This Game is no Joke! Data East’s Batman Pinball Machine

by Lauren Sisselman

052021B-300x157 This Game is no Joke! Data East's Batman Pinball MachineTwo years after 1989 Batman’s debut, and on the heels of the highly anticipated sequel, Data East cashed in on Batmania and released Batman. This is the first time we see the DC character brought to solid-state life. The machine is hands down one of the best superhero pins ever released.

The summer of 1989 could be summed up in one name — Batman. Batmania had taken over. During, people of all ages couldn’t get enough of Michael Keaton’s iconic performance as the legendary dark knight. Jack Nicholson’s Joker, however, elevated the movie to something beyond a fun, comic book summer movie. Gone were the days of the Joker hiding his mustache under white makeup. This Joker thrived on actual fear, and Batman was ready to bring down the strong arm of justice on the clown prince of crime.

2252-batman-pinball-1-201x300 This Game is no Joke! Data East's Batman Pinball MachineData East’s Batman Pinball’s Origin Story

This machine is notable for being the first pin to feature the BSMT-2000 — the Brian Schmidt Music Technology Sound System. The callouts on the game were voiced by Fred Young, who brought the game to life. Only 3,500 of these machines were produced.  Each machine featured a three-ball multiball action, Axis Chemical Factory skill shot, a Joker target, the Batcave, the Flugelheim museum, and more. This game errs on the difficult side, but players of all skill sets will enjoy this engrossing and beautiful game.

But what will the machine cost you? These are usually easier to find for sale than a limited edition Stern machine. Still, finding one in Very Good / Near Mint condition is hard. A Poor condition machine recently sold in March of 2021 for under $2,061 — this specific machine was in serious need of rehab, especially on the playfield. The game was also not in working condition, so the lucky winner will be investing a few hundred to bring it back to life.

Want one?3879_batman-data-east-225x300 This Game is no Joke! Data East's Batman Pinball Machine

A working condition Batman will set you back in the $3K range, while a working Batman in VG/NM shape will set you back over $4k. If you’re looking at this game as an investment, be aware of the condition of the game. If you can look at the machine in person, pay close attention to the shooter lane, the playfield, and the state of the body.

Many of the Batman machines for sale have largely been home use only. This means lower plays and that the machine was likely not abused. Routed machines (games that were in bars, arcades, etc) are common as well. Be mindful when purchasing a routed machine. Still, If you get your hands on a VG Batman and do some cosmetic work to it, you could easily flip it for a profit.

This game is serious fun if you can find it. This was also not the last time the caped crusader would be the subject of a pinball machine! To date, there have been 4 different Batman-themed machines.

Have you played Data Easts Batman machine? Let us know in the comments below!

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