5 ball: Why does it exist and does anyone use it?

(Topic ID: 83429)

5 ball: Why does it exist and does anyone use it?


By Dommer

5 years ago



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  • 119 posts
  • 86 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Dommer
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    There are 119 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
    #51 5 years ago

    All my games were at 5 ball until just last week. On TZ I have the buy in set and LITZ cheat enabled.

    5-ball allowed longer ball time and a chance at multiball for friends and family. LITZ cheat enabled is cool when either someone is have a bad game you can push that button and the shot to the piano or the slot puts them into wizard mode. Kids love that.

    Buy in was enabled as well for me if I was close to LITZ and wanted that one last ball to try to achieve it.

    Now everything is set to 3 balls, but specials and replays are set to a free ball. I am trying to become a better player and this way I can play a good game in a resonable amount of time

    #52 5 years ago

    I have two games (other than the EM's) set to 5 ball. These games I enjoy playing to the end as I think playing all the modes enhances the experience.

    #53 5 years ago

    thanks for all the replies. surprised how many folks use 5 ball. i always thought it was like the betamax of pinball.

    #54 5 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    3 ball is for people who hate children, and want a divorce.

    I'm still squirtin tears over this line MapleSyrup! I feel that for the games in my lineup that I leave on 5 ball, a serious player can just look up at what they have acheived by the 3rd ball and smile a bit and then plunge the 4th ball.

    #55 5 years ago

    Cause some of us suck and need that extra 2 chances

    #56 5 years ago
    Quoted from Dommer:

    any reason this exists other than giving people more bang for their buck?

    It exists because machines used to have no ball save feature, and would end a game on a tilt. So back when a dime actually meant something, you would avoid 3 ball machines like the plague. Because the idea was to win free games. And five balls gave you a better chance to light a special or crank a good score. Once the ball save feature was introduced, you could now count on not wasting a ball on an instant drain. So the playing field was now level so to speak.

    Games I have with a ball save feature are all set to 3 ball play. Except GnR which I like at 4. Some of my older machines are set to 3 ball, but most are 5.

    #57 5 years ago
    Quoted from extraballingtmc:

    I think 5 ball play is for people who have given up in life.

    Jerry: Again with the sweatpants?
    George: What? I'm comfortable.
    Jerry: You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world: "I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable."

    #58 5 years ago

    When I was a kid growing up in the 70s (back in the days when there were thousands of arcades coast to coast), almost all EM pinball machines were set to 5 balls. This continued to the early SS pins well into the 1980s. There were some lame locations that had their pins set to three ball play but as was mentioned in earlier posts, us kids tried to avoid those cheap ass establishments.

    This was the Golden Age and peak of pinball's popularity. A time that will never be seen again. Every mall in America had at least one large arcade as well as every bowling alley. Most bars also had at least a few pins. All airports had arcades. Pinball machines were everywhere. Very few people had them in their homes though.

    Three ball pinball is lame. A way for the operator to squeeze more profits out of players. Since there are very few real arcades anymore, it makes sense not to have pins set to 5 ball play because kids aren't hanging out playing pinball all day like they used to. Most pins you see on location now (if you can even find any) are more geared towards one and done casual players.

    Another reason pinball machines are set to three balls now days is because a large percentage of the younger people playing them weren't alive when pinball was relevent and don't know any different. If operators can find a way to sqeeze more money out of anything they will and that is the only reason pins now are almost all set to three balls. More profits for the operators.

    #59 5 years ago

    old school here too, pinball machines were 5 ball per game and we DID feel rooked when it went to 3 balls for our quarter.. then 50c for the 3 ball game, geez! we felt the same when a local foosball table went from 9 balls per game to 7, shorter games meaning more money to the arcade owner we decided was just being too greedy. I can kinda understand it too when theres 2 or 4 really good foosball players on a table, each ball is gonna take a while! same for when someone pinball adept is winning lots of free games, where 3 or 5 per game isnt going to matter.
    I dont think its being wimpy, 3 balls per game can be a bummer if the machine is a "DRAIN-O special", and 5 per game can get ridiculously long if the gameplay is too darn easy, so it really depends on what machine.

    #60 5 years ago

    At home all of my classic pins are set to 5 balls and I keep all the coin mechs fully functional too as-if they were on location. I like having to feed them coins to play just like to good old days.

    #61 5 years ago

    If mine were on 3 ball I wouldn't have any score at all.

    #62 5 years ago

    I'm really surprised at how many people have all their games on 5 balls. I grew up in the 70s and the games were all 5 balls then, and it was late 80s that they went to 3 (and yes, as others have said I felt cheated) and it went to .50 pretty darn quick after that. I keep most of my games set as they were when the first hit the arcades. EMs on 5 early 80s games on 5 (except Centaur), the rest on 3.

    In Chicago pinball mafia league play all games but EMs must be on 3 and I've argued when I host that Eight Ball Deluxe should be on 5, it is way too tough a game (I know I need to play three or four games just to get warmed up on it), plus more important in a league where you play in rounds, you want the games to play close to the same length as possible, and that is not the case if you put early 80s games on 3 ball. We do play with no extra balls on modern Sterns (but one on all other games).

    I found the experiment someone talked about on 5 vs 3 with novice players very interesting, and does make sense, more balls means a longer game, and you can accomplish more and get to know the game. Anytime a game is really short you feel cheated, no matter what your skill level. My custom game lets you choose your difficulty level at the start of your first ball, when on 'easy' it makes various things easier to achieve, whether locking balls, lighting kick backs or starting a mode, and also has a really long ball save. I may have to consider also having easy be a 5 ball game (or maybe add new 'super easy' difficulty level) -- could be a little confusing when playing with players at different skills settings since some will have their game end sooner then others, but don't see that as show stopper.

    #63 5 years ago

    I put all my machines (acade/video) on the way they were intended to be played. 3 balls for modern pins.

    Part of it is just the mentality of the player and that varries widely. Williams system 11 games, like Taxi, can be VERY short. Personally, I tend to like the challenge of the brutality. It makes me want to play MORE. Other people get frustrated when things are too hard and they just quit.

    #64 5 years ago

    My kids play 3 ball. That's what free play is for, not inflated scores. It's like giving every kid a trophy.

    #65 5 years ago

    Mine are all set for three ball, but it has been interesting to read this thread, and I might experiment with five ball on a couple of pins. On the other hand, with ball saves on modern games, five ball does seem awfully generous and would lead to some long games. Worthy of an experiment on the right pin, anyway. (Since all of the coveted three ball high scores would become meaningless, I'll have to do it on a game for which that isn't an issue, such as a new pin.)

    #66 5 years ago

    Do you 3 ball believers quit a five ball game after 3 balls?

    #68 5 years ago

    "Eight Ball DeLuxe, Five Ball"

    #69 5 years ago

    Let's be honest. 5 ball is cheating and incredibly lame.

    end of story.

    #70 5 years ago

    The league I play in and every recent tourney has 3 balls on modern machines.

    If you get an extra ball during tourney or league, drain that puppy. It's not allowed to be played.

    Because of this I play all my games (modern) on 3 ball.

    I like the challenge and it's what I need to do to be a competitive player.

    I do play the extra ball in casual games always.

    In my area of SoCal there are almost no pins on location, so it is not a matter of putting more money in, just pressing start again.

    #71 5 years ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    "Eight Ball DeLuxe, Five Ball"

    That's for sure! (And it even says that when set to 5 ball).

    "Stop talking and start chalking!"

    I can remember when EBD first came out in 1981 and probably 95% of them were set to 5 ball but every now and then you'd see one that was set to 3 balls. We hated the three ball machines.

    I don't know why some peope are so anti-five ball though?

    The rules are different for each amount of balls. The recommended scores for 5 ball play are a lot higher than 3 ball so the only real difference is the length of the game when set correctly. Of course the other "liberal" and "conservative" settings come into play too and would usually vary some between locations.

    But I'm like a lot on here. I like to set my machines up like I remember them when they were new. Older pins I usually go 5 ball and newer ones I usually go 3 ball.

    I also want them set with all the features including the ability to win free credits. It's a lot more fun if you have something to really shoot for.

    #72 5 years ago
    Quoted from stooped:

    Do you 3 ball believers quit a five ball game after 3 balls?

    Sometimes. All the widebodies at the Pyramid Scheme are on 5 ball. That's ST:TNG, IJ, WoZ, and TZ. By the time I'm done with 3 balls, I'm often bored of the game. TNG on 5 ball means you can start Final Frontier by hitting start mission TWICE IN THE WHOLE GAME.

    #73 5 years ago

    The pinball hall of fame in Vegas has lot's of new games on 5 ball.

    #74 5 years ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    The pinball hall of fame in Vegas has lot's of new games on 5 ball.

    Advertised as "Full 5 Ball Game".

    #75 5 years ago

    All of mine are set to 5 ball except for TAF. TAF has always been 3 ball for me.

    #76 5 years ago

    All my EMs are on 5. Solid state and DMD games are on 3. Newer games have ball save and dole out extra balls as part of game play. No need to play 7 or 8 balls per game IMHO.

    #77 5 years ago

    I will admit that although my games are all on 3 ball.....I have all of the bonus awards set to extra ball. It makes me feel like I earned the extra ball a little bit.

    #78 5 years ago
    Quoted from yzfguy:

    I will admit that although my games are all on 3 ball.....I have all of the bonus awards set to extra ball. It makes me feel like I earned the extra ball a little bit.

    All of my Newest STERN Pinball are set to 3 ball . And My MIDWAY pinballs are set to four ball play. No rime or reason. Do get my ass handed to me more on my STERN pinballs.

    #79 5 years ago

    I never had a pin set at 5 ball until I bought a Spiderman that was set for 5 balls. I dont know if I could complete the Super Hero without 5 balls because it was such a bitch to finish. TZ or AF is a three baller but Spiderman is crazy hard in 3.

    #80 5 years ago

    All my machines are set 5 ball and the awards are set to extra balls. You play right you can have a 15 ball game 3 extra balls per ball have done it on my system 1 games a few times. Easier on the Williams and data east machines. This makes rolling the score over twice possible. Also sometimes have muti ball twice on the same ball. But then again not many have thought of setting their machine up this way. Hence the idea bouncing in my head of adding a cooling system other then just fans to a pinball.

    #81 5 years ago

    5 ball on my games, and all set at 3 games for a quarter... no pinflation in the ccotenj household...

    #82 5 years ago

    First thing my kids said when I got High Speed home and set up... "Uh dad, this is set to 3 balls."
    Changed it that night.

    #83 5 years ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Newer games have ball save and dole out extra balls as part of game play. No need to play 7 or 8 balls per game IMHO.

    This is a great point, older games had far fewer ways to earn an extra ball and certainly no ball save (other then if you scored 0). So even though it is a 3 ball game, if your reasonably good, you will get 4 to 5 balls (setting aside the novices).

    You can also make the argument that for 'non league/tourney play', you need to have those extra balls to achieve the wizard mode type objectives (well, unless you are one of the top dozen or so players in the world). On most of my games I do have special give an extra ball, except if hosting the league, when I will set them to points, since extra balls either don't get payed or you get just one. Points are not "special"

    As far as who asked if you stop playing after 3 even if it is set to 5, and you are a 3 ball kind of guy, the answer is no, since as others have stated the game rules often based on that setting, so if it is 5 balls, that is what you play.

    #84 5 years ago

    Pinball from when I started playing (Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ) was always 5 ball. Pinball IS 5 ball. Only went to 3 balls to suck up more money.

    #85 5 years ago

    5 Balls,

    Even with 5 Balls Dr Who is sometimes a short game

    #86 5 years ago

    Exactly, the game rules are combined a little for 3 ball to help complete the goal and broke up a little for 5 on the older SS games.

    Steve

    Quoted from rosh:

    as others have stated the game rules often based on that setting, so if it is 5 balls, that is what you play.

    #87 5 years ago

    Depends on machine. Some spit out extra balls like sweeties so 5 balls makes games too long. Imagine playing Simpsons for 2 hours. When I first got Star Trek I had it on 5 but since getting better it's gone back down to 3.

    So you have to balance how good a player you are with how brutal the machine is. I always feel I have accomplished more on a 3 ball than a 5.

    #88 5 years ago

    5 ball on newer games is just lame. People get bored in multiplayer. Games drag on forever. Everything is too easy to achieve. Etc...
    On older, short ball time games, and EM's, Ok
    But newer shit, with EB's and multiball there already, NO!
    Lots here say they want to play the game the way the designer intended, well, they intended 3 ball!
    Can't make the wizard mode? Guess what? You ain't no wizard.
    And you're just making the kids worse at pinball by giving them the crutch. They will learn to play 3 ball better, and understand that they just have to get better and have a goal of like 1 multiball each game. Shit, lots of us had to PAY, and only get 3 balls when we were learning.
    If you must, play two 3 ball games and add your scores together!

    #89 5 years ago

    I keep mine on 3 ball. I am terrible so its frustrating, but I feel more manly. I am pretty sure going to 5 ball and still being terrible would just depress me.

    #90 5 years ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    Lots here say they want to play the game the way the designer intended, well, they intended 3 ball!

    the designer intended the machine to make money... since very few machines sitting in people's houses are making money, i suppose those people should be getting rid of their machines, since they aren't using them the way they were intended to be used...

    #91 5 years ago

    Never thought to change my games to 5 balls. Just doesn't seem right to me, plus 2-player games would take too long. My BK2K was set to 5 when I bought it, and that game is just so damn fast that it needed 5 balls.

    #92 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    the designer intended the machine to make money

    Well, the operator wants a machine that will make money and the designer needs to support that. The designer wants to create a game that people will want to play and keep playing. Which means a theme that attracts them to try the game, and then game play they enjoy, find challenging and draws them back by either providing exciting play or establishes challenges they want to strive for. If the designer succeeds in those things, then the operator will make money, and the manufacturer will as well as more of those games will be sold and the designer will get to design more games. Game objectives, like wizard modes, are supposed to keep you coming back to play more. They need to be designed to be achievable (an for the player to feel they are), but at the same time require the player to keep playing.

    However, ball and game time is certainly a factor for an operator and for how the game is designed. If EBD was a 3 ball game when it came out, it would not do well, players would feel they the games were too short, that there were 'cheated' and they would go put there money elsewhere. Nobody wants a game to be over in a minute or two, and few if any want a game that takes an hour. I think most would agree that the DMD era games have sufficient ball/game times at three balls, with a few exceptions, that also meet the criteria to keep a player entertained, challenged and coming back, and it will let you, with skill and time, achieve the more advanced objectives. The three ball games of the DMD era, take longer to play then 5 ball games of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Seems like three balls on those game is what is right.

    Like most things in life, it is all about balance. A game that balances all of these things will be successful for both the operator, the location player and the collector.

    #93 5 years ago

    Less Filling....Tastes Great!

    #94 5 years ago

    The only games I keep on 5 ball settings are Bally Eight Ball and Gorgar because they are extremely mean and brutal games

    #95 5 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    the designer intended the machine to make money... since very few machines sitting in people's houses are making money, i suppose those people should be getting rid of their machines, since they aren't using them the way they were intended to be used...

    I said, the way they are to be "played", not used.
    But Rosh pretty much nailed my opinion too.
    And in the home, with unlimited access and play attempts, why go easy? So you can get bored quicker?
    Then complain the game isn't deep enough?
    It's like the people complaining on the MET thread that Crank It Up is too hard to get, and they need to drop the # of shots to qualify. When really, maybe you're just not supposed to get that mode every game. (2-3 times!)
    Part of the pinball draw and appeal is the challenge of man vs. machine, and trying to blow up the games rules!
    If making it easy to do that by changing rules and # of balls is your thing, great.
    But I prefer to have a game beat me up a bit (or a lot!), be forced to adapt and get a strategy, a plan of attack.
    Then finally put it all together, and feel like you beat the machine, the right way.

    #96 5 years ago

    I just played a WOZ that is on route and set on 5 ball.

    #97 5 years ago

    8 ball for Wpt

    #98 5 years ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    I just played a WOZ that is on route and set on 5 ball.

    But what was the price per play?

    It seems, like in the case of PHOF and the new games being set to 5 Balls, its a trade off to compensate for charging premium prices ($0.75 and $1 per play). Plenty of you have pointed out that the newer games were not really designed around a 5 ball game. However, that doesn't really matter since there are so many software options for changing difficulty as well as post movement to shorten ball times.

    From what I remember of the other older equipment at the PHOF, baring some time consuming modification, the lowest setting available on an EM is 1 coin 1 play. Therefore, the best Tim can do to earn a decent amount on them is 25c per play, 3 balls. But there are those EMs there I have found at 5 balls probably due to their general design.

    Even though its an available option on early SS games, I don't know if people would be happy paying 50 cents for 3 balls on a game like Mata Hari?? I charge $0.50 for 5 Balls on a Centaur on location.

    #99 5 years ago
    Quoted from CactusJack:

    But what was the price per play?

    I believe the price was $1.

    #100 5 years ago
    Quoted from spfxted:

    Pinball from when I started playing (Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ) was always 5 ball. Pinball IS 5 ball. Only went to 3 balls to suck up more money.

    Ted, Ted, Ted ... !

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