After Banzai Run, Earthshaker, and Whirlwind it would have only been fair to not expect Pat Lawlor to top himself once again. But Pat and team blew away any reasonable expectations with a 100% complete pinball classic in Funhouse.
With the assistance of other pinball legends (and arcades) Larry DeMar, Brian Eddy, John Youssi, and Chris Granner — the amount of talent on the development of this cutting edge pinball machine is silly.
Few technology products from 1990 can stand up or surpass competitors 30 years from the future, but the Funhouse pinball machine does.
This is how special the Funhouse pinball machine was and still is.
Funhouse features a talking dummy that you can hit with a pinball and even shoot balls in his mouth. The Funhouse design team could have stopped there and still had something noteworthy…but in addition you have a fast, challenging, smooth-shooting layout with perfectly orchestrated music in a flawless masterpiece.
Funhouse Production Info
- Built November 1990
- 10,750 units produced
- By Williams
Rules & Playability
While Pat Lawlor is often appreciated for bringing mode based challenges to pinball rulesets, his ability to design a great playfield is under-appreciated. The playfield design in Funhouse may be his best ever.
In fact it was so perfect Data East basically copied it verbatim with their Tommy pinball machine a few years later.
The complexity of the rules may not feel like much compared to deep software in today’s pinball but having to shoot a ball in Rudy’s mouth during multiball never gets tiresome.
There are two different multiball modes, a frenzy mode, a trapdoor, three flippers, an extra shooter knob on the left used during certain modes, and a few other things I am forgetting.
Funhouse is a loaded pinball machine and beyond what you see in new games today. If Stern could even pull off an animated talking dummy, how much would they charge for that?
Atmosphere, Personality, & World Under Glass
Rudy the dummy taunts you, calls you names, and may eerily remind you of the dummy from the movie Magic. The carnival music, bright lighting, and kooky sounds make Funhouse a cut above.
Funhouse Artwork Grades
- Backglass = B
- Playfield = A
- Cabinet = A
Sound & Music
Yes, the variety of callouts in Funhouse may be limited compared to modern games, but you won’t care. They simply did not miss a beat on this game.
OK Chucky, how’s about another ball?
Funhouse is a classic pinball machine that was designed to perfection, even as a product designer I cannot think of a single missed opportunity or irritating feature in this game.
Related products & links
- Extended rulesheet
- “I Thought We Were Pals” T-Shirt
- “It’s Only Pinball” Funhouse Pinball T-Shirt
- Funhouse Backglass Title Mod
Funhouse Pinball Final Scores
- Bang for Buck Score = always demands a premium, but it delivers = B
- Player Score = great layout, loads of personality, and Rudy is like nothing you have ever seen before in a pinball = B+
- Collector Score = A game that never goes out of style and is always desirable = A