Keeping the ball out of the drains on a pinball table is the name of the game. Only when you do this can you work on building a good score. What happens, however, if the ball is heading for the drain?
All is not lost, even if it looks like you can’t get your flippers near a ball heading for a drain. In fact, ball saves are an essential skill to learn.
Depending on which drain the ball is heading to, you either need to nudge then slap save or simply just nudge.
Pinball nudging involves physically shaking the machine to get the ball to change direction. It is a suitable technique when the ball is going down a drain lane on the outside edges of the table.
This is often called an outlane and it is usually situated right beside an inlane. The difference between the outlane and the inlane is usually a simple pin – get on the wrong side of it and you lose the ball.
Nudging the table, however, can move the ball just enough to get it away from the outlane and into the inlane.
Nudging is also suitable when the ball is heading for the main drain between the flippers. Often, you will need to do a slap save in addition to a nudge to save a ball heading for the center drain. This is because a nudge is unlikely to change the direction of the ball significantly enough to move it completely away from the drain.
The Slap Save
The slap save involves hitting the flipper that the ball is moving towards and then immediately hitting the other flipper in quick succession.
So, you nudge the table to move the ball towards a flipper, use that flipper to slap the ball onto the other one, then use the second flipper to send it back up the table.
Remember though, you risk getting a tilt, so you can't nudge too much. In most games, getting a tilt will cost you points and you will probably lose the ball too, including any end-of-ball bonus.
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