Pinball games first arrived on the market in 1930s. The first coin operated pinball machine was manufactured by Automated Industries.

There was a controversy surrounding these games believing that they were gambling machines or games of chance. For that reason, some cities began banning these games. When that happened, the Mob started using these games in their bars, clubs and casinos. In the late 1940s pinball manufacturers started designing pinball machines with flippers. Now these machines were seen as games of skill. These made the games more family friendly, and you would see them in more types of locations.

When I was six years old my father owned a small corner store and a vending company had a pinball machine there. The game was there to charge customers to play. Whenever the company would come to collect they would always put a few free games on there for me to play.

I loved playing that pinball machine and watching that silver ball fly. There was just something about seeing the flashing lights and hearing the bells and chimes go off as I did my best to keep the ball in play. Each time I got better and better at that game. I learned how to time my shots. I kept trying to keep beating my last best score. I found myself doing extra chores around the house so my father would give me a few quarters to play. I always wanted to play that pinball machine.

We later closed the store and I stopped playing pinball. My new passion, like most teens of the 90s, became video games. Occasionally I would still see a few pinball machines in arcades and I would just pass them by. At that time, they did not seem as much fun as all of the great video games that were now booming in the arcades. Pinball became a game of the past. Video games had taken over the arcade and now the home market.

I later went to work for that same vending company that had the pinball machine in our little store. The company still operated games and jukeboxes, but now was also selling pinball machines. The company, M&P Amusement, started to import pinball machines from Europe even though they were originally built in the USA. M&P Amusement Company was one of the first companies to do this. They found a new demand for pinball machines and it was in the home market. You cannot fully enjoy a pinball with just a few quarters in your pocket. People wanted to own their own pinball machine. People really enjoy spending several hours playing pinball. Figuring out how to unlock all of the secrets that are in these games was the new big thrill. M&P Amusement decided to accommodate their customers and began refurbishing these used games and bringing them back to life.

My first job at M&P Amusement was the truck driver for our small box truck. I would help move games and make deliveries. The owner of the company wanted to start trying to sell pinball machines on eBay. I had some experience selling items on eBay and offered to help. We had great success with selling on eBay which led me to becoming the sales manager for the company.

To be a great salesman, I had to learn more about these games. That is when my passion for pinball really came back. I had to play all of these machines so I knew what I was talking about when selling them. Pinball is not like a video game, you never play the same game twice. Pinball really is a game of skill. You have to master the flippers, and learn how to aim at targets or certain areas of the play field at the right time. During game play you can unlock certain features like “multi-ball” where you have several balls in play at once.

The artwork on pinball machines is something I love. Pinball really follows the current times when they are made. You can see it in the artwork in each of these games. You have licensed titles that are based off of movies, TV shows or music artists of the time. You also have original games with their own themes and artwork specifically designed for that game. The artwork of the seventies for example was painted directly on the cabinet using stencils, and took many hours to create each cabinet. These games are just amazing to look at.

Now pinball has made a big comeback. You are seeing these games in new retro arcades and the new barcades that offer multiple pinball machines to play. There is also a huge collectors market now for pinball, which has led manufacturers to offer limited edition games with even more features than your standard pinball including upgraded LED lighting.

We sell a lot of different types of games now from classic video games, game tables, ticket games, and even the all-time American favorite skee ball; however, pinball is still one of our most popular games we sell. If you have never played a pinball machine, give it a try. Not only will you find pinball super fun to play, but like other exciting things, you never forget your first time!