Gottlieb World Challenge Soccer

Gottliebs World Challenge Soccer resembles Bally's World Cup Soccer.. they both have the same theme, were built around the same time period, their names are similar.. but luckily for Bally, the games are very different.

WCS playfield

I guess the difference between Bally and Gottlieb clearly shows on this machine. Here you see what both companies could do at the same time with the same theme.
Gottlieb was on a 'cheap is better' policy in the years before this game and didn't really innovate a lot. Ok their games also had a dot matrix display but the playfield layout still resembled a game from the eighties. And the artwork.. I don't think anyone will say it's a master piece.

A nice feature when you play are the digitalised dmd animations. That was something they did innovate in. Bally/Stern always used hand-drawn animations, only Sega also used digitised animations but only later (ie on Baywatch).


Gameplay itself isn't that bad as you would think when you see the look of the game. It's a typical Gottlieb game. You either like them or you hate them. But most people who hate them compare them too much to Bally/Williams games of that time. Don't. Just look at this game itself, and try to figure out all the game rules.

If you read the rules then you'll see there's more to do than you would think, or is written on the instruction card. But again, typical Gottlieb rules. No flashy modes to work towards a wizard mode.
Something which Gottlieb uses in a lot of games is i.e. that the player can select his award on the display, by pressing the left or right flipper button. Choose which award suits you best, depending on your strategy and position in the game. But then you already need to know a lot about the game rules, I guess most people just random select something.

Another nice feature is the line-up of soccer balls on the playfield. You need to get three in a row to get a bonus, positions change depening on which switches you make. This is also something you find a lot of Gottlieb games, some kind of mini-game.. Nice, but also sometimes takes attention away from playing pinball and working towards a main goal.

So do not think because the games looks simple (simple graphics on it), that its gameplay and rules are also very simple ! If you like the way Gottlieb machines play, this game is quite nice. At first sight this seems to be an easy game, with not a lot to do (targets and a goal). But there are a lot of specific rules, and objectives (i.e. line up 3 balls)
There are a lot of targets to hit, so you really have to be able to aim well ! So don't underestimate the skill needed for this game. To compare back to Ballys WCS I find there is more flipper skill needed to play well on Gottliebs WCS. Ballys game has some wide targets and rather easy ramp entries to shoot at, while on Gottliebs game there are some very small targets in the back of the game so you really have to aim well.

While the game is no Bally WCS, it's not bad either. Believe it or not, I find Sterns soccer game, Striker Extreme, which was designed 6 years later, even a much worse game and less fun to play than this !

My game

I had this game a few days in my house, it wasn't mine but for someone who wanted a pinball machine for his 5 and 7 year old kids. And they loved it. A recent, reliable game, easy to understand. All they could wish for.

Things to look for when buying

Do you really want to buy this game ?
Only the goalie assembly is specific. In the back there's also a soccer player which goes towards the goal on the far left.


Gottlieb WCS left slingshot Bally Cirqus Voltaire slingshot

The game has a strange slingshot setup, with small plastic slings and a ball guide with mini-post to stop balls and a rollover star underneath it. Almost the same setup can be found on Cirqus Voltaire. Maybe John Popaduik likes playing WCS ? :-) I like this kind of slingshot setup. It's especially useful if you catch a fast pinball on a raised flipper bat. The ball will roll up in the inlane, but is stopped by the minipost. As opposite to a regular Bally/Williams game, where a ball which is too fast and has too much spin, will just go up in the inlane, and spin over the top into the outlane.

Click here to see the IPDB entry of this game.