Does Sharkey's Shootout deserve the hate?

Hi Gang,

I have been the proud owner of a very nice Sharkey’s Shootout for about 4 months, and I just don’t fully understand why SS is the go to game for pinballers to trash. I mean, I benefitted from its bad reputation by picking up a modern Stern machine in great shape for apx $2k, so I can’t complain about that. As far as the game goes, I find that it has fun shots, neat combos, balanced scoring, good rules/strategy, and replayability.

So tell me, why does SS get such a bad wrap?

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I am glad you enjoy it, there are many people who do. I will give my story, but don’t consider this an attack on you or your view of the game, but you asked.

It is one of the few games I have sold and is the only purchase I regretted. I bought it because I read a lot about it being good bang for your buck and being like a eight ball deluxe with multiball.

Why did I think it was bad. Mostly the rules. Having the ramp (and I think the 8 scoop) spot drop targets made the game way to easy. Once I got it home, I made it to the web on my second game, and I wasn’t even that experienced back then.

Geometry on the pops was also problematic in my opinion. Ball fell back into the scoop far too much.

I really liked the 8 and 9 ball rules and if you needed to actually shoot at the targets it might have been challenging and fun. But as it is, it felt like a one shot game.

It had some other cool things, like the air ball jackpot. But I lost interest really quickly.

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Interesting. Seems being able to hit the ramp all day to spot things would most certainly make the game too easy. Just out of curiosity though, did you ever have a look through the game adjustment settings to see if there was a way to change this?

I don’t recall seeing that adjustment, but I’ll have to take another look. I know locks also spot a 1-7 ball drop target.

Figured it would be fun to bump this one. I actually acquired a SS over the weekend and have been putting a lot of time into it since.

I’m not sure where I stand at the moment on the ramp spotting a pool ball. One one hand I like the flexibility the game gives you. If you hit the ramp twice in a row the ball diverts which makes it harder to milk it repeatedly in a rapid-fire manner. However, I checked and there is no software setting to disable it. Setting the game to the hardest settings doesn’t change it.

Still, I found there are several other things to do that can keep things interesting. For instance, you can try to build your combos and collect those repeatedly (I just saw a video where the fifth collected combo award is worth 50 million). Another thing that is fun (and is good on risk/reward) is attempting to build your Trick Shot value to the max after the first match. It caps out at 25 million, and if collected makes every other Trick Shot be that value for the rest of the game.

The Web is a decent wizard mode. I enjoy having an infinite add-a-ball if you play well. Interestingly–and I don’t know if this was a bug–but I completed a game of Nine Ball while in The Web and it restarted the multiball completely (it replayed the intro animation and gave me ball save again. This is separate from completing the Black Widow drop and getting the normal add-a-ball).

I’m trying to figure out if the various characters have effects on scoring or other modes/features in the game. I know that while playing against Tex your multiball will turn into “Stampede Multiball”, making all Jackpots doubled. I haven’t been able to tell if the other characters are doing anything special.

Anyway, I’ve had the game for less than a week at this point so I’m not sure how I will feel about the whole thing months down the road, but at the moment I’m definitely leaning towards “not deserving the hate”. It is genuinely fun, has some good shots and modes, and the theme is integrated decently and has some charm. I wouldn’t call it a player’s game, but it definitely has some features players can appreciate.


pinball is like pizza. Even bad pinball/pizza is still pretty good.


TECHNICALLY Tex does not double jackpots. He AUGMENTS them to 10M (highest possible value) so if you’ve made 5 supers over the course of your game, he has no added value (and in fact his value diminishes over time).

The other guys do something, like I know the alien makes combo times longer or something, and someone else makes bumper pool last longer (bumper pool can be the unsung hero of scoring in this game).

My record while the game was in development (but pretty much release code) was 3 Webs and over 5B points. Good luck! The key there is doing really well in multiballs because jackpots and supers add good points to your pot.


Sharkey’s is my most recent game acquired as well. I was looking for an EBD layout design that wasn’t EBD priced (so that meant Sharkey’s, EBD-LE, or Bad Girls, and Sharkey’s is what finally came up local in the price range I wanted).

I like the spotting feature, but as someone who isn’t a great player that probably explains part of that. With my settings (default I believe), there’s no ball save at the start, and only one tilt warning, so there are some added risks versus my other games, which is good because people do tend to play longer on it than anything else I own.

Worst part is the scoop. Ball spends too much time in there (thanks to the pops). That’s my only major dislike.

Game has gone over well with guests, for various reasons. Last time I had people over to play pinball, one did declare it their favorite game of any I’ve owned. But I do have a small collection, and no “A list” Williams games, so I guess you take what you can get with me. :wink:

Anyway, I’m glad I got it.

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Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!

I am currently sitting best right now at two Webs with just over 2B points so I still have a ways to go to reach your top. Multiball is key without a doubt. I fired up the machine yesterday for “a quick game” (ha!). I went right into my first multiball and about five minutes later I activated the Web. My original multiball was still running, haha.

Question about Prize Money: Is there anything inherently special about this asides from getting your name on a separate entry when the game is over? Does the amount you have accrued have any effect on scoring outside of the end of ball bonus?

I need to experiment with Bumper Pool a little bit. I have seen from a couple of different sources that it can end up being big points over the course of a game, but I haven’t quite caught what’s happening on the DMD.

It’s my recollection (perhaps incorrectly) that prize money directly relates to Web scoring somehow, but I don’t remember and there’s like no reference anywhere on the web that I can see.

…hours later…

OK I just checked rgp, according to something I wrote 17 years ago, Web shots go up by your prize money.

I don’t remember when the shots go up, nor what they start at. I feel like it’s 4 major shots and they go up in value when you complete them? Just don’t remember.

Looks like Steve Jonke was doing one way back in the day, I presume you know him. Could ask if he still has it laying around somewhere as it currently seems lost to the ages.

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Great, thanks for the info! Good stuff. I’ll reach out to Steve and see if he still has the original write up. It looks like his old site is no longer there.