Not surprisingly, the Rocky pinball pits the player in a ten-round boxing match; knock down the drop target corresponding to the current round to advance to the next. More surprisingly is the unconventional table layout, which has two pairs of flippers at the bottom of the playfield. Extra balls and specials are available for going through seven or more rounds, and an "Instant Win" button gives beginners a fighting chance. Cheering crowds and the "Rocky" theme music round out the package.
Sharp-eyed filmgoers will notice that the Rocky pinball machine is not the one that appears in Rocky III; that was a prop backglass installed on an existing pinball table. Only three of the prop backglasses were made. One was destroyed on-camera, and the surviving two are in possession of private collectors.
The Rocky pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Sylvester Stallone had his likeliness on the backglass repainted three times because he didn't want it to look beaten up even after ten rounds in the ring.
- Creator Cameo: In the boxing crowd on the backglass, the man wearing glasses with his arms crossed is artist David Moore, and the mustached man next to him is designer John Trudeau.
- Demoted to Extra: Due to licensing issues, Clubber Lang (Mr. T) only appears on the backglass background in the boxing ring, with his face covered.
- Heroic Second Wind: "On the Ropes", a kickback launcher between the two pairs of flippers that can save a ball that's about to drain.
- Instant-Win Condition: The "Instant Win" button, which completes the current round when enabled.
- Licensed Pinball Table
- Meet My Good Friends Lefty and Righty: Inverted; the flippers are named "Left Jab", "Right Hook", "Left Hook", and "Right Jab".
- Patriotic Fervor: The playfield is decorated with the stars and stripes of the American flag, while the bumpers and targets are red, white, and blue.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Gonna Fly Now", otherwise known as the Rocky theme.
- Victory Pose: As seen on the backglass.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Rocky wears his American flag trunks from the film.