Pinball is a Lost Piece of Americana

Pinball is a Lost Piece of Americana

A steel ball, multiple electronic bumpers and a well designed play field with ramps and traps anywhere and every where a game designer can think of.  There is something magical about the sights and sounds of  a pinball machine.

Kids of this age don’t understand the value and fun factor of playing a pinball machine. I think maybe the game is more about skill or maybe it’s just not flashy and technologically advanced like the modern video game.  Maybe it’s not bloody enough or action packed like many people want. But if you are over the age of 30, you’ll remember the hours spent playing your favorite pinball games.

My first recollection of playing pinball was probably when I was 8-10 years old. I used to spend time at our local bowling alley with my parents. While they were busy trying to bust strikes, I was busy trying to spend a quarter to try and hone my skill on the pinball machine. I was bit from first play. I wish I could remember what the theme of machine was, but I just can’t. But I’ve played many and I want to list five of my favorites for you. And I’d love to know what some of your favorites were (or are) to this very day. Sound off on the comment section below!

5. Whirlwind

There was a local arcade where I lived that had 3-5 pinball machines at any given time. I always embraced the play of a new machine and this one was no stranger to me. I loved the multiple ramps and when the “storm” came in, not only did you get the storm sounds and light, but there was a small fan on top of the game that blew on you and small rotating discs on the play field that would blow your ball in many random directions. Skill became luck in the storm and that made the game pretty exciting (and frustrating) for the player.


4. High Speed

I first saw this pinball at the bowling alley that I grew up in. It felt like the game manufacturers took a giant leap forward when trying consolidate a car chasing game and pinball game in the same box. The options of eluding police during your high speed chase by skillfully taking the ramps and lanes that were available on the game. This machine was brilliant.

high speed backglass

3. The Simpsons Pinball Party

Admit it, we all have a soft spot for The Simpsons. We all had t-shirts that had Bart saying “Cowabunga, Dude”! When you cross the fun and skill of a pinball machine with a fun and pop culture of the most historic animated show of all time, you get a great pinball machine. Nuclear reactor bumpers and constant chatter from the show’s favorite characters make this machine a classic and must play!


2. Theatre of Magic

This machine, I discovered while on a road trip with some friends to a baseball game. We stopped for lunch at a mom and pop’s diner, and this machine was sitting in the corner with a couple of people around it. I was intrigued with the way it sounded and the moving parts of the game. I was blown away with the fun factor and the skill level you could use to make this machine one of the most fun I’ve ever played. If you get a chance to play it, do not hesitate!


1. The Addams Family

By far the best machine ever made. Many listing have this as the best and I would have to agree. The art of the “skill shot” to get Thing to pick up your ball, the great mini games for bonus points and a spectacular multiball for a Jackpot bonus. When the pinball machine say “SHOWTIME”, you know it’s getting ready to get real! Fun for all ages.


My kids are missing out on pinball craze. Their idea of what pinball looks like is a version they can play on the television. The aesthetic and comfort of clicking the paddle button while watching the flashing lights is something everyone needs to discover or even rediscover in this life.

Lets hear what you have to say!

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