Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

What I love most about Pinball? (and my Top 5 machines!)

By Chase Oct17,2023
T2 Pinball
Terminator 2 Pinball by Williams

Have you ever stopped to ponder what it is about a simple silver ball bouncing around a playfield that has the power to captivate and enthrall enthusiasts worldwide? For me, the journey into the world of pinball was an unexpected one, a story that began in my childhood. It all started with a roll of quarters, a bowling alley, and a desire for endless entertainment.

As a kid, I found myself in a situation familiar to many – accompanying my parents to their weekly bowling league. Armed with a roll of quarters, my mission was clear: keep myself occupied while they knocked down pins. Initially, I gravitated towards video arcade games, honing my skills in those digital worlds. But there was a caveat to the video games – they could be mercilessly unforgiving. Just when I thought I had mastered a fighting game or an arcade shooter, the computer would seemingly conspire against me, and my precious quarters would vanish.

Adjacent to the video arcade machines stood an enticing line of pinball machines, their mesmerizing lights and sounds beckoning. From the vintage classics of the 1970s to the modern delights like Terminator 2 and Whirlwind, this was where my pinball journey truly began. I soon discovered that by honing my skills, I could earn extra games and extend the thrill of the silverball without breaking the bank. It was an addictive proposition, and I eagerly embraced it.

However, what truly enamored me about pinball extended beyond the pursuit of free games. It was the physicality of the game, a rare attribute in the world of gaming. Unlike video games where button mashing was the primary mode of interaction, pinball invited players to push, nudge, and tilt the machine itself, physically influencing the outcome. The angles, shots, and strategies needed to maximize points had to be calculated in real-time. It was a dynamic experience that demanded both finesse and dexterity.

Furthermore, pinball is a game where you’re not just competing against other players or the machine itself; you’re also locked in a personal battle with your own stress levels. The ability to maintain composure under pressure and strategize in the midst of chaos is an art in itself. In essence, playing pinball is akin to a dance – it’s about keeping your cool and making the right moves to stay in the game.

People often ask me, “What are your favorite pinball games?” It’s a question that becomes increasingly difficult to answer as the industry continually releases new and exhilarating titles. However, I’m happy to share my current top five favorites:


#5 – Total Nuclear Annihilation (2017 – Spooky Pinball)
TNA was designed by Scott Danesi and released by Spooky Pinball in September of 2017 – and its awesome!  From the loaded sound system, custom soundtrack and simple, yet engaging game play this game will be in my Top 5 for a while.  I’m just hoping to own one someday as only just 550 were made!

TNA Pinball
TNA by Spooky Pinball

#4 – Addams Family (1992 – Bally Pinball)
All the big actors were a part of this all time popular pinball machine.  The callouts, modes and challenging shots make this a machine I also would like to own some day!

Addams Family Pinball
Addams Family Pinball by Williams

#3 – Whirlwind – (1990 – Williams)
Feel The Power of the Wind!  HERE IT COMES!!!!   The machine with probably the hardest side ramp in all of pinball, Whirlwind is deceptively looking but takes a while to master.   Oh and getting that lock lamp lit gives you a nice cool down session.   Yes please! 🙂

Whirlwind Pinball
Whirlwind Pinball by Williams

#2 – Tron (2011 – Stern)
Trying to get Sam to the Portal, while jumping on Light Cycles and running from CLU?  Tron has it all!  Great layout, fast action and super sound from Daft Punk, makes a game that is awesome to play and jam out to!   I’ll have to put you on the gaming grid!

TRON Pinball
TRON Pinball by Stern

#1 – Funhouse (1990 – Williams)
Hitting Rudy in the face.  Is there anything better?  Bucko?

Funhouse Pinball
Funhouse Pinball

In the world of pinball, the fun never stops, and the favorites are constantly evolving. What I love about pinball is this evergreen excitement and the enduring magic of the silverball. It’s a game that combines skill, strategy, and sheer joy in a way that few other pastimes can.

So, if you’re looking for a game that offers a unique blend of physicality, strategy, and an infinite sense of discovery, give pinball a shot. You might just find yourself falling in love with the silverball’s enchanting world, just as I did all those years ago.


File:A rebuilt Terminator 2 pinball machine.jpg” by Wayne Patrick Finn is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 .

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