Balls of Steel

aka: BOS, Balls of Steel: Pinball on Steroids!
Moby ID: 875
Windows Specs

Description official descriptions

After Epic Megagames' two releases Epic Pinball and Extreme Pinball, Apogee finally got their own pinball game in late 1997, Balls of Steel. It features five testosterone-packed tables, each with its own theme, missions, and special bonuses. Like the Epic games and the classic "21st Century" pinball games on Amiga, BoS has a top-down scrolling screen, with an animated dot matrix display at the bottom. It also features a full-table view. Very high scores are awarded with a "powerball" end bonus mode, and could be posted on the "WorldScores" net site (no longer available). Being a Windows game, all tables boast high-resolution graphics.

This game was included in Encore's "Pinball Madness 2" collection in 1999.

Groups +



Credits (Windows version)

74 People (71 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Gameplay Design
Engine Programming
Gameplay Programming
Windows Programming
3D Rendering/Dotpanel Animations
Additional Dotpanel Animations
Background Artwork
Additional Artwork - Duke Nukem
Original Music
Music - Duke Nukem
Voice Effects Studio
Voice Effects Coordinator
Voice Artists
[ full credits ]



Average score: 79% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 1 reviews)

Pinball as addictive as any 1st-person shooter.

The Good
BoS is just plain fun as hell to play - although to truly appreciate it, you have to be of the scrolling-pinball generation (Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions, Epic, Extreme, etc.), and of course play it in scrolling mode. Each table is chock full of incredible graphics, special modes, dot-matrix video games (just about everything you can do with 2 flippers and a plunger), and funny random add-ons ("moo").

They did a great job of testing the game - it seems virtually bug-free. Even when events are activated in rapid succession, the animations and sound effects play out smoothly. The gameplay seems just about right for each table, but they have enough differences to make playing each one worthwhile.

The music is appropriate for each game, and the sound effects are very well done (even Duke Nukem returns with a few new quips).

The Bad
I'll just have to nitpick:

  • Gameplay is almost TOO easy - granted, I don't mind playing longer than in other games. Ball "nudging" seems excessive; the ball visually changes course (also, the nudge keys are backwards compared to other games, but that can be fixed by the user).
  • Since the music wasn't tracked, it's not very strong and doesn't change much (mostly 20-second loops).
  • A better intro screen would be nice, with more info on the table rules.

The Bottom Line
If you grew a love of PC Pinball games out of the Pro Pinball series or similar, you can certainly give Balls of Steel a try but you may gripe about it having top-down graphics and not being "realistic" enough. But, if you're a fan of the classics', especially Extreme Pinball, you'll love it. With fast action and all kinds of different missions to master, it's about the most fun you can have in 2D.

Windows · by Andy Voss (1861) · 2000


Devil's Island Pinball

A sixth table, Devil's Island, was made but not included with Balls of Steel. It was finally released in early 2000 as a seperate product - not an add-on. Also, it was distributed by Expert Software, rather than Apogee or GT Interactive.

Pinball Wizards

Pinball Wizards is actually a project group of Apogee. In 1997, Apogee decided not to develop/release games under their own name, but rather specialized divisions of themselves. Most of their new releases have gone under the roof of 3D Realms, but Pinball Wizards was created for Balls of Steel (after all, it's not 3D). As of 2011, the Pinball Wizards name was never used again.


The table "Mutation!" features catchphrases of C. Montgomery Burns from the TV Show The Simpsons done by a very similar voice.

References: Duke Nukem

The first appearance anywhere of a pinball machine named "Balls of Steel" is in level 1, "Hollywood Holocaust", of Duke Nukem 3D. Since 3D Realms and Pinball Wizards are both divisions of Apogee, either this early appearance inspired the actual Balls of Steel product or was a leak / early promotion of their pinball video game that would come out of the pipe nearly two years later.

In any case, the references went both ways, as Balls of Steel includes a Duke Nukem 3D-inspired table, with ramps and bonuses named after Duke enemies (octabrain, pig-cop) and power-ups (jetpack, HoloDuke). Icing the cake is the recording of original Duke-y quips by Jon St. John, the official voice actor for the Duke Nukem character.

Information also contributed by Dmichal and Pseudo_Intellectual


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Pinball FX3: Balls of Glory Pinball
Released 2015 on PlayStation 3, 2015 on PS Vita, 2017 on Windows...
Boorp's Balls
Released 2006 on Windows
Bricks vs Balls
Released 2019 on iPhone, iPad, Android
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Released 2004 on Xbox, PlayStation 2
Man of Steel
Released 2013 on Android, iPhone, iPad
Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack
Released 2015 on PS Vita, PlayStation 4, Windows
Shattered Steel
Released 1996 on DOS, 1997 on Macintosh, Windows
Steel Empire
Released 1992 on Genesis, 2004 on Game Boy Advance, 2017 on Windows...
Disciples of Steel
Released 1991 on Atari ST, DOS

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 875
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Voss.

Macintosh added by LepricahnsGold.

Additional contributors: Xantheous, jean-louis, Maw, Patrick Bregger.

Game added February 19, 2000. Last modified January 31, 2024.