The terminology used in pinball can be difficult to understand if you are a beginner. This terminology covers everything from the various parts of a pinball machine to the types of shot you can use.

In this blog, we’ll look at the main pinball machine parts you should know about. Understanding the terms will not make you a better pinball player, but at least you will understand what your buddies are talking about.

Pinball Machine Parts

• Plunger – this is a rod with a spring load mechanism that lets you launch the ball into the playfield.

• Playfield – the playfield is the area where the ball bounces around scoring your points. It will have a range of features and targets as well as flippers.

• Flipper – flippers are the main method of interacting with a pinball machine. When a flipper strikes the ball, it flips back up the table.

• Bumper – bumpers are normally cylindrical or shaped like a mushroom. They are targets that are strategically placed around the playfield and the ball bounces off them when they are hit. Most bumpers are active which means they apply force to the ball once hit, sending the ball away faster than it was going when it hit the bumper.

• Holes – holes are parts of a pinball machine that the ball can fall into. Therefore, you will find them in the playfield. What happens to your ball after it falls into a hole depends on the pinball machine. Usually, you get points with some holes keeping the ball in exchange for those points. Other holes return the ball to a different part of the playfield while there are some that return it to the plunger.

• Drain – this is the part of the table that swallows your ball, usually when it gets past your flippers.

• Ramp – a raised section of the playfield that usually brings your ball to another part of the table.

• Tilt Sensor – this is a feature of physical pinball machines and is intended to prevent players from rocking, moving, or tilting the table too much in an attempt to change the direction of the ball.

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