Paul A. Romsky Jr. - Pachinko Pinball

This is a Japanese Pachinko Pinball machine (see photos below). I got it from a guy who rebuilds them. Pachinko machines first became poular in the 1940's so they are totally mechanical and use the weight of the steel balls dropping as energy for the mechanisums. Inside there are two buckets that are loaded/emptied by the Pachinko Parlor staff (by opening up the locked machine). The Upper Bucket inside the machine (Payout Bucket) holds all the Balls that are used for Payouts (Wins) and the Played Balls end up in the Lower Bucket inside the machine (Played Bucket). There are only two lights, one in the Rainbow (upper left) to indicate a low reserve on Payout Balls, and one in the center that lights up breifly when a Ball falls into one of the hard to hit High Scoring Holes. Your rented Balls go in the Upper Tray (Play Tray) - you would go up to a counter and purchase (rent) Balls before you start your playing. The Payout (Win) Balls end up in the Play Tray as well. If too many Balls are in Play Tray (which can jamb the machine), they can be dumped down into the Overflow Tray (Lower Tray) at any time by sliding a lever on the Play Tray open or closed as desired. On the right of the Play Tray is a Flip Handle and a Fist/Finger Rest. You rest your fist or any number of fingers on the Fist/Finger Rest and launch a Ball up to the top of the machine by flicking the Flip Handle with your thumb. The Ball then drops down and bounces off of the Pins and Spinners behind the Glass Cover. If the Ball falls into one of the Payout (Win) Holes, one or more of the Tulips may open or close (which increase or decreases, respectively, the chances of hitting Payout Holes on subsequenct Ball launches). Various amounts of Win Balls will be dispenced into the Play Tray (hitting a Bell as they drop) when a Ball falls into a Win Hole. In the center is the High Score Target that resembles a Bird. If you can get a Ball to fall into one of those holes, the Bird's Wings will open up and this increases your chances of scoring there again when other Balls are launched. A skilled Player can consistently flick just the right amount of energy to launch a Ball up and then for it to drop down without hitting the Bumper Stop (this increases the chances of hitting a Win Hole). If a Ball does not fall into any of the Holes (Win Holes or not) the Ball falls into the Drain Hole at the bottom of the Pin/Spinner (Play) Area and is lost to the Player. In fact, all launched Balls are kept by the machine, only Win (Payout) Balls are dispensed to the Player by the machine. Some Players launch many Balls in rapid succession so that many Balls are boucing around the Play Area at the same time - this can increase the chances of a Win due to the increased action of the Balls bouncing into each other. A skilled Player can keep about 10 Balls in play at the same time.

When a Player is done playing (you can go on all day as long as you get enough Winning Balls or keep purchasing more Balls), you grab a bucket next to the machine and put all the Balls from your Play Tray and Overflow Tray into it. Then you basically take it to the counter, where they are counted by a machine, and then claim a prize (if you have enough Balls). Usually, you spend about $5 (US Dollars) in Balls and win a $1 pack of gum! But prizes can range from that, to things like small radios (back in the day). Today I assume you can win modern electronic devices at the count (cost) of 10's of thousands of Balls. I think some vary rare parlors may let you accumulate purchased/won Balls and take them home, but virtually all of them will demand that you sell back all Balls (at a reduced priced from what you paid for them of course) before leaving - that is, any that you have remaining after redeeming them for a prize (if any).

Pachinko is simply low stakes gambling - it's a profit deal for the parlors! Go figure.

YouTube: The 1979 movie The Jerk Carnaval Weight Guesser scene.

See Wikipedia: Pachinko for more information on Pachinko.

Outside Front View of my Pachinko Machine

Outside Oblique View of the Machine

Inside View of the Machine