As is typical for pinball games of the era, there is no narrative, and the goal is to simply score points while rocking out all nite with the masked marvels. The word K-I-S-S is repeated four times in the center of the playfield; the player scores points by hitting targets and rollovers to light the letters, with additional points for completing an entire column or row. While Gene, Paul, Peter, and Ace play on from the strobing backglass, try to shoot for the center rollover to spot an entire row, or hit the A-B-C-D targets for double scoring, an extra ball, or a special.
Not surprisingly, the KISS pinball rode the band's popularity to sell 17,000 units, become Bally's best-selling table of 1979 and one of pinball's top ten tables ever. The game was heavily promoted by the band, with appearances on television, comic books, and music magazines, as well as the Dynasty tourbook, while posters of the backglass art were sold to the public. Pinball buffs consider it a decent table, but one that's more memorable for its license than its gameplay. Even so, it remains in high demand with KISS fans and music collectors; notable owners include musicians Trent Reznor and Marc DeLeon.
The KISS pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Everything Makes a Mushroom: The bottom of the playfield shows the band members surrounding an exploding mushroom cloud.
- Face of the Band: Invoked on the backglass, which has Paul Stanley front and center.
- Fanservice Extra: The sides of the table feature two women wearing KISS facepaint and ridiculously thin leather thong bikinis.
- Fiery Salamander: The playfield shows two snakes (with tiny green wings) leaping out of the mushroom cloud while breathing fire.
- Incendiary Exponent/Stuff Blowing Up: Just about everything on the playfield is either on fire or exploding.
- No Swastikas: To comply with German law, the artwork was altered for tables shipped to Germany to replace the band's double-S characters (which resemble the Schutzstaffel logo) with Serif Bold "S"es instead.
- Overly Long Tongue: Gene Simmons, of course.
- Spelling Bonus: K-I-S-S, of course.