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 instantaneously. They also added a cacophony of sound effects to the machines repertoire of bells and whistles. Video games in video arcades 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

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Nashville's 5 best video arcades
The Tennessean, November 24th

Middle Tennessee's biggest and best collection of vintage arcade and pinball games. Game Galaxy now spans two locations in Goodlettsville and Antioch. No quarters required, as machines are set to "Free Play" mode. Admission is $5 for 30 minutes, $7 for ...Read more

Arcade bars level up in metro Phoenix, November 19th

The Grid's game selection includes a mix of about 13 arcade machines across genres, with pinball and classics as well as racing games with chairs and pedals. The Grid also possesses a 10-player arcade machine called Killer Queen, and the bar is...Read more

Tieri's "Black Knight" is an Addict Surrounded by Messed Up People in Weirdworld
Comic Book Resources, November 18th

We have one page in particular where we visit Dane's quarters and see all the stuff he's found that's turned up in Weirdworld over time -- everything from a Wanted poster of the Two Gun Kid to a vintage pinball machine. Filling that room with all...Read more

Rapid review: Camino, November 18th

Slip into something comfy and casual at this Walker's Point spot that looks a bit like a cleaned up version of a corner tap. Old school arcade games like Tapper, Ms. Pac-Man and a vintage Elton John pinball machine sit in a back corner, while a large...Read more

Echo Park bar/arcade mixes pinball and beer
The Occidental Weekly, November 10th

While Button Mash is not the only pinball establishment in the area — Pins and Needles on Allesandro Street also offers an array of vintage pinball machines to play — its setup is unlike either a conventional arcade or restaurant. Diners and gamers...Read more

Louisville bar wants vintage item stolen at Funtown Mountain to be returned
Louisville Business First (blog), September 11th

Zanzabar, a bar and restaurant at 2100 S. Preston St., says it had loaned the park a 1978 Stern "Stars" pinball machine. The bar said on Facebook that the machine was stolen when Funtown Mountain "got looted" and it's now asking for the item to be...Read more

Collecting Treasures: Pinball machines not kids' play, June 12th

Yet, vintage games like arcade pinball machines are rising in popularity with the gamers of today as well as the gamers of old. In fact, a Bally's 1976 Captain Fantastic pinball machine can put a large dent in your wallet. Quite a shock, when you...Read more

Pinball Was Banned in NYC Until a Miraculous Shot Convinced Lawmakers It Was a ...
Slate Magazine (blog), May 29th

Descended from a table game known as Bagatelle, the first pinball machine was patented in 1871, after a plunger mechanism that rocketed the ball into the playing field was added to the game. By the 1930s, pinball machines were ubiquitous amusements in ...Read more