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What is your favorite pinball machine for June 2005?
Terminator 2
Sopranos
Space Invaders
Machine, the Bride of Pinbot
Doctor Who

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Pinball History
1930

First pinball machines appeared in America. They were countertop machines, without legs.

The most popular games were "Baffle Ball", "Bingo" and "Bally Hoo".

The first coin-operated pinball game was "Bally Hoo".
It was invented by Raymond Maloney,who became the founder of the Bally Corporation.

The first pinball machine

1933

Battery operated machines were designed.

1947

The important part of the pinball machines, flipper, was invented in 1947. It appeared in a pinball game "Humpty Dumpty" made by Gottlieb & Co.

The first flippers

The flippers were not a the same locations as nowadays. But it was the beginning.

1951

The first "slingshot" kickers were introduced.

1953

The first two-player pinball machine is released (pinball machines before this were strictly one player affairs).

1954

The first multiple player pinball machine, "Super Jumbo", is released by D.Gottlieb.

The first multiplayer pinball machine

1956

The first "multiball" feature is featured on Bally's "Balls-A-Poppin" pinball machine.

Up to 6 balls in play

1957

The first use of a "match" bonus feature (a number in your final score is matched at random to a number the machine picks, resulting in a free game, or "credit") in pinball is introduced.

1960

The first "add-a-ball" (extra ball) game called "Flipper" is developed by D. Gottlieb. The add-a-ball award was developed to counter various laws in effect during this period that made it illegal for a game to award replays in certain parts of the country because it was consider a "gambling" activity.

First extra ball pinball machine

1962

The first drop target was introduced by Williams Manufacturing in the "Vagabond" pinball machine.

Drop targets

1963

The first "spinners" were introduced.

1964

The first "mushroom" bumper (common in all of today's modern games) was introduced by Bally

1966

The first digital scoring pinball machine is produced by a French company called Rally.

1968

The first modern flippers (three inches) are introduced on Hayburners II by Williams

Hayburners II flyer

1975

The first solid-state, or electronic pinball machine, "Spirit of 76", was first introduced by Micro. It marks the beginning of the switch from electromechanical (EM) machines to "solid-state", or electronics-based pinball machines.

1976

The first widely available solid state pinball machine was introduced by Bally and is called "Freedom". Many of the games from the mid 70's were produced in two versions (both electronic and electromechanical), and the first "wide-body" pinball, "The Atarians" is introduced by Atari.

The first atari game

Also in this year, the long-time pinball machine manufacturer, Chicago Coin, makes it last game - The company is taken over by Sam Stern and renamed "Stern Electronics". Gottlieb is sold to Colombia Pictures.

1977

The first electronically produced sounds in a pinball machine were introduced. Also the first photographic backglass display is introduced by Bally on "Lost World"

Lost World backglass

1979

The first "talking" or electronic speech game was introduced by Williams and was called "Gorgar", along with the first machines to have a continuous electronic background "soundtracks".

Gorgar could speak seven words

This was also the year in which the very last electro- mechanical pinball machine is made by Gottlieb

1980

The first "multi-level" pinball machine is produced by Williams as "Black Knight".

The first multi level pinball machine

1984

Colombia Pictures, owner of Gottlieb, decides to close. Company is taken over by Premier Technology.

1985

The first "alphanumeric" game display is introduced

1986

The first automatic replay percentage feature is introduced. Also the first pinball machine that uses a actual photo on the glass is introduced by Gottlieb on "Raven"

1987

The first pinball machine with stereo sound "Laser War" is produced by Data-East.

The first stereo sound pinball machine

1988

Bally Manufacturing is taken over by Williams Electronics, but the two companies continue to produce separate lines of pinball machines under both names.

1990

The first solid-state (electronic) flippers are introduced by Data-East.

1991

The first "dot-matrix" game display is introduced by Data-East in "Checkpoint" along with video "modes" that animate certain parts of the game part on screen.

Checkpoint

Also in the year, electronic plungers become common and the "ball-saver" feature is introduced, in part due to laws in the UK (England) governing games of chance.

1996

Gottlieb goes out of business for good.

199?

Sega buys out Data-East

1998

The first pinball machine with a video screen integrated into the design is introduced by Williams in their new "Pinball 2000" series machines.

Both pinball 2000 machines

1999

After just two Pinball 2000 releases, Williams Manufacturing (WMS) exits the pinball machine business for good, but continues on as a maker of gaming devices for the global gambling industry. Also in this year, Gary Stern buys Sega Pinball , renames the combined firms Stern Pinball and continues on as the only pinball producer in the world today.

2005

Newest pinball machine, the Sopranos:

Sopranos pinball machine

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