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”)

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]

Electronic Plastic

Electronic Plastic

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    

Eight Ball Deluxe Pinball Playfield - New Nos/repro - Tough To Find Playfield! 1959 Gottlieb Universe Woodrail Pinball Machine *with Backglass Animation*Rare "revenge From Mars" 3d Arcade Pinball Machine Coin Op Game Excellent LookBallywilliams Pinball Wpc89 Driver Board A-12697-3 No Fear, Addams Family, MoreLarge 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Vintage LookStar Wars Episode One Pinball 20001977 Stern Pinball Machine 4 Player Em Arcade Game Only 594 Made Car SilverballCheckpoint Turbo Boost Pinball MachineNew Atari Video Game Arcade Real Glass Neon Light Game Room Beer Lager Bar Sign Monopoly Pinball Machine Coin Op Arcade Game Shipping Avail *look* Home Use OnlyBally Playboy Pinball Machine Beautiful Clear Coated Playfiled Exc Backglass&cabSpace Shuttle Pinball By Williams - Warehouse FindNew Gottlieb Pinball Machine Real Glass Neon Light Beer Bar Pub SignFilm Wheels Rustic Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Popcorn Stand MediaNew Williams Pinball Real Glass Neon Light Beer Bar Pub SignNew Bally Pinball Arcade Real Glass Neon Light Game Room Beer Lager Bar Sign 1978 Bally Mata Hari Pinball Playfield Nice Shape !!!!Large 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookHallmark Santa Pinball Wonder Magic Ornament 1996 - Lights, Sound & MovementTwilight Zone Pinball Plastic Set Brand NewWilliams, Data East Pinball Display Board Panel, Used System 11 Games Terminator 2: Judgement Day (pinball)Pinball MachineWilliams Super Star Pinball Machine (1972) - Very Good Operating Condition1980 Bally Silverball Pinball Playfield !!!!Embossed Arcade Arrow Sign Carnival Video Games Theater Exit Highway Mobil GamesLarge 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookLot Of 3 Pokemon Gameboy Games, Nintendo, Special Pikachu & PinballFender Guitar Sign Electric Stratocaster Case Sunburst Strings 3-d Metal MobilLarge 3 Foot Lighted Arrow Metal Sign Carnival Fair Exit Mobil Led Vintage LookPinball Machine Chicago Coin Top Ten 19751981 Williams Pharaoh Pinball Playfield Nice Shape !!!!Huge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led My Way Or The Highway Tin Metal Sign Funny Humorous Man Cave Bar Room DrivingBally Evel Knievel Pinball Mpu Board Ballys Fireball Pinball Machine - Working Just FineBally Playboy Pinball Mpu BoardVintage Table Top Pinball Game Slugger Poosh-m-upBally As-2518-32 P-2948-318 Sound Board As-2888-1 Arcade Game Sign Vintage Look Video Pinball Awesome Coin Amusement Bally Nin Earthshaker Pinball Main Ramp. NewBally Mr Mrs Pacman Pinball Mpu Pcb And Bridge Rectifier Board As-2518-54 Ms 35Gottlieb Mars- God Of War Pinball Machine Plastics, Tube Ramp W/ LedsHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led 1976 Gottlieb Volley Pinball Playfield Nice Shape !!!!Data East Pinball Power Supply Version 3. Guns N Roses Medium Dmd Games4-bally Pinball Mpu Boards - PartsPinball Lifting, Moving SkatesWilliams Indiana Jones Pinball Dot Matrix Controller Assembly For PartsData East Pinball Power Supply, Version 2, Analog Display Games, Phantom1956 Original Photo Confiscated Coin-op Pin-ball Machines Mafia Mob BustGottlieb 1963 Sweethearts Pinball MachineFramed 1947 Bally Nudgy Pinball Back Glass ~ Great ConditionHuge Exit Way Out Metal Sign Home Theater Cinema System Signal Street Mobil Led Large Vintage Style Metal 3d Entrance Welcome Sign Open Business Store Replica1968 Williams "doozie" Pinball Machine-classic Em Style-zipper Flippers1979 Gottlieb Close Encounters Machine W/pascil Janin 4-1 BoardPinball Machine Gold Legs 90s Pinball Machine--free ShippingVintage 1931 Junior Whiffle Board Game Automatic Industries PinballBally Kiss Pinball Manual

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

Liberty Games introduces Internet Meme Themed Pinball
Coolest Gadgets, December 17th

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 ..., 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

Why Pinball Machines Make the Perfect Holiday Gift for the Person Who Has It All
Forbes, December 7th

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

Why Oakland Took 80 Years to Legalize Pinball Machines
Slate Magazine (blog), October 8th

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