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The Almighty Buck The Media Games

Pinball: a Resurgence In Retro Gaming From an Unlikely Place 107

Posted by timothy
from the shiny-and-physical dept.
woohoodonuts writes "The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association is creating a webchannel that will livestream content from their national circuit of tournaments ranging from Southern California to New York City. The most recent circuit tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sold out of all 400 tournament openings in less than three weeks, months in advance of the event. With several new companies in the process of creating machines and hundreds of new competitive events springing up worldwide at a record pace, is the retro silverball rising to prominence once again?"
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Pinball: a Resurgence In Retro Gaming From an Unlikely Place

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @11:29AM (#43591127)

    >> Pinball...Resurgence...From an Unlikely Place

    Um...what's the "unlikely place"?

  • by jehan60188 (2535020) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @11:29AM (#43591129)

    i love pinball, but finding a machine is rare! let's hope bars/arcades start stocking them instead of that stupid bowling/golf thingy

  • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @12:28PM (#43591819)
    Speak for yourself white man, the pinball machine at my favorite local hangout takes in a lot of money, it's pretty profitable. The initial capital outlay might be high, but the returns are pretty high. If someone wants to play Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter they can do that in their house for free, but if you want the visceral feeling of playing a pinball game, you have to leave your basement.
  • Pinball diehard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @12:28PM (#43591821)
    Thirty years I outgrew video games while in college because I recognized early that they were addictive and they burned a hole in your pocket. But I never outgrew pinball machines. I always preferred the arcade games that relied on predictable real life attributes such as gravity and inertia, and video games don't offer that. With pinball machines you didn't burn a hole in your pocket trying to decipher patterns like you did with video games. But video games drew better money because of the addiction so the arcade owners gradually displaced pinball machines. There aren't many pinball machines around anymore, but when I cross paths with one I just have to play them.

    The old pinball machines from 1960 onward are really easy to fix. When I was in high school I completely restored one that belonged to a neighbor and didn't have to spend one dime on parts - most of the work was restoring mechanical parts such as solenoids, relays, springs, contacts, etc. Projects like that were the impetus to my earning an engineering degree from college.

    There are resellers making good money from scavenging parts to resell to pinball enthusiasts. Many pinball machines survive from as far back as the 1950s. With a few exceptions, you don't see that kind of loyalty with video games because the effort isn't worth it and spare parts are an issue. Replacing a CRT in today's flat screen world? Forget it. Video game computer flaking out? You need expensive test equipment and good diagnostic skills to fix them. Many video games from the 1970s and 1980s used ICs whose substrates suffered from chemical reactions over time that ultimately rendered a dead chip. Fixing a video game quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns because with their lower market value you will never recover the restoration costs.

    Playing a pinball machine gives you physical feedback. You can't feel the bumpers kick or the solenoids advancing the score counters on a video game. Bells and tonebars sound much more natural than electronic blips and bleeps. The playfields and backglass on many pinball machines are works of art, further highlighted by flashing lights. Video games are no match for the visual impact of a chrome plated ball dashing around bumpers, ramps, dropholes, et al with lights which react to impacts from the ball. Some of the later pinball machines did integrate sound effects but nothing corny like video games. And some of the themed pinball machines are downright excellent - you haven't played pinball until you played The Simpsons themed pinball machine.

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