For many years I played these games. Still nowadays when I see one, I give it a try. It was in my blood, my brains and my leisure hours.
So I decided to go back to the past and craft this little fantasy piece, to rekindle the feel and emotions felt during my High School years. At one point in time I became really good at it, to the extent that I hardly spent any money on them, in fact the opposite, since I was getting lots of free plays, and reselling them to others for cash.
This production uses all kinds of editing and post techniques from compositing, color grading, pan, crop and tilt, rotation, animation, multiple sound/video tracks and the mixing of still photographs together with video.
Special thanks to Pinball Hall of Fame (a not-for-profit corporation.) Las Vegas, NV
Music: Rain-dance by @xutive :: HTTP://www.jamendo.com/en/track/328644
Other recordings and audio credits can be found at end of video.
Enjoy the game,
History and Background:
The first real version of Pinball was a French game known as Bagatelle.
Bagatelle was created by taking a Billiard table, narrowing it, and placing pins at one end of the table. The object was to use a stick (known as a Cue) and shoot balls into the pins – much like ten pin bowling.
The idea of re-setting the pins was not practical, as it had to be done manually. There was no machinery at the time to automate this, so the pins became fixed to the table (thus becoming the “Pin” part of Pinball, in pinball history).
With the addition of fixed pins, came a new way of scoring. Holes were used in the table, and players could use the fixed pins to ricochet the ball into the holes they were after. The game of Bagatelle became popluar after a party thrown in 1777 for the French King Louis XIV. This party was held at the Chateau D’Bagatelle, which was owned by the King’s brother.
King Louis XIV’s brother named this new game “Bagatelle” after his establishment – Chateau D’Bagatelle, and soon the game swept through France. Bagatelle was introduced to America by the French soldiers who were helping the Americans fight the English in the American Revolutionary War.
Montague Redgrave was granted US Patent #115,357 in 1871 for his “Improvements in Bagatelle”. Although this was not a new invention, it is the first known patent of what is now known in the Pinball world as the “Ball Shooter”, and is still used in Pinball Machines to this day. Montague Redgrave’s patented design removed the need for Cue’s to shoot the ball up the table, and replaced it with a coiled spring and plunger. This design made the game more accomodating for players, and also made it the birth of Pinball…
Automatic Industries “invented” the first coin-operated Pinball in 1931 with “Whiffle Board”, followed closely by David Gottlieb’s (of D. Gottlieb & Co. fame – a name synonymous with Pinball) “Baffle Ball”.
Raymond Maloney (a Gottlieb distributor) was frustrated at not being able to get enough Baffle Ball’s (which were priced at US$17.50, and sold over 50,000 units), so he formed his own company. The new Pinball company was Lion Manufacturing, and it manufactured the Maloney design “Ballyhoo”. After the success of Ballyhoo – selling over 75,000 units – Raymond Maloney re-named his company to Bally Manufacturing. Bally became a leader in Pinball’s, especially in the early Solid State Era. Bally closed it’s doors in 1988, selling it’s assets to Williams, who continued using the Bally name to release Pinball’s until it too closed it’s doors.
Harry Williams (while working for Pacific Amusements) was the person responsible for inventing the “TILT” mechanism in 1932. The idea was to stop people from lifiting and moving the machine, so they could “win” at it. Another milestone for Pinball History, without it, the newer machines would never have gained their popularity as a game of skill.
As Pinball Machines had now progressed from the early Bagatelle games, where you could now win prizes, there needed to be a way to prevent people from “cheating”. The TILT mechanism solved this problem, and there are different versions of the TILT mechanism:
The Plumb Bob Tilt – which has a weighted metal rod dangling down into a metal circle, therefore sensing all movement and “Tilting” the machine.
The Slam Tilt – which is a set of contacts that detect the “slamming” of the front door.
The Roll Tilt – which is a metal ball that runs along an inclined guide that senses if the machine has been lifted.
The Playfield Tilt – which is a set of contacts that detect excessive slamming or lifting / dropping of the machine.
Up until now, Pinball Machines had no Flippers. You shot the ball from the Ball Shooter, and bumped the machine so the ball would go where you wanted it.
But D. Gottlieb & Co. was about to change the Pinball History… With the introduction of “Humpty Dumpty” in 1947, Gottlieb changed the makeup of Pinball forever. Now you could control the ball yourself. Hitting it from one side, to the other, using what Gottlieb called “Flippers”. This revolutonary idea now meant that you had control over the machine. Using three pairs of Flippers (three flippers on either side) you could manipulate the ball to (hopefully) where you wanted it to go.
Solid State Pinball’s
Although there were some notable improvements made to Pinball both before and after the invention of Flippers – “Bumpers”, “Drop Targets” and “Multiball” being the standouts… Pinball History will show that nothing really changed things like the advent of the late 1970’s / early 1980’s.
Up until now, Pinball’s had been Electro-Mechanical (EM), and the very early ones Pure Mechanical (PM). They relied on relay banks, and stepper motors to perform their functions. The move to Solid State changed Pinball History once again… Now there was a way to create more features, make more bonuses, and store lots more information about the player’s position in the game, even after the ball had drained.
But Pinball History will show that the Solid State Era had a price… Space Invaders was launched, followed by Galaga, then Pac-Man, Frogger and so on. This almost meant the death of Pinball. Williams, Midway (who owned Bally), Stern Electronics (owned by the Stern family) and others, only manufactured small amounts of Pinball’s, while they cashed in on the Video Game Era.
But business is business, so why continue to manufacture Pinball’s when the way of the future is Video Games? After all, the arcades aren’t buying our machines anymore, they’re just sending them to the scrap heap. Even the cult following of Pinball couldn’t change this… not initially. Thanks to the home versions of video games – the Home Consoles – arcade video games started to become a thing of the past… slowly. By the early 1990’s, Pinball started to make a resurgence. The release of “The Addams Family” by Williams (under the Bally name) is most likely to have caused this. Manufacturing over 20,000 units, and the rest, as they say, is Pinball History!
In 1999, Williams finally closed their doors too. This after trying to resurrect Pinball one last time with the failed Pinball 2000. The final page of Willams in Pinball History.
Currently, only STERN is manufacturing Pinball Machines. Their most notable release is “Simpsons Pinball Party” – a Pinball that has had at least five manufacturing runs so far (and counting).