The Best Pinball Websites to Feed Your Pinball Obsession

The Best Pinball Websites to Feed Your Pinball Obsession
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The Best Pinball Websites to Feed Your Pinball Obsession
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The Best Pinball Websites to Feed Your Pinball Obsession
Published on
January 7, 2023
Updated on
October 15, 2023
Read time:
4
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Pinball stands as a classic American pastime, blending the thrill of flashing lights with the satisfying challenge of scoring points. Its appeal lies in a mix of skill and luck, requiring both quick reflexes and a steady hand. Every machine showcases a unique design, making each game a distinct experience. Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the pinball scene, the game's allure remains steadfast.

Pinball has transcended its retro roots to become a significant part of modern gaming culture. The community is thriving with an increasing number of enthusiasts joining the ranks. The excitement extends beyond playing. New pinball machines are being manufactured at a rapid pace, competitive leagues are growing, and a market for parts and modifications is bustling. There's a vibrant discussion ongoing in forums and social media, marking a lively era for pinball enthusiasts. If you haven't explored this scene yet, now's a great time to dive in.

The pinball community, while thriving, can be a bit daunting for newcomers or those with limited time. There's a lot to sift through, and finding your way around can be challenging. However, we've got you covered. We have compiled a list of the top pinball websites categorized for easy navigation. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in the pinball culture or simply wish to buy a new machine, our list will guide you to the best resources. We've also highlighted websites that excel in multiple categories with an "also great" note to provide a comprehensive guide.

The Best Pinball Websites

the best pinball websites

Alright, let's get down to business. These are the cream of the crop, the websites that every self-respecting pinball fan should have bookmarked. These are the places where the real enthusiasts hang out, chatting on giant community forums or reading up on the latest pinball news and happenings. These sites cover it all, from hardcore technical stuff to cool lifestyle content. If you're just getting into pinball, these are the places to start. Trust us, you won't be disappointed.

Pinside

Pinside, it's the hub of the pinball community. Yeah, it's not for everyone - it's got all the usual forum drama and moderation issues you'd expect from a place like this. But it's also got the biggest, most active community around, and for that reason alone, it's worth checking out. But it's not just about the forums - they've also got a ton of info on pinball machines, a directory of businesses, a marketplace for picking up used machines from other collectors, and all sorts of other useful stuff. It's a must-visit for any pinball enthusiast.

Nudge Magazine

Nudge Magazine, is a lifestyle magazine for pinball nuts, with a fresh, outside perspective on the scene. It's got excellent photography, writing with a voice all its own, and an attitude that's sorely needed in the pinball community. Yeah, you can read it online, but if you really want to experience Nudge in all its glory, you gotta get your hands on a printed edition. Trust us, it's worth it. No wonder they've been such a hit with pinball fans.

This Week in Pinball

This Week in Pinball, it's been a fixture in the pinball world for years now, and for good reason. Every week, they bring you the latest and greatest from the pinball scene - new games, mods, production updates, coding stuff, you name it. They do some killer deep dives on new game releases, and they're also known for putting on the TWIPY Pinball Awards every year. If you're serious about pinball, this is a website you don't want to miss.

Tilt Forums

Tilt Forums may not be as big or flashy as Pinside, but that's okay. They've got a different focus - this is where you go for in-depth discussions on the competitive side of pinball. Rules, tournament strategies, the latest in the pinball competition and event scene - it's all here. And if you're into the rulesets of newer games, particularly from Stern Pinball, Tilt is an invaluable resource. It's a smaller community, which means it's a little less toxic than some of the other forums out there. Definitely worth checking out if you're into the competitive side of pinball.

Reddit Pinball

If you're on Reddit (and let's face it, who isn't these days), you'll know exactly what to expect from r/pinball. It's smaller than Pinside, but bigger than Tilt, and covers a lot of the same ground as Pinside. The vibe is a little more welcoming to newcomers and more conversational. Definitely worth a visit if you're into pinball and you're already on the site.

Knapp Arcade

Knapp Arcade, it's the personal website of Jason Knapp, and let me tell you, this guy has been making waves in the pinball community for years now. What started out as an Instagram account with some cool pics of pinball machines and arcades has turned into one of the top sources for breaking news and juicy rumors. His site is constantly being cited in podcasts and other groups as the go-to source for what's happening in the pinball world. If you want to stay on top of things in the pinball scene, you'd better pay a visit to Knapp Arcade.

Pinball News

Pinball News has been a mainstay of the pinball community for a long time (since 1999!), back when pinball was just a faint glimmer in the eye of modern culture. These guys have been around the block, they've seen some things. And they're exactly what you'd expect - a consistently updated resource for the latest and greatest in pinball news. Industry stuff, new game reviews, reports from pinball shows, info on where to play - it's all here. If you're looking for a comprehensive resource on what's happening in the pinball world, look no further than Pinball News.

IPDB

The Internet Pinball Database is a comprehensive database of just about every pinball machine ever produced. They have some of the most in-depth information about pinball games anywhere, though the pace of updates on the newest games has seemingly slowed of late. Still, head there for game trivia, photos, production details, and more.

The Best Pinball Repair and Restoration Websites

best pinball repair and restoration websites

The people who run these pinball repair and restoration sites (especially PinWiki and Pin Repair) are doing a massive service to the pinball community. Pinball machines are a blast, but they break down all the time. And since a lot of them are decades old at this point, it'd be a real struggle for pinball enthusiasts if they didn't have these resources to turn to. YouTube and Pinside have a ton of good stuff on this stuff too, but these websites are the real MVPs.

PinWiki

PinWiki is an incredible resource. I mean, it's got everything you need to know about owning a pinball machine - how to fix it, diagnose common problems, figure out what tools you need in your repair kit, the works. It's organized really well too, which is a godsend. This is the go-to resource for a lot of people in the community.

Pin Repair

Pin Repair is a lot like PinWiki, but with a focus on fixing and diagnosing issues with older pinball machines. You know, the electromechanical stuff and some of the early solid state machines. If you're into those old EM machines, Pin Repair is a goddamn lifesaver. Definitely worth checking out if you're into the maintenance and repair side of things.

Planetary Pinball

Planetary Pinball owns the licenses for those old Bally/Williams game IPs, so they're a good place to go for official reproduction parts. But a lot of people in the pinball community use them for another reason - they've got a massive library of game manuals and parts catalogs. If you ever need to find a specific part number or look at an OEM diagram to figure out what is going on with your game, this is the place to go.

Home Pinball Repair

Home Pinball Repair, it's another one of those comprehensive pinball repair resources. Yeah, it covers a lot of the same ground as Pin Repair and PinWiki, but these sites are few and far between, so we figured it's worth mentioning as many as we could. Home Pinball Repair has been around for over 20 years, so they've got a ton of experience and knowledge to share.

Classic Playfield Reproductions

Classic Playfield Reproductions, you might know them better as CPR. They're the go-to resource for high quality reproductions of pinball playfields, plastics, and backglasses. The pinball community, especially those of us who love the older machines, owe a lot to this company. They're helping keep some of these classic games alive. For those who are inclined, instead of trashing a beat-up roached out machine, they can get some of the most important parts as if they were new old stock to facilitate full or partial restorations of pins in distress.

Pinball Pimp

Pinball Pimp is a great complement to what Classic Playfield Reproductions is doing. They're all about fully authorized stenciling kits for classic pinball machines. These kits let you do full cabinet restorations, touch up any wood damage, and restore the beautiful artwork to practically original condition. Yeah, Pinball Pimp does a little restoration work and sells some mods here and there, but he's mostly known for those stencils in the community

Outside Edge Products

Outside Edge offers a unique and competitive alternative to CPR's full playfield reproductions. They make these things called pinball Hardtops, which are essentially thin plastic adhesive coverings for pinball playfields with officially licensed artwork. You strip down the playfield, sand off the original artwork, apply the hardtop, rebuild the machine, and boom - you've got a playfield that looks almost new. Yeah, there are some drawbacks, but it's a great option for those who don't want to do a full playfield swap or can't afford CPR's products.


The Best Pinball Resource Websites

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best pinball resource websites

Pinball machines have a ton of data associated with them. From secondary market pricing to production details, it's a gaming historian's dream niche. There are several important resources in the hobby. Like many other categories on this list, the primary player is Pinside, but there are several others worth highlighting

Pinball Prices

Pinball Prices is a pinball website that's exactly what it sounds like. They track and log publicly available sales data for pinball machines on the secondary market. If you need to figure out how much a machine is worth, either one you own or one you're thinking of buying, this is a super helpful resource. Because they track data from other sites (like eBay) it's a little more comprehensive than what you might find on Pinside.

OPDB aka the Open Pinball Database

The OPDB isn't quite as comprehensive or well known as IPDB, but it's still an important piece of digital infrastructure for those building digital products in the pinball community. IPDB is kind of closed off, but the OPDB is open source, so anyone can use and contribute to their extensive database of pinball machines.

Pinball Map

Pinball Map might have the highest utility value of any site on this list. It's a comprehensive, crowd-sourced database of every physical location in the United States (and some international markets) with pinball machines, including detailed breakdowns of the specific machines at each location and their condition. This site (and their app) keeps the community engaged with pinball operators and locations, which is invaluable.


The Best Competitive and Tournament Pinball Websites

the best competitive and tournament pinball websites

One of the things that keeps the pinball community alive is the competitive and tournament scene. Besides the hardcore collectors, it's one of the groups most responsible for keeping interest in pinball alive after the industry almost died out at the end of the 90s. If you're interested in the competitive side of pinball, these are the sites you need to know.

IFPA Official Website

The IFPA, the governing organization of competitive pinball, has the best website to learn about the rules of competitive pinball, see player rankings, and find upcoming tournaments near you. If you're interested in the competitive side of pinball, this is the place to start. They run a tight ship and keep things organized, so you don't want to miss out on what they have to offer.

Pinball Videos

The competitive pinball scene has a ton of great tournaments that get streamed to YouTube and Twitch. Pinball Videos is an ongoing archive of these tournaments, organized by tournament and by specific games. It's an amazing resource for anyone looking to study up on rules and gameplay strategies.

PinTips

PinTips is a crowd-sourced database of gameplay tips for specific pinball machines. It's a great resource if you're playing in a tournament and need a quick overview on how to approach a specific machine, or if you just want a refresher on your strategy.

Matchplay Events

Matchplay is the go-to pinball tournament software provider. Tournament organizers and players use this software frequently to manage their competitions. The development team behind Matchplay has been an incredible resource for the pinball community, and they also offer a helpful guide to some of the more popular tournament formats on their site.

Pinball Statistics

Pinball Statistics is a newer effort spearheaded by Tim Sexton, a game developer for Stern Pinball. Pinball Statistics focuses on statistical analysis of competitive play, including its own Pinball Power Rankings list for the current top players in the game. They also run a popular Fantasy Pinball game for some of the larger competitions, like INDISC.  

The Best Websites for Buying Pinball Parts and Mods

pinball parts and mods website

The pinball community is full of people who create pinball parts and mods, from companies that specialize in replacement parts for common repairs to component upgrades and more. The creativity in pinball is reflected in the work of mod makers, who produce visually interesting or functionally useful improvements for new and old games. There are many great places to find pinball parts and mods, but these are some of our favorites.

Titan Pinball

Titan Pinball is known mostly for their line of upgraded silicone rubbers, which come in a variety of colors. They also sell other game accessories like LED lights and repair tools.

Pinball Life

Pinball Life is one of the major sources for replacement parts for just about any pinball machine you can think of. They have a large selection and approachable site, and are generally just a pleasure to do business with.

Pinball Resource

Pinball Resource is the best place to find parts for your Gottlieb pinball machines.

Marco Specialties

Marco Specialties is one of the best and largest pinball parts providers. They also sell new machines and accessories. Marco is known to be supportive of the pinball community broadly.

Comet Pinball

Comet Pinball is known for their line of replacement LED lights for pinball machines. Like others on this list, they are known to be very supportive of the pinball community and are very easy to work with. The go-to resource for LED lights.

Mezel Mods

Mezel Mods is one of the best known mod makers in all of pinball and offer a variety of cool mods for both new and old machines.

Pinstadium

Pinstadium makes a unique line of playfield lighting mods that improve visibility of your game, add to the overall light show, and help illuminate the playfield for activities like streaming.

ColorDMD

Buy upgraded and replacement DMD screens through ColorDMD. This is a great vendor if you're looking to upgrade the display on your game.

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The Best Websites for Buying Pinball Machines

best websites to buy a new pinball machine

When it comes to buying a new pinball machine online, these are some of the best places to start. It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are all reputable places with a strong digital presence and positive reputation in the community. Trust me, you don't want to end up with some sketchy pinball dealer - stick to these guys and you'll be good to go.

Flip N Out Pinball

Flip N Out Pinball is a very well known distributor in the pinball community with national reach. Headed by pinball influencer Zach Meny, Flip n' Out is associated with many of the top content creators in the space.

Little Shop of Games

Little Shop of Games is a longstanding distributor offering new and used machines, plus arcade games. Based in Florida, Little Shop of Games does offer shipping to other parts of the country.

Maine Home Recreation

Based out of Maine, Maine Home Recreation is a very reputable dealer that could be a good option for your pinball purchasing needs, particularly if you happen to live in the North East.

The Best Websites for Buying Pinball Merch & Accessories

best websites for pinball merch and accessories

Pinball isn't just a game, it's a lifestyle! And what's a lifestyle without some swag? These are some great places to find merch and creative accessories from your favorite podcasts and pinball companies. Buy a hoodie and a hat and become one with your inner pinball bro.

Silverball Swag

Silverball Swag is the go-to resource if you want some pinball themed merch or something with the logo of your favorite pinball creator. Find merch for notable creators like Wormhole Pinball, Triple Drain, The Wild Dog Arcade, and many others.

Lit Frames

Lit Frames offers a series of LED backlit frames designed to house pinball translites. These things look phenomenal in a game room or arcade.

The Stern Shop

Yep, we had to go there. The Stern Shop offers a huge selection of Stern branded goods, from pint glasses to puzzles. It can be a little expensive, but you gotta rep the brand of your favorite manufacturer, right?