Oh, I love the Internet. The Internet Pinball Database, available at http://www.ipdb.org claims to have information on virtually every commercially-produced pinball game (that’s over 5400 games) as well as other pinball-related files and links to pinball-related sites. The site does not, as is constantly emphasized, have pricing information, nor does it buy or sell pinball machines. All it has is tons of information (and a list of skills to be devloped to become an excellent pinball player, which would have come in handy many years ago.)
I started with the glossary because my pinball vocabulary is lacking, and I didn’t know why the machines were divided up into SS and EM. (SS stands for “Solid State”, while EM stands for Elecro-Mechanical games are are usually older, pre-1978.) Once you’re brushed up on your vocabulary and want to look for machines, you can do a simple keyword search or do a more extensive field search.
Not remembering any particular pinball game, I did remember a pinball game that said something like “Quit talkin’ and start chalkin’!” constantly. I thought it was called “Eight Ball” or something like that, so I did a search for eight. I got 46 results, presented in a table including the name of the pinball game, manufacturerer, number of pictures available, type of game (SS or EM, or PM for the really old ones) and rating.
After looking at a couple of results I recognized the game I was thinking of as Eight Ball Deluxe. The detail page had a huge amount of information, including manufacturing date, number of units produced, model number — there’s even a link to download the manual for the machine. You can either go to yet another pinball site (The Internet Pinball Serial Number Database) and get a list of serial numbers for the machine submitted by users. But there were two things that really impressed me.
The first one was the collection of 45 pictures, which included the full machine but also detail pictures of the playing field, cabinet (both inside and out) and even the front and page of a promotional flyer. The second was the set of reviews. This pinball game had 63 ratings and 52 comments. I’m pretty sure I’ve played Eight Ball deluxe and I could tell you it’s a pinball game and that’s about it. I certainly wouldn’t know anything about machines which are “draino,” or “side drains” or a “shotmaker’s table” or have “liberal tilt settings”. Reviews can rate games in four different categories. (Apparently Eight Ball Deluxe is rather iconic, which might be why I’ve actually heard of it.)
I’m kind of a hardware nerd so the detail provided on these machines and the love from the site is just wonderful. If you ever played pinball, visit.