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What is the Best Upper Playfield in Pinball?

Updated: Aug 13, 2022

They interrupt flow and they often don’t have much to them, yet I love them so. I’m talking about upper playfields in pinball. This afternoon my family went to the fantastic Morristown Game Vault arcade in Morristown, New Jersey as a last hurrah before my oldest son goes off to college.


We played a ton of games while we were there, my oldest is more into the vids than the pins. While I was putting in some time on the pinball machines I found myself continuously getting sucked into one particular game over and over today, Stern Pinball’s 2003 masterpiece, The Simpsons Pinball Party (TSPP)


Some people criticize TSPP for being too easy or not being a great tournament game, but I am in love with it. The game is absolutely packed. I can’t even imagine how much this thing would cost if a manufacturer decided to build one today. Not only is it packed, it has what I believe is the best upper playfield in pinball.


The upper playfield on TSPP has two flippers, its own mini DMD, two targets, an loop and a ramp to a shot that locks balls on The Simpsons iconic couch. So cool!


No discussion about upper playfields in pinball would be complete without mentioning all of the variants of Black Knight. They’re definitely up there in the ranks. I actually have really been enjoying the small, single-flipper upper playfield on my Stern Mandalorian Pro lately. It’s a fun addition to the game.


So…what is your nominee for the best upper playfield in pinball? Let’s hear ‘em.


We’ve had a vote for Dutch Pinball’s The Big Lebowski. Great call. That upper playfield with the orbit, targets and how it transforms into a car is killer. We’ve had a lot of votes for Jersey Jack’s Pirates of the Caribbean rocking boat mini playfield. That is a fantastic one, too. Spooky Pinball’s Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle has gotten a number of mentions too.


Bally’s The Shadow and The Twilight Zone’s The Power are good ones as well. And how about Williams’ Banzai Run? Does the entire backbox count as an upper playfield? It’s pretty epic. I guess that it should.






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8 Comments


Brian Thomas
Brian Thomas
Aug 16, 2022

White Water is pretty good with its Bigfoot toy, but I'd vote for Alice Cooper. 1 flipper, 2 standup targets, 1 drop target, Frankenstein lock shot, 2 exit lanes, a passage into the crypt, the guillotine shot and an exit down the right ramp... that thing is loaded.

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KING HENRY
KING HENRY
Aug 14, 2022

Maybe create a poll, to bring more people in your web-world? Also, I STRONGLY suggest asking various people of their work and/or online pics/vids before posting it. We all lost out (me especially!) when you shared the gunfighter homebre mod. It caught wind through you, now we (us) are screwed out of that (even if a donation was the case). Seems like you want to spew without much recouce. Idk. I like most of your insight, but...

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Jason
Jason
Aug 14, 2022
Replying to

I’m well aware of what you’re referring to and the plug getting pulled on the aftermarket Cactus Canyon topper had nothing to do with me. Ryan White was in the process of shutting it down before I wrote anything about it. He told me as much when I spoke with him. All the manufacturers know exactly what is going on on Pinside. Though I appreciate you trying to make me feel bad about the situation. I’ve basically stopped writing about any aftermarket mods for pins that aren’t already widely known at this point because it’s not worth the trouble.

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rmiller
rmiller
Aug 14, 2022

You know I’m partial to the BK upper playfields…

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Jason
Jason
Aug 14, 2022
Replying to

Of course :)

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