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

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Pinball History

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


Battery operated machines were designed.


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.


The first "slingshot" kickers were introduced.


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


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

The first multiplayer pinball machine


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

Up to 6 balls in play


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.


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


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

Drop targets


The first "spinners" were introduced.


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


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


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

Hayburners II flyer


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.


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.


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


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


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

The first multi level pinball machine


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


The first "alphanumeric" game display is introduced


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"


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

The first stereo sound pinball machine


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


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


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.


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.


Gottlieb goes out of business for good.


Sega buys out Data-East


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


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.


Newest pinball machine, the Sopranos:

Sopranos pinball machine

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