Williams Funhouse

FunHouse backglass
FunHouse playfield

A classic game. A masterpiece. Funhouse is probably one of the best pinball machines ever created. Funhouse has no overly complicated rules. Just plain, simple fun, this game is everything what pinball is about.

Game rules are similar to Earthshaker and Whirlwind (lock balls for multiball and then jackpots, complete all modes to start a frenzy) but it has its unique identity. Just everything feels right on this game. I honestly can't think of any change that could make this game any better.

Everything about this game is very good, without being too much. Lightshow is good. Sounds and music are good. The game is FUN. The theme is FUN and well implemented. It's good fun for everyone, it didn't became a simple, childish game like Cyclone. Artwork is good. Game rules are good. Easy enough for a beginner. Challenging for better players. Playfield layout is great.

Rudy funhouse
All attention probably goes to Rudy. The doll head is the centerpiece of the game. He follows the pinball with his eyes. He speaks to you if you do well or bad. He'll complain if you shoot against his mouth. And he's not just for show, he has a function to gameplay: you can shoot the ball into his mouth (which he'll then spit out making great sounds). Rudy probably makes Funhouse so special. He gives the machine its own personality and interacts with the player. While other machines exist which use a figure to give feedback to the player (like the Ringmaster on Cirqus Voltaire), only on Funhouse it is that well integrated in the game.


The object of the game is to get the clock to 11.30 (advance the clock by hitting targets and switches). Then lock 2 balls and Rudy falls asleep. Shoot a ball in his mouth to wake him up and start multiball. Then try to score as many jackpots as possible.. There are also several 'modes' to complete, and the game starts a frenzy when you complete them all.

While some parts of the playfield are similar to other Pat Lawlor games (compare the layout to Addams Family i.e.), you are not reminded of them whilst playing Funhouse. It is just an excellent layout. There are some dangerous shots (ie steps targets), some easy, some difficult.. a little for everybody.

There are some nice touches to keep flow in the game, ie the left inlane switch triggers the right gangway light, so you're invited to immediately make that shot from the left flipper (same on right inlane/left gangway). Loop once around Rudy and the trapdoor opens, so you have to be quick to shoot it again when the ball passes the upper flipper. If you are a good player and can make these shots, you are awarded with big points.

My Funhouse pinball machine

The machine we have now is our second Funhouse. We had one years ago, but it had to go when it was time to sell some pins.. my wife and I had played it a lot, seen it all, and hadn't played on it for weeks. The machine also wasn't in the best condition, the cabinet was nice (still had red balloons on it) but you could see the playfield it had seen a lot of plays. The mylar in the middle I had removed but the blue was discolored by it.
After Funhouse was gone for a few months, we both missed it. A lot. Enough to want to have one back. So the search began again. I wanted a machine which was in good shape, and if possible didn't have mylar on it so the blue paint was still nice. After a year we finally found one. This machine does have some wear around the inserts but still looks quite nice. We're both happy to have found Rudy again and now he'll never leave. Even though sometimes we don't play this game for months, we will never sell it anymore as we know we will miss it too much.

Things to look for when buying

funhouse playfield wear
Check Rudy, the mechanism must work correct. Eyes go left and right, eyelids close, mouth opens and closes, and registers balls shot against and in his mouth.

If there's a partial mylar on the playfield, the blue paint in the middle of the playfield will discolor, showing a huge color difference at the borders (see picture).

Playfield wear occurs often at the scoop kickout (near the right slingshot), between the bumpers (see picture: red arrows), and if it's really played a lot also near Rudys mouth (and middle of the playfield).

Right ramp damage. The diverter on the right ramp often damages this ramp with its pointy end.

Cabinet fade. Almost every cabinet is faded. There should be bright red balloons on the cabinet, not only yellow and orange ones.

Tech tips

lockdown bar
This is something all Funhouse owners must check !
Games came from the factory with a design fault: the lockdown release handle was not insulated.

When it touches the light socket it shorts (6.3 volts goes to ground) and fuse F106 will blow, taking a part of your general illumination out.

lockdown bar
The solution is to wrap this handle with electrical tape (green tape in picture) or shrink tube so it can not short out.
As you can see in this picture it comes very close to the coin door light socket.
This needs to be checked on every Funhouse pinball machine.


Pat Lawlor already thought of a clock to include in this game. On Funhouse this is done on the playfield itself, made up by inserts, and a real clock assembly was eventually used on Twilight Zone.

Prototypes had five s-t-e-p-s targets. Production playfields only have s-t-e-p targets.

Although it has alpha-numeric displays, the game uses the WPC boardset. Proto/early production games however do have a System 11 soundboard. They can also be recognised because they have a recessed start-button.

Prototype / early production games had a diamondplated playfield. Regular production games did not. Because of the popularity of the game, Williams did create new playfields a few years later and these were also diamondplated (but had some color bleeding problems). So if you find a diamondplated Funhouse, it's either a sample/proto game (with sys11 sound board), or a game on which someone replaced the original playfield with a new one.

Promo plastics for this game:

  • large Rudy face plastic
  • pointing hand
  • 1" round Funhouse logo
  • 1" round Rudy face
  • 2 square speaker cutouts

Click here to see the IPDB entry of this game.