(Topic ID: 2721)

When did the Ball save feature start?

By wesperron

8 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by vid1900
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


Linked Games

#1 8 years ago

I own a party Zone and it's the only machine I own that doesn't have a ball save feature. It's also the oldest I own. Yaknow the feature that allows you a little time after you plunge the ball into play...if you lose it, it spits out another one.

Party Zone was made in 91 and it doesn't have it.
Twilight Zone has it and thats 93.
Both are Bally so was this a feature started in 92?
Does anyone know what games do and don't have this feature?
It sure would be helpful when shopping.

Does anyone know what game first used this feature?

#2 8 years ago

Addams family came out in 1992 and did not have ball save.

#3 8 years ago

I love Party Zone. A very unique and underrated game, IMHO.

#4 8 years ago

Yeah I like Party Zone but it's a tough game. The DJ (Captain B Zarr)sits right in the middle and makes for a difficult game. The ball save feature would have made this game a little easier to tollerate. I do feel the art is the the most colorful I've ever seen. Very very colorful. Especially in led's. I do like Party Zone but I will be selling it very soon. I need to make room for something else. WOZ

#5 8 years ago

Creature and Getaway have it and those are '92

#6 8 years ago

not sure what the first one was though...good question

#7 8 years ago

F-14 Tomcat has a ball save only on ball 3 if your previous balls didn't last a certain amount of time. "you are insured"

#8 8 years ago

Don't know for sure when the timed ball save officially started, but some of the older pins from the mid-late 80's and early 90's would give you a no-penalty ball if your ball rolled all the way through the playfield without scoring anything... actually, it was probably an accidental feature that is actually the software thinking along these lines... "well, I know I just kicked out the ball, but I see it in the outhole again, but I know nobody can be so bad that they couldn't at least score some points, so I guess the ball didn't kick out... I'll kick it out again )

You can almost hear the CPU laughing at you


#9 8 years ago

My T2 has ball save also ( a very quick one) and is from 1991

#10 8 years ago

The sales flyer for Laser Cue advertises it as being the first game with a guaranteed amount of what they called "extra-ball time". Any ball that drained before 25 seconds was completed, you got back.


#11 8 years ago

paragon has a ball save if you dont hit anything '78

#12 8 years ago

Hi, I'm pretty sure PZ does have a timed ball saver, if my memory serves me well, if you get the skill shot you wont get the timed ball saver feature for that ball in play.

I think you need to turn on the PARTY ON! feature somewhere in the adjustments menu.

Let us know if you find it, cause I just looked on the downloadable manual and couldn't see it, but I'm 100% sure it can be done.

Captain Bzaar " lets party on dude "

#13 8 years ago

danger - I think most of them are adjustable you might be able to change it

#14 8 years ago

bugray- I'm going to try it tonight and see if that works....I've seen the "Party On" adjustment but didn't know what it did...I'll try it tonight and let you know. Thanks for the tip.

#15 8 years ago

You are correct Bugray...Thank you....And yes it's not in my manual either. I noticed "Party On" in the adjustments but didn't know what it was. It was set to the factory default OFF. I've had this game for 6 months and didn't know. Thank you again.

Now It's like a whole new game!!!! I think I'm gonna upgrade this to LED's. I bet it will look great.

#16 8 years ago

Cool, glad you got it sorted.

I had a PZ for quite a while, great game, excellent light shows, not a deep game, just pure simple fun.

I miss it a little.

2 years later
#17 5 years ago

I'd like to know what game introduced a deliberate "ball save" where: if you get < X points in Y time, then you can shoot again?


#18 5 years ago

Fun House had a "specialty" ball save where if it drained down the right side right after the plunge "Hey Biff, you can have it back."

#19 5 years ago

F14 has one on some settings after the Jagov Kicker goes I believe

#20 5 years ago
Quoted from Purpledrilmonkey:

F14 has one on some settings after the Jagov Kicker goes I believe

Yes it does and it can be turned on or off.

Also has the insured part as mentioned above.

#21 5 years ago

Not really a ball save, but some(?) Gottlieb EM pins will do the following. On the first ball only. if no scores are made then ball number 1 will be replayed. No score on most EM pins is actually hard to do.

#22 5 years ago

I'm pretty sure Baffle Ball had it, from 1931.

#23 5 years ago

I do remember a pinball designer, can't remember who at this point, mention in an interview that Ball Save was introduced on T2 because it apparently was a drain monster. Adding Ball Save would help players feeling less ripped off after a short game. Not sure if this is true, but it is what I heared.

I also recall a seminar from years ago where some industry insiders expressed their feelings about Diamond Plate ruining pinball (no more need to buy a new game as the playfield did not wear out), and Ball Savers as well as they extended the ball time on location, occupying the game longer and making the operator less money.

#24 5 years ago

T2, I think.

#25 5 years ago

Yup i agree..T2 has the first 'ball save ' as such. Steve Richie was the pinball designer in question.. His games tend to have new innovations or 'firsts'. Most SS games will give the ball back if you do not 'make' a switch contact besides the shooter lane upon launching the ball.

#26 5 years ago

Almost every game that is in the solid state era or later has a 0-point ball save. The rationale is that the game figures the kick to plunger failed. Lots of (though certainly not all) EMs have this same behavior.

Many games came out where there was a Timed Play feature, either something like Bonus Ball on BK or the big timed play bonus on Acid Snail.

But, I think we can definitely safely attribute the first direct ball save as a result of player action to F-14 (flight insurance after a Yagov kick).

T2, however, was definitely the first game to use ball saver in the context that we know it today (a short ball time coddling feature).

Funhouse was the first "valid playfield" era game where you need 3 separate switches before the ball could drain (fought against a trough miskick ending a ball due to a flaky slingshot scoring points). Even with the valid playfield concept, people can have certain switches force valid playfield if desired/necessary.

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from pinball_keefer:

Almost every game that is in the solid state era or later has a 0-point ball save. The rationale is that the game figures the kick to plunger failed. Lots of (though certainly not all) EMs have this same behavior.


Try it on any SS; Pokerino, TimeWarp, Scorpion..... As long as nothing at all scores before the ball drains, you get another ball in the shooter lane.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
$ 47.00
$ 279.95
Lighting - Led
Pin Stadium Pinball LEDs
$ 29.99
Lighting - Interactive
Lee's Parts

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside