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Sunday, 26 February 2017


The first pinball machine was introduced in 1931. It was called "Baffle Ball" and  originated from a Victorian game, bagatelle. It was an instant hit and more than 50,000 were sold.

Selling for $17.50, Baffle Ball dispensed five to seven balls for a penny.

The pinball machine was one of the few successful industries that grew out of the Depression in the United States. The early models typically charged 5 cents for ten balls, did not have side flippers, and the player had to add up his own score.

An early pinball game without flippers, circa 1932

Gottlieb's Humpty Dumpty, introduced in 1947, was the first pinball machine game to add player-controlled flippers to keep the ball in play longer, adding a skill factor to the game.

Because it offered inexpensive and interactive entertainment value, the pinball machine remained popular for decades, until the advent of electronic video games.

Pinball machines were banned in New York City from 1940 until 1976 which led to "Pinball Speakeasies." They were originally made illegal because Mayor La Guardia thought they robbed kids of pocket money.

The ban stopped in New York City in 1976, when Roger Sharpe, a player renowned for his talent, played so well in front of the City Council that he convinced them that pinball was indeed a game of skill, not just of luck.

The 1969 rock opera album Tommy by The Who, centers on the title character, a "deaf, dumb, and blind kid", who becomes a "Pinball Wizard" and gains hordes of adoring fans.

In 2016 Kokomo, Indiana, reversed a 61-year-old law banning pinball in the city.

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