Let’s scientifically figure out the best modern pinball machines of all time.

First let’s look at the top 20 list from Pinside.

  1. Medieval Madness
  2. Twilight Zone
  3. Attack from Mars
  4. Monster Bash
  5. The Addams Family
  6. Lord of the Rings
  7. AC/DC (Premium/LE)
  8. Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
  9. Theatre of Magic
  10. Tales of the Arabian Nights
  11. Spider-Man
  12. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  13. Scared Stiff
  14. Metallica (Premium/LE)
  15. Cirqus Voltaire
  16. White Water
  17. Star Trek (Premium/LE)
  18. Metallica (Pro)
  19. The Simpsons Pinball Party
  20. TRON: Legacy (Pro)

Anything released in the past year or so is getting removed. With the honeymoon effect, many new games pop up high in all-time lists. These games are not proven yet and are just the shiny new thing.

So that eliminates the following games:

  • Metallica (Premium/LE)
  • Star Trek (Premium/LE)
  • Metallica (Pro)

Now let’s see ensure the remaining games also exist on the top 20 list at the Internet Pinball Database.

Sorry that means goodbye to:

  • The Simpsons Pinball Party
  • TRON: Legacy (Pro)

That leaves us with the following list:

  • Medieval Madness
  • Twilight Zone
  • Attack from Mars
  • Monster Bash
  • The Addams Family
  • Lord of the Rings
  • AC/DC (Premium/LE)
  • Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
  • Theatre of Magic
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights
  • Spider-Man
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Scared Stiff
  • Cirqus Voltaire
  • White Water

That leaves us with 15 games. Just like the President, I have full veto power here.

Somebody needs to be the voice of reason — and having twenty years of pinball collecting under my belt I feel confident in my abilities.

I have five games to get rid of here. Actually this is going to be pretty easy to do.

Theatre of Magic is the first to go. Pretty game, some fun shots, neat toys, but it is not very fun long term and has very poor software.

I could say the same exact things about Tales of the Arabian Nights — so that one is out of here also.

Lord of the Rings is a near carbon copy of the Monster Bash layout, only it is less fun, is not funny at all, and feels cheaper in quality.

Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure is gorgeous and was made during the peak of the industry. The problem is the kinetics of the game are slightly off. This is not the kind of game you can play over and over again…because it just is not that fun to play. It is out of here.

That produces a top ten list of:

  • Medieval Madness
  • Twilight Zone
  • Attack from Mars
  • Monster Bash
  • The Addams Family
  • AC/DC (Premium/LE)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Scared Stiff
  • Cirqus Voltaire
  • White Water

This is not my personal list, but I can live with this. Personally I am saddened to not see Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or The Shadow here. But I will try to move on.

Now let’s get these in proper order.

I will average the score from the two websites, along with my own personal score.

My personal score is based on how long I found the games enjoyable. Some games I still own and find fun over a decade later (White Water) while others I tired of eventually and don’t miss them any more (Medieval Madness and Attack from Mars).

So without further adieu…here is your all time top ten list of modern pinball machines.

  1. Twilight Zone
  2. Monster Bash
  3. Medieval Madness
  4. The Addams Family
  5. Attack from Mars
  6. White Water
  7. Scared Stiff
  8. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  9. AC/DC (Premium/LE)
  10. Cirqus Voltaire

If you want to break it down by pinball designers. Here is your scorecard.

  • Pat Lawlor = 2 games
  • Brian Eddy = 2 games
  • Dennis Nordman = 2 games
  • Steve Ritchie = 2 games
  • George Gomez = 1 game
  • John Popadiuk = 1 game

* Feature photo by Carsten Frenzl