(Topic ID: 308667)

Pinball "too complicated" for kids these days?

By ExSquid

6 months ago


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There are 303 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 7.
#1 6 months ago

Between my nieces and nephews I'd say more than half of them tell me " what am I supposed to do"!? " This is too complicated"! Then they just give up and do something else. I honestly don't EVER remember saying that growing up playing these things. I just shot the ball into the playfield and just smashed the hell out of it and whatever score I got was it! Still do that BTW. Never thought about anything. I figured these would be a big hit with them. What's the deal? smh....

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#2 6 months ago

If they can dodge a wrench, they can play pinball....

But seriously, pinball is no more complicated than the average video game. Probably less even! There's always a learning curve too.

Rob

#3 6 months ago
Quoted from Rob_G:

If they can dodge a wrench, they can play pinball....
Rob

haha

24
#4 6 months ago

I think it's probably more likely to be a short attention span and competing against the dopamine hit of digital device screens.

Don't worry, one day they will crave the physicality of pinball...

#5 6 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I think it's probably more likely to be a short attention span .

I think you hit the nail on the head here. But again I really don't remember being like that when I was in front of these at there age. Who knows...

#6 6 months ago
Quoted from ExSquid:

I think you hit the nail on the head here. But again I really don't remember being like that when I was in front of these at there age. Who knows...

EM's were/are much simpler...

#7 6 months ago
Quoted from poppapin:

EM's were/are much simpler...

I cant argue with that. They are all mad at me for getting rid of my BOP.

12
#8 6 months ago

If they're making that complaint about modern games I can see where they are coming from. Pinballs these days are WAY more complicated than they were when I was growing up... It's hard to compare the mid-80s solid states that I grew up with and the Sterns we have nowadays.

15
#9 6 months ago

EVERYTHING is too complicated for kids these days.

#10 6 months ago
Quoted from bdw85:

If they're making that complaint about modern games I can see where they are coming from. Pinballs these days are WAY more complicated than they were when I was growing up... It's hard to compare the mid-80s solid states that I grew up with and the Sterns we have nowadays.

True, but this is coming from kids who play some of the most complicated games on the XBOX and PS5. So I'm a bit skeptical.

#11 6 months ago

Shoot the flashing shots. Simple

14
#12 6 months ago

Here's a thought, and I mean this in all positivity, let's work on connecting with the youth and our kids instead of whining about how they see the world and interact with it differently than us.

I've seen it all with modern kids and pins: From having zero interest, to kicking ass in competitions. My favorite anecdote was a nephew who could crush a game while also watching Roblox videos on an iPad he put on the glass. It was like witnessing human evolution, his brain has more Mhz!

#13 6 months ago

My thought is that contemporary machines do have more rules.
But the main difference on newer machines is that the rules are basically hidden unless you research the machine to find out the details, or play the machine many times to uncover the rules yourself.
If the rules were written on the machine card, like they were for older machines, more new players might catch on faster.
Granted, some basic rules are usually written on the instruction card, but the details are still hidden from the average new player.
The attention span of most young players probably makes the new machine less interesting for that reason.
Some newer machines also have so many rules that they might not even fit on the card, so there's that also.

#14 6 months ago
Quoted from playtwowin:

EVERYTHING is too complicated for kids these days.

It’s really just this. My own kids suffer over the same things. They consistently choose the path of least resistance with everything they do. Now once I get them hooked on something suddenly they are the ones teaching me…

#15 6 months ago
Quoted from EricHadley:

Shoot the flashing shots. Simple

My thoughts exactly! Just have fun and hit the thing!

10
#16 6 months ago

I'm bias as I prefer older 80's pins to the newer ones but it was the simplicity of pins back then that got me hooked. I could walk up to any pin anywhere and inside of a game or two had it figured out and could go at it. Many of the newer pins require ownership to learn all the ins and outs of play, for me that takes away some of the fun. Don't get me wrong I like playing the newer pins with all the toys etc. but it seems like it takes much more thought to have a basic understanding of what you need to do in order to have great games. I don't play a lot of Play station and xbox due to the same reasoning having to remember pressing buttons in certain order and patterns just makes it seem more like work than fun......just my opinion though.

#17 6 months ago
Quoted from FlippyD:

Here's a thought, and I mean this in all positivity, let's work on connecting with the youth and our kids instead of whining about how they see the world and interact with it differently than us.
I've seen it all with modern kids and pins: From having zero interest, to kicking ass in competitions. My favorite anecdote was a nephew who could crush a game while also watching Roblox videos on an iPad he put on the glass. It was like witnessing human evolution, his brain has more Mhz!

Not whining at all, just an open discussion and thoughts on the matter.

18
#18 6 months ago

I was going to start another thread, but here works too.

Kids can get into pinball as long as you groom them into the hobby properly. If you have nieces and nephews who only occasionally play for 15 minutes on sporadic family gatherings, it'll be hard to hook them. But if you have a child who you can constantly teach technique, skills, and strategy they will slowly start to beat you as the years go on.

When my son was about 8 or 9 he had to write his first "chapter" book in elementary school. He wrote it about Gorgar. Fast forward to this fall, he just turned 13, he has an IFPA number, has played in leagues and tournies, and is a legit threat to me on all machines we own except our new AIQ (and I'm teaching him the calculus about gems, placement, and levelling up Avengers).

Then fast forward to last Friday, a pretty depressing day for the pinball community, and I go pick up my son from school... where I find out he may be already eclipsing me as an engineer. He drew in CAD and 3D printed a freggin model of Time Fantasy!

Moral of the story - kids can still get into pinball.

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#19 6 months ago
Quoted from ExSquid:

I cant argue with that. They are all mad at me for getting rid of my BOP.

Classic 80s-90s games are way simpler and more fun.
I enjoy some modern games but I really hate that you have to watch a tutorial or read a novella to understand some of the rules.

Pinball used to be intuitive, but modern games can be very abstruse for the new player.

#20 6 months ago

No. If they had interest, it is no more complicated, that the current media available. Now if the physical aspect, makes them not interested, that is a factor.

#21 6 months ago

This weekend I had the same thought. I usually play newer machines but I have a started really enjoy paragon. The pinball museum that I go to also has some ems. I started to play drop-a-card, A single player 9999 limit game. It seemed easy to simply knock down the cards (drop targets), but when I noticed that bumpers and other lanes changed from 10 to 100 points when lit, the game was simple but very challenging. An hour later I was still trying to beat my best score even it had the smallest flippers I had ever seen.
Now, I’m trying to figure how I can fit on more pin in my room.

#22 6 months ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

Classic 80s-90s games are way simpler and more fun.
I enjoy some modern games but I really hate that you have to watch a tutorial or read a novella to understand some of the rules.
Pinball used to be intuitive, but modern games can be too abstruse for the new player.

They were definitely simpler, but I'm not sure that means they were more fun.

My problem with modern Stern and JJP machines is that there does not seem to be a consistent design language. The B/W games all had a similar scheme in that you hit the stuff that was dark to light it up - and you hit the stuff that was flashing for whatever mode you were in.

Now, when you approach AIQ or JP, almost everything is on or flashing, so you have no idea what to actually aim for. And no, I don't want to have to read and memorize a bunch of rules when I walk up to a game for the first time.

#23 6 months ago

From my observation on location pushing the start button is to difficult for a majority of kids which I don't understand because they have no problem starting the video games.

#24 6 months ago

It's ok if people don't care about something you're into, kid or not. It's not our job to make people like things we like.

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from Yoko2una:

(and I'm teaching him the calculus about gems, placement, and levelling up Avengers).

That's good parenting right there, Yoko!

#26 6 months ago
Quoted from Puffdanny:

From my observation on location pushing the start button is to difficult for a majority of kids which I don't understand because they have no problem starting the video games.

That happens in my basement more than I care to admit.

11
#27 6 months ago

I am the proud parent of a 5 year old, 8 year old, and 10 year old. Kids just don't care about going downstairs and playing pinball the way that we do. However, that does not mean kids can't have fun playing pinball. If I play pinball with them and actively encourage them, they will absolutely have a blast playing. They could care less about the rules, as I'm usually actively coaching and joshing them when we play. I have noticed the same thing on my MAME and Arcade 1ups. They don't play on their own but if there is a social aspect to it they will have a blast not matter the game. They will ignore Outrun, but will happily go through mindless beat em' ups and shoot em up games so long as I am with them and we are having fun together. I can set them up to play together and they will have a blast. When the kids have friends over they always come downstairs and play a while, but a good arcade session is maybe 20 minutes for them before moving on to legos (usually).

Out of everything I have put into my arcade, honestly... the used ping pong table I got off Craigslist has been the greatest bang for the buck. I am eyeing a pool table (with ping pong cover top) as a replacement soon or a bumper pool table with gaming top.

I will say on choice of games, kids tend to me more drawn to mechanical gadgetry than they are to deep rules and "good" games. In my experience with my kids the biggest hits have been World Cup Soccer (great toys, a puppy on the backboard, and goals to shoot for), Data East Jurassic Park (the dinosaur eats the ball!), and Medieval Madness (look at what the castle does daddy!).

Kids could care less about themes and rules.

As an afterthought, I am guessing pinball is the closest many of us here get to traditional video games these days (not everyone here). Pinball is attractive to kids for the aspects that are distant from video games from their perspective. Those items are the mechanical nature and toys, and the social aspect.

Make it social and kids love it!

Edit to ad: In other words, kids won't care about or even really remember playing pinball at uncle Jimmy's house... but if you play with them, encourage them, and make it a social activity they will sure remember playing pinball WITH uncle Jimmy.

#28 6 months ago

Kids want instant gratification !
Video games are coded response to your action.
Pinball is gravity and reaction time ! And a little practice.
Also kids are interested in what other kids are.they all want to be cool.

#29 6 months ago

I was just wondering if anyone else had similar thoughts…

Turned into a great discussion with awesome responses!

Thanks

#30 6 months ago

My experience with my own children and children that have visited my collection is that the idea of playing for points and a high score is not part of their gaming these days so they're not motivated by it.

I'm intrigued at what things like Stern Insider Connected will open, for giving people more ways to play instead of simply a high score.

#31 6 months ago
Quoted from sataneatscheese:

In other words, kids won't care about or even really remember playing pinball at uncle Jimmy's house... but if you play with them, encourage them, and make it a social activity they will sure remember playing pinball WITH uncle Jimmy.

So much truth right there!

It's all about finding the combined activity that brings joy. I have a nephew that didn't give any shits about the pinballs but would talk about our hour of playing Minecraft for weeks!

#32 6 months ago

My kids are interested, but get frustrated with the difficulty of just keeping the ball in play. They don't have enough attention span to practice to get past that.

It has nothing to do with the game complexity. They don't get far enough to realize the game is anything other than "wack the ball and hit stuff".

#33 6 months ago
Quoted from sataneatscheese:

Edit to ad: In other words, kids won't care about or even really remember playing pinball at uncle Jimmy's house... but if you play with them, encourage them, and make it a social activity they will sure remember playing pinball WITH uncle Jimmy.

This right here.

#34 6 months ago

Great observations here. I'll propose a different theory, As a father and as someone who observes these behaviors in both my nieces and nephews and my wife's family. Kids are much more aware of the reason "why" now a days (or at least they think they are!). Therefore, they don't do things just to do them much like we did. Fun was a feeling when I was a child. To a kid in today's world, fun is fulfillment of a purpose. Perfect example is college sports, the college athlete of 2010 is night and day to that of 2022. I am close to the "athlete" world of coaches, and ask any coach and they will tell you the one difference is the kids now want to know WHY...why are we running?, why do we need to practice passing 100 times instead of 108.3 times?, why would the slower player be starting over the faster one?, etc etc. They don't let you lead them down a path blindly.

So, going back to pinball, I think your comment "what am I supposed to do"! is everything in a nutshell. The kids won't just start banging away at a pinball machine or video game. Why "figure something out" when someone has already done it. Most video game players watch YouTube videos before they even boot the game up the first time. They want to understand what success looks like, so then they can go strive for it, or even furthermore plan for it in their own way. The way kids brains work now adays, seems to have a much harder time having "fun" without accomplishment or winning something. Banging things around doesn't work for them.

To be honset, Stern might have a stroke of genius with Insider Connect, bringing the younger crowd along. They can give them "brownie points" for every little thing they do on the machine.

#35 6 months ago
Quoted from clearstar:

Great observations here. I'll propose a different theory, As a father and as someone who observes these behaviors in both my nieces and nephews and my wife's family. Kids are much more aware of the reason "why" now a days (or at least they think they are!). Therefore, they don't do things just to do them much like we did. Fun was a feeling when I was a child. To a kid in today's world, fun is fulfillment of a purpose. Perfect example is college sports, the college athlete of 2010 is night and day to that of 2022. I am close to the "athlete" world of coaches, and ask any coach and they will tell you the one difference is the kids now want to know WHY...why are we running?, why do we need to practice passing 100 times instead of 108.3 times?, why would the slower player be starting over the faster one?, etc etc. They don't let you lead them down a path blindly.
So, going back to pinball, I think your comment "what am I supposed to do"! is everything in a nutshell. The kids won't just start banging away at a pinball machine or video game. Why "figure something out" when someone has already done it. Most video game players watch YouTube videos before they even boot the game up the first time. They want to understand what success looks like, so then they can go strive for it, or even furthermore plan for it in their own way. The way kids brains work now adays, seems to have a much harder time having "fun" without accomplishment or winning something. Banging things around doesn't work for them.
To be honset, Stern might have a stroke of genius with Insider Connect, bringing the younger crowd along. They can give them "brownie points" for every little thing they do on the machine. The main issue with Insider Connect is it's not an App, it's a website.

-1
#36 6 months ago

if its not minecraft, or Fortnite, most kids are not interested in anything else.

#37 6 months ago
Quoted from clearstar:

To be honset, Stern might have a stroke of genius with Insider Connect, bringing the younger crowd along. They can give them "brownie points" for every little thing they do on the machine.

Funny you should bring this up! I mentioned that to them and they all perked right up and where interested in what I was saying about the ( achievements ) etc....... So im on a waiting list for Iron Maiden apron for the connect. Lets see how they are with that.

#38 6 months ago
Quoted from radium:

They don't have enough attention span to practice to get past that.

Quoted from sataneatscheese:

but if you play with them, encourage them, and make it a social activity they will sure remember playing pinball WITH uncle Jimmy.

I don't think it is so much their attention span, but the choices they have to give that attention to. The amount of choices today compared to when I grew up are staggering - I had 13 tv stations, now there are hundreds; with music, you can listen to any genre at any time and any place; video games, youtube, any sport, etc, etc. Pinball is just one more type of entertainment to evaluate and, if it can't grab them quickly, for them it is time to move on to the next option.

I do think the achievements are a good way to maybe boost the value of this form of entertainment, again because they have choices. But I agree with sataneatscheese most of all - kids want to spend time with the parents/family (one survey said 73% of kids want to spend more time with their parents). Make it fun with family, compete, teach, etc., the same way hunting/golf/sailing/woodworking is passed down generation to generation.

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#39 6 months ago

Most pinball games make zero sense to most people. Even the simpler games are confusing for most. That's why the most popular games continue to be games like MM, AFM, and MB...they have an obvious "dummy" feature that anyone can accomplish and feel good about, and then when they start to figure out the rules, it's relatively easy to understand.

Quoted from ExSquid:

True, but this is coming from kids who play some of the most complicated games on the XBOX and PS5. So I'm a bit skeptical.

Way back in the "original" Xbox era, my neighbor's kid...I think he was 8 or 9...he was playing Halo and all of the "modern" games. He'd come over to play my arcade games, and just could not wrap his brain around Dig Dug. He would complain that it's SOOO HARD!!!

The very concept of video games to kids has been completely different for a while than it was to us. Pinball was a "3 ball & Game Over" game, which inspired first generation of video games that had "3 lives & Game Over". The concept of 3 lives & Game Over isn't something kids today understand. Their games are generally never ending non-death type of experiences...or even if there is death, you can continue. Just the very concept of trying to accomplish a bunch of things in a finite game like pinball is completely foreign to them.

#40 6 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Pinball was a "3 ball & Game Over" game, which inspired first generation of video games that had "3 lives & Game Over". The concept of 3 lives & Game Over isn't something kids today understand. Their games are generally never ending non-death type of experiences...or even if there is death, you can continue. Just the very concept of trying to accomplish a bunch of things in a finite game like pinball is completely foreign to them.

This part I've thought of a while back and it makes sense. I can see the kids get angry and VERY frustrated when the ball goes down.

Oh and before I die I want to get my hands on a Monster Bash or AFM.

#41 6 months ago

Based upon my experience with my own family/friends there are a few reasons that pinball doesn’t resonate as much with them:

1. Not familiar in any way with the nostalgia of an arcade. No immediate draw.
2. They don’t immediately see the objective? Simply to score points - lame (in their opinion).
The objective is not apparent. The rules are not easily transparent.
Shoot the flashing arrows doesn’t really have much appeal if you don’t understand why?
Think about the most successful apps - easily identifiable objectives with quick paced levels.
3. Even if they slightly understand the modes I overhear them say stuff like “that’s it, 6k and you got 13 modes. My $5 app gives me 1000+ levels .”
4. They have so many easy and mobile entertainment choices in their hand now (YouTube, streaming, apps, tv, TikTok, instagram, etc). Difficult for a 200lb piece of fixed furniture to compete with that. Not impossible but challenging for sure.
5. My son’s best friend (15) said “Why would they put the start-button there? Who designed this?”
6. The ball is stuck, now what do I do? I have to take the glass off and do what? Walk away thinking that was stupid.

I do think Stern did a smart thing with their “Connect” system as the idea of collecting virtual trophies, etc is captivating for the newer/younger audience. While it has some appeal for me, I think the ability to use your phone and track progress/trophies is going to help captivate a younger audience.

So I don’t think they are too complicated, I just don’t think pins present themselves as having an immediate appeal by having simple entertaining objectives to draw in an unfamiliar audience.

#42 6 months ago

I've said this in other threads - Modern Pinball machines are intimidating to non pinheads.

We have a mix of machines in our Arcade from 1965 to today and I was surprised how much play the older machines get. People like the bells, chimes and the simpler layout.

Most people I talk to don't even know there are rules to get big points, and cant fathom how they are integrated into the theme.

This is not just 'kids' but all ages of non pinballers have the same reactions.

At least with the music machines, people can listen to something they are familiar with and they will play longer.

#43 6 months ago

Yup, my wife misses the old EM chimes and simplicity of just keep the ball alive. She loves Ironman because she understands why she is shooting the arrows but other modern pins with deeper rules just leave her cold. She wants to be entertained without having to think too much about it. Maybe that is the answer all along - not everybody wants to work to be entertained.

#44 6 months ago

Nothing made me happier than when my son played his first game on GZ and before the first ball, asked me what the skill shot is. I had not really thought about how embedded pinball was in his life since my first game came after he’d already moved out.

And then proceeded to beat my best score.

I really don’t know the answer. I am glad my passion is alive and well with him. I know I frustrate him when I complain some video games are too hard. I just want to blow everything up.

#45 6 months ago

My son loved them up until he was about 8 and then his interest fell off a cliff. Similar progression with many of the children of my fellow pinheads but not all.

#46 6 months ago
Quoted from PBFan:

Based upon my experience with my own family/friends there are a few reasons that pinball doesn’t resonate as much with them:
1. Not familiar in any way with the nostalgia of an arcade. No immediate draw.
2. They don’t immediately see the objective? Simply to score points - lame (in their opinion).
The objective is not apparent. The rules are not easily transparent.
Shoot the flashing arrows doesn’t really have much appeal if you don’t understand why?
Think about the most successful apps - easily identifiable objectives with quick paced levels.
3. Even if they slightly understand the modes I overhear them say stuff like “that’s it, 6k and you got 13 modes. My $5 app gives me 1000+ levels .”
4. They have so many easy and mobile entertainment choices in their hand now (YouTube, streaming, apps, tv, TikTok, instagram, etc). Difficult for a 200lb piece of fixed furniture to compete with that. Not impossible but challenging for sure.
5. My son’s best friend (15) said “Why would they put the start-button there? Who designed this?”
6. The ball is stuck, now what do I do? I have to take the glass off and do what? Walk away thinking that was stupid.
I do think Stern did a smart thing with their “Connect” system as the idea of collecting virtual trophies, etc is captivating for the newer/younger audience. While it has some appeal for me, I think the ability to use your phone and track progress/trophies is going to help captivate a younger audience.
So I don’t think they are too complicated, I just don’t think pins present themselves as having an immediate appeal by having simple entertaining objectives to draw in an unfamiliar audience.

Number 2 4 and 5 ......yup.

#47 6 months ago

Oh no, they definitely have the ability to understand pinball. Fortnite is about 1000x more complicated than AIQ.

My 2 cents.. kids want to play what other kids play. It gives them something to talk, and brag about. No one at their school cares if they get a great score on Led Zepplin. They do care if they are able to get a Victory Royale, in a squads, with three of their best friends.

#48 6 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I think it's probably more likely to be a short attention span and competing against the dopamine hit of digital device screens.
Don't worry, one day they will crave the physicality of pinball...

Nothing gives a bigger dopamine hit than a knocker going off though.

10
#49 6 months ago

There’s really nothing new here - coming from a 64 year old.

My kid friends in the 1960’s didn’t know what to shoot for, and just flipped. Then, the 1970’s came along with longer flippers and bonuses, and people complained the new games were too difficult to learn. Rinse and repeat through each era. 1980’s games were too difficult, then the 1990’s…..and on.

Pinball has always been a niche game. It has never had mass appeal. There are a few of us in each generation, just like there are car freaks and coin collectors. Non-pinheads don’t understand the appeal of pinball, just like I don’t understand the appeal of stamp collecting or Minecraft.

Being too complicated is simply an excuse. Our non-pinball friends don’t care about pinball.

#50 6 months ago
Quoted from Redwizard000:

Nothing gives a bigger dopamine hit than a knocker going off though.

I usually see it startle people when they aren't aware of what that loud noise is.

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