You need to know your adversary in order to win, and this is also true with your pinball machine. There are certain parts of a pinball machine that you need to be familiar with so that you will know how the game works in order for you to create a gaming strategy for longer hours of gameplay.
This spring-loaded rod is used to introduce the ball into the playfield. A skilled player can regulate the force applied on the plunger in order to direct the ball to a certain area of the playfield at the beginning of the game. The plunger is not used again unless a ball needs to be added into the playfield.
You cannot play your pinball machine without the playfield. This is where the action takes place, and it is usually made out of wood coated with several layers of paint to keep it smooth. It’s inclined between 6-7 degrees towards the player so that gravity can influence the game and control the ball. Often on the playfield you will see holes, obstacles, targets, and bumpers that will constantly challenge your skills as a pinball player.
Skilled players manipulate the game by nudging the machine in order to direct the ball towards a certain path. Experienced players know just how much power to give into a nudge without tripping the tilt sensor. The tilt sensor is installed in the machine in order to prevent players from cheating excessively.
Old tilt sensors stop the game entirely by locking the flippers and disabling solenoids. In modern designs, the player can tilt the machine several times according to what’s been set by the operator, before totally ending the game.
There’s a so a slam tilt switch that guards the machine against overly aggressive players, or for players who will kick and slam the coin mechanism in order to trigger a false indication that a coin has been inserted for additional credit. The game totally ends when the slam tilt is switched.
These small controlled levers can be operated mechanically or electronically, depending on the pinball machine design. With careful manipulation, a player can use the flippers to direct the ball towards a certain direction in order to hit targets for scoring points. Flippers were introduced in the Humpty Dumpty pinball machine by Gottlieb, with just two flippers placed above the centre drain.
Bumpers are round knobs suspended a few millimetres above the playfield. The first bumpers were do nothing when they are hit by the ball, which is why they are called passive bumpers. Modern pinball machines now have pop bumpers or jet bumpers that propel a ball away. It’s activated once the ball touches a switch that is connected to a ring that surrounds the bumper.
Holes give large bonuses and points to players. There are holes that will take in a ball and shoot it out in a different area in the playfield, while other holes take in a ball, give bonuses, but won’t give the ball back. Depending on your goal in the game, you need to direct the ball in some holes to rack up points and beat the high score.
You will get to know more and more parts of the pinball machine as you play. Take the time to learn as much as you can about pinball machine parts so that you will know how to play the game, operate it , as well as maintain your own machine.