Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons

Pinside rating

This game received 63 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 6.763 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #275 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 6.236

Artwork: 8.176

Sounds/Music: 5.567

Other Aspects: 6.639

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


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Found 31 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 31 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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40 days ago
Nice EM Remake with original Score Wheel. 3 or 5 Balls. I Like it and try to get one.
6 months ago
played at the pinball hall of fame. ok machine, strange cabinet.
3 years ago
A really dumb gimmicky game that was just a bad concept.

It’s not the goofy “boob” humor. It’s rethemeing a 1950s pinball to ANYTHING modern and thinking it will work
3 years ago
I like most EM games but I don't like this one. It's a whole-is-the-lesser-of-its-parts kind of thing.

Let's start with the theme. The theme is an old double-entendre joke. The joke is what it is, and humor often dates itself easily, but why would you make an entire game out of it? It doesn't lead towards anything relatable to the gameplay. It doesn't overlap with other themes and relies entirely on Southern agrarian stereotypes to do the remainder of the thematic lifting. I can't even claim that it follows through on the premise of the joke properly. If we're supposed to believe these farm girls have "big juicy melons" then at least one should have really big baps, thicc curves, and so on. If you're gonna be horny then lean into the subtext. But these designs are all generic slim pin-up girls and could be copy pasted to any other vaguely suggestive setting. And in being so focused on it's one-note joke, this game isn't even authentically like an old game. Old games had plenty of pin-up art but where they succeeded, it was presented in the context of an overarching fantasy where the player can start feeling connected to the game, and the game can in turn elaborate on the theme in some way. Here, the fantasy is mundane and not particularly romantic: working on a melon farm(or buying from the melon farm? The game does not seem to know itself) because the girls are pretty. Not even a damselling or fame-and-fortune narrative to spice things up. I'm sure every boy is dying to be in the role of "horny melon picker". Just the thing to get one's imagination going.

This carries through into the rest of the package unfortunately. From a generic theme and generic designs you get generic results on the callouts and music too, and the result is irritating on repeated play. There is some production here but I have difficulty getting anything meaningful out of it.

Okay. So let's just imagine it's an abstract whitewood game. How does it do there? Well... there are EM games and then there are old EM games and this is more like the latter. The core technology of pinball didn't really change a great deal between the development of flippers and the introduction of solid state, but the designs did evolve a great deal to favor accurate shooting over nudging. This is a throwback to the earlier era where the flippers are small keepy-uppies and you have to nudge to get control. Which would be fine, except that the game is such a great outlane drainer too that every shot feels like it may be your last - the targets you are supposed to hit are more productive at ending your turn than the slingshots since these little flippers are powerful and a bad bounce will drain you too fast to nudge out, a very SS quality. This quality helps obscure the fact that the rules are so limited too. The strategy boils down to: make the skillshot(which gives you a lit melon, there is no trade-off, it is strictly better to make the skillshot), complete the remaining melon lanes, then hit the center saucer. Repeat until you light the 400 saucer bonus; then continue lit saucer hits forever - there isn't any other progression and 400 is so much higher value than the rest of the board that there isn't really a comparison to be had.

One playfield feature I do like is the stopper under each flipper. This setup is not really seen anymore and it provides a nice source of play techniques. I just wish the rest of the game merited a similar remark.
4 years ago
I really like playing this game, i like that it gives a retro feel to a newish game. I like that it's simple and that it contrasts other more complex games.
On the look out for one.
5 years ago
This game is really bad - If you can stay alive for more than 5 minutes you are lucky, and I say lucky because it is hard to work skill into this game. It is just a lot of bumpers and rollovers, aiming does no more good than just flipper mashing in terms of your “score” which will most likely be under 5000. This game was recently part of a digital pinball tournament (yes they actually bothered to digitize this game). In the tournament you got 10 minutes on each table to score as many points as you could. Whoa Nellie was the only table in which the ten minute timer was not activated, because playing it for 10 minutes is impossible.
5 years ago
This was an attempt to bring back the simplicity of the old EM games complete with a total lack of ramps, a few bumpers and the tiny two inch flippers...and once you get past the nostalgia factor, "Whoa, Nellie" isn't very good for the reasons I just listed. There aren't a lot of targets to hit, the playfield is practically empty, and the ball just bounces all over the place because of it. Additionally, the flippers are tiny with wide-open drains in the center and on the sides. You'll be lucky to actually shoot the ball at all because the ball seems to go anywhere but near the flippers. And if you're going full-EM, you don't need the awful country hick music or the lame call-outs. You can't have it both ways. Decent audio quality, art and cute concept but "Whoa, Nellie" is awful.
5 years ago
The real wood cabinet on the "crate" is very cool, and looks great at the end of a line of pins. Unfortunately the game is not very fun with limited shots, bad music, callouts, and corny artwork. The teeny tiny dmd on the apron needs a colordmd, LOL.
5 years ago
Not into this game at all. Don’t care for the theme or the music. The price they put on this thing is pathetic.
6 years ago
A real gem of a game. Simply fun and very well put together. Well done Greg, Dennis & Stern.
6 years ago
Ok Game it has decent rules and great artwork but I don't know why anyone would spend the money on this game when you can go buy any other old EM cheap.
6 years ago
Who isn't enticed by big juicy melons?
6 years ago
I tried to rate this based on what it was designed to be. It's fun and challenging and great to look at, so what more can a player want.
7 years ago
Sell them to Hooters.
7 years ago
The people that rated this game so low do not appreciate the title for what it is - either that or they are clueless imbeciles. It is a piece of art - a modern day twist to the old style EM pins of the 60's. The art work, old style country music and call outs are incredible. It is fairly simple, but if you want to get a decent score, you have to learn and master certain skill shots and know how to shake the game to bounce balls at risk of draining. Whoa Nellie was also very affordable compared to current day titles. This is one that will never leave my collection!
7 years ago
I've played this game a lot. I don't think it's a terrible machine. I mean I grew up with an EM, and I like playing them. There just isn't a lot to it for a machine in this era. I get that they wanted to make an old-school EM-like solid state machine, but at $6k there just isn't anything special about this machine at all. If you want this type of feel in a pinball machine, then just go find a classic EM and pay a tenth of the price for it. You will be happier in the long run... That being said, if you're out at the barcade and you only have one quarter left and they have this machine on 25 cent play then by all means give it a whirl. There's just nothing to wow you here.
7 years ago
Pfft.. What a waist of money unless you have money to burn
7 years ago
I love em's so was hoping I would love this game. Unfortunately it just isn't that much fun to play and doesn't have the magic of a real em.

I own a fair few Gottlieb pre 1955 woodrails and they play fantastic, are enticing, have superb rulesets with their multiple ways to win.

This game just isn't in the same league unfortunately.
8 years ago
I'm not an EM guy; I've played very few. So I can't compare this pin to the older EMs it's meant as an homage to. This is a well-made game that's a lot of fun to play. Very lively pop bumpers compared to anything I've seen on a modern DMD - very satisfying when the ball is ricocheting around in there. The artwork is fun - reminiscent of a couple Austin Powers gags I think. The biggest "ding" I gave this game in the ratings is for lastability. Maybe that's not fair because by it's nature this game is not designed to have modes to progress through and fancy toys to activate. But bottom line, I couldn't see wanting to play this over and over again every night in my house.
8 years ago
A beautiful game, but not all that much fun to play. Maybe some of the EM guys might like it, but I found it boring after a few balls and gave up on it. I also prefer the original artwork to the changes that Stern made for production. Not a game I'm interested in, but your mileage may vary...
8 years ago
I don't like to be harsh as I give every game its fair share of equality in time for evaluation, but simply put:

This is an overpriced, "electro mechanical" retro homage, copy-catted game design, hybrid pinball, steaming pile of Whizbang/Stern co-produced TURD. (See below for video link of the quality of the game in action)

Curiosity of pinball history, no doubt.
This is NOT Dennis Nordman's finest work of pinball design.
Stern knew, as the list prices have already fallen well below the original retail.
Distributors know, but are staying quiet to reduce losses.
Operators are wondering how long it will take to recoup their investment, but has been doing well profit wise due to reduce maintenance requirements that a modern SS pinball machine, it is colorful, and has a unique shaped cabinet, woodrails and lockbar.
Simple to understand from a non-pinball player standpoint.
How many non-pinball players/enthusiasts/collectors read these type of forums?

If it was a time bomb, it would not explode.
If it was a fart, it will kill people.

Fortunately, there will most likely be minimal overstock due to Stern's ability to refocus production and the fact they do not keep warehouse stock themselves.
This title brings a new meaning to the pinball term, "novelty toy".
It is a niche product that was designed as an experiment to fruition.
It is just not that well done overall to warrant the development time that was spent on designing it (over ten years in concept? Seriously?).

Was this meant as some Stern new collector "fat wallet" joke?
This is coming from a collector who REALLY LIKES EM pinball machines.
You can own at least SIX great EM games for this price of this garbage.
This game SHOULD NOT BE in the Top 100, lordy people, have you played more than 10 games in your lifetime?
Play it once, say you have played it, and move on.

The redeeming features are the retro artwork, sound quality, playfield shot layout (for an EM type design which was not original), and unique cabinet which saves this game from being a 3/10.
All those areas are very good.

Who cares about opinions of "equal opportunity" of the contestability of the "juicy melons" women?
It is a entertainment device, not a piece of satanic artwork.

Whoa Nellie! "quality game design" in action (great job Stern!):
Watch the video and you will understand...

The sad part is collectors are going to end up selling for a loss when they get rid of it.
Might work if a collector specializes in EMs however, so somebody will get a really good deal.
Hell, I would buy one for less than $2k, just to resell it for some other clueless new collector at price inflationary costs.
Do yourself a favor, buy some strawberries instead of the melons.
The melons are VERY sour, like a candy "Warhead" when you make the mistake of biting while in your mouth.
The aftertaste lingers...
8 years ago
One of the worst games ever made, ranks right along with AMH and RobZ.
8 years ago
This is not a troll review, it's my take on the game. There is no reason that Stern, Nordman, or anyone else should be designing or releasing this game in 2015, and compared to any other game released in the last decade the price point is nowhere near justifiable. Throwback, sure. Fun, maybe. Overpriced sexist novelty, definitely.
8 years ago
It's basically a $6009 EM
8 years ago
A beautiful looking game that's just a bore to play. Many EMs can be very strategic with all sorts of different bonus elements, and are filled with risk/reward, and you'd think when designing a modern EM the designers would be thinking to take those great elements from EMs, however that's not the case with WNBJM. All that's worth doing on this game is shooting the lit 200s. Nothing else. There are many EM games out there that are far more fun to play than Whoa Nellie, and those can be bought at a 10x lower price. I can see absolutely no reason to buy WNBJM other than for the artwork. Also I've noticed many times where the score reels on Whoa Nellie don't seem to properly keep score. I've seen it happen far more frequently on Whoa Nellie than any real EM game. In addition to that there seems to be an issue where shots to the lit 200s will sometimes just score 50 and move the light, rather than scoring the 200.

One thing I do applaud the design for is the mini-DMD in the apron. Having that will be a terrific aid with maintenance of the game, and does give it a leg up on EMs in the maintenance cattery.
There are 31 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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