Antique Pinball Machines, Plus My Favorite Game
Previously, I have posted about some classic pinball games and about the game's early history. Today, I am including some of my own pictures of antique tables. Look at the Ballyhoo game in this first picture; you will see instantly why the words "pin" and "ball" were used to describe this game initially.
From Baffle Ball to Ballyhoo to Kings Chess to that unnamed one below, these games originally featured steel balls which landed randomly in some spot framed by pins. And that was what you scored. It was much later that the games became more complicated and they grew to resemble something that did not really depend upon pins. To see how they developed, take a look at the last few photos here.
Having showed you these pictures of antique tables (sorry that the glass was so reflective, which makes them harder to see), let's take a look at a more modern pinball game. Modern, you say? Yes, it is called Black Knight 2000 and it came out in 1989.
Has technology improved since 1989? Of course. We can play these on video screens now. But there is no substitute for the feel of a real table and the sound of real balls caroming around. That's what makes pinball great even all these years after it was first invented in 1931.
But no one (I repeat NO ONE!) has ever created a better game than Black Knight 2000. This is not to be confused with the earlier 1980s version called Black Knight or of any subsequent versions. BK 2000 was, in my humble opinion, the pinnacle of pinball. It is the most enjoyable of these games I have ever found.
With three modes involving multi-balls, 16 different bonus awards via the lightning wheel, and a kick-ass upper section that is the most well-built games I have ever seen, BK 2000 rocks. I found this in recent years at a couple of pinball museums (check the list below) and it's a joy to play. If I could afford the maintenance or have the space for it, then this is the one I would put in my own house. While I featured this game previously in my list of five favorite games, I am now coming out with the truth that this is my single favorite pinball game.
These are some of my pictures and, probably better yet, a Youtube video clip that shows you the game play.
Finding a Pinball Machine
In most parts of the world, these are really difficult to find, but some remain in certain countries. Here is a map of current public locations of pinball games. There aren’t many of these games left, but it’s a much different experience than playing on a computer or phone. If you can find one to try, you won't regret it.
Here’s a map showing North American locations:
This site is a good general resource for pinball games; it has helped me before in writing reviews of the games.
Photos by the author or family members.