Pinside rating

This game received 569 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.132 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #53 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 8.32

Artwork: 7.922

Sounds/Music: 7.399

Other Aspects: 8.417

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.


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Found 303 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 303 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 9 of 13.

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8 years ago
This game rocks. One of two games that I truly LONGED to own (the other was "Space Shuttle"). Probably more my nostalgia on these two than anything, but there's just nothing like starting the storm!!
8 years ago
Great machine. One of Pat Lawlor's best creations of the 80's. Earthshaker was good, Whirlwind was better!

Considering the limitations of the time compared to todays high-tech, DMD machines, Whirlwind was a great machine to play, and play again.

The best thing you notice is the backbox fan that activates during ball locks and multiball. The next thing are 3 spinning discs on the playfield which activate with the fan, this is what simulates the "Whirlwind" or tornado. The discs can send your ball wherever they can if your timing and accuracy is off!

Sound is good for the time. Music gets repetitive and somewhat annoying after some time, but its not the worst I have heard. Speech is good, and sometimes funny in a "redneck" sort of way, especially when you get the super cellar mega-door bonus.

As the first machine to use an increasing bonus gimmick, the super cellar door bonus is really nice. Most awards are kinda lousy, but the goal is to get to the end where you get one huge payoff.

Multiball is cool, jackpot shots are tricky to a novice, but really easy to an experienced player. This game can be difficult to keep a ball in play with 6 pop bumpers, really powerful slingshots, and fast paced gameplay!

Recommended to anyone looking for an earlier Williams title. Anyone who knows Pat Lawlor games (Funhouse, Addams Family, Earthshaker!) and enjoys his tables should look for this one!
8 years ago
This is a fun pin to play. Good theme with creative design. Love the spinners on the playfield and the topper is well...Top Shelf!!
8 years ago
LOVE this game! The game where Lawlor hit his full stride!
8 years ago
good pinball
8 years ago
HERE IT COMES!!!!!!!!!!
8 years ago
Fantastic game, lots to shoot at and with music that never get old. Only gripe is lack of reliability with the Williams system 11.
8 years ago
This has to be my favorite pin I own. I can play this all night long! Play shots are all over the field, the story is great, 3 spinning disks on the playfield makes the ball unpredictable. The fan is a really cool effect. If you can grab one, do it!
8 years ago
This was my 1st pin. I like it pretty good. Theres other out there I dig better but theres a reason it's ranked in the top 100. Many things to do, action is there. Its fun, drop the coin & play anytime you find one..
8 years ago
One of the more fun pinballs out there. I love the fan, the "Storm" feature, the multiball, really nothing is lacking in this one. The spinner can be annoying but keeps the game fresh. Would love to own at some point.
8 years ago
23 things I look for in a pin:
* Asymmetry: Excellent. Lower and upper PF are asymmetrical.
* Backhands: Very good. Yellow cellar you can shoot backhand, same with under the ramp off the right flipper.
* Ball Control/Hazards: Excellent. Fail a cellar shot, and you post into the outlane
* Ball Time: Short. tough game. Many long balls go top and return center post, and you have to use the force a lot.
* Drops (Sweepable): Very good. Center bank, can only hit with right flipper sweep.
* Flasher Blinding: Poor. Game lighting is really designed to blind you. I can't stand it.
* Flow/Stop n Go: Poor. Cellars are quick to return the ball, but it's quite the action killer. Ball trap under ramp is ok. Two sets of pops doesn't help get you a ball any quicker.
* Fun/Lastability: Good. Game takes a lot of focus and feel with the spinning discs, and VERY tough outlanes.
* Inlane Flow: Fair. The design is the worst of any pin I own, the edge of the playfield hovers over BOTH lanes, which makes it tough for any outlane nudging and it means the ball doesn't "zoom" into the inlanes very often.
* Lateral movement/Nudging: Good. You'll want to nudge every collision to wrestle control again in the lower PF.
* Multiball - entering: Very good. Takes 3 good ramp shots.
* Multiball - enjoyment: Poor. Not a very fun multiball. Cramped PF means there's not much room. (Thanks Lawlor!) Cellar, Ramp, and Pops are your detains. Goal is get ball set up for upper flipper. Not much else to do.
* Orbit Shots: Excellent. Both directions. Right to Left sometimes gets held up in the pops. Nice 3-way combo to be aware of.
* Originality: Excellent. Weather theme with a fan. Are you kidding me?
* Outlane save-ability: Poor. Metal outlane guides with really bad angles. Worst I've seen.
* Ramp/Orbit Re-entry Speed: Good. Ball comes back off the upper ramp shot.
* Pop bumpers: Fair. Top set is one of the worst in pinball. Hits the ball up towards nothing. Sometimes scores the drop for you. Left set is worthless.
* Scoring Balance: Excellent. No stupid system 11 jackpots here.
* Skill shot: Perfect. Best of all time in pinball. Huge risk for big rewards. OR you can go for the loop if you want.
* Sound/Callouts/Voice: Excellent. Funny callouts, and great music.
* Spinners: Very good. One for upper right orbit. Don't recall if it ever lights up for big points though...
* Theme/Art/Lights: Very good.
* Toys/Gimmicks: Excellent. Fan is a great toy. Spinning disks are great, although they are not when they are not being used. They cause the ball to move in strange ways.

Best blue lighting/art I have ever seen. Amazing soundtrack and call outs. I especially love light blue, and so this pin takes my breath away every time I light 'er up. I have more fun playing my Diner because more shots lead to "something happening" than in Whirlwind. Too often in WW, nothing happens on your shots, or you are waiting a long time to get control of the ball to "take a shot" at the ramp. There's just not a feeling of having a lot to shoot at.

Pros: Good Balance and great theme integration. Pretty machine that sounds great. A nostalgia piece.

Cons: Middle shot to standup seems like a wasted shot. This should be better integrated into the rules. Pops are all worthless. They need to hurt you, or score 1-2-3 lanes, or drops. Inlanes AND outlanes are not fun -- they have too much playfield overhang -- unlike any pin I've ever seen. Fatal flaw. Two scoops kills it for me. One of them has no value most of the time when you hit it.
8 years ago
Its a great Williams pinball.
8 years ago
Best topper ever (in summer !!). Good theme, Great quotes, nice playfield with the spinning discs. Not a big fan of artwork, though.
8 years ago
There is one feature about this machine that I absolutely can't stand. That's the post between the flippers on the center drain. Never liked it back in the days of the EM's either. You spend your entire life perfecting the slap save, and the only way for that post to work to your advantage, is to sit there and hope for a good bounce. . Not a good thing for an experienced player to be practicing. It's kind of like having your shortstop, who has a strong, accurate arm, practice throwing short-hop throws, so your first baseman gets practice digging them out of the dirt.

If the fan on the machine I was playing worked, I didn't even notice it. Never even saw it until I had already abandoned it, and was playing another machine. The slingshots were lightning fast, and difficult to play. Not a big fan of the spinning disk either. I don't like ball action randomized.

I believe the one I was playing had harder settings, because it seemed like an awful wide flipper set for a modern machine. At the place I was playing it, it seemed as if all their machines had the wide spread.

In typical modern style, I didn't have my 327 page book with me, that explained all the scoring scenarios, so I didn't even now there was a 26-way combo for big score. There was actually a bright point though... The table, cabinet, flipper buttons, and the flippers themselves had the most solid feel I've ever had in any machine! The flippers were extremely consistent, with a real nice whip.
8 years ago
One of the greatest from the Golden Age of Pinball. Fun and hard, but not too difficult to understand for the beginner. I played many pinball machines in my youth, but remember very few of them. The spinning playfield disks are one toy that I remember vividly. Whirlwind is the best System 11, which says a lot.
8 years ago
Excellent example of a classic pinball machine. Blowing fan topper is the best topper in pinball imho. Triple rotating discs on playfield are cool. Has multi-ball and 3 flippers. Game has pretty good lastability to me. Artwork and colors are good. Theme well implemented. Great system 11 game.
8 years ago
The fan is the coolest gimmick of any game ever made. I found this game very challenging.
8 years ago
Fun game, but can be a real butt-kicker. The spinning disks keep you on your toes and the theme is integrated as well as any. Game flows pretty well despite the congested left side of the play field. The functional topper is one of the coolest in the industry.
8 years ago
Whirlwind is the first game with a "wizard mode" I don't know if Pat Lawlor and Co. had that in mind when they designed it. Being the creative master that he is, he just invented it!

The Pros: Incredible layout with 6 bumpers. Short shots on the left, long shots on the right. Multiball is a blast! The fan on the top of the game lets you know that you are in the environment of the game. The tri-spinners in the middle of the pf (I just made that name up...) are a fantastic randomizer. Hitting the 3 way combo is frightflly difficult and a rush when nailed. Joun Youssi put together a great art package and made sure you noticed that red button! First ever pinball game with a hairdryer!

The Cons: The game reduces to a trap game to pass the ball to the right flipper. get it to the upper flipper from the saucer and to the ramp. rinse and repeat. not that this is always easy... but even when on hard/ ex hard settings... that is what this game comes down to. A game that should be fast and flowing is not. tourney players can shoot the right ramp over and over and rack up a high score without too much risk. 3 way combo yields too few points for the challenge it presents, there are other higher point priorities on this deck.

The Takeaway: This is a really good game, but I ended up selling mine to someone who always dreamed of having one. Sometimes I miss it, but mostly I don't. I just felt that I had the game "down" and after consistently getting the cellar wz mode 3-4 times in a 3 ball game... that was it for me. I do know that it went to a good home though and it is well loved as all pins should be... and they lived happily ever after... the end.
9 years ago
This game loves to kick my ass, but I keep coming back for more!
9 years ago
I adore this machine... the first pinball I played at a friends house, and actually really started to get into it. I love the voices, the sounds, and the rules. Although the rules are pretty basic (hit 2-3 different targets to start storm, lock ball, clear storm) it is absolutely not EASY.m The side ramp, is a difficult shot to master, and it absolutely necessary to get it down if you are going to get any super cell door rewards. The really cool feature is once you collect all 7 rewards, once you hit the toll loop and the super cellar door once more, you get all 7 rewards again, and it really racks up the points. Flow is really nice, but the machine is unforgiving as far as ball saves (if you score one point, it will not be saved) so it def tests the nerves. I WILL own one someday.
9 years ago
There is a reason why this game is on many people's wish list. The game doesn't play like many system 11 games - it's that's good. Only compliant is that it reminds me too much of Funhouse - which is natural.
9 years ago
One of my all-time favorite games! Love the spinning disks--so hard to predict where the ball will fly out! Great flow. Would love to own one of these.
9 years ago
Love this game. Always challenging, but really satisfying hitting multiball and the million plus.
There are 303 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 9 of 13.

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