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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Internet Pinball Database

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Elliot Avedon Games Museum

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Pong Story

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Recent News: Pinball Machines

Source: Google News

Estate Sale Roundup: April 18-20: Slow Weekends Often Yield the Best Steals
Austin Chronicle, April 18th

In no particular order, you'll find a Space Shuttle pinball machine; sports memorabilia, including a Super Bowl Atlanta 2000 jacket; Dallas Cowboys artifacts; antique perfume flacons; high-quality decorative porcelain; Brunswick slate-top pool table...Read more

A LEGO Robot That Plays House Music
LessThan3 (blog), April 17th

Allmont achieves sonic variation by using an analog random number generator built with LEGO basketballs (seen above) dropped through a peg system, sort of like a very old pinball machine, prompting Play House to "compose" one of multiple possible ...Read more

Pinball arcade offers classic good time
Ottawa Sun, April 16th

In what could be called a gamers' version of turning back the clock, Granger, 40, and his partners Mark McHale, 34, and Kevin Berger, 39, are about to open a new fully licensed pleasuredome called The House of Targ with 18 vintage pinball games and a...Read more

Tilted by Bay City zoning law, new pinball parlor seeks special use permit ...
The Flint Journal, April 15th

Tri-City Pinball, 1102 Garfield Ave., opened Jan. 25, near Magic Carpet Flooring Center and Bam's Beauty Supply. The business operators buy new and old pinball machines, restore them to working condition, set them up in their showroom and charge ...Read more

1950s-era band box lures crowds to Pataskala restaurant
The Newark Advocate, April 14th

Frank specializes in restoring vintage items, including band boxes, Coca-Cola vending machines and pinball games. “He took the 1950s technology and updated it to today, with micro switches,” Butcher said. It took Frank close to a year to restore the...Read more

Meet Randy, the Man Who Hoards Mannequins That Look Like Randy
Jezebel, April 14th

Bonding with the arcades turned into an obsession; Randy now has thousands of vintage pinball machines and arcade games; he calls them his "old friends." But Randy also has a place called "Randyland," a 21,000 square-foot space full of mannequins that ...Read more

Colorado pinball expo draws bumper-to-bumper crowd
The Denver Post, April 12th

Owen Spooner, 12, has his concentration set on his machines as he tries to get a high score on a pinball game Saturday at the 11th annual Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown and Gameroom Expo in the Denver Tech Center. (Ryan Parker, The Denver Post...Read more

Mac DeMarco on gameplay, stance, and all the other reasons he loves pinball
A.V. Club Austin, April 8th

The whole idea of a pinball machine is there's a steel ball rolling around hitting stuff really hard, so it's kind of built to break, but they also make it built to fix up. ... There's one company that has a lot of the old programmers and designers...Read more