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

Clippers left wondering what might've been after Spurs steal Game 2 in OT
SI.com, April 23rd

LOS ANGELES—This was a cruel game of pinball played on a rigged machine, a footrace with banana peels suddenly appearing in one lane, Christmas anticipation spoiled by a burned turkey and bad company. A win squandered; an opportunity lost...Read more

Arcade Bars Bring Dozens Of Vintage Games To Kansas City
KCUR, April 22nd

At the opening night of the Up-Down, the newest arcade bar in Kansas City's Crossroads district, Brian Yates pumped token after token into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine. For him, playing the game again with a beer in hand wasn't exactly what...Read more

Big crowds check out Record Store Day
Pensacola News Journal, April 18th

in the rear of Revolver next to the working 1975 Space Odyssey pinball machine. "My Mom got me into ... At the counter, old guys debated the best Sonic Youth album — we threw out three or four albums, but not "Daydream Nation." Yours truly got a...Read more

ZapCon 2015: A Field Guide to This Weekend's Event in Mesa
Phoenix New Times (blog), April 15th

ZapCon, the two-day classic arcade and pinball convention, takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, and offers the chance take a trip to yesteryear and get your hands on more than 200 different quarter-munchers of a vintage nature, most of...Read more

ZapCon taps into vintage arcade-game revival, 4/18-19
azcentral.com, April 14th

Cleveland says most people who come to the event are fans of either the arcade or the pinball games. Teenagers and 20-somethings are a rarity in both camps, he says. "I think it's primarily people our age who grew up with it and now have the money to...Read more

superelectric coming to Gordon Square with more opportunities for pinball ...
freshwatercleveland, April 14th

Food, potables, seating and between 20 and 25 machines will all be in the mix, as will a couple of vintage jukeboxes that play 45s. The new space needs electrical and plumbing work, which they hope to start as early as this week with the help of a...Read more

Milwaukee Record's favorite moments from the 2015 Midwest Gaming Classic
Milwaukee Record, April 13th

A giant tent that stretches across one of the hotel's parking lots serves as ground zero for hundreds of vendors selling everything from old Atari, NES, Genesis, and SNES games to vintage toys and computer gear. ... After eating another pre-made Jersey...Read more

Oakland U. will be a pinball paradise this weekend
Detroit Free Press, April 9th

As a self-proclaimed arcade rat in the 1980s, John Kosmal often rode his bike up to 20 miles one way just to play a particular pinball machine. Time hasn't altered the 43-year-old Rochester Hills man's passion for flippers and targets. This week, he's...Read more