Throughout much of the 20th century, the names Bally, Gottlieb, and Williams have been pinball deities to pinball wizards worldwide. These were the big three companies, whose pinball machines were the precursors of today’s video games.

Gottlieb was founded in Chicago in 1927. One of its first tabletop pinball machines from 1931 was called Baffle Ball, which sold for $17.50 and gave players a half-dozen-or-so chances (depending on how the game was set) to get a ball into a hole for just a penny. A Williams game from 1952 called Horsefeathers allowed two players to play side-by-side, as balls bouncing on bumpers advanced mechanical horses on the game’s backbox. As for Bally, its Caperville game from 1966 featured stylized spies in an underwater world of angular heroes and heroines.

In the 1970s, the electromechanical pinball machines of the 1950s and 1960s were replaced by solid-state machines, which could compute scores almost instantaneously. They also added a cacophony of sound effects to the machines repertoire of bells and whistles. Video games in the 1980s almost wiped out pinball games entirely, but a series of lucrative licensing deals with movie producers in the 1990s made pinball popular again. In 1991, for example, Bally’s Midway division manufactured a machine based on the film "The Addams Family." It remains the best-selling pinball machine of all time, with more than 20,000 units sold.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

PinballHQ.com

PinballHQ.com

An enormous database focusing on pinball machines and other arcade games from the 1930s and on, from a collector wh… [read review or visit site]

Internet Pinball Database

Internet Pinball Database

For an in-depth look at thousands of different pinball machines, head over to the Internet Pinball Database, where … [read review or visit site]

Museum of Talking Boards

Museum of Talking Boards

Prepare to enter the strange world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board game, which captured imaginations en masse… [read review or visit site]

International Arcade Museum

International Arcade Museum

This site boasts more than 13,000 pages of educational content on arcade and coin-op collecting, including innumera… [read review or visit site]

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

This in-depth University of Waterloo virtual exhibit showcases vintage games in a variety of categories, from class… [read review or visit site]

Handhelden.com

Handhelden.com

From Tomy to Coleco to Mattel and Nintendo, check out this collection of over 660 handheld and tabletop videogames … [read review or visit site]

Pong Story

Pong Story

David Winter's tribute to early video games, and to Ralph H. Baer, 'inventor of the video game.' Offers a detailed … [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique 1934 Rockola World Series Baseball Coin Operated Pinball Machine NrBally Scared Stiff Pinball Machine Elvira In Ma But Will Ship! Many Upgrades!Baywatch Pinball Machine - No Reserve - Needs WorkCactus Canyon Pinball MachineBally Eight Ball Pinball MachineBally Eight Ball Deluxe Pin Ball MachineRevenge From Mars Pinball Machine With Autographed George Gomez And Greg FreresNos Bally Eight Ball Pinball PlayfieldAddams Family Pinball MachineLighted Arrow Metal Sign Red Large Man Cave Theater Carnival Exit Sign Nostalgic1992 Bally The Addams Family Pinball MachineTwilight Zone PinballWho Dunnit PinballBally Nitro Ground Shaker Pinball Machine-drag Racing -classic Arcade GameGottlieb-bowling Queen-1964 Pinball Machine -arcade GameVintage Gottlieb Blue Note Pinball MachinePokemon Lot Red Blue Gold Silver Crystal Pinball Complete, Gameboy Color & GuideSky Jump Pinball Machine~ Gottlieb Wedgehead-works Great Williams Cpu Wpc Pinball Dracula BoardScorpion Pinball MachineGottlieb Southern Belle Pinball MachineGottlieb Flying Carpet -1972 Pinball Machine-arcade GameDodge City PinballWilliams Pinch Hitter Deluxe Baseball Pinball Machine1968 Chicago Coin All Stars Baseball Pinball MachineWilliams Pinbot Center Face Plastic, NewTwin Cities By Williams - 1973 Puck BowlerLarge 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookNew Atari Video Game Arcade Real Glass Neon Light Game Room Beer Lager Bar Sign Williams Firepower Used Display Boards Set No ReserveWilliams Firepower Used Cpu Board No ReserveElvis Pinball Machine By SternJudge Dredd Pinball PlasticsStrikemaster Shuffle Alley Bowling Machine By Williams Non PinballPinball Machine LiftLarge 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookWilliams Firepower Used Speech And Sound Boards No ReserveHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Simpsons Pinball Party Pinball MachineBally Playboy Quality Pinball Machine Nice With Led LightsWilliams High Speed Pinball Machine Playfield.Pokemon Party Mini Handheld Game Console New Nintendo With Pinball Diglett MintExit Way Out Metal Sign Garage Man Cave Theater Movie Cinema Ford Chevy Huge RedLtd Toy Stamp & 1950's Jet Fire Battery Op Table Top Pinball Working In Box BoxIce Show Gottlieb Pinball Machine **1966, Add-a-ball Wedgehead** Only 400 Made**Bally Space Invaders Pinball Machine Playfield.Indiana Jones Pinball Led Ark ModFish Tales Pinball Machine Boat ModOk Used Cars Authorized Dealer Chevrolet Lighted Sign Led Chevy Gm VintageRare Granny & The Gators Arcade / Pinball Machine Williams-magic City-1967 Pinball Machine-arcade Game-projectGottlieb Count Down Pinball Playfield Plastic Set + Extras!Chicago Coins Criss Cross Hockey Pinball Game RareGottlieb Paul Bunyan 1968 Pinball Machine (sold "as Is" Complete Not Working)Raven PinballPinball Machine Dmd Dot Matrix Display 128 X 32, Bally. Williams, SternNos Cherry 14 Digit Pinball Display For Bally 6803 Pinball GameTotally Restored Bally 1979 Kiss Pinball Machine 100% WorkingCaptain Fantastic Pinball Machine - By Bally 1990 Dr Dude And His Excellent Ray Pinball Machine Nice Condition

Recent News: Pinball Machines

Source: Google News

Michigan's creative ferment is bubbling up at Ferndale's M-Brew
Detroit Metro Times, August 26th

The 10 pinball machines include an old Bally KISS machine, Johnny Mnemonic, Star Trek, and Attack from Mars. There are 11 video games, including classics such as Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Q*bert, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Tron, Asteroids, and Centipede, ...Read more

Jackson County sign company celebrates 30 years of business
Charleston Daily Mail, August 21st

He founded the “Cottageville Press,” a monthly newspaper printed on a mimeograph machine, when he was 9 years old. McComas ... He recently made a new back glass illustration for a client's pinball machine using digital pictures of the original. McComas ...Read more

Pinball ban flipped: Bizarre 80-year-old rule is overturned in Oakland with ...
Daily Mail, August 21st

A bizarre 80-year-old ban on playing pinball machines in Oakland, California, has finally been lifted and a month-long tournament is being run to celebrate. The game was outlawed across the U.S in the 1930s because it was considered gambling. Officials ...Read more

Unkle Munkey's Coin Club: Going full tilt in Edwardsville
Belleville News Democrat, August 17th

Ryan, 41, of Edwardsville, wanted to lure adults with nostalgic playtime, but kids who have never seen a pinball machine like it, too. "Ah, I almost had it! ... A sideline is that Unkle Munkey is also refurbishing vintage machines. "We're repairing...Read more

Pinball wizards: Beaver Brewing Co.'s tournament is all about the people
Timesonline.com, August 12th

But whatever it was, the players agreed on one thing: It was a lot of fun. Accompanied by the clack of pinball flippers and digital chirr of vintage sound effects, contestants and bystanders talked between games, laughing as they sipped beers brewed by...Read more

Meadows Trade -N-Post offers variety of goods
Yadkin Ripple, August 11th

An old pinball machine and saddles were a few of the items found at Meadows Trade-N-Post recently. ×. Photo. An old pinball machine and saddles were a few of the items found at Meadows Trade. Purchase Photos. An old pinball machine and saddles were ...Read more

Artist works on pinball mecca
South Whidbey Record, August 9th

As a kid growing up in Maryland, Leonard enjoyed the interactivity, artistry and plain old-fashioned fun of the pinball machine. The affinity with the fast-paced, all-up-to-chance game was rekindled when Leonard, who recently began doing more work with ...Read more

Power Up Retro Gaming Convention set for Saturday at Big Sandy
Huntington Herald Dispatch, July 30th

Admission is $5 to get into Power Up that will feature two tournaments (”Street Fighter 2” and “Mario Double Dash”), door prizes, vintage arcade games and pinball, several retro video game vendors from around the region, and, of course, lots of playing...Read more