Whirlwind

Pinside rating

This game received 532 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.097 /10

8.097

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #47 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.276

Artwork: 7.89

Sounds/Music: 7.374

Other Aspects: 8.374



Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 9 of us have rated this game.

7.868

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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 283 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 12.

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5.825/10
3 days 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.
7.035/10
6 days 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.
7.800/10
26 days 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.
8.632/10
68 days 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...
5.162/10
79 days 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.
9.587/10
3 months 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.
9.661/10
3 months 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.
LEDs
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.
7.388/10
4 months 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.
8.112/10
5 months 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!
8.404/10
6 months ago
Whirlwind is my favorite SS. I don't think i will ever sell it, great bang for the buck. It has the right balance of simple to understand objectives, length of ball time and overall fun factor. Everyone loves the Fan turning on and the unpredictability of the spinners.
Its a game you just need to play, but if you have a bad game (sometimes unforgiving quick drains) keep trying because once you get the million shot loop down from the upper right flipper, you'll keep coming back. Don't forget the two sets of 3 pops, just a great overall Williams feel! I say "Feel the power of the wind" on your pinballs!
9.929/10
6 months ago
Very fun game with lots to do. I love the fan blowing wind at you during storms’ sequences. I love the announcer warning you about the impending storms. Spinning discs makes the game harder during multi ball. It also makes the game faster.
7.571/10
9 months ago
Really good flow. Love the randomness of the spinning disks. The storm sounds work well with the theme and fan. Fun game for everyone.
7.952/10
9 months ago
fun game
9.660/10
9 months ago
Great System 11 title. Iconic theme music. Great speech and effects. The star of the show is the fan beacon. Maybe the best functional topper in pinball. Replay is high and essentially has one of the first that I know of Wizard Modes. Spinners are fun. Lawlor is a genius
8.800/10
1 year ago
IMHO WW is an underrated game. The logic of play is flawless and easily explained to a novice. The code isn’t overly deep so you won’t get lost in multiple modes - straightforward pinball. Move around the compass. I’m not sure the tollway bridge really works with the overall theme but I don’t have a better idea. I’m sure storm chasers have to pay tolls. The quick multiball is a plus for me as well as the cellars. I love the fact that it has six pop bumpers covering high and low pressures. The only con to the game is that the skill shot isn’t very good. Very low risk reward to me. When I play, I normally send the ball around to the top right flipper and try to send it up the ramp. Overall, a great themed game with a lot of appeal.
6.380/10
1 year ago
way over rated game!
8.052/10
1 year ago
This us a surprisingly fun gane with an odd theme. Wind?
I like the layout of the playfield and the gimmicks. It certainly has lastability.
I'm not sure if I would ever own it, but if the right deal came along, I would have to consider it.
9.180/10
1 year ago
Great game, fast and frantic

Edit...

After 9 odd months of ownership, I’m playing Whirlwind more than ever. Equal parts thrilling and frustrating. Great selection of shots with the most difficult shot being the jackpot shot.

Multiball progressively gets more difficult as you work through the game, but the jackpot shot is incredibly difficult, especially when 3 balls a zipping around. Multiball can be over before you know it. And with no kickback or ball save, Whirlwind is brutal.

Great artwork and theme. Excellent layout with a good varying difficulty of shots and replay ability higher than most.

I love it so much, I’m about to strip and give it a complete restoration. In my modest pin collection, my other pins rarely get a look in from me and my friends.

Whirlwind is definitely a keeper.
7.861/10
1 year ago
Really fun to play. Another Lawlor classic HIT. WW is fast and flows nicely. Three shots to master: scoops, ramp/lock and side “3 toll” ramp. Outside of these, there’s plenty to shoot for here and the rule set is perhaps the best Sys-11 ever.

Theme is good, but the call outs just annoy me. Repetitive and dumb. Music also is less than good. Not one of Granners better efforts.

On the play field, I was expecting the large compass to actually have some meaning, or to give direction to the game. But it doesn’t do much other than to act as illuminated art work. It’s nothing more than a big chandelier in the middle of the PF. Disappointing for a late Sys-11 title.

Backbox art is fine, but not excellent. Cabinet is beautifully done and the topper w/fan is a neat idea. Whirlwind is a very pretty game overall. It seems to stand in the gap between the early SS era and all the new mode driven titles.

Despite its shortcomings, WW plays so well and has such a great rule set it does deserve a high overall rating. I can see why it’s considered to be a keeper by a great many owners.
8.737/10
1 year ago
Super fun , challenging shots , most likely will never sell, always fun
8.800/10
1 year ago
What a classic. I can't get tired of this one. Great 1990's sounds. Easy to understand rule set. Very challenging game play. Best of all, the theme was just created, instead of attempting to make a game match a recent movie or a rock band.
8.589/10
1 year ago
One of my favorit system11 games. Very fun.
8.620/10
1 year ago
Whirlwind is my favorite System 11 game is probably my favorite non DMD game. It is Pat Lawlor's precursor to Adam's Family as it has a familiar layout, design, and kickouts. The Million point shot is difficult and very rewarding. The music and art are amazing although the lighting is a little dark. LEDs really bring this game to life. The music and art work package in these system 11 games are unique because they didn't come from a movie or TV show. They were created from the mind of a specialist. This era of pinball has some of the best creative games in pinball IMO. The fan was a pinball first and the spinning disc always ensures each and every game is unique and different. I highly recommend this game to everyone.
8.101/10
1 year ago
Always a fun game to play!
9.423/10
1 year ago
Early Pat Lawlor game. enough said. This is widely considered one of the classic , most beloved games of all time. And for a reason. Anyone who says different is just ridiculous. The game was made in 1989 for God's SAke! It came out in 1990 which is nearly 30 years ago. Amazing game, great layout.. and this along with Dr. Dude IMO is one of the best looking games with LED bulbs. If matched correctly the game pops.
There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 12.

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