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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.

Not to be confused with the popular terminology for a type of attack in Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, referring an ability that travels to a location/area (and so requires some prediction to hit an enemy) rather than being Homing Boulders that will always strike something you point and click on.


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Examples:

  • 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, either any of the two loops or ramps, or any of the Force Field targets. If you hit the shot, it will either complete the requirements for that shot for Total Annihilation, or start an Attack Wave.
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  • 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.
  • Fun House: 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.
  • Jurassic Park (Data East) has the player lining up a cursor over a moving Velociraptor before shooting the ball.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park displays an animation of a T-Rex preparing 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 strong 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 careful 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 Bob´s 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 Data East's 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!"
    • Since the Skill Shot light is still on for a certain amount time, it is also possible to not gently launch the ball to land in the upper saucer and still get the Skill Shot bonus; getting the ball to the upper saucer quickly enough will net the Skill Shot bonus as long as the Skill Shot light remains on.
  • 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.
  • Strange Science: Time your launch so it rolls over the Particle Separator switch when the moving light is on the desired reward.
  • Checkpoint: shoot the ramp within five seconds of plunging the ball for bonus points.
  • In Congo, the standard Skill Shot is to hit the lit kickback target for an award. Alternately, soft plunge the ball into the left outlane for 25 million, and try to shoot the Map Saucer for a Kickback Combo.
  • Fire!: Plunge the ball up a lane with five rollover switches, and try to reach the second-highest one (worth 100,000 points) without triggering the first one or the target at the end (worth 5,000 and 1,000 points, respectively).
  • In WWF Royal Rumble, launch the ball when Hulk Hogan is pointing at a desired bonus to get it. If you can nudge the ball into the flashing rollover lane, you'll also get a 10 million point bonus.
  • Maverick The Movie: The plunger can shoot the ball to one of five places. Shooting the ball into the lit hole of the first three gives the current reward for that hold. Going for the fourth hole feeds the ball to the upper right flipper, where the player can take a shot at the captive ball. Or plunge the ball all the way around to the left inlane and scores whatever is lit on the Crystal City ramp.
  • In Last Action Hero, launch the ball to hit the moving C-R-A-N-E light and make the helicopter explode.
  • Space Jam: Launch the ball through a basket for 300,000 points, then shoot the left ramp for a Super Skill Shot bonus.
  • In Game of Thrones, plunge into the lit top lane to collect 500,000 points and a bonus multiplier increase.
  • Bally's electro-mechanical Four Million B.C. is perhaps an Ur-Example. Plunges will go to a ramp, and the goal is to roll up to the top switch on the ramp but not over the edge of it so that the ball will roll back down. Each switch on the way back down will award 1,000 points each, for a total of 3,000 and change (a substantial sum on this game).
  • Ghostbusters has one of two different skill shots, each with their own method of setup. The left flipper will change one of the lit P-K-E rollover lanes, while the right flipper will change one of the major shots. Each shot/lane has its own specific reward. Making either of these will collect the award, plus 1,000,000 times your ball number, plus 10% of your current score.
  • Stern Pinball's Star Wars has two of these. One involves hitting a specific drop target to receive a bonus. The other involves a trio of targets. When starting a ball, the game moves a bonus target back and forth along this row; shooting the ball out of the plunger lane at the lit target (similar to Terminator 2's "take your best shot" skill shot; both tables have the same designer) will award the player an increase in their shot multiplier.
  • The standard rollover lane skill shot gets a more difficult revamp in Total Nuclear Annihilation: one lane is lit, and plunging the ball into it awards a ball saver level and finishes the grid. The catch is that, while the player can change the lane in question with the flippers, they must do it before plunging the ball. Doing it afterwards downgrades the bonus to just the ball saver level.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy has three: the standard flashing top lane shot, a "hands-free" variant that doubles the reward if you don't use the flipper buttons during it, and a Super Skill Shot accessed by holding the left flipper when launching the ball (which causes one of three shots on the playfield proper to briefly be lit for an extra-large bonus).
  • Elvira's House of Horrors awards 250,000 points for making it into the top two lanes, while plunging a bit harder lets you enter the titular mansion's Back Door for 1 million points (and also immediately starts a mode).
  • Deadpool has no fewer than four of these: the standard lane shot (made a bit harder because you can't change the lane after the ball hits a switch) and three secret ones that require holding the left flipper and making increasingly difficult shots immediately afterwards.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has three of them.
    • Soft plunging into the saucer awards points, a W-O-N-K-A letter, and a candy for the Candy Jar.
    • Plunging to the upper flipper, then shooting the center ramp adds 5 candies, more points, and a Computer Award.
    • The "Super Skill Shot" (holding the left flipper, then performing a combo from the upper flipper) awards even more points, a bonus multiplier, a Computer Award, 10 candies, and furthers every factory tour shots by one.
  • Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast has a normal one (soft plunging into a specific target, awarding 1 million points, 5 seconds of ball save time, and an EDDIE letter), a Super Skill Shot (hold the left flipper, then shoot a specific shot for 5 million points, 10 seconds of ball save time, and a playfield Score Multiplier), and several Super Secret Skill Shots.
  • Jurassic Park (Stern) has several.
    • The standard Skill Shot is to immediately shoot the left ramp (for a minimum of 2 million points), which can be comboed into a Super Skill Shot by shooting the right ramp (doubling the initial point value), a Double Super Skill Shot with the side ramp (quadrupling the value), and finally a Triple Super Skill Shot at the right orbit (sextupling the value).
    • There are also several Secret Skill Shots obtained by lightly plunging the ball and immediately hitting one of four shots.
    • Furthermore, there's also the MXV Skill Shot (named after Stern employee Mike Vinikour) and the Ultra Super Skill Shot (which starts a hidden feature at the beginning of the game).
  • Stranger Things has a regular and Super Skill Shot.
    • The former works similarly to Terminator 2 or Stern's Star Wars: one of the four drop targets flashes when a ball starts, progressing back and forth. Hitting it scores 500,000 points (with 100,000 more each time it's made).
    • The latter entails getting the ball into the left saucer, be it through plunging or immediately after plunging. This is worth a million points, with 250,000 being added for each successive shot.
  • The Munsters has two of these on the Pro version and three for the higher-tier editions:
    • The normal Skill Shot requires plunging into the right lane (which cannot be changed beforehand).
    • The Super Skill Shot requires holding the left flipper button before plunging, then shooting the right ramp right after.
    • The Premium and Limited Editions also have a Double Super Skill Shot accessed by holding both left flipper buttons. It requires shooting the scoop, then the saucer on the lower playfield.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Jersey Jack) has three of these.
    • Plunging softly into the bumpers awards 1,000 points and increases the Mystery level (increasing the value of what it awards).
    • Plunging into the ship popper awards 1,000 points and advances the Black Pearl.
    • Plunging to the upper flipper and then shooting the Captain's Quarters awards 2,500 points and activates the map.
  • Rick and Morty has two: either hitting the Noob Noob target (worth 200,000 points and increasing by 100,000 every time afterwards) or the garage (always worth double the target shot). They also respectively double and triple the ramp values for the rest of the ball. Shooting the side loop will multiply the skill shot's value, too.
  • The Beatles has several, including soft plunging to the rollover (explicitly labeled as a skill shot on the playfield itself) and plunging to the upper flipper and then shooting the loop for a jackpot.
  • Stern's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has either one or two, depending on the version:
    • Each of the four turtles has a specific lit shot that must be made after plunging to achieve a Weapon Skill Shot. Achieving it lights the Weapon Hurry-Up.
    • Exclusive to the Pro edition is a more traditional skill shot: plunge the ball into the leftmost top lane for points and an increase in bonus multiplier.

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