Fish Tales pinball machine is one of the top 20 most produced pinball machines of all time, selling more than 13,000 units.
The game’s theme is fishing, with a general goal of catching as many fish and telling the biggest lies about their size possible. The machine’s backglass is topped with a plastic fish that thrashes its tail when the player achieves certain goals, and the players launches balls with an autoplunger shaped like a fishing rod.
The machine’s rules present the player with three main objectives:
Multiball – Like most games of the era, the largest point awards are found in multiball. Shots to the Caster’s Club “lock” (hold onto) balls. Three locks starts multiball.
Catching Fish – Two sets of side targets allow the player to catch fish. When at least one fish is caught, the player has about 10 seconds to shoot a spinner to “Stretch The Truth” about its size, from 1x-5x actual size (points for the catch multiplied accordingly), or a “total lie” which awards the player nothing for the fish.
The Boat – The center of the board contains a captive ball area in the shape of a boat. Successful hits to a lit captive ball give the player increasing awards, from Hold Bonus to Instant Multiball, and then increasing point awards leading to a “Special” (free game).
Other lesser objectives include:
Monster Fish – shots to the lit criss-crossing center ramps light “Monster Fish” on the spinner, a “Hurry-Up” that can be worth up to 50 Million points.
Feeding Frenzy – 4 caught fish light light the two ramps and two loops, for 5, 5, 5 and 20 Million if completed in a short time.
Rock The Boat – A captive ball award, it gives the player 10 million for ramp shots for a short time.
Video Mode – Another captive ball award, the player plays a video game on the dot-matrix display where he has to shoot down waterskiers for points and a possible extra ball.
Fish Finder – A random award achieved by shooting the top scoop at certain times.
Flippers (2), Criss-cross Ramps (2), Rollunder spinner (1), Multiball, Captive ball, Autoplunger (shaped like a fishing rod), ball-launching catapult next to the rotary reel lock.
Also has a rotary fishing reel ball lock and moving fish topper.