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How did Pinball Machines Emerge into Internet?



A pinball machine is a type of arcade game, in which points are scored by a player manipulating steel balls on a playfield inside a glass-covered cabinet called a pinball table. The primary objective of the game is to score as many points as possible. A secondary objective is to propel the ball with the plunger or launch mechanism to achieve “bonus” scores.

The design of pinball tables involves creative and mechanical designs including multilevel playfields; ramps; roll-overs; targets; kickers; spinners that reveal one or more aspects of a mechanical device; magnets; and other devices including electrical switches, solenoids, bumpers, nudgers, kickers, lanes guides and more.

Pinball games evolve from the early sport of 18th century France which used metal balls on a wood pitch to knock down pins. The game had several variations that led to indoor versions played on tabletops called bagatelle. Pinball evolved into an outdoor version played on lawns which used stakes as uprights for the pins. Subsequently, different versions were developed with electrified flippers first appearing in 1931. But pinball didn’t emerge into the internet until 1989 when it entered onto the World Wide Web by Eric Johnston who wanted to play his favourite game while at work but couldn’t due to lack of access to any pinball machines. Johnston soon realized he could access the Internet from his office, connect to a game server owned by another gamer, and play via modem.

The first area on the web devoted entirely to the playing of pinball was established in 1994 at Rutgers University by Josh Drew who set up an entire machine for online gamers to enjoy. The computer game “Pinball” appeared on computers during the 1970s, but this had no connection with physical pinball games. A similar game called Pinball Dreams was published for various platforms in 1992, which had four different tables with various levels of difficulty. With advances in computing power, new variations began appearing such as 3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet, included with XP until 2006 when it was relegated to the Windows Free Play List. A great pinball game ‘Pinball Arcade’ was released for the iOS platform in 2010, which comes with several tables free to play. Pinball video games are still being made for various platforms along with online versions of commercial and freely available software which faithfully recreate real machines and fictional variations. The best pinball games recreated on the Internet include:Pinball World is a virtual world designed around classic arcade games such as pinball and includes other titles like breakout and Pac man. Players use their flipper buttons to navigate around the city and can practise playing at their own pace before entering into matches with other players from across the world. Pinball has now transformed into all kinds of different game types – even pinball slots, pinball casinos and pinball action games. We’ll see what the future brings next.

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