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

Why can't we let go of our old tech?
BBC News, January 27th

"Staff have to play for 15 minutes every day. If you don't want to play pinball, don't work for a pinball company," said Mr Stern. "I'm 69 - I'm old and slow. I represent the player in the pub who's had a bucket-and-a-half of beer." With the machines...Read more

World record for pinball set at Banning's Arcade Expo
The Record Gazette, January 23rd

Hundreds of pinball and arcade games — vintage and contemporary games from the likes of arcade classics such as “Pac-Man”, “Space Invaders” and “Gauntlet,” to pinball favorites like “Playboy,” “Back to the Future” and “Attack From Mars” — were hands...Read more

'American Pickers', Rick Keating opens trading post
The News-Press, January 21st

Along the way, he bought other things — a signal light from the Alva bridge, original artwork by Florida Highwaymen, a Playboy pinball machine. ... He also hosted several free shows featuring his antique fishing tackle, offering appraisals and advice...Read more

American Pinball Exhibition Bound for Phaeno Museum of Wolfsburg
Massachusetts Newswire, January 21st

This will mark the first time a major exhibition of pinball art and exhibits has made the journey to Europe. The series of interactive exhibits will complement murals and vintage pinball machines from PPM's collection. In accordance with the PPM...Read more

Pinball wizards set world record
Press-Enterprise, January 17th

Rhett Henderson and Jessica Hong, right, who drove from Oakland, take a "selfie" before the start of the chance to be part of a worlds record pinball play on Saturday, Jan.17, 2015. Arcade Expo in Banning, which brought hundreds of vintage pinball...Read more

Albuquerque couple renovates old pinball machines from their home
KOB.com, January 15th

A few years back, Kristin Browning-Mezel's husband was dissatisfied with the donut shop in his "Getaway" pinball machine, so he tried to remake it himself. The result looked less than professional. "He was dissatisfied with the materials he could find...Read more

Zanzabar to get rare new pinball machine
The Courier-Journal, January 9th

The arcade bar is known for its large collection of vintage and new pinball machines, which customers are invited to play. Antz Wettig, co-owner of Zanzabar says, "This is the first new pinball machine to hit the Louisville area in quite a while. The...Read more

Iowa City's new Forbidden Planet offers video games, pizza, pinball
The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines, January 5th

Tobacco Bowl closed at the end of May and they spent the next five months building out the space, installing a kitchen, and buying vintage video games and pinball machines. Their quest for arcade games took the men to places like St. Louis and Chicago ...Read more