There is a lot going on when you play pinball. All the lights and features on a simple machine are enough to confuse even an experienced player. When you strip it all back to focus on just the ball, however, is the game random? How can you possibly control all those ricochets, bumpers, and lanes?

Of course, pinball has been proven in the courts to be a game of skill – this happened back in the era when pinball was banned.

A brilliant new video published by Vox, however, shows just how much it is possible to control pinball and achieve a high score.

The Ball is Controllable

The video features pinball legend Roger Sharpe and starts by describing the playing area as a map, rather than a collection of lights and obstacles.

Secondly, the video advises you should not randomly bash the flippers to get the ball away from the drain.

Sharpe himself says in the video: "I think the biggest hurdle for most people is that they think the ball is not controllable."

Therefore, knowing how to use flippers is key to the game. Crucial to this is slowing things down, so you can them aim for targets, particularly ramps.

Which one do you aim for, though? According to the video, you should focus on the ramps and targets that are lit up. When you hit one, another is likely to light up giving you another target to aim for.

Doing this can help you get into a pre-set mode which can increase the points you get when you hit a target, although this will usually only be temporary, i.e. it lasts while you are in the mode.


What about multi-ball? Multi-ball is, as the name suggests, a period of pinball gameplay where you have more than one ball in the play area at a time. This lets you score more points, not least because most multi-ball periods also trigger the table's jackpot targets. These jackpots are the key to getting a really high score.

To get into the multi-ball phase, you typically have to hit a pre-set series of targets. Again, this involves slowing the game down, controlling the ball, and understanding the map of the pinball machine’s playing area.

You can watch the full video below then, when you are ready, you can get your own full-size pinball machine to practice on until you master the game. Check out our range today.