Pinball: Fireball

The game that hooked Mr. Belvedere

"It's Red Hot!"

Fireball is an electro-mechanical arcade pinball table designed by Ted Zale with artwork by Dave Christensen. It was released in 1971 by Bally.

In this game, the player is out to challenge the Fire Gods in his quest for a high score. Master the Skill Shot incline, activate the kickback, then hit the center target to close the Zipper Flippers. Lock a ball in the Odin and Wotan saucers, then hit the captive ball to Release The Fire Gods for triple-scroing multiball action. But there's no time to rest, because the spinning playfield disc will catapult your balls in unexpected directions.

Fireball was the first pinball machine to use a spinning disc in the playfield, which was advertised as a "whirlwind spinner". Its stunning artwork, uncomplicated rules, and nonstop action captivated players, making it one of the iconic pinballs of The Seventies. It was remade and re-released several times, including an In Name Only home version in 1976, a sequel (Fireball II) in 1981, and a remake (Fireball Classic) in 1985.


The Fireball pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The left outlane kickback, the right "Free Ball" gate, and the Zipper Flippers.
  • Artistic License Religion: Odin and Wotan, who were never depicted as "Fire Gods", and are often seen as members of different pantheons.
  • Author Appeal: The fire god on the backglass wears an elaborate belt buckle because artist Dave Christensen designs buckles as a hobby.
  • Big Red Devil:
    • Arguably, the unnamed "Fire God" featured in the Fireball art is meant to invoke this.
    • Unambiguously invoked in Fireball II, which includes demonic characters with horns and fangs, and a ball-saving post called "Little Demon".
  • Fireballs
  • Genre Shift: For some reason, Fireball II was advertised as part of Bally's "Superhero Series".
  • In Name Only: The home version of Fireball; aside from the same general theme, it features completely different artwork and a completely different playfield layout.
  • No Plot? No Problem!
  • Playing with Fire: How else can you describe playing pinball with fireballs?
  • The Remake: Fireball Classic, which featured updated artwork and revised rules, and replaced the original Zipper Flippers with larger, immobile flippers.
  • Score Multiplier: Scores are doubled or tripled depending on how many balls are on the playfield.
  • Skill Shot: Launch the ball with just enough strength to fall short of the playfield arc and roll back down the inner ramp for 3,000 points.
  • Wreathed in Flames