Analog Pinball

I was just thinking: You know what I don't really like about pinball? Pretty much everything.

It's all flashy and fast and confusing. To me it seems totally random. All I know is Don't let the ball get past the flippers!

Then it goes straight between the flippers, and I think How the hell could that have been avoided? Is there any strategy to this whatsoever? Do people actually think two moves ahead or something?

At some point the ball goes up into the top of the machine: Flash, flash, bang. It's bouncing all over the place. There's music, and it's talking to me, but I can't really hear it because the arcade is so noisy. I am just waiting for the ball to return, waiting. Wondering. Why did I spent two quarters on this? Who is the target demographic for this anyway? What do the "themes" have to do with the game? Who drafted the licensing agreement for Golden Girls Pinball?

But most of all, wondering how fun it would be if you just unplugged the machine? I don't need all that flash and dash. Then it occurred to me: ANALOG PINBALL! Why not? No bells and whistles. All physics. Machinery. We're almost there. In fact, isn't that why people like pinball in the first place (supposedly), because it's tactile and "real"? We are saturated with animated video games now. Everything is on a screen. People crave real experiences more than ever.

When I was a kid I made an analog pinball game: I set a board on top of a trashcan and built a miniature obstacle course on top of it with cardboard. The idea was you'd actually tip the whole board around, maneouvering the ball between and around the obstacles. It wasn't really pinball, now that I think of it; more like one of those tippy-board games with a marble. It wasn't much fun.

Anyway, in preparation for this blog, I Googled "Analog Pinball," and came across THIS!


It looks a lot like I had in mind. And the added bonus is that multiple people can play it at once! How many analog games are there where two players work together? Way better than real pinball. Way better.

If anyone out there with a woodshop wants to get together and make one of these, I'm so down.

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