Side Pocket

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a game by Data East, and Iguana
Genres: Sports, Simulation
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES, NESNES, GameGear, GameBoy
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 11 reviews
User Rating: 5.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Pool Games, Simulator Games

Pool games rarely make it past the 8-bit market these days, but Data East is taking a chance on a 16-bit version of this NES classic. The gamble will pay off in the end, because Side Pocket is challenging, entertaining, and fun!

Right on Cue

This overhead-view pool game transforms a felt table into a nine-ball chess board. In the Straight game, you accumulate points by sinking a certain number of balls in a row or by dropping the balls in numerical sequence. In the traditional Nine Ball game, you sink balls by banking them off the number nine ball.


  • Pay close attention to the angle markers. Sometimes your heart says you can make a shot, but the angle marker says no. Trust the angle marker.
  • When you see a flashing "SUPER" ball, hit it and your cue ball becomes a high-powered projectile, careening all over the board and sinking balls left and right In that situation, it's best to drop the balls consecutively and forget about hitting them in numerical order.
  • If you slam a ball at maximum strength, Ute cue ball remains near the point of initial contact. Use the Draw to place the cue ball in a location that's beneficial to you.

You compete against either a friend or the computer. There's even a Trick Game, where you try to sink anywhere from one to six balls in one stroke.

You play for the championship by competing in five cities. There are a set number of points that you must make to pass through each locale. You have to use every millimeter of the ball to hit shots. The computer allows you to hit the ball from any angle, and it even lets you add Draw (which drags the ball backwards after its hit) or Follow (which makes the cue ball trail the ball it hits). You can also make Masse shots, which make the cue ball jump over another ball.

Cool Pool

The lush, realistic graphics in Side Pocket have nice details, with highlights on the balls and gorgeous cut scenes. All that's missing is a cloud of cigar smoke.

  • When playing against a friend, remember not only to knock in your balls, but also to leave your opponent with the worst possible shot.
  • If you've got balls lined up at the top and bottom pockets, put a Draw on the cue ball.
  • If you use the Masse, only the Masse 3 jumps balls. The other two levels of Masse just put extraordinary spins on the ball.

The sound effects are awesome, and the music is cool, clear, and crisp. You can hear the satisfying smack when balls collide and even the excited murmur of the crowd as you make a spectacular shot.

Rack 'Em Up

Side Pocket is a great game for pool enthusiasts and casual video game pool players alike. There are plenty of great options and genuine pool strategies to keep serious players interested, and yet it's simple enough to play without the manual. Whether you're slick with a stick or a fool at pool, you'll enjoy Side Pocket.

Download Side Pocket


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Hey, hustlers, Data East is bringing a smoky billiard room to your Genesis. If you like to shoot pool, cue up for Side Pocket.

Stick It

Using an overhead-view, you can rack up a solid game of pool. In Side Pocket, you choose your game, the angle of your shot, and the strength of your stroke. Play against the computer or place your bets with another pool sharkin' buddy.

In the one-player Pocket game, you play five stages in five cities. To advance to the next city, you must meet or surpass a preset Target Score. For example, Los Angeles has a 3,000-point Target Score.

You must also maintain Stock, which is represented by white dots under your score. Every time you miss two shots, you lose a Stock dot. You also lose a dot if you sink the cue ball. Lose all your Stock, and your game is over.

Single players can practice fancy shots in the Trick Shot mode, which has 19 different setups (like strategically placed glass bottles). The object is to clear the table with one shot.


  • When you break, don't set your cue power to the Max. Set it at 3/4 power.
  • When you set your cue power at maximum strength, your ball is harder to control.

On the Felt

Two players can choose between a Pocket game and the Nine Ball game. The two-player Pocket game is just like the one- player version, except you don't have Stock. In five games, you play till the tables are cleared. In the Nine Ball Game, you must clear all nine balls off the table in numerical order. Sink the Nine ball and you're the champ.

The graphics are simple, but effective. Even though you have a variety of tunes to choose from, it's still wise to turn up your own stereo.

Call the Shots

If you can call 'em in real life, you'll slam 'em in Side Pocket. If you're a novice, however, you may have trouble sinking 'em. If you can't stand the pressure, or the smoke of a pool hall, chalk up with Side Pocket and have a ball.

Playing pool in this cart is more like solving a brainteaser. Determining the precise angle and power for a shot can be harder than taking a geometry test, but it's definitely more fun.

The game pits you against three different challenges that range from a tournament-style Pocket match to a Trick Game with 19 difficult trick shots.

Maneuvering the stream of balls that acts as your stick is annoying - a simple line would offer much more precision. The cart does include some nice options for displaying small balls on a small screen, but the graphics are mostly standard fare. Unsurprisingly, the sound makes you want to turn the volume off.

Still, slamming home your shots is a whole lot of fun.


  • Carefully fine-tune both your power and your aim to bury trick shots.
  • Take a stab at all the Zone shots, even If they're ridiculously hard. The bonus you'll get for sinking one is worth the risk.
  • Manufacturer: Data East
  • Machine: NES

David Glomski of Indianapolis, Indiana, has found a bonus for this billiards simulator. When you have the cue ball and one other ball left on the table, the word "ZONE" will appear in the top-right corner. Hit the white ball into the pocket containing the star and the table will turn black with stars appearing at all corners. Hitting the remaining ball into any one of the pockets will give you bonus points or extra balls. That ought to help some shooters, David.

  • Manufacturer: Data East
  • Machine: Genesis
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Available: August 1992
  • No. of Levels: 30
  • Theme: Sports

Chalk up your cue sticks!

Finally! The 16-Bit realm has just collided with the pool industry to produce one of the best pool simulations ever! Side Pocket includes many different options and cool moves that have combined with digitized sound effects to make you feel like an intricate part of this game!

Think that it is just another pool game? Well, there are also special bonus shots you can make and even locate special zones that will grease up the table for extra speed! Everything from fancy trick shots to beautiful women makes this a must!

After learning the basics, you should try all of the different tricks that will totally impress your opponent! Some ways of accomplishing this are by lining up the ball and adjusting your center of striking, or you can even pop the ball over obstacles! Once you are good enough, try the trick game option!

  • Machine: Game Gear
  • Manufacturer: Data East.

Nine Ball is the only common version of pool found in this simulation, which is rounded out with a unique game called Pocket and some trick shots. Lack of extras keep this one from sinking the competition.

  • Super NES
  • Sports

One of the best pool games around is Side Pocket. Recently ported over from the Genesis, this game is made even better with enhanced music and sound.

You can play alone, with two players, or in a special trick mode. The trick mode is a bit complex. You are given a number of "puzzles" to solve. These open up yet another puzzle to solve! There is also a normal pool game that takes you around the world. It's fun and relaxing.

If you want to play pool, and are afraid of the sharks, this is for you. This is simply one of the best pool games ever. Nice women!

  • Manufacturer: Data East
  • Machine: Game Gear
  • Theme: Sports

People say:


The Game Gear was in need of something different, and Side Pocket appears to be the answer. The graphics are pretty much the same as the Genesis and Super NES versions, and it plays the same. The sounds are pretty much like any GG game, so you know what to expect. The trick shots are what make this game for me. It's like there's a miniature puzzle game inside. A good game for relaxation.


Side Pocket is a decent translation from the Genesis version. All the cool Trick games are here as well as some regular 9-Ball or Pocket action. Having two players dishes up some great competition. The tricks are probably the most challenging of the bunch, and the most fun, too. The graphics are very sharp and clear but sounds begin to ring in your ears after a while. This is a great way to brush up on your pool skills.


This is a fairly amusing cart of some of the most popular billiard games. Although the graphics are a portable, they don't seem too bad, and you can actually distinguish between the solid and striped balls. I'm sorry to say that I can't say much for the sound. Game play isn't bad except after you hit the cue ball. All the balls seem to roll a little too much. Kinda makes it less realistic. It's an amusing take-along game.


If you're a pool fanatic you'll love the control and options of this portable. Select from multiple angles and hit areas plus different types of games. The graphics are basic but good enough for the system. It plays like a strategy game where you set the angle and shot power. Sound effects don't play a big part in this cart, but the game play makes up for it. If you're on a trip, it may help to pass the time.

  • Manufacturer: Data East
  • Machine: Game Gear
  • Theme: Simulation

Nothing is more relaxing than a game of pool. Data East is bringing their great pool simulation to the Game Gear, with most of the game intact. This game of pool plays surprisingly well, and the balls are easy to see. Aside from the normal game, there also is a mini game of trick shots, where you must test your skill. This is a great translation of the 16-Bit versions. The layout is the same, and even most of the graphics are recreated here. How Data East has managed to squeeze this game onto the Game Gear is beyond me. If you want a nice relaxing game of pool on the go, Side Pocket is for you. It's a bit different from all the regular games.

Rack'em up because Side Pocket is here! What may look to be just another pool game, Side Pocket offers many many new challenges to any fan of pool! In addition to playing a simple game of pool, there is a special trick game where you can win bonus points for scoring on trick moves. Wine glasses are strategically placed on the table and you must maneuver through them to sink the ball. A great party game!

People say:


This was one of my favorite NES games when it was originally released. Although the game play has remained intact through the transfer onto the Genesis, not a lot has improved either. Not a totally bad point, but I wish Data East would have spiced things up a little more than they did! Good pool sim nonetheless!


I liked the game on the NES and I like it even more now that it is on a 16 bit system. Better graphics and more options make this a fun game. The trick shots will take some time to master but once you get the angles down the shots aren't that hard. While not everybody's sport, those who play pool won't be disappointed.


Pool, billiards, what's the difference? This cart takes the classic game and brings to your video screen. The game play is very good, and the aiming technique is cool. The game is geared for the adult crowd and the many different women hanging around the tables shown off the Genesis' digitized graphics. No betting please.


As a very big billiards fan, Side Pocket went under a very critical eye by this reviewer for glitches and bugs. The only problem I could find with Side Pocket is that you can only aim the cue at a limited number of angles. Otherwise, you have more than enough games and challenges to keep your interest. Joy, joy!

Side Pocket, Data East's highly popular 8-bit pool simulation game, will soon be available for the Genesis. There are two games to choose from, 9-Ball or Pocket Play. You can execute 20 different slick pool moves, including the triple bank bridge shot, which will leave the competition felt-green with envy. Side Pocket involves more than just shootin' pool. You embark on a five city, pool-shooting tour. Prove your worth as the Great White of pool sharks, and you're off to the Atlantic City championship. Lose a few and you can, er, chalk it up to experience!

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

GameGear Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots