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    

Batman Pinball By Data EastWilliams Gusher (1958) - Collectable Pinball No Reserve! 1 Penny Start Price!Vintage 1 Cent Coast Baseball Pinball Gumball Vending Machine GameWilliams Funhouse Pinball Machine Nice ConditionVendo 23 Coca Cola Machine Original Ca 1950's Vintage Soda Nice WorkingWilliams Teacher's Pet (1965) Desirable Pinball No Reserve! 1 Penny Start Price!Large 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookBeautiful 1979 Williams Gorgar Pinball Machine! Look! Wow!!Gottlieb Royal Flush Pinball Machine Super Dooper Nice!!!!!!!Huge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Large 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookTwilight Zone PinballFord Sign Lighted Light Up Led 36" Vintage Styling Jubilee V8 Truck Man Cave HotAddams Family Pinball MachineWilliams 1979 Flash Pinball Machine1973 Pro Football Pinball By D. Gottlieb & CompanyTerminator 2 Pinball Machine By WilliamsOk Used Cars Authorized Dealer Chevrolet Lighted Sign Led Chevy Gm VintageNos Bally Playboy Pinball Playfield In Original Crate From 1979 Beautiful!!Sinbad Pinball MachineData East Jurassic Park Pinball Topper - Original - Used - Looks GoodPinball Machines For SaleWilliams Jackpot PinballElvira And The Party Monsters Pinball Promo Plastic The Rare One!1986 Williams Pinbot Pinball. All Original!Dr. Dude Big Shot Figure Very Rare Pinball Machine PartFord Sign Lighted Light Up Led 36" Vintage Styling Jubilee V8 Truck Man Cave HotHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Embossed Arcade Arrow Sign Carnival Video Games Theater Exit Highway Mobil GamesStern Austin Powers Pinball Machine Williams Terminator 2 T2 Pinball MachineGottlieb Silver Slugger PinballElvira And The Party Monsters Pinball Boogie Men 5 Pieces! Original NosFord Lighted Oval Sign Led Light Up Vintage Neon Looking Wall Art Nascar Pinball MachineHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Nintendo Game & Watch Game Cache. Donky Kong Jr, 1, 2 & Pinball Vintage NintendoFord Sign Lighted Light Up Led 36" Vintage Styling Jubilee V8 Truck Man Cave HotWilliams Comet Pinball Machine Nice Playfield1980 Gottlieb "amazing Spiderman" Pinball Machine PlasticsFord Lighted Oval Sign Led Light Up Vintage Neon Looking Wall Art Bally Elvira And The Party Monsters (eatpm) Pinball New Ramp SetData East Medium Size Dmd Display. Dale / Vishay Dot Matrix Display PinballStern Avengers Pro Pinball Machine-- Low PlaysStar Trek Pinball Machine Paragon Pinball Machine - Vintage Original - Bally Wide Body - Amazing Shape!Rare Williams Willy At The Bat Wall Pinball Pachinko Game Pigskin Poker & SoccerKicker Catcher Penny Coin Slide Trade Stimulator Arcade Pinball Abt CompanyKiss Pinball - Giant Scale Model - Super Deluxe, 3d Playfield 1/6 12" ScalePinball Nintendo Vs Chip Set No ReserveTron Pro Pinball MachineRare Pinbot Pinball Machine Main Target Assembly - No Reserve!Vintage Pinball Machines 2 Bally Hang Glider / Willams Space Mission 1970-80 Gottlieb Panthera Pinball MachineReal Nice Collectible Bally Granny And The Gators Pinball GameSega/stern Harley Davidson Pinball Machine Completely Reconditioned Led LightingSafe Cracker Pinball Side PanelsNintendo Virtual Boy System 4 Games Wario Land Mario Tennis Golf Pinball W/ BoxWilliams Black Knight And Others System 739 Driver BoardNamco System 22 Rave Racer Non Jamma Pcb

Recent News: Pinball Machines

Source: Google News

Pinball Wizards: Can Lyman's Tavern Resurrect Pinball Culture In DC?
DCist.com, July 28th

Since the National Pinball Museum—which featured hundreds of vintage, modern, and collectible machines—decamped from its Georgetown location to new digs in Baltimore in 2011, it's left a gaping, pinball-sized hole in the heart of local enthusiasts...Read more

Florida State where Derrick Brooks grew from kid to young man
Tampabay.com, July 28th

As Bowden sat down in the living room with Brooks and his mother, Geraldine, Brooks' 6-year-old sister, Yvonne, crawled up from the floor onto the coach's lap. Soon, she fell ... "He hit the tailback so hard it was like a pinball machine," he said. "He...Read more

Berkshires After Dark: Barcade is retro fun for adults
Berkshire Eagle, July 23rd

Driving South on Main Street and then turning left on Bridge Street, where the old Searles School building hulks and sunbakes, I nearly hit the Berkshire Co-op Market before realizing I'd driven too far. The Gypsy Joynt Jive had been on the right, the...Read more

Pinball Machine Desk: Insert Coin to Work
Technabob (blog), July 21st

Tim turns all kinds of old things into furniture. For this project, he used a vintage Charlie's Angels pinball machine. He removed the electrical components and cut a hole in one side. Then he added a drawer, a cabinet, and new sheet metal flashing. Of...Read more

Putting guilt to the side and moving forward
Alton Telegraph, July 19th

The thoughts that flowed through my mind during this traumatic time were uncanny. It was like a rush of bits and pieces of unfinished thoughts, pinging around like the ball in an old pinball machine, too fast and too many for my taxed brain to comprehend...Read more

A Landmark Game
FWWeekly, July 16th

Video game cabinets are pricy enough to maintain, and if you want to put an old pinball machine in your new bar, I hope you know a good repairman, because those parts are expensive, and all those little rubber bands are a huge pain in the ass to replace...Read more

Hipster Throwback Bars Can't Help My Quarter-Life Crisis
Munchies_ Food by VICE, July 8th

I went back inside to order another drink then tried to play the vintage pinball machine which, sadly, was not actually playable. It was only a decoration, as were the vintage framed beer cans, and the vintage record player. That itself became...Read more

Guns, pipe bomb, crossbow, found inside pinball machine at Conder home
ABC Online, July 6th

With the help of a sniffer dog, the items were found wrapped in blankets and plastic bags and hidden inside the vintage, 1970s-era machine. ACT Policing's Tuggeranong and Woden criminal investigations teams executed a search warrant at the home in ...Read more