilt side blades
Tilt apron cover
Color changing LEDs in the back corners (to simulate lighting... it works well).
A new pinscore display.
New Rubbers
LED ring pop caps
Rebuilt flippers (you want strong flippers on this one).

This is a fantastic skill based game that is an excellent addition to any collection.

Edit (Again). After having this game in my basement for 3 months I am upgrading this game as my favorite game of all time. The rules on this are great, there is enough skill involved to keep me coming back time after time. I have done some adjustments on the outlanes to tweak the difficulty and it makes a world of difference. That 3rd flipper jackpot is what keeps me coming back as I just can't quite get it nailed down. I also love how it forces you to hit random shots around the field with the cardinal directions. 10/10.
1 year ago
The theme of Whirlwind is one that I don't care about... LOL! Does anybody... I mean if you like tornados then you'd buy this and possibly twister and have them right next to each other. Anyway, this game is an original theme and it actually fits that theme really well.
The art is is competent, but I don't really think anything special. It all is cohesive and combines itself to where it looks nice, but it just doesn't excite me. Still, it does look nice. Playfield art is rather bland, but tells you everything you need to know, and it isn't crowded. But, I've never felt compelled to study and look at the details. In fact writing this review is the first time I noticed the face in the clouds blowing the wind on the playfield. Just never needed or felt the urge to look at the art.
What this game does have that is pretty cool is three spinning discs and a fan for a topper. When the discs turn on so does the fan. This is pretty cool effect and actually does ratchet up the tension quite a bit. The only downside to this is, sometimes you can get a bit chilly from the fan blowing on you. Sometimes its nice if you've been playing for awhile and need to cool off.

How does the game shoot. Well its a bit of a traditional lawlor layout. Gotta admit I never really noticed until someone in an online video pointed out how this game and Adams were similar. And if you flip Earthshaker they have some similarities as well. But, can't fault a person for having a style, and each of those games shoot very different, and they all shoot really nicely. This game is no exception. The rules are a bit basic. Its basically a game where you want to enter into MB, and you rinse and repeat that.
It shoots so nicely you don't mind that mb is your only goal. The callouts are serviceable, but nothing truly amazing. You might repeat some of them. The storm is coming. The storm is over. But, I don't really think anything too iconic, but still they fit the mood and theme nicely. And the woman's voice from Earthshaker is back. that is nice.
All in all I gotta say this is a really nice pinball machine. Would I want one in my collection... Not in my current house where I live. As I'm almost out of space and I rather have games where I love the theme. But, if I had room for 30-50 pins, yeah... I could see this being in my collection. And when I get the chance I always enjoy playing it. I believe I have played one at 4 different venues now. Always fun to shoot.
1 year ago
A Pat Lawlor classic, continuing the Williams/Bally disaster theme. The spinners at the center of the playfield are reminiscent of the magnet at the center of The Addams Family. The shot from the top right flipper is a bit of a challenge. Nice open playfield with approachable goals. Top ten game!
There are 296 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 12.

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