Top 5 Pinball Machines Of All Time


If you can’t tell by my articles, I am as much as a retro gamer as I am a modern day gamer. I love the nostalgic feeling of getting to share articles about the games I loved growing up. As a youth I was crazy about arcades. In the 80s and 90s it seemed like my parents pockets had an unlimited supply of quarters.

To this day I still love Pinball machines. I can’t walk by one without stopping. My Dad shares the same passion for pinball. We always love to compete in a wide range of games, but our pinball rivalry has a rich history. I used to travel the country with him and we would hit every good pinball machine at every rest stop. Back then the Twilight Zone machine was everywhere, and it was our favorite followed by Funhouse.

I’ve always had a hard time getting my Dad to play video games. The only success I’ve had is the Pinball Arcade on PS2, Wii, 360, & PS3. The 1st time I turned him onto it we played for an entire day. I had a run on Funhouse that lasted for over 2 hours. Good times.

I’ve actually grown to love the Pinball Arcade series almost as much as playing in real life. Theater of Magic may have become my favorite pinball machine recently because of a recent addiction to it on my PS3.

So with much pleasure I present to you The Top 5 Pinball Machines Of All Time! My sources are the IPDB Top 300 Rated Electronic Pinball Machines List & the greatest website on the interweb, Wikipedia!

Medieval Madness

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Medieval Madness is a Williams pinball machine released in June 1997. Designed by Brian Eddy and programmed by Lyman Sheats, it had a production run of 4,016 units.

On October 18, 2013, Planetary Pinball Supply announced that they would be taking $1,000 pre-order deposits for a reproduction run of Medieval Madness.

Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure

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Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure is a 1993 widebody pinball game designed by Mark Ritchie (the younger brother of acclaimed pinball designer Steve Ritchie) and released by Williams. It was based on the Indiana Jones movies. It was also part of WMS’ SuperPin series of widebody games (see also The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: The Next Generation).

This game was the first game to use Williams / Midway’s DCS Sound System. It features sound clips from the first three films, and actor John Rhys-Davies (reprising his role as Sallah) provided new speech for this game.

Another machine, simply titled Indiana Jones, was released in 2008 by Stern Pinball. It includes elements from the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Star Trek: The Next Generation is a widebody pinball game, designed by Steve Ritchie and released in November 1993 by Williams Electronics. It was part of WMS’ SuperPin series (see also The Twilight Zone and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure), and was based on the TV series. It is the only pinball machine that features three separate highscore-lists. Apart from the regular highscore-list and the buy-in-list, it also features a reminiscence to The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot billionaires club. It is also the third pinball game overall based on the Star Trek franchise, following the 1979 pinball game by Bally, and the 1991 game by Data East (both based on the original series).

Theatre of Magic

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Theatre of Magic is a pinball machine designed by John Popadiuk, produced by Midway (under the Bally brand name).

Main mission is to get to the “Grand Finale” by finishing:

  • Theatre: The easiest sub-mission, simply complete “T-H-E-A-T-R-E” (which also lights Theatre Hurry Up) by shooting the left loop.
  • Multiball: Collect Theatre Multiball (to light the locks in the inner loop, shoot the ramps to complete “M-A-G-I-C”).
  • Midnight: Advance the clock to Midnight (shoot right loop).
  • Illusions: The hardest of the four goals. Shoot the trunk to light one of the following missions. Start them all to finish this sub-mission.
    • Tiger Saw — Hit the Captive Ball for various animations of a tiger using the saw on different items.
    • Levitating Woman — Shoot the Center Ramp to score (11 million, increasing by one million each time).
    • Trunk Escape — Shoot the Magic Trunk for four times to break the chains of a locked trunk.
    • Spirit Cards — Shoot the Inner Loops/Spinner to award increasing points (500.000 per spin, increases by 250.000 each time the loop is shot).
    • Safe Escape — Shoot the Inner Loops to unlock the safe.
    • Metamorphosis — Shoot the Right Ramp to transform the assistant to various animals (12 million, increasing by four million each time).
    • Strait Jacket — Escape the strait jacket as spikes are closing in. Hit the jet bumpers to push the hand closer to the freeing buckle (6 million per bumper, 60 million to finish it).
    • Hat Magic — Shoot the trunk for different things being pulled out of the hat.

Twilight Zone

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Twilight Zone is a widebody pinball machine, designed by Pat Lawlor and based on the TV series of the same name. It was first released in 1993 by Midway (under the Bally label). This game is part of WMS’ SuperPin line of widebody games alongside Star Trek: The Next Generation and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure.

Following the huge success of The Addams Family pinball game, Midway gave Lawlor full creative control over the design of his next game, and the result is an unusually complex machine. Among its noted features include a working gumball machine (which deposits balls), a working analog clock (used as a timer for various modes), the Powerfield (a small separate play field where the ball is propelled by magnets rather than flippers), and the “Powerball”, a white ceramic ball which is lighter than a regular steel ball and is non-magnetic.

In addition to adapting the theme music from the original TV show, the game’s main background music is an interpretation of the 1982 hit “Twilight Zone”, by Golden Earring. Tim Kitzrow provided the voice of Rod Serling.

This game was originally supposed to be the first game to use Williams / Midway’s DCS Sound System, but because the DCS board was still in development when the game was released, it instead used the Yamaha YM2151 / Harris CVSD sound board.

Twilight Zone is currently the top-rated electronic pinball machine of all time on the Internet Pinball Machine Database.

About Phil Williams

Founder & President of GameTraders USA.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
-Dr. Seuss

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  • Tony Cook

    Good stuff. I Star Trek: The Next Generation was quite awesome. Even the movie reboot pinball machine was as well. I’d like to try the others, especially Twilight Zone since it’s one of my favourite TV series. In the 80’s I was more into the games, but last number of years I gravitated more towards the pinball machines. Not sure if that speaks to the quality of arcade games or the quality of pinball machines 😀