If you play pinball the amateur way, only trying to keep the ball from falling off the board, then you might think it’s a random game that gets boring after a few plays. But if you play it how the pros play it — even if you’re really bad at it — you’ll have a lot more fun.
In the video above, Vox explains the parts of a pinball game, and how to discover the objectives hidden in all the bells and whistles. Follow these principles:
- Survey the board before you play.
- Trap and aim the ball.
- Point the ball at the blinking lights.
- Watch the digital display for objectives.
- Read the rule card.
- Go for the multiball.
Once you’re paying attention, you’ll see that a pinball game is a set of minigames, which cohere into an arc, almost a plot. Following that arc is a lot more satisfying than just keeping the ball in play.
If you aren’t very good at playing, avoid the coin-play machines, and find a pinball museum or other all-you-can-play arcade. Pinball is a lot more fun when you don’t have to worry about constantly feeding your money to the machine. Plus you can hunt around for a game that “clicks” with you.
Pinball has changed a lot over the decades; you might prefer old mechanical machines, or new ones with HD computer screens built in, such as The Hobbit. Pinball: It isn’t all the same!