I learned today that Roger Sharpe and I shared the August 1 birthday yesterday.
Without Sharpe, we wouldn't be here on this forum. Sharpe persuaded the New York city council that pinball is not an evil game of chance, sparing machines everywhere from destruction or extinction.
Through a top rollover, Sharpe dropped a nothing-but-net plunger shot, demonstrating pinball as a game of skill.
The plunger shot is the most-inexplicably-neglected aspect of pinball. It's the only time the player hits a stationary target, enabling the most control the player will have in the whole game.
Even when skill shots" are labeled on the playfield, some players haven't bothered to read the rules card or the playfield text, or don't care.
In the old days, the opening skill shot was more important, because the rules rewarded making groups of shots (that include the topmost rollovers). In my favorite game, Sing Along (1967), the top four rollovers represent the ones in a 1-2-3-4 color group. Completing a 1-2-3-4 intermittently lit a kickhole for special, and maximized the kickhole score bonus — with 16 kickhole spots to fill, making four #1 skills shots with five balls, and draining four discrete #4 outlanes matters in a cumulative, progressive way.
This is what most irked me about "Tilt", the 1979 movie starring Brooke Shields. She played a wandering hustler, luring marks into pinball contests. And with money on the line, the players fling their plunger shots without thinking.