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.


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Recent News: Pinball Machines

Source: Google News

Was this the car stay-at-home dad John Lennon drove?
Toronto Star, December 25th

It's a car museum for sure, but it also has a room with pinball machines and another with old arcade games like the Drinking Bear and the Love Best, which has a slogan saying “How to be happy though married.” Another room has odd cars mixed in with...Read more

2014 Year in Review: Washington's best, worst and most memorable moments
Washington Post, December 24th

There are bars with vintage board games, bars with Nintendo Wii and bars with three-foot-tall Connect Four games. Until this year, though, Washington didn't have a single bar with more than one pinball machine. When Lyman's Tavern arrived in 16th...Read more

A pinball-machine collector, East Palo Alto's new police chief has an open ...
Peninsula Press, December 19th

Neighborhood kids can often be found in his garage playing one of his vintage pinball machines — he has five from the 1970s. Some nights, he gets together with his neighbors to show movies on an outdoor screen in his driveway. On one recent evening he ...Read more

The Drug-Crazed Majesty of Gram Parsons
LA Magazine, December 17th

In February 1968, 21-year-old Gram Parsons, a songwriter and trust fund baby from Winter Haven, Florida, met Chris Hillman, a soft-spoken guitarist and mandolinist from San Diego, while standing in a line in Beverly Hills bank. .... A pinball machine...Read more

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Liberty Games is an old hand at creating hundreds of customized games in the years gone by, where this latest creation of theirs would make use of an old pinball machine, but they have given it a new lease of life along the way. Adding onto it is a...Read more

NHL to create free fan festival outside Nationals Park in celebration of 2015 ...
NHL.com, December 16th

Ticketmaster: Hockey players of all skill levels can try their luck at shooting pucks into an old washing machine and dryer - just like the pros - at the Ticketmaster Target Practice Challenge. • AMP: Get energized for the NHL Winter Classic with a...Read more

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The hardest people to buy presents for are the folks who have everything they want, or can buy pretty much anything they want. For them you have to be smarter and choose that special and creative gift they ... Pinball machines combine nostalgia and fun...Read more

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Roman Mars' podcast 99% Invisible covers design questions large and small, from his fascination with rebar to the history of slot machines to the great Los Angeles Red Car conspiracy. Here at The Eye, we cross-post new episodes and host excerpts from...Read more