Pinball Tables

To many pinball is little more than a silly pastime of a bygone era, one that preceded the age of video games as it were, being a natural precursor to “better” technology. They came, they went, they’re a part of history. For me, pinball is something more than that. It’s a timeless and thoroughly enjoyable pastime that in many ways offers more fun than playing video games (and this coming from an avid gamer). Unless you’ve played pinball for any length of time you might not realize the skill and subtlety involved. Yes, believe it or not, pinball is very much a game of skill. From timing & flipper control to executing special moves like “trapping” or the “dead flipper pass,” it’s a skill that really can improve over time. Yes it’s largely true that Pinball is dead…but not entirely. At least one company still manufactures pinball tables; and the rare current or refurbished table can still be found in the occasional bowling alley or struggling arcade. But really, my love (and appreciation) for pinball stems from having discovered some of the classic tables from pinball’s golden age – thanks to the modern miracle of emulation. Just as with modern video games pinball tables came from a variety of developers and varied greatly in quality and content. Many were top-notch productions in gameplay, sound and style. Others were…not so great. Here is my personal list of the best that pinball has offered through the years, comprised mostly of those released during the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Each table name links directly to its corresponding page on the Internet Pinball Database, where you can find out more about the table and view rule sheets, flyers and more detailed photos.

Updated: 10/14/12

Daffie, Williams (1968)
Skyrocket, Bally (1970)
Round Up, Bally (1971)
El Dorado, Gottlieb (1975)
Blue Chip, Williams (1976)
Ship Ahoy, Gottlieb (1976)
Big Hit, Gottlieb (1977)
Stellar Wars, Williams (1979)
Superman, Atari (1979)
Black Knight, Williams (1980)
Viking, Bally (1980)
Embryon, Bally (1981)
Firepower II, Williams (1983)
Fireball Classic, Bally (1985)
Sorcerer, Williams (1985)
Space Station, Williams (1988)
Swords of Fury, Williams (1988)
Black Knight 2000, Williams (1989)
Whirlwind, Williams (1990)
Checkpoint, Data East (1991)
Star Trek 25th Anniversary, Data East (1991)
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Williams (1993)
White Water, Williams (1993)
Cactus Canyon, Bally (1998)
The Champion Pub, Bally (1998)
Striker Xtreme, Stern (2000)
Monopoly, Stern (2001)
Lord of the Rings, Stern (2003)

See Also: Pinball Arcade presented by FarSight Studios


Number of machines listed in the IPDB – 5,406
Approximate number I’ve experienced in real life – 32
Approximate number discovered through emulation – 100
Number of Tables worthy enough to mention here – 28
Comparative enjoyment of Pinball to Video Games – High
Best Table for Beginners – Skyrocket (1970) or Superman (1979)

Percentage of themes appealing to the adolescent prurient male fantasy (and white people in general) – Far too many

Published on March 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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