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.


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]

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]

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]

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    

Pinball MachineUsed Unpopulated Bally's The Addams Family Pinball Playfield Original!!Tales From The Crypt Pinball Machine Data East And Crypt Keeper Topper Original Stars Wars Pinball Machine Data East Led Flintstones Pinball1993 Wms Indiana Jones Pinball Machine Playfield IjElton John "captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy" Pinball MachineBally Bobby Orr Power Play Pinball Machine BackglassPinball MachineStern Pinball Arcade Machine - PlayboyBally Flash Gordon Pinball Machine Backglass Good Used Condition Cheap!*** Williams Wpc89 Mpu Board Pinball Mpu089 ***Bally Pinball Transformer/rectifier Board Power Supply Eight BallBaytek Arcade Skeeball Coin Op Game Pinball No Reserve!1969 Restored Pinball Machine "airport" By GottliebIce 60" Plush Palace Double Crane Game Arcade Pinball Skill Claw No Reserve!Vintage Black Light Pinball Wizard PosterPinball Machine, Gottlieb Lucky Star, Late 1940'sHuge 20 Nes Games Lot Robocop Donkey Kong Wrestlemania Pinball Overstock Sale Dr Who PinballData East Pinball Hook Cpu Circuit Board 520-5003-03New Balance Cm1600bd~pinball Pack~red / Purple / Black~1600 Mens Sz 9.5 D1948 Buccaneer Woodrail Pinball Machine - Excellent ConditionPinball Williams BoardBally Pinball Board Set As-2518 Series - Pinball Pcb - UsedRaise The Devil Pinball Entex 1980 Led Vintage Handheld Game Electronic Old FunSteinbach Nutcracker S1790 Champion Of Freedom Signed Limited Edition Williams Pinball System 9 Cpu Mpu Pcb Original Rare Complete Steinbach Nutcracker S1751 William Shakespeare Playwright Signed 794/7500Williams Robotron 3 Board Set On Original Mounting Plate With Wire HarnessSteinbach Nutcracker S1837 Skandinavian Santa Christmas Legends Signed Pinball Gottlieb System 80 Cpu Ni-wumpf Pinball Sega Power Driver BoardSteinbach Nutcracker S1812 Jonah And The Whale Biblical Series Signed Limited EdSteinbach Nutcracker S1839 The Genie Arabian Nights SignedSteinbach Nutcracker S893 Noah Signed Limited EditionSteinbach Nutcracker S1845 The Jester SignedTommy Playfield NosMpu089Bally Coin Door With Bally Logo Sticker And 3 Pricing Inserts Used128 X 32 Dot Matrix Display/driver BoardPinball Sega Power Driver BoardWilliams Pinball Classics - Ps3Steinbach Nutcracker S889 Chief Black Hawk Signed2 Stunt Cycle BoardsGottlieb Street Fighter 2 And Operation Thunder PlayfieldsSteinbach Nutcracker S894 Moses Signed Limited EditionSteinbach Nutcracker S1688 Richard Wagner Famous Composer SignedBally Mousin Around Nos Plastic SetRare Vintage Spinning Pokerette Poker Game Eyles Mfg Chicago 1930 Antique ToyWilliams 1968 “aqua Gun” Pinball Machine Original Backglass “framed” For DisplayClassic Stern Mpu200 Pinball Cpu - Works PerfectPinball Sega Board CpuPinball Bally Power Supply Board TransformerGame Boy Color Purple Handheld System With Pokemon Red And Pokemon PinballSteinbach Nutcracker S1694 Petrus SignedSteinbach Nutcracker S735 Sea Captain SignedGorgar Pinball Machine Nice!Creature From The Black Lagoon Pinball Promo Bally1951 Nasco Bingo-bango Pinball Game Conversion Advertising Flyer