The future of Pinball is now!

By Winball_Pizard

June 25, 2012

This story got featured & frontpaged on July 21, 2012


9 years ago

Pinball and arcades featuring pinball are on the way back! I think within the next few years we are going to see an ever increasing influx of new players and interest in the game.

Pinball used to rule the arcade then video arcade games and bad operators turned them into antiques. Pinball tried to compete, but arcade games continued to dominate until arcade games themselves were antiquated by home consoles. The only new games coming out in arcade's these days are ones that offer an experience the home console can't provide such as DDR, large linked driving games, large rail shooters, redemption games, music games, etc

So why is pinball on its way back? Its an experience that you can't replicate on home consoles, computers or any other means which makes pinball unique. Pinball is a physical game that takes place right here in the real world and doesn't require a physics emulation engine, 3D graphics accelerators and multiple cpu cores. Its easy to learn, all you have to do is launch the ball and push two buttons, but takes years to master. Not only is there immense skill involved but an element of chance, risk and sometimes luck. Unlike most modern console games, pinball can't be completed in 8hrs. Unlike modern games, the wizard mode isn't handed to you and sometimes take weeks, months or years to accomplish. Pinball is excitement!

I think what would really set the whole thing off is mass media combined with PAPA and real prize money. Remember when poker was a stereotype that involved a group of guys getting away from their wives so they could smoke cigars and drink beer in the basement? Seedy individuals that gathered in shady smoke filled locales to gamble illegally? Poker is a huge enterprise now and its popularity is due to being able to find games easily online, televised events like WPT and huge winnings. People started dropping out of school to become professional poker players! I'm not saying pinball is the next poker but I think it can follow the same model and its up to PAPA, JJP and Stern to make it happen.

PAPA's job is basically done, they have a circuit, they have a huge facility, they have ready for TV filming techniques, announcers like Bowen that know the games and the players themselves. JJP and Stern need to sponsor events and provide some serious prize money and keep making games to showcase at these soon to be televised PAPA events. The culmination of all three with ESPN would create an environment where the popularity of pinball would explode! Imagine a Pinball world championship sponsored by JJP, Stern, Pinball magazine, televised on ESPN over several days and the winner takes home a new Stern or JJP along with 100k in winnings!

So back to Ops screwing it all up. There's no competition between OPs in the current market and no intensive for OPs to do their jobs. Why spend the money to fix a game that still makes something even when its broken if there's no one else to compete for the same spot? Its not like people are breaking the door down to put machines in bars and locations certainly aren't actively looking for OPs to bring games in. What if pinball was part of the public consciousness? What if suddenly there was an influx of people that wanted to play pinball? Wouldn't that equate to more OPs, more competition and better experiences for the end user?

In conclusion, if something doesn't change, if pinball doesn't get the recognition it deserves, if companies don't invest their dollars in sponsorships and pinball remains that busted quarter swallowing antique in the corner of the bar, pinball will only be found in collectors homes and museums. However I believe that for the reasons mentioned above the future of pinball is definitely now!


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