Why pinball matters

By jbliss10

June 10, 2021


48 days ago

Pinball draws you in like no other classic game. The chaotic randomness of the ball interacting with bumpers, poorly timed flipper shots, miscalculated angles, all while battling actual physics (gravity is merciless) ensures that every game is unique. Compare that with Donkey Kong or Ms. Pac Man (both great games don't get me wrong) which are relatively identical every time you play.

Most pins have multiple different ways to play the game (or you can ignore the rules completely and just have fun shooting ramps and keeping your ball alive as long as you can), sharing more in common with Grand Theft Auto than Super Mario Brothers.

Pinball machines are also complicated mechanical marvels, with the end result akin to a beautiful watch or classic car. They are nearly alive. They require care and feeding, constant adjustment to always play their best.

The overall experience of a pinball game is just... EXCITING. The music, lights, sound effects, and non-stop action all add up to an immersive, adrenaline fueled rush.

Pinball lends itself to shared experiences and community more than most games. Put a few credits in and get 2-3 friends to join you in a game and you can feel their pain when the ball drains, you can shout with them when they complete a difficult part of the game that you've never seen before, or you can cry when their score is 5x yours at the end of ball 3.   While this past year has kept people apart, many are looking to pinball as the solution to returning to being part of a community once again.  I've made friends through pinball that I'll likely have for the rest of my life.  I've heard countless times, "pinball saved my life" and some of the stories I've heard affirm this to be literally the case.  Pinball is so much more than "another type of game to play in an arcade" and the impact it has on our lives shows that it is truly an important social medium, unique among all forms of coin-op entertainment or competitive sports.

Story photos

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Comments

44 days ago

Thanks for the story!

43 days ago

43 days ago

He’s not wrong

43 days ago

You forgot the part where pinball lovers are constantly reaffirming non pinball lovers that we are not on the spectrum.. unless we are.. :D

42 days ago

Occelot that would make an interesting article...

41 days ago

This was a great read. As someone just starting in pinball, I can relate to the appreciation of the community and of the game itself. I bought my first pin in February and just had my second installed this week. Third pin is on order, and I’m in decision mode for numbers four and five.

41 days ago

It's that randomization mixed with skill, and the nostalgic feel. I'm transported back to Pete's Pizza every time I fire up the Taxi machine!

41 days ago

Great read and never too late to join a great hobby and community. I always hated shopping until pinball...

41 days ago

Great story! Thanks!

40 days ago

Very relatable! Well written!

39 days ago

Enjoyed your article.
So many aspects to pinball!

24 days ago

+1 on everything.

I bought my first pin about 3 years ago, 8th game should arrive today. Pinballs have a tendency to multiply :D

23 days ago

astute observations...

2 days ago

Thank you for posting this! I bought my first one this month as a way to distract me from a divorce. It is bringing much joy into my life

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