The Internet Pinball Database
June 12, 2002 8:58 AM   Subscribe

The Internet Pinball Database has shots of backglasses, playing tables, and promotional flyers for just about every pinball machine ever created. I loved pinball. Now, it seems impossible to find a machine to play on. Back when I worked at a local pizza shop, we had a rotation of some great machines. I really enjoyed the Addams Family, Star Wars, Lethal Weapon 3 (which i remember as being really easy), and especially the Twilight Zone game, with the special white power ball. A walk down memory lane that served me well. Find a place near you to play some pinball here. Or, you could just go pro.
posted by Ufez Jones (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Every city has a little arcade with good pinball somewhere. I found a rad no-name arcade in downtown Philly... so if we've got one here, every city has one.

Portland, though, that's the pinball capitol of the country, as far as I can tell. I used to play against pretty hardcore players almost every night at the kwikmart on 21rst in the Northwest. All the bars had pretty rad tables, too...
posted by ph00dz at 9:01 AM on June 12, 2002

My faves are FIFA World Cup (because I can play that one pretty well), and The Comet (because of the barker soundbites that emanate from the machine, even when not in use): Ride the Ferris Wheel! Hey you...with the face!

Anymore, it seems like whenever I find a pinball game, one of the flippers doesn't work. Total bummer!
posted by byort at 9:05 AM on June 12, 2002

There was the ancient machine in the bus depot that this guy who wore a ciggy pack in his t-shirt sleeve could always persuade to do his bidding: he could file down the punch-outs from electrical equipment to perfectly slip into the quarter slot, and he could pretty much pick the durn thing up and move it to the next state before it would tilt.

Me, the only time I ever tried to use a slug the depot manager grabbed me by the hair and threw me out.

Ah, youth.
posted by dhartung at 9:06 AM on June 12, 2002

the comet is definitely another classic, byort. There for about 5 years, it seems like every arcade I went to had that one.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:12 AM on June 12, 2002

Weird. I just wrote a blog thingie about pinball yesterday.

I love pinball, and wish I lived in a house instead of an apartment, so I could house a couple of machines. Sadly the greatest manufacturer of pinball machines, Williams, is no longer making them. I always favored their machines over Data East or Bally.

My favorite machines ever?

Earthshaker, High Speed, Black Night, Indiana Jones, Dirty Harry.....ahhh. Oh and Funhouse was good too.

I also just yesterday bought this PC game. Not quite the same feel, but the playfields are created with exact detail.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:15 AM on June 12, 2002

Kind of new, very cool: Junk-"we shouldn't be doing this"-yard
posted by magullo at 9:17 AM on June 12, 2002

That's nuts Kafkaesque, b/c that game is exactly why I was thinking about pinball in the first place. My dad came down to visit me this weekend and stuck it on my comp. I haven't masterd anything besides Creature From the Black Lagoon yet, but i'm very impressed with the authenticity of the game.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2002

My god, Ufez, that means that you''re...
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:28 AM on June 12, 2002

folkies! what about the classic Pinbot . That was always my favorite.
posted by darkpony at 9:29 AM on June 12, 2002

I grew up in a house with a Williams Official Baseball stationed in the entry hall. It accepted nickels for a game, and a well hit home run sometimes caused the pinball to smack into the glass above the playing field.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:30 AM on June 12, 2002

....just watch your back.

posted by Ufez Jones at 9:34 AM on June 12, 2002

Fish Tales, an absolute classic.

posted by Frasermoo at 9:37 AM on June 12, 2002

Funny pinball story:

At two separate points in his life, my dad ran small arcades, and he was always fixing the machines, and more often than not it was a bad solenoid. It became a running joke in the family that whenever something electrical broke, it was the solenoid.

When I went to college and joined a fraternity (Theta Chi, Beta Nu chapter), we had a pinball machine in the basement. It was always breaking. One day one of our brothers decided to fix it. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn't know yet. I said it was probably the solenoid. He scoffed and said, "What do you know? You're an actor. The solenoid. Pfft!" Later he fixed it. It was the solenoid.

OK, it wasn't that funny, but I like telling stories.
posted by starvingartist at 9:41 AM on June 12, 2002

....just watch your back.


urps, forgot the ......Daddy!
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:42 AM on June 12, 2002

Safecracker is the best. Attack from Mars is pretty sweet, too. Any Safecracker players here?
posted by cell divide at 9:44 AM on June 12, 2002

I loved Jurassic Park with the massive "chaos" multiball, Addams Family, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and Indiana Jones. The only pinball machines I know of in NYC are at Max Fish. Where are the others?
posted by muckster at 9:47 AM on June 12, 2002

In Seattle, Shorty's Coney Island is my fave for pinball wizards, if you can ignore the hundreds of scary clown artworks in the front room.
posted by GaelFC at 10:00 AM on June 12, 2002

Guns 'n Roses is The One True Pinball.
posted by Succa at 10:01 AM on June 12, 2002

Neat! They've got Hercules, the supposedly largest pinbal machine ever. It sucked, in case you were wondering, but had a huge wooden ball instead of the usual. Was kind of weird to look at.
posted by Su at 10:03 AM on June 12, 2002

Frasermoo - Fish Tales was awesome; I also loved Funhouse, The Addams Family, and one about white water rafting (can't remember the name, but it was fun and easy) I got quite good in college, winning a few informal tournaments put on by the convenience store owner across the street. I'll always stop and play if I stumble across a machine, and the cool thing is I've gotten my wife into it too.

Ditto on wishing I had a basement to put a machine or two in. They're relatively cheap (on a per pound basis, I guess) and you could indulge your fantasy of playing with the glass off (oops, redo!)
posted by jalexei at 10:06 AM on June 12, 2002

Anyone remember Pinball Construction Set, a game for the Apple II from the early 80s? You could build your own pinball games from a variety of stock components.

I used to love this one though, admittedly, the pinball action left a bit to be desired. :)
posted by autonia at 10:15 AM on June 12, 2002

Fish Tales does does (I think it was called) Whitewater! Perfectly good choices all around!
posted by byort at 10:19 AM on June 12, 2002

My favorite pinball machine counted to twelve
posted by KnitWit at 10:31 AM on June 12, 2002

There's a fabulous and wondrous place called TNT near me that has over 2,000 pinball and arcade units for sale at all times, and you can rent the whole place out for 3 hours stretches, for parties for your kids. That's why I had kids.
posted by iconomy at 11:04 AM on June 12, 2002

KnitWit: I was looking all over the place for that sound bite! It's how I ALWAYS count to twelve, and no one recognizes it.

As for my fave pinball, I was always partial to "Creature from the Black Lagoon" which had my favourite line:
I couldn't find it on this site, but there are lots of other wav/midi files for your enjoyment. Like this classic.

"Pinbot" always gave me a problem for some reason, but I absolutely dominated "High Speed" in the local arcade. I'd go in at lunch at 12pm, put one quarter in, and then walk out at 1:00pm having played 4 games and left 4 more freebies for the next guy.
posted by grum@work at 11:07 AM on June 12, 2002

The Internet Pinball Database was last modified on May 7 2001.

bottom of the front page.
posted by lescour at 11:08 AM on June 12, 2002

We had Night Rider in our dorm. Ah, the memories of spending my laundry money on game after game of Night. Then then we'd have Dorm Pinball after our dorm meetings, and then a round of Full Contact Pinball, and then maybe Beerball...

...and there was also Grand Lizard, which sat in our rival dorm, and is now in my garage. And it's also for sale if anyone wants to come and pick the damn thing up.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:36 PM on June 12, 2002

I dig pinball, I remember playing when I could barely see over the edge of the table. 10 cents a game, 3 for a quarter. Learning to hold the ball on the flipper, that satisfying THOK! when you won a free game or matched the machines numbers. Ahh, memories...

In the 70's, every bar in the state of Illinois had something like this.
posted by groundhog at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2002

PinMAME is like MAME, but instead of arcade games, it runs pinball machine bios's. Combine it with Visual Pinball and you can run emulated simulations of real pinball machines on your pc.

it's neat.
posted by ewwgene at 3:17 PM on June 12, 2002

When I was a kid, Bally's Fireball absolutely ruled -- nothing else could touch it. When I was in college, that game was no longer around, so I played a lot of Black Knight -- another classic.
posted by macrone at 4:57 PM on June 12, 2002

I'm with Succa -- the Guns n Roses pinball machine is my all-time favorite by far. Challenging skill shots, the best multiball in town, and a soundtrack that makes you want to steal your brother's smokes.
posted by wadner at 6:35 PM on June 12, 2002

Grum, KnitWit: I can't remember where I picked it up, but here's an mp3 (1.7 MB, 3:48) of the full Twelve song. There's a bandwidth limit on sites now, so I apologize in advance if the file is unavailable; just try again later.

I don't frequent arcades, so the only time I ever get to play pinball any more is the Indiana Jones machine in the Adventureland gift shop in Disneyland. Something of a tradition.

My favorite machine, though, is without a doubt Tommy: Pinball Wizard. Based on the better-than-it-sounds Broadway musical version of Tommy, you could activate 'flipper blinders' to 'play as Tommy' and there was a giant pinball on top of the machine that reflected back backwards writing atop the machine you couldn't otherwise see. Really well-designed.
posted by toddshot at 1:15 AM on June 13, 2002

I was a poor pinball player, for the most part, but I had this weird ability to roll a new game on the first time I played it, when I didn't have a clue as to what was what and was just frantically flailing away--not every time but more often than not.

Ten years ago, there used to be a vid and pinball place called Ivory's on 2nd Avenue--I think where the Art Bar is now--that had a copy of Playboy Party. It was such a hoot--Cheesy music, sound effects of women making with the sexy quasi-orgasmic ooh's and ah's, guys yelling Par-tay! and Hugh asking Champagne? followed by the sound of a cork popping when you scored big.

And the best soundbite--if you tilted the thing, he came back with You're off the property! and the music stopped--Par-tay over.

God, that was a fun one. I couldn't find it on the database, though.
posted by y2karl at 6:18 AM on June 13, 2002

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