(Topic ID: 290784)

Will there ever be anything better than the flipper?

By frenchmarky

6 months ago


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  • 34 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by frenchmarky
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 6 months ago

I was just wondering... pinball was around for decades before Gottlieb thought up the flipper. Do you think another device could ever come about that could top it? Hard to imagine such a thing but so was the flipper. Then again the flipper's been around for over 70 years. But it's still just a simple bat moved by a solenoid. Technology and mechanics have come a long way since then. Answer's probably no but I still wonder about it.

#2 6 months ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

I was just wondering... pinball was around for decades before Gottlieb thought up the flipper. Do you think another device could ever come about that could top it? Hard to imagine such a thing but so was the flipper. Then again the flipper's been around for over 70 years. But it's still just a simple bat moved by a solenoid. Technology and mechanics have come a long way since then. Answer's probably no but I still wonder about it.

Williams tried banana flippers.

#3 6 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Williams tried banana flippers.

Yeah, but just different shaped flippers. And definitely not better IMO.

#4 6 months ago

Interesting question! I thought about this the other day after playing someone’s 1952 set shot basketball (let me know if you have one ) and wondered if the pulley could be implemented with modern technology. Way to think outside of the B O X

#5 6 months ago

Doubtful. Its an iconic change, much like the open hoop from the peach basket...its what makes pinball, pinball.

#6 6 months ago

It's cool to think about because they have been ever present for so long, many forget that it was once an added feature to something that already existed.

#7 6 months ago

At the prices pinball is going games might have to come with a butler that plays the game for you, does that count?

#8 6 months ago

Nope.

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#9 6 months ago

No.

There’s no possible “innovation” left in pinball. Just more of the same.

Deal with it folks!

#10 6 months ago

How bout still a flipper, but controlled differently than with just a button that either turns it on or off? Like some kind of hand grip (or a button) with precise pressure sensors, and the flipper is powered by a powerful stepping motor or something. Where the flippers would be more like one of your own fingers with a lot of control other than just timing of the on and off. Anybody ever fooled around with something like that?

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

How bout still a flipper, but controlled differently than with just a button that either turns it on or off? Like some kind of hand grip (or a button) with precise pressure sensors, and the flipper is powered by a powerful stepping motor or something. Where the flippers would be more like one of your own fingers with a lot of control other than just timing of the on and off. Anybody ever fooled around with something like that?

No.

But python was experimenting with a pinball machine you wore like a hat so the ball was at eye level (True story!)

#12 6 months ago

Now tonight I'll have a goofy dream about a pinball machine where the flippers are manipulated by those scientist dudes in the 50s who moved radioactive materials around with remote control mechanical arms while standing behind a wall of lead.

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#13 6 months ago

a pinball controlled by theremin would be pretty sick.

#14 6 months ago

We need one of the companies working on a set up like the electro magnet aircraft launch system like used on aircraft carriers.

When the ball is coming to drain, your flipper buttons activate speed and direction. No flippers at the bottom of the playfield. Just a large gap.

LTG : )

#15 6 months ago

The first thing that jumps to mind is an entire pinball machine like the mini-playfield on Twilight Zone. I don't know how hard it would be to make the magnets strong enough. The pinball machine could be smaller, maybe a bit smaller than a cocktail pin.
And of course, there's the paddle from the mini-playfield of The Shadow.
Now I'm envisioning a mechanical amusement where instead of a big paddle you move back and forth, there's a row of piano key-like paddles with solenoids that you can can use to bounce the ball upward. Maybe controlled by a piano keyboard.

There's also Screwball Scramble and Labyrinth. I would consider those to be pinball-adjacent. So tilting something to move the ball could be fun. Of course, there's Rat Race.
Pitch and bats are cool, there could certainly be more variations on that concept. I think I saw one that had a golf club instead of a baseball bat.

#16 6 months ago
Quoted from oldbaby:

The first thing that jumps to mind is an entire pinball machine like the mini-playfield on Twilight Zone. I don't know how hard it would be to make the magnets strong enough. The pinball machine could be smaller, maybe a bit smaller than a cocktail pin.
And of course, there's the paddle from the mini-playfield of The Shadow.
Now I'm envisioning a mechanical amusement where instead of a big paddle you move back and forth, there's a row of piano key-like paddles with solenoids that you can can use to bounce the ball upward. Maybe controlled by a piano keyboard.
There's also Screwball Scramble and Labyrinth. I would consider those to be pinball-adjacent. So tilting something to move the ball could be fun. Of course, there's Rat Race.
Pitch and bats are cool, there could certainly be more variations on that concept. I think I saw one that had a golf club instead of a baseball bat.

These ideas would all instantly put whatever company tried them out of business. I'd love to see someone homebrew some of these crazy ideas though.

It's fun to daydream this stuff but I just don't think it's practical. Williams did some pretty crazy shit in the first half of the 50s (games with ramps, only one flipper, other nuts stuff) and I think they realized pretty quickly just to make the same kind of games as everybody else.

#17 6 months ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

Do you think another device could ever come about that could top it?

Not a device but a re-design Williams Hayburners II did it and it's still the standard.

#18 6 months ago

I would just like to see someone come up with a direct drive rotary solenoid flipper so that all the parts that usually fail or jam up are eliminated

#19 6 months ago
Quoted from the9gman:

I would just like to see someone come up with a direct drive rotary solenoid flipper so that all the parts that usually fail or jam up are eliminated

Nice thought but pinball manufacturers build in obsolescence for wear parts. No way they're going to spend more to make something last longer.

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

No.
There’s no possible “innovation” left in pinball. Just more of the same.
Deal with it folks!

https://medium.com/swlh/everything-that-can-be-invented-has-been-invented-49c4376f548b

#21 6 months ago
Quoted from frenchmarky:

Where the flippers would be more like one of your own fingers with a lot of control other than just timing of the on and off. Anybody ever fooled around with something like that?

If you look at the pitch-and-bat baseball listings in the Mr. Pinball Price Guide, you will see that some games have a code for "bat direct mechanical linkage" that sounds similar.
.................David Marston

#22 6 months ago

Force-sensitive flippers give extra omph when you whack the hell out of them.

#23 6 months ago
Quoted from dmarston:

If you look at the pitch-and-bat baseball listings in the Mr. Pinball Price Guide, you will see that some games have a code for "bat direct mechanical linkage" that sounds similar....David Marston

Yes I was thinking of the simple toy pinball games where the flippers are directly linked to the button. Not that simple and crude but something a lot more elaborate and electrically powered of course.

#24 6 months ago

When you try thinking of other ideas it really sinks in how brilliant the flipper is. Sort of like when somebody thought up the wheel.

#25 6 months ago

Deeproot are working on replacing the flippers with an innovative new mechanism. Just you wait and see.

#26 6 months ago

I’m going give a +1 for a flipperless pinball machine with magnets. Get on it, Elon!

#27 6 months ago

how about using magnets to levitate the ball into the air and then move it around the playfield hitting stuff mid air

#28 6 months ago

IMO the flipper isn’t going to change but I think how they perform will change. I can see a future where the buttons have a more haptic function. Instead of an off or on feature, the machine will recognize how hard you hit the button and respond accordingly.

#29 6 months ago

This thread would be innovative if a poll was added...

#30 6 months ago

Thought this was a troll thread that was going to be nothing but links to 20k plus POTC LEs!

#31 6 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

Force-sensitive flippers give extra omph when you whack the hell out of them.

I was thinking about this too. Maybe something along of the lines of a flipper power meter where hitting certain shots will boost your flipper power meter and as the meter drains, the flippers become weaker.

#32 6 months ago

It would be cool to have flippers that get shorter the more you flip, and longer the less you flip. It would be a one-off game for sure, but a great tool for practicing dead flip (bounce pass) skills.

#33 6 months ago

I don't think it's impossible... but it would probably have to be an innovation that was tried as an addition first... sort of like Twilight Zone and the magnet flippers on the upper playfield. Substitutes haves been attempted before but it's been a long time...

Gottlieb tried the below arrangement with 'Guys Dolls' in 1953. Exhibit tried a flipper that bunted the ball with 'Short Stop' in 1948. Not to mention that the flipper is actually a variation of the bat on a 'Pitch and Bat'. Gottlieb did not patent the flipper because they thought it would be denied due to the similarity of the bat on pitch and bats.

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#34 6 months ago

I had a TZ with that mini-pf magnet for a while and it's cool but a bit gimmicky. Replacing flippers with under-pf magnets, yeah I guess with enough power it could work. But it would be akin to having pictures of flippers where real flippers would normally be, an invisible 'device'. You can't precisely judge the exact position of the ball vs. the device. I was thinking more of a different physical device or a modified flipper where you still see and have the precise ball contact with what you're hitting it with.

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