Best Pinball Machines – Classic Arcade Pinball Machine Reviews

Pinball machines are arguably as popular in modern times as they were when they first entered rec centers and arcades. Pinball attracts people from all walks of life to play this highly stimulating and exhilarating arcade game.

If you ask the average individual what makes pinball so fun, many people might not even know how to describe it. However, great pinball machines often fulfill two primary objectives:

  • Excite the senses with dazzling lighting and sound effects that coordinate with well-placed and fun gameplay elements.
  • Using these effects and gameplay features to bring iconic elements and ideas to life.

The pinball machines that we will be looking at today demonstrate a mastery of fulfilling these primary objectives. This list will contain machines that combine expertly-crafted and designed gameplay features with nostalgic themes, visuals, and sounds that represent important figures and media that still play a huge role in shaping modern trends throughout the world.


Before we begin, it helps to let you know that all the additions on this list are manufactured by Stern. There is a good reason for this: Stern has mastered the ability to bring iconic figures to life through dazzling pinball gameplay and effects.

We mentioned that the majority of the machines focused on nostalgic themes. However, this particular pinball machine focuses on one of the most beloved and controversial comic-book figures of all time: Deadpool.

Marvel’s Deadpool has been a huge focus of fans ever since he first stepped foot into comics. The Merc’ With the Mouth is loved by many and hated by others, but his popularity is unquestionable. The Deadpool movie was the highest-grossing, R-rated film ever.

Though not a nostalgic character, Deadpool is certainly iconic. This pinball machine reflects the iconic nature of this character perfectly, and the dazzling sound and visual effects are matched by pristine gameplay and cleverly-designed gameplay elements.

While many elements of this board will remind players of the iconic film, this board also speaks to casual and hardcore comic book fans. Various X-Men and Marvel characters are interwoven into the game design and gameplay to really ensure a fully-immersive Deadpool experience.


  • Fun for beginners and veterans
  • Plays extremely well
  • Great representation of Deadpool


  • May feel a bit overloaded with gimmicks.
  • The upfront investment is pretty steep.


The second selection on this list highlights one of the most famous and influential groups in past and present pop culture: The Beatles. Very few people can say that they do not know a Beatles song, and their musical influence transcended cultural, racial, societal and generational boundaries.

This Gold Edition machine from Stern perfectly shows why they are the masters of icon-themed pinball machines. This pinball machine spares no expense at bringing your a fully-immersive Beatles experience.

This machine comes equipped with built-in video and sound clips from iconic interviews and presentations. The machine even contains officially-licensed Beatles tracks to boot. This particular feature holds a special place in many who play this machine, and adds even more elements that deliver the Beatles to you.

These features are equally-matched by immersive, clean, and well-designed gameplay that both veteran and newbie players will enjoy. This gameplay integrates perfectly with the Beatles-themed elements in a way that is sure to satisfy you and your loved ones for years.


  • Excellent sound
  • Goes above and beyond with bringing the Beatles to life
  • Magnetic elements are excellent


  • Some gameplay features are rather mundane


You might be wondering why we include a video game machine in a list of pinball machines. Fact is, pinball became so popular in the same place that video game machines became popular: the arcade. As such, your home arcade would not be complete without a classic, retro video game machine.

Many arcade machines come with thousands of games in one console. However, these machines also cost a pretty penny for housing such large libraries. This machine helps you save by including two of the most classic retro titles: Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga.

This machine perfectly complements your pinball machine by giving you the variety that your arcade room needs. You can go wrong with these particular titles if you really want to capture the nostalgia of arcades of the past.


  • Two timeless classics that every retro fan loves.
  • Plays very well
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • May have too few games for hardcore, retro video gamers


We’ve been talking about the nostalgia a lot, and many of the selections on this list hold high nostalgic value. However, one selection on this list might beat everyone else out when it comes to driving home the nostalgia with Stern’s Batman ‘66 arcade machine.

Pinball is often already nostalgic enough, but including another timeless classic with this Batman theme really drives that point home. This machine is based on the 1960s Batman television show, starring the iconic Adam West. In fact, you will hear iconic voice clips from Adam West’s Batman and Burt Ward’s Robin.

As Stern always delivers with stunning visual effects, sound and integrated gameplay, this machine not only brings this Batman series to life but also brings to life the time period that this television classic was popular in. Stern delivers all of the nostalgic elements that made Batman such an iconic part of 1960s pop culture, and you’ll have tons of fun seeing the themes burst forth through the perfect blend of gameplay and stunning effects.


  • Includes the Dark Knight crane
  • Dazzling visual and sound effects
  • Really encapsulates the nostalgia of both the television series and the 1960s overall.


  • Some veterans may find gameplay elements to be too basic


Our last suggestion carries a theme that has a long history in both pop culture and the world of pinball. Star Trek has been a popular theme throughout pinball history, having a fair share of excellent and not-so-excellent tables.

You’ll be happy to know that this Stern machine defines excellence with yet another perfect blend of iconic elements and unique, engaging gameplay. This machine is modeled after Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the game revolves around the huge centerpiece model of the USS Vengeance.


  • Amazing centerpiece that integrates perfectly with gameplay
  • High-tech features that really bring the Star Trek Theme to life
  • Great for beginners and veterans


  • Some may feel Star Trek is an overused theme

Top Pick

It’s pretty hard to pick a clear winner among these machines, and this is due to one common feature. Stern manufactures all these machines, and each of these machines demonstrates Stern’s mastery with creating excellent pinball machines.

If there was one machine that has the largest universal appeal, then we would have to say that the Beatles pinball machine really takes the cake. The primary reason is simple: The Beatles have an appeal that crosses boundaries of time and social standing. People from all walks of life love The Beatles, and this machine delivers a Beatles experience that you are sure to love.

Final Thoughts

These pinball machines really reflect what it takes to create the ultimate pinball experience. They blend their thematic elements into the gameplay in a way that really brings each theme to life, bringing joy to you and your loved ones for a long time to come.