What is Pinball?
Unless you are a pinball enthusiast like myself, you may have no idea what I am talking about. Pinball is an older-styled manual electronic game in which steel balls are spring-launched up a ramped playing field, which is encased in a glass cabinet. The cabinet is mounted on 4 legs and has a decorative backboard which lights up and plays sounds throughout the game.
How Do You Play?
If you are playing Pinball at an Arcade the cost may be anywhere from $0.25 to $2.00 per game. Coins are entered into the front slots to initiate playing. However, if you are lucky enough to know a friend who owns a machine, it may be unlocked for unlimited free play (no coins required).
As you start the game, you can either select a one player game or hit the start button several times for a multi-player game. A multi-player game is always more fun as it adds a bit of competition! The plunger is pulled back to launch the ball, and after that the side flippers are used to re-launch the ball up the ramp to continue scoring points. A lost ball down the middle of the playing field or drain indicates an ended turn or finished game.
Why I Love Pinball
I grew up in a household with my Dad who is an avid pinball collector. The oldest machine he owns is “Spin-a-Card” which he played growing up. As I got older, his collection grew. He is now the proud owner of several dozen pinball machines. Many of his friends are also collectors. For my father, collecting and repairing pinball machines is a passion. When someone you love is passionate about something, it is often contagious.
The best part of having access to all these pinball machines, was the ability to have friends and family members over for some free entertainment. Dad would unlock all of the machines so we could have unlimited free plays for the entire evening. He installed cup holders on all of the machines so we could enjoy some beverages and bring our own snacks to enjoy. Mom didn’t really enjoy the clashing sounds upstairs in the household during our playing sessions, but we were always too caught up in the skilled shots, replays, and bonus rounds to notice. Thankfully for her, all of the sessions were only a couple hours long.
Playing pinball provided hours of entertainment. I can recall many nights of laughter as we battled it out in multi-player mode. The household favourite games were Medieval Madness, a game about rescuing the damsel from the castle and Monopoly, a version of the popular board game brought to life. If you were looking to be especially challenged you might try some of the TV-based pinball games such as the Simpsons, Batman or Indiana Jones.
How Can You Too Can Play Pinball
You might be skeptical at this point, but you too can enjoy pinball in your own backyard. You might have an older-styled arcade in your town that contains several machines. An evening of pinball is even easier to enjoy if you know someone who owns pinball machines. However, you might be interested to know that many towns and cities have their own pinball leagues. These leagues can run free of charge or sometimes only a couple dollars per evening. Often people who own pinball machines host league evenings once a month at their houses. In Ontario, Canada I know of two leagues for the Greater Toronto Area: ToPL – Toronto Pinball League and BAMOH (Burlington Ancaster Mississauga Oakville Hamilton) League. If you want more information, just contact me! People of all ages and genders are welcome to join.
Interested In Becoming a Pinball Collector?
Places to buy pinball machines include Ebay and Pinfest, a yearly show held in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the United States. Thousands of collector pinball machines are showcased and buyers have the ability to play and purchase certain machines.
Have you ever played pinball? Pinball was one of the best reasons for living at home, and even though it has been many years since I have lived there, I still miss the noisy hours of interactive entertainment. Sound off in the comments below with any of your experiences!
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