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||Baffle Ball Sr. 1932 - v2
||198kB (202,945 bytes)
||Feb 17th, 2010 06:58:03 AM EST
||May 20th, 2022 09:25:30 PM EST
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||There have been countless arcade games over the years, but few have been as consistently popular as pinball. The game responsible for starting this long-lived trend was Baffle Ball, created by David Gottleib in Chicago in 1930. Unlike modern-day pinball games, this one did not use electric power. Baffle Ball was also a very small game: it measured 16 by 24 inches and was just the right size to fit on a counter top or a small table.
For the price of one penny, a player received five balls. To play the game, baffle ball wizards fired a ball to the top of a sloped playing field with the help of a plunger. At this point, the player was at the mercy of gravity, since this game did not feature flippers or any other method of controlling the ballís motion. The player simply looked on while the ball found its own path, guided by a number of pins sticking out of the playing field that would nudge it in different directions.
Once launched, the balls would fall into various holes on the field or into slots that made up its lower edge. Each had a different scoring value, giving the player an incentive to try to get the ball into certain holes or slots to score the maximum amount of points. Since there were no flippers, players would usually achieve this by carefully manipulating how soft or hard they fired the ball with the plunger. Tilting the machine to guide the ball was another popular (if illegal) way to increase the possibility of a high score.
Baffle Ball became an instant hit upon its release, quickly selling 50,000 units at the cost of $17.50 each. Its success established pinball as an important new game in the arcade world and made Gottleib the first major pinball game manufacturer. Baffle Ball also earned sequels in the form of 1932ís Baffle Ball Sr. and a 1935 remake of the original game that used electric power. Today, this classic continues to live on in video-game form through as one of the seven classic pinball games reproduced in the PC home game Microsoft Pinball Arcade.
Although Baffle Ball has been succeeded by countless other games and several pinball innovations, it still holds up as a fun, addictive game. And if nothing else, it will always be remembered fondly as the game that made modern pinball possible.
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