While video games are all well and good, and some of them are very good indeed, I actually get more fun out of playing the silver ball. There’s a bit of an analog component there that rewards skill to a higher level than a lot of video games. So here are my favourites.
Class of 1812
This is a fairly simple game without too many rules too remember and cast of chickens clucking the 1812 Overture while playing the easily lit multiball. It spend a fair bit of time in the corner of the cheap bistro of the Mildura Workingman’s Club and so we would go in for lunch and a beer or two while blasting through a few round of this table. I think this has a place in my heart more for it’s location and memories rather than its; outright qualities as pinball.
My good friend Karl actually owned this one. We would play it far too much and although it was a very simplistic game it never really got old. From 1977 it was probably light on for features even then, but that just made it easier for the home enthusiast to maintain. The sounds were generated by 2 glockespiel notes that a magnetic coil would throw a metal rod at. Drew used to cheat by essentially disabling the tilt function. I’m calling you out here mate. Those records of yours remain suspect even to this day.
Another one that sat in the Workers’ club at times and in hindsight it was junk. I did spend a lot of time playing it though and got to be pretty good at it. From memory it was loop/spinner, loop/spinner, loop/spinner, bullseye. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Star Trek TNG
Big, complicated, lots to do and some pretty cool features like the cannons on top of the slingshots. The licence was great too as you had all the actors doing their lines. I am a trek nerd and pinball nerd so it combined two of my life’s passions. I would have bought one (pre-children) if I hadn’t seen how hard it was to maintain in good working order. So many tricksy little things meant it wouldn’t take much to have a single feature out of play for a while. When it was working properly it was a joy to play and I will still seek one out whenever I can.
The Addams Family
This is probably on a lot of lists like this and rightly so. It sold a lot of machines as it was staggeringly popular in the mid nineties. I’m not sure I will ever tire of this one. So much to do and very easy to set up the various games within the game. A game made of win and awesome.