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

Exclusive: Sneak a Peek Inside the “Witch's House” of Beverly Hills
LA Magazine (blog), October 30th

and photographer Stephen Russo, my Vintage Los Angeles colleague, to tour the home while he prepared to welcome more than 4,000 trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Between a few rounds of pinball on Michael's vintage Captain Fantastic pinball machine ...Read more

Christie's auction house to sell high-value items for set price online
Daily Mail, October 30th

A £13,000 coffee maker, a £10,400 pinball machine and a £6,500 set of stones from Papua New Guinea are just three of the high-value items Christie's is putting up for sale in time for Christmas. But this year the London auction house will break with...Read more

18 hours in Asbury Park: A guided tour of the Jersey Shore's revitalized hub
The Star-Ledger, October 30th

Within a few steps on the boardwalk, families can play 70-year-old pinball machines, miniature golf and grab a bite to eat. Some liken the rise of Asbury Park's waterfront to that of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, which has seen a similar...Read more

Elkhart business owner repairs and restores pinball machines
Fox 28, October 28th

"Every ball is different. It doesn't matter how good you are, how lousy you are, you can have a good ball, you can have a bad ball." In addition to his collection of pinball machines, Freel also has a vintage hockey game and a few pitch and bat...Read more

Pinball machine tops auction
Wanganui Chronicle, October 26th

A pinball machine attracted the highest number of bids at a special vintage radio auction at Hayward's Auctions in Wanganui yesterday. Auctioneer Brian Hayward said 80 per cent of the vintage audio gear was sold and most of the items went to Wanganui ...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

Why the City of Oakland Finally Legalized Pinball Machines
Gizmodo India, October 7th

The art on the back glass became one of the most iconic things about the pinball machine. On newer games, a lot of the art is licensed from movies, like the 1991 blockbuster The Addams Family, but a lot of the old games feature pictures of ladies in...Read more

Replay Amusement Museum brings video game, pinball nostalgia to Tarpon ...
Tampabay.com, October 2nd

The historic district storefront features more than 80 arcade games, from the household names to the rarities, as well as 40 vintage pinball machines. "You play tic-tac-toe only so many times. Pinball is wild," said Brian Cheaney, 36. "You can play 10...Read more