Playing Pinball to Win

Playing Pinball to Win-

If you go into any casino and look at the slot machines, you will find a board range of game types from fancy video slots to basic reel type games that have a generic theme. You see, there are players who play for entertainment who prefer games that have a lot of entertainment value, so the slot manufacturers make games directed toward these players. These games, such as Sex and the City, Batman, Rolling Stones, etc. have big name tie-ins, video clips, multiple bonuses, a sound chair, one cent denomination, and they are designed to have low volatility, so that a players money will last a bit longer.

If you keep looking at the slot machines in the casino, you will also see a large quantity of basic reel type games (Steppers). These games lack the video entertainment, lack the bonuses, don’t have a sound chair, and usually have generic themes. But when you watch people play, you will see a lot of players playing both game types. You see, these steppers are designed for players who mainly play to win. The games will usually be a nickel, quarter, or dollar denomination. But the big difference is that the steppers with a higher denomination are typically “Looser” than the fancy video slots.

Slot players play for different reasons. While most players are somewhere between the two extreme player types (Play for Entertainment & Play to Win), the corresponding two slot game types are both popular. When I go to a casino, I spend more time watching people play than I do playing. When you go to a local casino (like a Stations Casino in the Las Vegas area), you will actually see more play to win games than if you go to a casino on the strip.

What is the point of this article?

It’s because pinball players are in many ways similar to slot players. Of matter of fact, once upon a time, there were pinball machines that were directed at the players who played to win. During the pinball surge on the early 1990s, the manufacturers got so caught up in out-doing the other companies, that all games became fancy entertainment games that have low volatility, a big name license tie-in, a gimmick, etc. All games were made for the “Play for entertainment” player and the replay was overshadowed by elaborate modes, light shows, and musical score.

In doing this, the manufacturers neglected an important customer base, which ultimately eliminated these players from playing the game. Yes, to many players it is a thrill to win replays for their main motivation to play Pinball. To them, there was no better game than a highly volatile Gottlieb single player, where they could max out the credit meter with one great ball. The final great “Play to Win” game was highly volatile Eight Ball Deluxe, made 34 years ago.

I have decided to design my first pinball machine in many years. I do believe that making a “Play to Win” game can be a commercially successful game and begin to nurture a new class of “Play to Win” players. My game will actually have two rule sets that the player can choose from. They will be able to choose the conventional (low volatility) mode based game or the PTW (Play To Win) high volatility replay based game.

I will post progress reports on my new project on this blog.

Jon Norris