NBA Fastbreak


Steve's Guide to
Updated NBA Fastbreak Rulesheet v1.1

Hi there, this is Jim N. I will be taking over this FAQ/rulesheet because there are things missing in this rulesheet that needs mentioned. If you want to e-mail, e-mail at Steve Lane did a great job of writing this.. I'll leave most of the stuff here for nostalgic purposes/originality. However, some sections will be revamped because some stuff is either outdated, invalid or needs work. BTW..his e-mail address is invalid.

Version: 1.1 (980305)/ (970405)
Based on ?? ROMs.

You may do whatever you want with this, just leave the name where it is. Give proper credit if you take something here © 1997-1998.

What's New


  • Added EXtra ball motion during Million dollar shot (Steve doesn't remember this, but I do).
  • Added settings vary for extra balls, power points, modes.
  • Other stuff that careful eyes could watch


  • Added Disclaimer for Trivia Stuff
  • Added Rules for 2 player link
  • Added info about Inbound Pass


Note: Below at the very end of the rulesheet/FAQ is Trivia with Questions/Answers. If you don't want to see it, please DO NOT look at the bottom of this rulesheet (if you don't want to be spoiled). This is just there for you (benefit) and who desperately needs it (i.e. don't have access to this machine nearby).


NBA Fastbreak is the latest release from WMS and the George Gomez design team. I love Gomez's previous games, Corvette and Johnny Mnemonic, and was eagerly awaiting his next game. I'm a trifle disappointed in NBA Fastbreak, but then again I like his former games more than the r.g.p consensus.

It's still an outstanding game. It's "different" in several ways. The scoring is like the Real NBA, meaning that 300 points is a terrific score. The scoring is balanced, and completely linear. That in itself is a major difference.

Gameplay can be very slow (stop-and-go) due to the top saucers. This turned me off at first but I've gotten used to it.

Having 29 high scores (1 for each NBA team) is neat.

NBA FB is probably a "novice" game, because the shots are all very easy, and it's a lot easier to do something that lets you enter your initials. It should still be fun for wizards, if you don't mind "working" at a game (meaning dealing with slow play and very few "pressure" shots). Extra Balls are easy; it's not difficult to go from 3 to 5 or 6 balls.

The ideal environment for NBA FB is probably where I play it: a college bar that is filled with people at night to play with /against and to have as spectators. Also, having a lively environment substitutes for the frequent slow / "automatic" play.

NBA FB is very well made in every respect (other than possibly the bumpers, but I have only 1 machine to base my opinions on that on). It's yet another reminder of how many light years WMS is ahead of Sega in sheer quality, from mechanics to rules to sound (not dots :). It deserves to be a big winner for them.


The objective of NBA Fastbreak is to get to Trophy Multiball by completing the 6 Tasks, win a Ring, and score as many points as possible along the way. Then do it again.


Here's the playfield and what shots do in one-ball, non-mode play...

There are five major shots. They're all easy:

Left Orbit
loops up and around a very shallow ramp and back to the Right Inlane. Starts In The Paint when lit. If In The Paint isn't lit, the Alley-Oop Combo is lit and is started here. Weak shots fall into the Basket Area.

Left Ramp
a short mid-field ramp that usually curves around to feed the Left Inlane, like the one on Scrawny Bubonic. There's a diverter that can be raised to let the ball ramp up to the top of the playfield and around to the Basket. This is a killer shot and my favorite shot in the game :). Can be lit for a 3-point basket. If 3-point is not lit, Fastbreak Combo is lit to start here.

Center Ramp
dead center in the playfield. A lot easier from a caught ball than a live one. Leads to the Basket. A miss here (you make it halfway up the ramp and then back down) is the main drain shot in the game. Thus, I shoot this from caught balls if possible. Can be lit for a 3-point basket. If nothing else is lit, Free Throw is lit for 1 point (this is true in all modes and MBs).

Right Ramp
a short mid-field ramp that feeds the Right Inlane. Starts both Fastbreak Combo and Slamdunk Combo. For me, this shot is harder than the Left Ramp, but that's prolly cuz of the extreme left->right lean on my machine...

Right Lane
if In The Paint is lit, starts In The Paint in the Basket area. Otherwise, starts the Tip Off Combo and feeds the bumpers.

"Minor" shots / areas:

Left Saucer
like the one on T2 and NF. Gives one of Bob's Crazy Stadium Goodies when lit. Gives Extra Ball when lit. For me this is the "hardest" shot in the game.

where balls come out of the bumpers. Go up this lane to get a cool "electromechanical" sound, and hopefully get some bumpers.

light the opposing In The Paint shot, most of the time.

Inbounds Pass targets
two standups below the Right Lane entrance (a la Johnny) that, when both hit, light Inbounds Pass at the Left Outlane. This works regardless of mode except that I think in multiballs if you light this, then use it (I hate using up ballsavers in MB), you can't light it again until you're back to one ball. Inbounds Pass returns the ball from the plunger. If you lose the ball and the inbounds pass is lit, you will lose it at the next ball.

Million Dollar Shot
on ball 3 or after final extra ball, the right outlane is lit for this. If you drain down the right, another ball launches and you have ~10 seconds to hit the basket from the center ramp. Note: there is no compensation if hit the ramp, but miss the basket. If you make the shot, you win a million dollars and your game continues. If you don't make it, you're obviously not even good enough to be a ball-boy, so your game ends. If MDS is lit and you awarded an extra ball, then it will go off and relight at the next ball.

three standups in a lovely shade of purple. When all are hit, 3-point basket is lit at Left and Center Ramps. You will never aim for these.

a hoop that is fed by the Center Ramp (always), the Top Saucers (always), and the Left Ramp (sometimes). Most of your points come from hitting the Basket. Sometimes the shots that are supposed to feed the Basket miss; there is compensation for this, see below. After a Basket, the ball heads for the bumper area, where hopefully it will hit some of them before dribbling out to the flippers. There's a magnet below the Basket that can hold the ball.

If the Basket is not lit for anything else, it's lit for a Free Throw and 1 point. 10 Free Throws light an Extra Ball (see below). Settings are vary and each machine is different. For my machine, it is after 3rd or 5th three throw. You can only use this method once (1) per game.

Four Top Saucers
an arc of four saucers beneath the Basket. When the ball lands in one of these, it is shot up a wireform and into the Basket. Except when you're in In The Paint mode, where you have a plastic guard that can block your shot to contend with, and so you can pass left or right (to another saucer) with the flippers.

3 of 'em. They're cool-looking. Your enjoyment of NBA Fastbreak will depend amazingly much on how well these work on your machine.

backglass flipper alert! There's a orange ball the size of a ping-pong ball (is it a ping-pong ball?) that can be hit with a flipper into a "basket" on the backglass. You only have control of the flipper during Pizza mode. The flipper flips by itself at various times during in the game, making a sound like Tackle from WCS. This is also what happens when you win a credit.

Basket Compensation

If you shoot the Basket by the Left or Center Ramp and hit the Ramp but miss the Basket, there's compensation. If the ball falls in one of the Top Saucers (it usually will), the saucer will shoot the Basket and you'll get credit for whatever you were shooting for, if it isn't exceedingly long after you made your ramp shot. You'll also get credit for the 1-2-3-4 (see In The Paint) saucer.

Choose Team / Skill Shot

After firing up a game, you get to pick which of the 29 NBA teams you'll be playing for. As you cycle thru the teams you can see the current NBA Team Champion for that team. You'll hear the players from your team mentioned throughout your game.

For the "Skill Shot", Tip-Off Combo is lit. If you've already collected it, nothing special happens. The ball is dropped in the bumper area from the "plunger".

Except that there's no plunger, or normal plunger button. Instead there's a button on the lock-down bar. The Riverboat Gambler market should be happy.


Most of NBA Fastbreak gameplay involves completing the six Tasks needed to start Trophy Multiball. They are listed below in the order I typically get them.

  1. Goals - completed by getting a 2-point goal, a 3-point goal, and a Free Throw.

  2. 20 Points - completed by getting... 20 points. This is lit for you after the first Trophy Multiball.

  3. Combos - there are four Combos. Get all four to complete this task and light Extra Ball (EB lit only for the first completion). Each Combo awards 2 points. After starting a Combo, you have a few seconds / switch closures to complete it.

    You can start Combos in single-ball play unless a Stadium Goodies or Power Hoops mode is running.

    • Tip-Off: start by hitting the Right Lane if lit (it's lit unless In The Paint is lit there). Complete at the Center Ramp.

      Tip-Off is also started at the beginning of a ball (as the Skill Shot) if it has not been collected. Thus, this is the first thing you go for in a game.

    • Slam Dunk: start by hitting the Right Ramp (always lit). Collect at the Left Ramp.

    • Alley-Oop: start by hitting the Left Orbit if lit (it's lit unless In The Paint is lit there). Complete at the Center Ramp.

    • Fast Break: start at the Left or Right Ramp (always lit). Collect at the Center Ramp.

  4. Stadium Goodies - our beloved Crazy Bob is back again, serving yummy concessions. Hit the left saucer when lit (anytime in single-ball play except when a Stadium Goodies mode is already running) to start one of four modes. These are awarded in the below order.

    • Pizza: quick, look up at the backglass! You have ~10 seconds to flip the backglass ball into the hoop. The value of the hoop alternates between 1, 2, and 3 points. If you time your flips right and are a little lucky, you should be able to get the 3 points with every shot.

      My high on this mode is 18 (six 3-pointers), and I average about 15. If you're on your last ball and Pizza is lit, you should go for it, as this is a major source of points.

    • Hot Dog: the shot clock is set to 24 (== ~10 seconds). Hit any of the 5 main shots to score 3 points and reset the shot clock. Eventually the clock starts resetting to progressively lower values. The mode ends when the clock times out.

      This mode can be worth a ton (20-30) points. I usually go for the "quick" shots (left orbit, left ramp, right ramp).

    • NBA Trivia: the display gives you a NBA Trivia question and four possible answers. Get the right one for 10 points. If you got the wrong answer, you will only get 1 point. There is one trivia question that relates to this game.

      Included below is a mini-database of NBA Trivia answers if it seems useful. I've seen about 30 different questions. They're not that hard, but obviously you don't want to get one you don't know the answer to when you're working on your all-time best game!

      I'm curious to see how this plays in a tournament. Will spectators shout out the answer? Or will they be barred from doing so? Or will tourney mode always offer the same order of questions?

    • Egyptian Soda: hit the left or right ramp for 3 points. This mode seems to last about 15 seconds.

      If this is the last mode I need for Trophy MB, or if I only need Hoops modes, I'll catch the ball and let the mode time out.

    After Egyptian Soda times out, the Concessions Task is completed.

    During Hot Dog and Egyptian Soda, any Hoops mode that is running is postponed until the Concessions mode is completed. Also, bumpers do not advance Hoops modes. Advancing to Shoot Around MB and Around the World MB are still available, though.

    When all Stadium Goodies is complete, you can still go there for 1 point (1 point added to your score).

  5. Multiballs - Finish Shoot Around Multiball and Around The World Multiball to complete this Task.

    Shoot Around MB: start by hitting all five major shots (any order) to spell S-H-O-O-T. The S-H-O-O-T letters can be collected anytime in single-ball play. If a Power Hoops or Stadium Goodies mode is running when S-H-O-O-T is completed, that mode is postponed until Shoot Around is completed.

    Shoot Around is a 2-ball MB. The important thing to do here is to spell S-H-O-O-T again (the letters are flashing until collected) to light Extra Ball. Also, any flashing shot is worth 2 points. Once S-H-O-O-T is completed the letters are reset (to flashing).

    This mode can be another big point-getter.

    I don't think you can get the Shoot Around EB more than once.

    Around The World Multiball: the four saucers at the top of the playfield are numbered 1 thru 4. When one of the four are collected, a lamp on a player above the saucer is lit. Collect all four to start Around The World MB.

    There are two ways to light the saucers:

    • In The Paint. The inlanes light In The Paint at the opposite Orbit/Lane in single-ball play. This also turns off the Alley Oop or Tip-Off lights. In The Paint stays lit for ~10 seconds, after which it goes out and Alley Oop / Tip-Off is re-lit. Unless it's lit from starting a ball; then it doesn't go out until you hit it.

      Hitting the Orbit/Lane when In The Paint is lit starts In The Paint Mode. The ball should land in one of the four saucers (if it dribbles out first, you're out of luck). A plastic guard starts moving toward your saucer, trying to block your shot. Avoid the guard by passing among the saucers with the flippers. When you're free, shoot the Basket with the Basket button.

      You shouldn't ever get blocked by the guard if you know what you're doing. Unfortunately, sometimes the shot from the saucer to the Basket will miss, and In The Paint is over.

    • Also, if the ball lands in one of the saucers when In The Paint is not lit, the saucer will shoot automatically, collecting the 1-4 number for the saucer and whatever the Basket was lit for (see Basket Compensation). This happens quite a lot, from weak Left Orbit shots or shots to the Basket that don't fall in.

      At times, you will be prompted to hit the "Shoot" button for a "Foul Shot." This counts as a Free Throw (1 pt.) If you don't do this you won't get the point.

    Once 1-4 is completed, Around The World MB starts. It's a 3-ball where one of the five major shots is flashing for 1 times the # of balls in play. Basket compensation is active, and you'll use it (likely w/o knowing it). The flashing shot is the Left Orbit first, and moves right each time points are collected.

    There's not much reason to go for the flashing shots; the points per effort just isn't worth it. Instead, shoot Free Throws in this MB and advance toward the Free Throw Extra Ball.

  6. Power Hoops and Power Points - here's my main complaint with this game. To complete the Power Hoops task, you have to complete the four Power Hoops modes. The problem is that these modes are started with bumper hits, and if you have a machine (like mine) with very insensitive bumpers, it becomes extremely difficult and boring to get through all four modes. It's typical for me to have all other five Tasks completed, but only one of the four Power Hoops modes. Ugh.

Anyway, here's the rules... bumper hits during non-mode, single-ball play (I'm fairly sure that's it) advance the Power Hoops bumper count. On my machine, the four modes are started at 11, 22, 33, and 44 hits. If your machine gives you at least 3 hits per Right Lane shot, and balls coming out of the Basket give you a couple of hits, you're OK. But if you're getting 0 or 1 hit per Right Lane shot, and 0 coming out of the basket, you're looking at trouble. Settings are vary for Power Hoops for each mode. For others, it will start at 9, then 18, etc.

It does seem that Fastbreak has some compensation for this. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to do nearly enough. Over two weeks on my machine, the required bumper count has lowered from 13 to 11 hits per mode.

Crazy Bob awards, In The Paint, Shoot Around and Around The World MBs, and Free Throws are all available during Power Hoops modes. If a new mode is started, the Power Hoops mode is postponed and picks up after the new mode is finished. Combos are not available during Power Hoops modes.

There are three single-ball Power Hoops modes. They last for about 20 seconds. In all three, one shot is lit for 3 points. They are:

  • Half Court Hoops - Center Ramp.
  • Hook Shot Hoops - Left Ramp.
  • Run & Shoot Hoops - alternate Left and Center Ramps.

Also, the bumpers give you 1 or 2 Power Points every five or six bumper hits. Power Points are also available during single-ball, non-mode play (but you get more of them during a Power Hoops mode, I think). I'm not clear on Power Points or how they may affect strategy.

The fourth Power Hoops mode is Multiball Hoops. It's a two-ball mode, and the Left and Center ramps are alternately lit for 3 points. I don't think Power Points are available during Multiball Hoops for some reason.

Trophy Multiball

When all 6 tasks are completed, Trophy Multiball automatically starts (if you lose the ball before it starts, and yes this is possible, it'll start on your next ball).

You have unlimited balls for about 20 seconds. The Center Ramp is lit for 2 points. Your goal is to outscore the "other team". It seems like 6 or 7 shots are necessary to do this (the first time, anyway). I don't know if the # of required shots depends on anything you're doing.

If you win, you get a Ring, and become the current M.V.P. You don't get any extra points for winning, just the points you scored during the mode. Then all Tasks (except 20 points) are cleared and you get to do it again. Look out for the ball, as it autoplunges (I don't like this. You should get a break after a wizard mode... ).

Extra Balls

There's several Extra Balls in NBA Fastbreak. Thankfully, none are random! Nice job on this, WMS. EBs are lit at the left saucer. There's no limit to stacked lit EBs or awarded EBs.

Here's how you can light an EB:

  • Completing all four Combos.

  • During Shoot-Around MB, spelling the letters S-H-O-O-T. I think this gives an EB only the first time it's done (i.e. not after Trophy MB).

  • 10 Free Throws. I like to go for Free Throws during Around The World MB. Settings are different, for mine, it's only 3. You can only do this method once per game.

  • 22 (!!) Left Orbit Loop Combos (or whatever). I've never come close to getting this one. It's hard to get a Loop Combo without actually trying for one. You have to get two Left Orbits in a row to get a Combo. I need more info on this, in particular whether there's any reason to go for it. Again, settings are different. For mine, it's only 12.


Bonus: there is none. So don't be afraid to tilt when losing your ball ;).

You *can* score 0 points on a ball. Trivia: what's the last WMS game on which you could do this?

NBA MIA: Jordan, Barkley, Shaq. More?

Matt Geiger is da absolut best player in the NBA.


I'll fill this out more in the next version. There just aren't too many real strategy decisions in NBA FB. Make sure you get Pizza / Hot Dog / Trivia before ending the game, as that's where the big points are. You do have to decide whether to play the Power Hoops modes or not; they're potentially worth a lot of points, but you don't have to play them to advance to Trophy MB, just start them. Be sure to get your Free Throw EB. Around The World is not worth enough to go for it (more than once) over getting to Trophy. Same for getting Combos more than once. Learn which shots lead to the most bumper hits. Decide when Inbound Pass is worth relighting (for me, rarely).

High Scores

There's no typical high score table for NBA Fastbreak. Instead, Beating the current best score for your team makes you an NBA Team Champion and you get to enter your initials. I wonder if anything happens if you are the Champion for all 29 teams...

There is a Grand Champion for the all-time best score. On my machine, getting GC is the only way to get a replay (other than matching). I hear this is default behaviour for pre-production ROMs but may change.

When comparing scores, Rings always beats Points. Thus, 150 and 1 Ring beats 200 and no Rings.

Winning a Ring makes you M.V.P.

The boys @ WMS have picked their favorite teams for the default Team Champion scores. These are:

  • Chicago: LED, 3 Rings, 136
  • Boston: LFS, 2 Rings, 104
  • LA Lakers: ADG, 1 Ring, 72
  • Cleveland: ROG, 80?
  • (please tell me if you know of more)

<BRAG>My high score is 2 Rings, 294. I currently am Team Champion for 24 of the 29 teams :). Today I played a four-player game and won a Ring for three of them.</BRAG>

Competitive Play

I have not played a competitive game of NBA Fastbreak. I suspect that it would make an excellent competitive game, but that's just a hunch. The big decision would be whether to count rings over points.

It appears that NBA will be the tourney game @ WWPF. There have been talk of some odd way to physically connect machines to compare scores, and maybe this will be tested there. The idea doesn't overwhelm me.

Currently, tourney mode does nothing.

Rules for competitive Play (2 machines liked together) (general only, non-tourney)

  1. There are 4 Quarters similar to a regular NBA game + overtimes if necessary (don't know time for OT)..
  2. Each quarter is 3 minutes long. (Similar to Arcade NBA games)
  3. Each Extra Ball you collect adds 30 seconds to the time remaining in the quarter/regulation.
  4. You get unlimited ball savers til time expires.
  5. When time expires, everything stops, ball(s) drains...
  6. Same rules apply as in a 1 player game.
  7. The person with the most points wins..
  8. Free game is the same number of points needed as in a 1 player machine. Settings may very.

You can still do the traditional 4 player 1 machine method as well.

Possible Bugs

I haven't been able to find many, and even these are questionable...

In a multiplayer game, if >1 player gets a ring, the last player to do it gets M.V.P., rather than the one with the higher score.

Design Credits

  • Point Guard: Tom Uban (software?)
  • Shooting Guard: Tom Kopera (sound?)
  • Power Forward: Kevin O'Connor (art)
  • Quick Forwards: Adam Rhine and Brian Morris (dots)
  • 6th Man: Paul Barker (mechanix?)
  • Coach: George Gomez (design)

Yeah, I should know by heart what all of the above do at WMS, but I don't.


More info is wanted for...

  • if you can get the Shoot Around EB more than once.
  • if you can get the Left Orbit EB at all.
  • what determines how many goals you need to win Trophy MB.
  • who did what on design.
  • if a Trivia db would be useful.


Thanks to Poor Richard's, Johnson City, TN, for providing the local NBA Fastbreak. For my own records, it's SN 53353-100213, startup info <0.1 ROM 92639>.

Thanks to WMS for yet another great game!

Thanks to Scott Piehler ( for helping out. --
Steve Lane

Trivia Stuff


If you don't want to look at the Q and A for trivia section, leave right now. Go find out yourself or look and the Williams site for info.

Let's Go!

Thanks to Scott Piehler ( for distributing these.

  • What is Hakeem Olyjuwon's native country? - Nigeria
  • What is Detlef Schremph's native country? - Germany
  • Who was the NBA's rebounding leader in 1994-95? - Dennis Rodman
  • Who was the NBA's 6th man for the 1994-95 Season? - Anthony Mason
  • What city is home the the Hornets? - Charlotte
  • What is Vlade Divac's native country? - Yugoslavia
  • Which NBA player also won a Heisman Trophy? - Charlie Ward
  • Which team won a record 8 straight NBA titles? - Boston Celtics
  • What player's nickname is "The Mailman?" - Karl Malone
  • What is Luc Longley's native country? - Australia
  • What is Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway's uniform #? - 1
  • Who is known as *The Worm?* - Dennis Rodman
  • How many titles have the Celtics won? - 16
  • What is Scottie Pippen's uniform #? - 33
  • Who is the NBA career leader in assists? - John Stockton
  • How many points for answering the question correctly? - 10
  • Which NBA player was playing high school ball during the 1994-95 season? - Kevin Garnett - T'Wolves
  • Which team scored the most points during the 1994-95 season? - Orlando Magic, 9091 points.
  • Which team drafted Damon Stoudamire? -Toronto Raptors

Editor's Notes

  • HTML added by David Gersic
  • E-mail addresses have been expunged to prevent web-bot spamming, and Web links have been updated where possible.

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