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Skill Shot
Shoot here — if you can...

In Pinball games, a Skill Shot is an optional bonus that the player can earn by performing some particular task when launching (or "plunging") a ball. It typically requires either releasing the ball with a particular strength so the ball goes into a certain region, or shooting a specific target, ramp or loop immediately after the ball is launched. Some games have various levels of skill shots, awarding different bonuses depending on which one is reached.


  • The trope image is the Skill Shot from Bally/Midway's Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball. Launching the ball with the correct amount of force would send it into the saucer; a shot that was too strong would complete the loop and exit down the lower-left side, while a weak shot would send the ball short and have it drop out through the bottom.
  • 1987's Big Guns has a skill shot; not only does it score points, but it also loads the right cannon if the ball isn't locked there.
  • Attack from Mars: Shooting the flashing lane at launch gives extra points and sets the bonus multiplier at 5x (or greater). If you hold the left flipper while launching, the ball will go around to the left flipper for a chance at a Super Skill Shot. You then have a few seconds to hit one of the shots. If you hit the shot, it will complete the requirements for that shot for Total Annihilation.
  • Medieval Madness has a set of Skill Shots — shoot the flashing lane at launch for extra points and to set the bonus multiplier at 5x (or greater), or hold the left flipper for a chance at a Super Skill Shot.
  • The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot sends launched balls into one of five slots. The highest value (200,000 points) is right behind the lowest value (25,000), so a slight miscalculation yields the lowest bonus.
  • Predecessor of The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot, Pin*Bot, has the player shoot a ball up a spiral and into one of three scoring holes, with the highest value in the middle.
  • 1988's Cyclone has a skill shot similar to Bride of Pin*Bot; shooting the middle car (out of five) yields the maximum points.
  • The sequel of Cyclone Hurricane, requires the player to launch the ball around the playfield, then immediately shoot the Hurricane ramp.
  • The Twilight Zone: A soft launch will send the ball into a colored zone (red, orange, or yellow), which lights one to three of the jet bumpers. The "Super Skill Shot" mode does something similar, except the awards are either lighting "Battle the Power", lighting the outlanes, or lighting the extra ball shot.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Skill Shot is one of the five options available when launching the ball. Choosing that option then requires the player to hit a game-selected target a few seconds after launch.
  • FunHouse: A well-placed shot will launch the ball into "Rudy's Hideout", a hidden spot behind Rudy's head.
  • Theatre of Magic: Hitting the chest after launch will yield one of three player-selected rewards. At other times in the game, the player must hit the captive ball instead.
  • The Jurassic Park pinball has the player lining up a cursor over a moving Velociraptor before shooting the ball.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park, has the player getting a T-Rex to stomp on some people. Succeeding gives 200,000 points, but a missed one still gives a decent 50,000. Occasionally, a "Super Skill Shot" pops up, with the humans replaced with stranger objects like a shark fin, a grandma, and ET of all things.
  • The Simpsons Pinball Party has three of them, and depending on how strength the ball is launched, it can net you one or more more of them with varing point values, likewise hitting Comic Book Guy with a carful ball launch, starts "Hurry Up" mode with two targets lit.
  • TRON: Legacy has several, including a soft launch to Flynn's Arcade and a loop to the upper-left flipper for a ramp shot.
  • A well-timed launch in Bally's Dr. Dude yields the highest score on the "I" Exam.
  • Gottlieb's original Baffle Ball was named for its "Baffle Point", an indented saucer at the top of the playfield. Shooting a ball into the Baffle would double the player's score for the entire game.
  • Star Wars (Data East) combines this with Video Mode: the player must press the trigger to launch the ball in time to hit an on-screen TIE fighter.
  • Pro Pinball: The Web has two: Shoot the Dock ramp after launch for a Skill Shot, or shoot the Loop and then the Dock Ramp for a Super Skill Shot.
  • Pro Pinball: Timeshock! lights a lane or ramp at launch, and awards 5 million points for shooting it. If the player presses both flipper buttons before launch, the Secret Skill Shot is activated for 10 million points.
  • Pro Pinball: Big Race USA has four:
    • Shoot the upper-right ramp at launching for the Skill Shot.
    • Hit the big loop and then the right ramp in a combo is a Super Skill Shot.
    • Using a soft launch, send the ball to the upper-right flipper and then shoot the upper-left ramp for the Secret Skill Shot.
    • Use the upper-right flipper to shoot the mini-loop and then the left ramp yields the Super Secret Skill Shot.
  • Judge Dredd has two:
    • Shoot the right outer orbit immediately after launch.
    • "Air Raid" mode diverts the ball back to the plunger for a T2-like skill shot.
  • Capcom's Pinball Magic has the player shoot the pinball into a corkscrew spiral, trying to drop the pinball into a magician's hat.
  • In Taxi, the player shoots the ball into the Spinout saucer, then collects a bonus based on how many revolutions it makes times the current ball number (Extra balls dosen't count as one ball, but counts as one for the multiplier).
  • Red & Ted's Road Show:
    • Launch the ball into the Blast Hole without hitting anything else to get a free souvenir and a score bonus.
    • Alternately, plunge the ball into Bobīs Bunker before hitting anything else to get the Secret Skill Shot, "Bob's Lotto".
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day has the player shoot the ball at the moving target on the Flying-HK five-bank. The value increases for every shot made, but the lights move faster each time.
  • The Addams Family: Gently plunge the ball so that it lands into Thing's eject saucer for 2 million points, with the value increasing each time.
  • Plants vs. Zombies Pinball:
    • Soft launch the ball at a snorkeling zombie in the pond for 500,000 points.
    • Hit another zombie at the mail ramp after the Skill Shot to score the Super Skill Shot.
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights
    • The player must shoot the ball into one of three baskets where a snake is hiding to charm it, or else he will get bitten.
    • After the Skill Shot, immediately shoot the ball up the ramp for a Super Skill Shot bonus.
  • Spider-Man (Stern):
    • The regular Skill Shot involves shooting the flashing top rollover lane at launch.
    • Alternately, the Secret Skill Shot requires the player to soft launch the ball so it rolls back down to the upper-right flipper, then hit the left Venom ramp for 500,000 points and a boost to the Venom value.
  • World Cup Soccer has three dividers which each have a light near the top of the playfield. When you start, they are all flashing. Falling in one of the flashing ones the first time scores 5 million points, at which point only two remain. Hitting another flashing one scores 10 million, and the last one spots a city for 30 million.
    • Before that, there's the less traditional Coin Toss skill shot, requiring you to launch the ball to simulate flipping a coin.
  • White Water: Gently plunge the ball so that it lands next to the upper right flipper, and then shoot Insanity Falls for one million points.
  • Demolition Man: After plunging the ball, shoot it up the side ramp with the upper left flipper to score points and to increase the combo value.
  • The Lord of the Rings has no less than three: the Tower Skill Shot, the Flipper Skill Shot, and the Lane Skill Shot.
  • In Bally's Xenon, roll over the flashing button switch at launch to score 1,500 points and knock down one of the four side drop targets.
  • Family Guy has the "F" in the F-A-R-T drop target bank, complete with a huge "Skill Shot" light pointing to it. It begins at 500,000 points and increases by 250,000 points each time the player can accomplish this per game.
    • Alternately shooting the Super Jackpot tunnel immediately scores a "Super Skill Shot".
  • High Roller Casino launches balls into a roulette wheel on the playfield; depending on which color slot the ball goes down, you receive a different prize: points (black), bonus X (red) or chips (green).
  • Gottlieb's Gladiators awards one of three bonuses if the player can launch the ball into the Mystery Saucer.
  • Earthshaker!: When putting a ball into play, the ball enters a spiral located in the upper left corner of the playfield. The spiral contains exits for 10K, 25K, 50K, and 100K points. A strong shot from the plunger causes an "overpass", which awards 25K points and 1 mile. The overpass directs the ball to the lower left flipper which allows the player a shot at the center ramp before the 50K timer expires.
  • In Whirlwind, hitting the "Feel", "The", and "Power" drop targets nets 300K, 200K, and 100K points, respectively. Hitting more than one adds their values together.
  • No Good Gofers has two:
    • Do a soft plunge at launch to hit the standup targets beneath the middle playfield ramp.
    • Alternately, shoot the ball up the ramp, sending the ball to the lower left inlane. This drops the Slam Ramp and gives the player a chance to make the elusive Hole-In-One shot above the main playfield.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, plunge the ball with the center head (Dracula's head) lit on the three-headed statue yields one million points, and advances V-I-D-E-O.
  • Banzai Run: Gently plunge the ball into the Banzai Hill saucer to score the "Super Cycle Stunt" bonus and send the ball up Banzai Hill.
  • It is possible to shoot the ball into the Water Works saucer immediately after starting a game of Monopoly.
  • In The Shadow, plunge the ball, then shoot the left ramp for an award; the diverters determine the award.
  • Bally's classic Fireball requires the player to launch the ball with just enough strength to fall short of the top arc and roll back down the inner ramp for 3,000 points.
  • At the start of each ball in Black Rose, the torch targets will be flashing in some sequence. Hit the lit target for 500K and an open locker. This Skill Shot has adjustable difficulty settings, too.
  • In Johnny Mnemonic, at the start the middle lane will be flashing; the flippers move the flashing light left and right. If the ball goes through the correct lane, you score 25 million points, multiplied by the number of Skill Shots made, as well as 5 gigabytes.
  • When you plunge a ball into play in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the left ramp is lit for 250K multiplied by the number of the ball in play. If you successfully shoot it before hitting another playfield target, the right ramp is lit for the same amount.
  • All of the tables from Zen Pinball have some kind of Skillshot. The Paranormal table in particular has two Skillshots, and one of them can be a double Skillshot.
  • In Gottlieb's Street Fighter II pinball, time the plunger to shoot the ball into Blanka's saucer to set the value, then shoot Chun Li's bracelet to claim it.
  • Indiana Jones (Stern) has a helpfully labeled one: the display cycles through various rewards, and shooting the ball when the one you want is displayed awards it.
  • The Who's Tommy has up to three:
    • Soft plunge into the Parachute for a bonus value.
    • Launch counterclockwise to the upper left flipper, then shoot the right ramp for a bonus and advances the mystery award.
    • If Multiball is ready, launch to the upper left flipper, then hit the Tommy saucer for the "One Way Combo" and start multiball.
  • The Simpsons (Data East) does the normal "three lanes with one lit for points" scenario.
  • In Stern's Iron Maiden, a soft plunge will launch the ball into the ball walker, either to lock for multiball or to immediately go to the upper playfield.
  • Plunging the ball into the top rollover lane in Q*Bert's Quest automatically lights the current pyramid.
  • The Skill Shot in Scared Stiff requires gently launching the ball to land in the upper saucer, which causes Elvira to throw a knife at her television set.
    Elvira: "Man, I hate commercials!"
  • In Diner, time the launch so the ball lands in the saucer when the desired reward is lit on the jukebox.
  • Big Bang Bar has a basic skill shot — shoot the ball into the lit rollover lane. Alternately, soft plunge the ball so it rolls back down to the upper flipper, then shoot the left inner orbit for a Secret Skill Shot.
  • There are up to four Skill Shots available in Transformers, depending on the table version.
    • Shoot the flashing rollover lane for a standard Skill Shot.
    • The first Secret Skill Shot is to soft plunge the ball into the center lane leading to Megatron.
    • The second Secret Skill Shot is to weak plunge the ball so it drops to the right flipper, then shoot the left ramp.
    • The third Secret Skill Shot is only available on Limited Edition games. Launch the ball while holding down the left flipper button to send the ball counterclockwise to the left flipper, then shoot the right ramp.
  • 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride has two, one up the snack shot, and a harder one up the corkscrew coaster.
  • Tales from the Crypt requires the player to time the launch so the ball hits the lit guillotine target as the light moves along.
    • Also used in Lethal Weapon 3, with a moving light across a bank of four targets.
  • In Stargate, soft plunge the ball into the left outlane and enter the Sarcophagus.
  • For The Wizard of Oz:
    • Go through lit upper lane to increase the bonus multiplier and collect a bonus.
    • Hit the Wicked Witch for a bonus and to start a Witch Hurry Up mode.
    • Hit the Jackpot target next to the Haunted Forest to start a Haunted Scoring mode.
    • Hit the lit B-A-L-L target to instantly spell BALL for a Crystal Ball mode.
  • In the Gilligan's Island pinball, a soft launch will shoot the ball into the top eject hole for a random reward.
  • AC/DC:
    • After plunging the ball, hitting any of the lit A-X-E multipliers awards 250,000 points, increases the bonus multiplier, and awards a VIP Pass.
    • There's a Super Skill Shot, which awards 350,000 points, increases the bonus multiplier by 5x, and awards two VIP Passes.
  • In The Pinball Of The Dead, press a button at the right time to shoot a zombie with a moving crosshairs.
  • Police Force starts by shooting a ball at a target range spinner, and each turn advances the bonus from 10,000 to 100,000 points.
  • Metallica has several:
    • Plunge the ball into the flashing rollover lane to double the bonus multiplier; do it without moving the flashing light to quadruple it.
    • Holding down the left flipper button when plunging enables three separate Super Skill Shots.
      • Hitting the Piston target enables the Double Playfield Score.
      • Shooting a randomly-lit target enables the Coffin Hurry-Up.
      • Shooting the right eject hole lights Mystery.
  • After plunging the ball in Demolition Man, shoot the ball up the left side ramp for points and to increase the combo value.
  • In Silverball Mania, launching the ball down the top center rollover raises the Kicker and scores 5,000 points.
  • Played with in Star Trek (Stern); unlike most modern pinballs, there's no normal Skill Shot available for plunging the ball into a flashing top lane, as Steve Ritchie felt there was no actual skill involved. Instead, there are two Secret Skill Shots available by depressing either the "Fire" button or the left flipper when launching a ball.
  • In Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, shoot the random flashing drop target after launching the ball for bonus points and to immediately spell GATHER.
  • In 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night, launching a ball softly from the plunger and make it launch from a different hole directly into the main playfield will give a voice message say "Excellent!" and rewards you with 10,000,000 points.
  • Heighway Pinball's Full Throttle has the player hold down the left flipper to rev the engine, then launch the ball when the tachometer needle is in the red zone.
  • Sega Pinball's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has the player throw the Big Electric Switch to collect the currently-flashing reward.
  • Baywatch lets the player choose from one of three — the top SPF rollover lanes, the Shark Hole, or the Ironman side ramp. There's also a Secret Skill Shot, where you shoot for the Guard Tower when it's lit for 25 million points.
  • Hook requires the player to launch the ball into one of three highlighted chutes.
  • Sega Pinball's Starship Troopers uses a magnet to catch the ball over the B-U-G rollovers upon launch. Move the flashing rollover light with the flipper buttons so the ball drops in it.
    • A Secret Skill Shot is available by holding the left flipper button to disable the magnet and send the ball to the left flipper. Hitting the right ramp will award a 5 million Ramp Skillshot.
  • In Stern Pinball's X-Men, soft plunge the ball to the upper right flipper, then shoot either the Rogue lane or the left ramp for an X-Men cameo (Psylocke and Angel, respectively).
  • On each new ball in America's Most Haunted, the display shows a ghost near the pop bumpers, top rollovers, or Stairs passage. Shoot the corresponding location to collect a reward.
  • Bone Busters has an unusual one — launch the ball up to the subway station without dropping to the main playfield, then press a Train Switch button on the side of the cabinet to flip the ball directly into the lower-left ball lock.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera, launch the ball into the top flashing lane for a bonus and to open the organ.

Score MultiplierPinball TropesSpelling Bonus
Revolvers Are Just BetterImageSource/OtherSpace Is Air

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