The start button

By Shogun00

October 15, 2020

11 months ago

I've been playing pinball for 30 years now and one thing that I've notice is that for decades (pre-1990), the start button on pinball machines was never labeled. Everytime I went to the arcade in the past, there would always be at least one person inserting a coin in but was confused on why the game wasn't starting. I also fell victim to it on the first pinball machine that I've ever played (Raven). It was in a dark rollerskating rank and for some reason the start button was black. Luckily one of my friends pointed it out to me, that the non-labeled black button in the front was the start button. Keep in mind, that this was on my 8th birthday and I played lots of redemption machines (claw machines, Skee-ball, Whack-a-Mole) and Konami arcade machines (TMNT, Simpons, etc...) prior to this. These machines would start up just after inserting a coin in. If they did have a start button, it was properly labeled or it would light up.

Looking back at it, I'm actually dumbfounded at how long it took for the pinball industry to start labeling them. Williams started labeling them with their System 11c tables. The second machine that I've ever played (Rollergames) had the word "start" painted on the cabin above the button. A year later and every manufacturer started to use light ups, which completely resolved the confussion. At the time, pinball has been around for over 50 years. What took them so long in applying such a simple concept? I guess we will never know.

Story photos

No photos are attached to this story.


11 months ago

"cowabunga" dude

11 months ago

That's a good question. What took them so long to do that. My Firepower has no label or anything, just a white button all by itself.

10 months ago

No one can ever find the start button on my paragon, pretty funny

8 months ago

@Chosen_S: Oh, those annoying metal start buttons on the coin door. I fell for it too on Bally's 1984 Spy Hunter. Luckily, I knew there had to be a start button and kept looking.

Add a comment

Wanna make a comment? Click here to sign in or register.