Interesting thread--I could go on about this for a long while. I'll try to restrain myself and likely fail. Lots of good comments already.
This sort of thing is what must keep many folks at Stern up at night--how do we get noobs interested enough to play pinball for even 5 minutes, let alone for a whole evening? How do we get that all-important "second coin drop"?
Your average AC/DC fan will eagerly drop the first coin in that game, but apart from certain personality types, sadly the majority won't press Start a second time, because AC/DC is a difficult game even for very skilled, highly experienced players. The license gets that first coin, but any game has to be designed very carefully to earn the second from a pinball noob. You think this post is long? I bet Steve Ritchie could talk about this for days.
We enthusiasts who count playing as one of the key parts of our enjoyment of the hobby love deep games, but the honest truth is that MOST pinball machines--even the simplest designs--are very intimidating/confusing and quickly frustrating to the vast majority of people, even avid video gamers, who don't have basic flipper, ball physics recognition, and other skills we simply take for granted after years and years of experience. We don't have to think at all about so much of what noobs find completely overwhelming.
For a noob, there is only one rule--keep the ball in play as long as possible. That's it, and that's REALLY HARD for 98% of noobs. Even the language we use when talking about games, totally natural to us, sounds like swahili to a noob. Most instruction cards might as well be printed in Mandarin Chinese. Again, they're for us--not first-time players, who simply can't understand more than half the words printed on the card in the context of the game rules.
Especially for people who don't like doing something they can't feel competent at quickly, or at least appear to others like they are, pinball is a very quick turn-off because the learning curve is a long, gentle slope--failure comes quickly and frequently for a long time early on. The balance of reward and frustration is absolutely critical in game design.
After all, the machine is designed to take as many coins as possible while not seeming like a blatant rip-off. They're not built to gently support the noobiest noob and spark and nurture a just-begun passion and interest.
Some people will humor you and show up and play a game or even just a ball or two, but the truth is likely they're just there to hang out with you and be your friend, regardless of what's around or what the evening's theme is, and that's just fine. Go on in to the living room after they flee in frustration and bewilderment and enjoy their company and be happy they're there--they could be anywhere else, after all.
It's so hard for us in this community to see it sometimes because at a base level we're very like-minded. I very much wish it weren't the case, but acquiring enough skill to play and enjoy pinball at even the most casual level takes much, much more than just an evening.