Pinball Terms Glossary

Pinball Terms Glossary
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Pinball Terms Glossary
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Pinball Terms Glossary
Published on
December 1, 2023
Updated on
May 13, 2024
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This glossary covers a list of pinball terms commonly used in the hobby. We hope this helps you to enjoy and communicate with other pinheads out there.

Action Button

The Action Button, a staple feature on the lockdown bar of many modern Stern Pinball machines, is more than just a simple switch. Strategically placed at the center of the bar for easy access, this button does double duty in the pinball world. Not only does it serve the traditional role of launching the ball into play, but it also becomes a crucial tool during gameplay. With a well-timed press, players can execute specific in-game actions, adding an extra layer of strategy and skill to the pinball experience. This multifunctional button enhances the interactive nature of the game, offering players a more engaging and dynamic way to influence the course of play.


The Add-a-Ball (AAB) feature in pinball machines, first introduced in the 1960s, allows players to earn additional balls by completing specific tasks. This innovation was primarily to differentiate pinball from gambling devices by prolonging gameplay without the exchange of extra credits. In contrast to the extra ball feature, where earned balls are used immediately, Add-a-Ball increases the total number of balls available, shown on the game display. Modern versions of this feature often add balls during multiball play. Players can continually earn more balls through Add-a-Ball, regardless of whether it's previously been activated in the current ball in play.

Alley Pass

A pinball flipper technique where the ball is passed from one flipper to the other by shooting it up the inlane. Also known as a shatz.

Alphanumeric Display

Introduced in the late 1970s, Alphanumeric Displays marked a key technological advancement in pinball machines, transitioning from electromechanical to solid-state systems. These displays, using segmented plasma or cathodic tubes, could show both numbers and letters, enhancing game interactivity. They facilitated digital control, leading to more complex gameplay with features like music, speech, ramps, and multiball. Although eventually replaced by dot-matrix displays, Alphanumeric Displays were pivotal in evolving pinball machines into more engaging and sophisticated entertainment devices.


This substantial attachment, often crafted from metal or plastic, serves multiple purposes. Primarily, it conceals the ball trough, the area where balls are collected and launched during gameplay. More than just a functional cover, the apron often features inserts designed to display vital information to players, such as scorecards, instruction cards, or even pricing details. Additionally, its front edges are strategically designed to form the lower boundary of the playfield. This design guides the ball towards the drain, a crucial aspect of the game's flow.


The Auto-Plunger is a feature in modern pinball machines that automatically launches balls into play. This eliminates the need for players to use a manual plunger. It's often activated by a button or automatically by the game during certain scenarios, like multiball events where it rapidly sends multiple balls onto the playfield. The Auto-Plunger adds speed and efficiency to the game, especially during moments that require quick action.


The Backbox is the vertical section located at the head of a pinball machine. It's a key component that houses various important elements such as the backglass, game displays, and electronic circuits. In modern machines, the Backbox includes digital displays like Seven-segment displays, DMDs, or LCDs, and often contains the speakers. It also holds scoring mechanisms like score reels and lighting. The Backbox, also referred to as the 'head' of the machine, is essential for the game's operation, while the main body of the machine is known as the 'cabinet'. Older terms for the Backbox include 'lightbox' or 'back rack'.


The Backglass is an important visual element in the backbox of a pinball machine. It's a glass panel that features the game's title and artwork, often created using a reverse glass printing technique where layers of color are screen-printed onto the back of the glass. Some areas are left unpainted to allow visibility of score displays or ball count. Introduced in 1935 with lighted scoring, A backglass can be either a traditional glass with silk-screened ink artwork or a more modern translite, which is a sheet of plastic with printed artwork. It's known for its artistic quality and is a key attraction for players, contributing significantly to the machine's overall aesthetic appeal. Due to its fragility and susceptibility to peeling, an original backglass is a coveted item among collectors, especially for its vibrant colors and detailed illustrations.

Ball Lock

A Ball Lock in pinball is a mechanism that captures and holds a ball in place after a specific shot is made. It's typically used to set up multiball play by storing one or more balls, which are then released simultaneously to create an intense, fast-paced game scenario. Ball Locks can either physically hold the balls until multiball is activated or briefly hold them while maintaining a virtual count. This feature adds a strategic element to gameplay, as players aim to achieve the required shot to trigger the Ball Lock and advance into multiball play.

Ball Save

Ball Save is a feature found in modern pinball machines designed to enhance gameplay fairness. It operates by returning the ball to the player if it drains too quickly after launch. In the past, ball saving was achieved using physical components like a magic post or magna-save, which would block the gap between the flippers. Nowadays, this feature is more technologically advanced: the ball is allowed to drain but is then automatically returned either to the plunger or the playfield, depending on the machine's settings. This allows the player to relaunch it as the same ball in play. The duration of the Ball Save varies from machine to machine and is often adjustable. Primarily activated when starting with a new ball to offset rapid, 'unfair' drains, Ball Save can also kick in at the start of multiball events or as a reward for certain achievements in the game. The mechanism that facilitates this return of a drained ball is sometimes referred to as 'autosave'.

Ball Search

Ball Search is a feature in modern pinball machines designed to address situations where the ball becomes stuck or inactive. If the game detects no scoring activity or switch hits for a certain period, it initiates a ball search. This process involves cycling all solenoids in the game sequentially, activating various pinball mechanisms like flippers, bumpers, and gates. The purpose is to dislodge any balls that may have become stuck during play. If the ball search fails to free the ball, many machines are programmed to automatically place a new ball in the shooter lane, allowing the player to continue the game. This feature helps maintain the flow and continuity of the game, ensuring a smooth playing experience.

Banana Flippers

Banana Flippers are a unique and experimental type of flipper used in pinball machines, most notably by Williams in the 1970s. These flippers are distinctively curved, resembling the shape of a banana, which sets them apart from the traditional straight flipper bats. Made of nylon, their design was inspired by cestas, the curved baskets used in the sport of jai alai. Banana Flippers were a novelty in the pinball world and were only featured in two Williams games: 'Disco Fever' and early production versions of 'Time Warp'. Their unusual shape offered a different gameplay experience, but they remain a rare sight in the pinball industry due to their limited use.

Bang Back

The Bang Back is a controversial and physically demanding technique in pinball, used to save a ball heading down an outlane. As the ball nears the trough, the player sharply hits the front of the machine, timing it so that the ball bounces off the bottom of the playfield and back into play. While effective, this move is illegal in tournaments and can be risky, both for the player's wrist and the machine's integrity. It can also lead to being ejected from a venue.

Bash Toy

A Bash Toy is a dynamic feature in pinball machines, often an action figure or an object that aligns with the game's theme. It's more than just a decorative piece; it has a target switch integrated into its base. When players hit this toy with the ball, they score points, engaging directly with the game's theme. The Bash Toy adds an interactive element to the playfield, making it not only a visual focal point but also a key part of the gameplay, as players aim to strike it to boost their scores.

Bonus (end-of-ball bonus)

The Bonus feature in pinball, known as the end-of-ball bonus, awards extra points when a ball exits the playfield. Its value varies based on gameplay actions or is fixed per ball. Originating in the 1939 'Nippy', it became widespread in the 1970s with more complex scoring systems introduced by microprocessor-based pinball machines. This feature enhanced the strategic depth of the game, as tilting could result in losing the bonus.

Bounce Pass

A flipper technique used on pinball machines where the ball is allowed to bounce off a flipper without flipping it so that it can be controlled by the other flipper. Also referred as a dead flip or dead pass.


Bumpers in pinball are key components that interact with the ball, typically standing vertically on the playfield. The most common type is the 'pop bumper', but the term encompasses any element against which the ball can bounce or bump. Initially, bumpers were simple upright cylinders known as 'passive' or 'dead' bumpers. They served as obstacles and ricochet points but did not score points. In the 1960s, bumpers evolved to include scoring capabilities. The modern 'active' bumpers, also known as 'jet bumpers' (Williams), 'thumper bumpers' (Bally Technologies), or 'turbo bumpers' (Data East/Sega), are equipped with a ring and solenoid that react to ball hits by actively propelling the ball in a different direction. There are also 'slingshots', 'mushroom bumpers', 'tower bumpers', and 'disappearing bumpers'. Each type, whether active or passive, contributes to the scoring in the game. Active bumpers kick the ball away upon impact, while passive bumpers do not have such a mechanism.


The "Buy-In" feature in pinball machines allows players to continue the game after the last standard ball has drained, usually in exchange for one credit. This feature typically offers one to three additional balls and varies in terms of availability for further buy-ins after each extra ball drains. Some pinball machines also maintain a separate high-score table for games completed using the buy-in feature, distinguishing them from traditional gameplay scores. First appearing in 1934 as a "buy-back," this feature became more common with the advent of solid-state pinball machines, starting with Bally Midway's Blackwater 100 in 1988. The buy-in feature adds a strategic layer to pinball, allowing players to extend their game for a cost, enhancing both the challenge and engagement of the gameplay experience.


The Cabinet, also known as the 'body' of a pinball machine, is the main structural component that houses crucial elements of the game. It holds the playfield where the action unfolds, including all the playfield components like flippers, bumpers, and targets. Additionally, it contains the coin box, the flipper buttons, and the plunger. Accessible through the coin door at the front, the cabinet is not just functional but also a canvas for art. Especially in later models, it often features vibrant, multi-colored graphics that attract attention and enhance the machine's aesthetic appeal. The Cabinet is distinct from the backbox, which is the vertical section at the head of the machine.

Captive Ball

A Captive Ball in pinball is a ball that is confined to a small, specific area of the playfield, separate from the main ball in play. It cannot leave its designated area, nor can the free ball enter it. However, the player can use the free ball to hit the captive ball, which can then strike targets within its enclosure. Some tables feature innovative designs with multiple captive balls or use fixed balls as targets to activate a moving captive ball, adding complexity and unique challenges to the gameplay.

Chicane Lane

Chicane Lane in pinball is a playfield feature characterized by its several curves, causing the ball to move in a zig-zag or wiggling motion as it rolls down. These lanes often include inserts along their path, indicating the awards or features a player can earn when a ball passes through. The curved design of Chicane Lanes not only adds visual interest and strategic complexity to the game but also serves to slow the ball down, affecting the gameplay dynamics.

Coin Door

The Coin Door, a fundamental component of pinball machines, emerged in the early 1930s, marking the advent of coin-operated pinball. Introduced by David Gottlieb with his game 'Baffle Ball', the Coin Door played a pivotal role in the game's commercial success, especially during the Great Depression era. It allowed for pinball to become widely accessible as a form of cheap entertainment in public places like drugstores and taverns. The Coin Door, typically located at the front of the cabinet, is the slot through which players insert money to start the game, establishing pinball machines as popular, revenue-generating arcade games.


In pinball, a Combo, or Combo Shot, is a sequence where a player makes multiple shots in quick succession, often linking different moves such as continuous ramp and/or orbit shots. Modern pinball machines recognize and reward these combos, often increasing the points awarded based on the number of successful consecutive shots. Some machines even offer extra points for a specific set of shots executed in the correct order. Games like 'Taxi', 'Theatre of Magic', and 'Demolition Man' are known for their emphasis on rewarding combo shots, adding an extra layer of challenge and strategy to the gameplay as players aim to chain their shots for maximum points.


A pinball flipper technique where the ball is held on a flipper by keeping the flipper activated.

Credit Dot

The Credit Dot in pinball machines is a small visual indicator displayed on the alphanumeric and dot matrix score displays. This feature alerts operators to potential issues with the game that require servicing. Appearing as a decimal point (or dot) immediately following the displayed number of credits, the Credit Dot is intended for operator attention rather than for the players. Originally, the dot indicated switch errors, but in later games, it came to represent additional error conditions, such as a missing ball in a multiball game

Dead Bumper

A Dead Bumper, also known as a Passive Bumper, is a type of bumper found in pinball machines. It's characterized by a plastic body encircled by a rubber ring and typically features a scoring skirt, often with lighting for visual appeal. Unlike active bumpers that have solenoids to propel the ball actively, Dead Bumpers rely solely on the natural rebound provided by the rubber ring and the force of the ball hitting it. This means they don't kick the ball away but instead provide a more subtle interaction, where the ball's trajectory changes based on how it strikes the bumper.

Dead Flip / Dead Pass

Dead Flip, also known as Dead Flipper Pass or Bounce Pass, is a technique used in pinball play for better ball control. This technique involves letting the ball bounce off one flipper without actually flipping it. It's typically employed when the ball approaches the center of the flipper at high speed. By not activating the flipper, the player allows the ball to naturally bounce off and transfer over to the opposite flipper. This maneuver is useful for controlling the ball's movement and setting up more strategic shots.

Death Save

A Death Save is an advanced and often risky maneuver in pinball, employed to save a ball that's headed down an outlane, particularly the right outlane. The technique involves a precise movement of the pinball machine. As the ball nears the drain, the player holds up the left flipper and simultaneously slides the machine to the left and then sharply to the right. This action should be timed so that as the ball hits the metal plate of the apron, its momentum is redirected back up between the flippers, ideally landing on the right flipper. It's a challenging move that requires timing and a bit of finesse to successfully bring the ball back into play.


A Diverter in pinball is a mechanism that can change the ball's path on the playfield. Typically controlled by a solenoid, it swings to direct the ball onto different routes, such as alternative ramps or lanes. Diverters are strategically used to guide the ball towards specific targets or locks during certain game phases. For example, in Williams' 1994 'Demolition Man', a diverter on a ramp can send the ball to the cryo-claw or onto a habitrail, depending on the game's current state. This feature adds a dynamic layer to gameplay, creating varied and unpredictable ball movements.


DMD, short for Dot-Matrix Display, is a type of pixel-addressable display used in pinball machines, primarily to show scores and other game statuses. Introduced in the early 1990s, starting with Data East's 'Checkpoint' in 1991, DMDs quickly became a standard feature in most pinball machines. They are typically located in the backbox, with the notable exception of games like 'Cirqus Voltaire'. DMDs usually come in three sizes, with the most common being 128 x 32 pixels. They often display in neon orange and measure approximately 14.8" x 5". While DMDs are prevalent in many machines, some exceptions exist, such as the VGA-driven Pinball 2000 series, machines from Jersey Jack Pinball and Heighway Pinball that use LCD displays, and retro-style machines like 'Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons'

Double Danger

In pinball game play a double danger is generally your second warning before you will get a tilt. Most pinball machines are setup so that get two warnings or dangers from moving the machine too much. If you then move it again a third time you will receive a tilt and your ball will end.


In pinball, the term "Drain" refers to the area beneath the flippers. It's the place where the ball is lost if it rolls into this area, either via an outlane or between the flippers. The term also describes the action of losing the ball in this manner. This is a critical aspect of pinball gameplay, as it marks the end of a player's turn or the loss of a ball, and is often the focal point for player strategy in trying to prevent the ball from draining.

Drop Catch

A pinball flipper technique similar to a live catch where you drop the flipper just in time to slow down the momentum of the ball as it comes into contact.

Drop Target

A Drop Target in pinball is a pressure-sensitive, upright rectangle that drops below the surface of the playfield when struck by the ball. These targets are typically made of plastic and are designed to sit flush with the playfield once they have been hit. Drop Targets can be arranged individually or in groups known as banks. Some pinball games feature 'memory' drop targets, which can be automatically lowered by the game itself for specific game features or to track a player's progress on a target bank. Hitting these targets in certain combinations or sequences is often required to score points or activate special game features.

Electro Mechanical (EM)

Electro-Mechanical (EM) pinball machines are those that operate without any digital components. Instead of computers, these machines use a combination of relays, motors, and switches for game programming and operations. A key characteristic of EM machines is their scoring system: they typically display scores using mechanical score reels that spin to show numbers or use lights in the backbox. These machines are also known for using bells or chimes to signal scoring events. EM design was common before the late 1970s, after which it was largely phased out in favor of Solid State (SS) machines that use transistors and integrated circuits. Some pinball games were released in both EM and SS versions, such as 'Mata Hari'. EM machines are easily distinguished from their SS counterparts by their mechanical scoring displays as opposed to digital displays.

Extra Ball

An Extra Ball in pinball is a bonus that grants the player an additional ball to play with. It is earned by achieving specific tasks or a series of events set within the game. Some pinball machines offer the Extra Ball as a reward for reaching a certain points threshold. Essentially, receiving an Extra Ball means the player gets an extra round or turn to continue their current game, providing an opportunity to increase their score or achieve other objectives without starting a new game.

Flex-Save Lanes

Flex-save Lanes in pinball are a feature where each outlane has a movable metal wall. When a ball enters an outlane, players can quickly press a button, located under each flipper button, to move this metal wall and redirect the ball to the inlane, saving it from draining. This feature adds a dynamic and interactive element to gameplay, giving players an additional opportunity to save their ball and continue play.

Flipper Button

A Flipper Button in pinball is a pushbutton located on the sides of the cabinet. Each button is typically positioned to correspond with a flipper on the playfield, with one button on each side of the cabinet. When a player presses a Flipper Button, it activates the respective flipper, allowing the player to hit or direct the ball during gameplay.


Flippers in pinball are the player's primary tool for controlling the ball on the playfield. Typically found in pairs at the bottom of the table, flippers are tapered bats that can be moved in an arc by pressing buttons located on the side of the pinball cabinet. When a player taps the corresponding button, one end of the flipper moves upward, allowing the player to hit or direct the ball towards various targets. Early pinball machines did not include flippers and were more akin to gambling devices than games of skill. The introduction of flippers, which were initially activated simultaneously, transformed pinball into a game of skill. Modern pinball machines allow for individual control of each flipper. Some machines feature multiple flippers, and their sizes typically range from 2 to 3 inches, with special variations like the curved 'Banana Flippers'. Essentially, flippers are the player's 'hands' on the playfield, serving both as a defense against losing the ball and as a means to engage actively with the game.


In pinball game play flow refers to how a player has the ability in a particular game to being able to make multiple shots, one right after the other, in a quick time frame. This means they can make combos quickly. Flowy games tend to get the ball back to a flipper quickly between shots often feeding inlanes so that the player can make their next shot without waiting. The opposite to flow is usually referred to as stop and go where games are designed for the player to make a shot then wait for the ball to come back to a flipper before they can make their next shot.


General Illumination (GI) in pinball machines refers to the playfield lighting that is essential for visibility, especially in darker environments. These lights, which are not controlled by the machine's processor, turn on immediately when the game is powered up. GI typically consists of lightbulbs spread across the playfield, illuminating the game for both practical playability and aesthetic appeal.

Gobble Hole

A Gobble Hole is a feature in some pinball tables, primarily used from the 1950s to around 1963. It's a hole on the playfield that, when a ball falls into it, typically ends the current ball or, in some cases, the game. This feature was especially common during the woodrail era of pinball machines. The Gobble Hole is often associated with high-risk, high-reward gameplay; it can be lit for a special prize or a large number of points once certain objectives in the game are completed. Despite its potential for big rewards, aiming for the Gobble Hole is a gamble, as it usually results in the loss of the ball.


A Habitrail in pinball is a type of ball path, typically made from steel wire, that guides the ball in a straight line above the normal playfield level. The design may vary, consisting either of two wires at the bottom to create an open path, or four wires to fully enclose the ball. Originating in the 1930s, when they were referred to as 'ball elevators', Habitrails are now a common feature in modern pinball machines, providing a visually interesting and functional element to the gameplay.

Home Use Only (HUO)

Home Use Only (HUO) refers to pinball machines that have been used exclusively in a home environment, and not placed in commercial locations like arcades. While the term suggests a machine in pristine condition, its actual meaning can be subjective and varies among collectors and enthusiasts. For instance, a machine used in a secure office environment, not exposed to public access, smoke, or alcohol, might still technically not qualify as HUO as it's outside a residential setting​​​​. Some in the pinball community argue that HUO doesn't necessarily guarantee the machine's condition, as it can be used to imply an excellent state without definitive proof. There's also the possibility that a machine labeled as HUO could have been used in a show or event, which might not align with the strict definition of home-only use​​​​. Despite the term's popularity, some people consider it overused and prefer to focus on the actual condition of the machine rather than its usage history​​​​.

House Ball

A "House Ball" in pinball refers to a situation where the ball drains directly after being plunged, without giving the player any opportunity to interact with it using the flippers. This term captures the essence of a pinball scenario where, despite the player's readiness or skill level, the ball immediately ends up in the drain, effectively ending that turn without any real play. It's a term that pinball players use to describe an unlucky or frustrating part of the game, where chance, rather than skill, dictates the outcome of the ball's play​.

Hurry-up Mode

Hurry-Up Mode in pinball is a dynamic gameplay feature where players are challenged to complete a specific task within a brief time limit for bonus points. This mode typically starts with a high point value that decreases rapidly over time. Completing the task within the allotted time stops the countdown and awards the points. A variant of Hurry-Up Mode involves using it to set the value of a subsequent mode, where points can be collected multiple times. This mode adds an element of urgency and excitement to the game, encouraging quick decision-making and skillful play.


In pinball, the Inlane is the inner lane located near the flippers. It is distinct from the outlane, which typically leads the ball towards the drain. The Inlane plays a key role in the game, guiding the ball back towards the flippers and thus allowing the player to continue gameplay. It's an essential component in the playfield's layout, contributing to the strategic positioning and movement of the ball during a game​​.


An Insert in pinball is a small plastic window, sometimes colored, embedded in the playfield. Situated below the playfield, a lamp controlled by the game illuminates the insert to indicate available shots or achievements like bonuses. These inserts can represent various gameplay elements, such as bonus multipliers (e.g., 2x, 3x), and come in numerous shapes, colors, and sizes. When lit, they guide players on what to target next, adding both a strategic and visual dimension to the game.

Instruction Card

An Instruction Card in pinball is typically located on the left side of the apron. It serves as a guide for players, explaining the objectives needed to achieve various goals in the game, such as activating multiball, earning a special, gaining an extra ball, or achieving a replay. These cards vary in size based on the manufacturer and are an essential tool for helping players understand and strategize their gameplay.


In pinball, a Jackpot is a high-value point bonus awarded for hitting a specific shot on the playfield at the right time. Traditionally one of the highest scoring opportunities in a game, Jackpots are often associated with multiball play. In earlier pinball games, particularly from the mid to late 1980s, achieving the Jackpot was the main objective, requiring players to complete a challenging series of tasks. The value of the Jackpot would accumulate over many games until a player successfully scored it. In modern pinball machines, the term 'Jackpot' is more broadly used for any high-value shot during multiball play. These machines also frequently offer ways to increase the Jackpot value, with possibilities for double, triple, or even super Jackpots that award progressively higher points.


A Kickback in pinball is a mechanism installed in an outlane, typically the left one, that acts as a ball-saving feature. It consists of a solenoid-controlled plunger which, when activated, propels the ball back into play if it falls into the outlane. Kickbacks are usually not active by default at the start of a game and are enabled as a reward during play. This feature is a strategic element in pinball design, as most tables tend to have only one kickback, leaving the other outlane unprotected. This increases the game's difficulty and, in commercial settings, can potentially boost revenue. An example of an exception is the virtual table '3D Pinball Space Cadet', where the kickback is always active.


A Kicker is a device used to propel the ball when struck, adding dynamic movement to gameplay. It is typically controlled by a solenoid under the playfield and activated by a switch, often located behind a rubber band on the playfield. The most common kickers are found beside the flippers, under triangular plastics, and are also known as slingshots or slingshot kickers. These kickers operate like pop bumpers, with a lever arm driven by a solenoid and switches on either side. When the ball hits the rubber on the kicker's face, it closes the switches, activating the solenoid and propelling the ball away. This feature is present in almost all modern pinball machines, providing a lively and unpredictable element to the game​​​​.

Kickout Hole

A Kickout Hole in pinball is a small depression in the playfield, just large enough to hold a ball. When a ball falls into this hole, it triggers a sequence where the player may earn points or the game state is adjusted, such as providing information or preparing for a multiball. Beneath the Kickout Hole is a solenoid that, once activated, propels the ball back into play. This action is usually in a predictable direction and at a consistent speed, allowing the player to anticipate and react to the ball's return to the playfield.


A knocker is a mechanism located inside a pinball machine that makes a loud noise to indicate the player has posted a new high score or earned a free game. Some newer machines no longer include physical knockers inside the machines but instead replicate the sound of a physical knocker.


A lane is a narrow pathway on the table, just wide enough for the ball to pass through. Key types of lanes are inlanes and outlanes, both located at the bottom of the playfield. Outlanes are at the edges and lead the ball to the bottom, usually resulting in a lost ball. Inlanes, adjacent to the outlanes, guide the ball towards the flipper area, allowing for continued play. These lanes play a crucial role in the game's dynamics, influencing ball movement and player strategy.

Launch Button

The button you push that launches the ball onto the pinball playfield. Often found at the front of the cabinet in the top right corner.

Lightning Flippers

"Lightning flippers" are a unique type of flipper in pinball machines, introduced by Williams around 1992. They are distinctively shorter than standard flippers and feature a lightning bolt pattern on the top. The reduced length of these flippers results in a larger flipper gap in the games they are used in. Additionally, lightning flippers are known for their stiffer play compared to standard flippers, offering a different gaming experience​.

Live Catch

A pinball flipper technique used to catch the ball on a single flipper by flipping the flipper at the exact right moment to absorb the force of the ball and stop it in place.


In pinball, a "lock" is a mechanism designed to trap a ball on the playfield, simultaneously triggering the addition of a new ball to the playfield. This locked ball can later be released to initiate a multiball phase. Some pinball games employ "virtual locks," which enable players to work towards a multiball without physically securing a ball on the playfield. Instead, these systems launch multiple balls using an auto-plunger when multiball is activated.

Lockdown Bar

The Lockdown Bar is a component found on pinball machines, serving as a crucial safety and maintenance feature. It is a metal bar (or wood in the case of woodrail games) that spans across the front of the cabinet, right at the bottom of the playfield. Its primary function is to secure the playfield glass in place, preventing it from sliding out during gameplay. Often referred to as 'Front Molding' in manuals, the Lockdown Bar can be removed via a latch inside the coin door. This allows for the removal of the playfield glass, facilitating access to the playfield for maintenance and repair.

Magic Post

A "magic post" in pinball is a post that can rise up between the flipper fingers and completely block the middle drain, preventing the ball from being lost. This feature is also known as a recovery post or up post.

Magna Save

Magna Save is a feature in some pinball machines that provides an additional layer of control and strategy for the player. It involves magnets placed under the playfield near the outlanes. When a ball is heading towards an outlane, indicating a potential drain, the player can activate the Magna Save via a button on the side of the cabinet. This action engages the magnet, which then holds the ball and diverts it to the corresponding inlane instead of letting it drain. This feature was pioneered by Williams Electronics, first seen in the game 'Black Knight'. In 'Black Knight', if the Magna Save is activated but the ball is still lost, the machine responds with a taunting laughter, adding an interactive element to the gameplay.


Match in pinball is a feature that offers players a chance to win a free game after their last ball has been played. At the end of a game, the machine generates a pseudo-random two-digit number. If this number matches the last two digits of the player's score, the player is awarded a free game. The probability of achieving a match can be adjusted by the machine's operator. Many modern pinball machines enhance this feature with a short animated sequence that leads up to the reveal of the match number. This feature adds an element of luck and excitement at the conclusion of a game, giving players a bonus opportunity to continue playing.


In pinball, a "mode" refers to a specific configuration of the table where players must achieve designated goals within a limited time to score points. This often involves hitting certain lanes or dropping specific targets. Some pinball tables feature multiple modes that players need to activate sequentially, building up to a climactic "ultimate" mode or "wizard mode," where the highest scores are achievable. Occasionally, modes are combined with multiball, adding an extra layer of challenge and opportunity for scoring​.


Modifications – upgrades or additions to a pinball machine.


Multiball in pinball refers to a situation where multiple balls are in play on the playfield at the same time. This feature was first introduced in modern solid state games with Williams Electronics Inc's 'Firepower' in 1980, which featured a three-ball Multiball. The term 'Multiball' was initially trademarked by Williams, leading other manufacturers like Data East to use alternative terms like 'M-Ball' or 'Tri-Ball', though they later licensed the term from Williams. Multiball can be triggered as a special mode within the game, either selected by the player or automatically activated by the machine. This concept dates back to electromechanical (EM) pinball machines and even earlier to bagatelles in the 1930s. In EM pinball, the recognition for the first implementation of this feature often goes to Bally's 'Balls-a-Poppin' from 1956, which had a nine-ball Multiball. The introduction of Multiball added a new layer of complexity and excitement to pinball gameplay.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock (NOS) is a term in pinball referring to parts that are original and manufactured by the game's original manufacturer or parts supplier, but have never been installed in a machine. These parts are 'old' in the sense that they were produced some time ago, yet they remain 'new' because they have never been used. NOS parts are valuable for repairs or restorations, offering authenticity with original components. However, their condition can vary depending on how they were stored over the years. While NOS parts are generally in good condition, it's important to note that the term should not be used to describe used parts, even if they appear to be in 'like new' condition. Such misuse of the term is typically frowned upon in the pinball community.

New in Box (NIB)

NIB stands for "new in box" game and is often used to indicate that they bought it brand new instead of second hand.


Nudging in pinball, a technique involving the gentle movement of the machine to influence the ball's path, has been an integral part of the game since its inception. Initially, as pinball machines lacked flippers, nudging was essential for directing the ball and scoring. However, with the introduction of flippers, the role of nudging evolved. Now, nudging is a skillful tactic used to save the ball or score more points without triggering the machine's tilt mechanism. When nudged too hard, modern machines display a "TILT" warning, resulting in the loss of the ball or even the entire game. This protective measure, often implemented through a plumb bob or pendulum inside the machine, is designed to prevent excessive tilting and potential damage to the machine​​.


An Operator in the context of pinball is an individual or entity that owns and operates pinball machines, typically placing them in various locations such as restaurants and bars. They are responsible for the maintenance, collection, and placement of these machines, ensuring they are functional and profitable.


An Orbit in pinball is a playfield feature that consists of a path allowing the ball to travel swiftly around the outer rim of the game, usually in a U-shape. When a player sends the ball into an orbit, it often has a slingshot effect, meaning the ball travels rapidly along this path and returns quickly from the opposite side. Orbits are typically named based on the side of the playfield where the ball enters; for example, a 'left orbit' is where the ball enters on the left side and travels to the right, and vice versa. This feature adds a dynamic element to the game, as players can utilize orbits to quickly transfer the ball from one side of the playfield to the other.


Outlanes in pinball are lanes located at the bottom of the playfield, typically on the left and right sides, leading directly to the drain. These lanes play a crucial role in the game as they are one of the main areas where the ball can exit the playfield, ending the current ball's play. As the ball travels down an outlane, it may pass through a rollover scoring switch. Depending on the game's design, this switch can trigger points or, when lit, activate a 'Special'. Some pinball machines, like the 1980 Bally game 'Fathom', feature a unique layout where the outlanes and inlanes are reversed – with the outer lane returning the ball to the flippers and the inner lane leading to the drain.

Passive Bumper

A passive bumper, also known as a dead bumper, is a component in pinball machines that does not actively kick the ball when hit. It is distinct from active bumpers, which are designed to propel the ball away upon impact. Passive bumpers are typically found on the playfield and are used to create a disturbance in the ball's movement, adding an element of unpredictability to the game. They are often found in groups on the playfield and can be identified by their round, white plastic body, usually surrounded by a rubber ring. These bumpers were more common in older vintage electro-mechanical pinball games and some early electronic solid-state games. Unlike active bumpers, which display points when hit, passive bumpers usually do not score points for the player. Their primary function is to alter the ball's trajectory rather than to provide an interactive scoring element.


In pinball, a "peg" is defined as a small, stationary vertical post equipped with a rubber ring. Its primary function is to deflect the ball, steering it away from sensitive areas of the pinball machine and rebuffing poorly-aimed shots. In some pinball games, a peg is strategically placed between the flippers. This positioning allows the ball, when headed towards the drain, a chance to bounce off the peg and return back onto the flippers for continued play.

Players Condition

Referring to a pinball machine that is in rough condition but is still playable.


The Playfield in a pinball machine is the main flat surface where the game unfolds. It is the area where the ball rolls and is home to various game elements like targets, ramps, orbits, flippers, and bumpers. The term 'Playfield' refers both to the surface itself and to the overall active game area, differentiating it from other parts of the machine such as the backbox. Playfields are often made from specific materials like 17/32 Mapletop from American Hardwoods Inc, continuing a tradition from the early days of pinball manufacturing.Playfields can have different designs, including multi-level arrangements like those seen in Gottlieb's 'Black Hole' or split-level designs as in Williams' 'Black Knight'. Additionally, some machines feature mini-playfields, which are smaller, often elevated areas with distinct gameplay elements, found in games like Bally's 'Twilight Zone' or Stern's 'The Simpsons Pinball Party'. The lower playfield is the area closest to the player, while the upper playfield is nearer to the backbox.

Plumb Bob

The plumb bob is the pinball mechanism that determines when you are moving the cabinet too much; hence giving the player dangers and tilts. It is made up of a plumb bob hanging within a metal ring. When the plumb bob moves enough to touch the metal ring it completes a circuit and triggers a “danger.”


The Plunger in a pinball machine is the device used to launch the ball onto the playfield. It is a player-controlled, spring-loaded rod typically found at the bottom right corner of the pinball machine. Players use the Plunger by pulling it back and then releasing it, propelling the ball into play. While the traditional Plunger is manually operated, some modern machines employ an Auto-Fire mechanism, using a solenoid (coil) to launch the ball automatically or semi-automatically. The Plunger is a fundamental component of pinball gameplay, marking the beginning of each new ball or game.

Pop Bumper

A pop bumper, also known as a jet bumper or cyclonic bumper, is a round, mushroom-shaped target found in most pinball machines. It functions by using an actuator skirt, which, when hit, pulls an angled rod and ring assembly downwards, propelling the ball away. This playfield device is designed to add action to the ball and is commonly arranged in a nest of three. When the ball collides with a pop bumper, it registers a hit and forcefully kicks the ball away​.

Post Catch

A pinball flipper technique where the ball is quickly slammed up against the post to stop it as it comes down the inlane.

Post Pass

A pinball flipper technique where the ball is passed from one flipper to the other by quickly bouncing it off of the post found right above the flipper. Also known as a post transfer.

Post Transfer

A pinball flipper technique where the ball is passed from one flipper to the other by quickly bouncing it off of the post found right above the flipper. Also known as a post pass.


A Ramp in pinball is a playfield feature designed to transport the ball from one area or level of the playfield to another. It is characterized by a raised gradient and can be constructed from metal, plastic, or a combination of both. Ramps often lead to elevated playfields or direct the ball towards inlanes. They add a vertical dimension to the gameplay, allowing for more complex and varied ball paths and strategies.

Rebound Rubber

A rebound rubber is a rubber disk located at the top of the playfield arch. Its primary function is to rebound the pinball after it has been launched from the plunger. This component is a crucial part of the pinball machine, contributing to the dynamic movement of the ball within the playfield​


In pinball, a "replay" refers to a free game awarded to a player after achieving a certain score. This feature is a longstanding element in pinball machines, serving as an incentive for skilled play. When a player reaches the designated score threshold set on the machine, they are granted an additional game without needing to insert more coins or tokens. This score threshold can vary depending on the machine and its settings.


Repro (short for reproduction part. In the context of pinball machines and arcades, a "repro" refers to any part or assembly that has been remanufactured. This manufacturing can be done using either the original tooling used to create the original part, or new tooling designed for the purpose. A repro part may be an exact copy of the original part it is meant to replace or mimic, or it may incorporate improvements in its design relative to the original part. These improvements could be in terms of functionality, durability, or other aspects.


A rollover in pinball is a flat switch embedded in the playfield that activates when the ball rolls over it. This feature is integral to the game's scoring and interaction.

Rollover Switch

A Rollover Switch in pinball is a common scoring device on the playfield, consisting of a wireform switch that protrudes through a slot. It is activated when the ball rolls over the wireform, contributing to the game's scoring and interactive elements.

Ruleset (or rule set)

A Ruleset in pinball refers to the combination of objectives, modes, and programming that define a game's gameplay. It outlines the primary goals, such as earning a Replay or Special, and includes intermediate objectives like achieving high scores, activating Multiballs, and winning Jackpots. In more advanced pinball machines, particularly those with Dot-Matrix Displays (DMD), reaching the 'Wizard Mode' is often a key objective. Rulesets are implemented through hardware in electromechanical (EM) games and software programming in solid-state (SS) and DMD games, guiding players through the game's challenges and rewards.


A Schematic in pinball is a detailed diagram showing a game's circuitry. For electromechanical (EM) games, it includes a logic diagram outlining the game's wiring and rules. In solid-state games, schematics usually cover circuit boards, lamps, solenoids, and switch diagrams. They are essential for logical and efficient troubleshooting of the machines. Schematics are especially crucial for understanding the complex electrical systems in pinball machines, aiding in maintenance and repair.


A scoop or saucer in pinball is a hole on the playfield designed to catch the ball. This feature often triggers specific game events, scoring, or transitions to different modes of play, adding a strategic element to the game.

Score Motor

A Score Motor in an electromechanical (EM) pinball machine is a crucial component responsible for sequencing and ensuring accurate scoring. Located within the cabinet, the Score Motor activates relays repeatedly until a specific task is completed, such as updating the score reels correctly. It is particularly essential when multiple events or actions are required, like in the case of a score that necessitates multiple pulses on a score reel, or during the reset sequence at the start of a game. Different manufacturers have variations in their score motors; for instance, Gottlieb score motors rotate 120 degrees per operation cycle, while Williams' motors rotate 180 degrees. Also known as a 'cam timer', the Score Motor is a key element in the smooth functioning of EM pinball machines.


A pinball flipper technique where the ball is passed from one flipper to the other by shooting it up the inlane. Also known as a alley pass.

Shooter Lane

The Shooter Lane in a pinball machine is the path that guides the ball from the plunger area to the main playfield. It is the channel through which the ball is launched into play, typically following the player's use of the plunger. The Shooter Lane is a fundamental component of a pinball machine, marking the starting point of the ball's journey through the various targets, ramps, and obstacles on the playfield.

Shooter or Shooter Rod

The Shooter or Shooter Rod in pinball is a metal rod equipped with a rubber tip and springs, used by the player to launch the ball into play. By pulling back and releasing the rod, players initiate the start of the game or introduce a new ball onto the playfield, making it a fundamental element in pinball gameplay.

Skill Shot

A Skill Shot in pinball is a bonus opportunity that occurs at the beginning of a ball's play. It involves hitting a specific target or completing a particular task immediately after plunging the ball onto the playfield. Successfully achieving a Skill Shot typically rewards the player with higher points and can sometimes advance the game further. Most games require the player to use the plunger with precise force to hit a designated target, or to make a specific shot with the flippers as the first action once the ball is in play. The Skill Shot requires additional player skill, as it involves accurate timing and control.

Slam Tilt

Slam Tilt in pinball refers to a severe form of tilting that occurs when the machine is subjected to excessively violent or aggressive handling. This can include actions like kicking the coin box or lifting and dropping the machine. When a Slam Tilt is detected, it triggers more than just the loss of a ball or game. In response to this extreme movement, the machine typically sounds an alarm, resets, and ends all players' games in progress, often voiding any credits. In electromechanical (EM) machines, a Slam Tilt may cause the game to go into game-over mode. Engaging in actions that cause a Slam Tilt is considered very poor etiquette in arcade settings and can result in being removed from the premises.

Slap Save

A pinball flipper technique where you nudge/slap the machine just enough to move the machine so that you are be able to hit the ball with the flipper thus saving it from going down the drain.


Slingshots in pinball are playfield devices located on either side of the flippers, known for their role in propelling the ball dynamically across the playfield. They are typically triangular in shape, but can also be straight or trapezoidal, with rubber stretched across their face. When the ball hits or grazes a slingshot, a solenoid-activated kicker arm moves the rubber, causing the ball to rebound with added force and be 'slung' away. Slingshots are used to increase the action and unpredictability of the ball's movement, adding an element of randomness and excitement to the gameplay.


A solenoid in pinball machines is a coil mechanism that drives movement in various mechanical elements like flippers and kickers. When energized, the magnetic fields in the coils cause an inner piece to move, creating the action seen on the playfield. Solenoids are a fundamental component in pinball machines, essential for the dynamic and interactive gameplay by activating and controlling playfield features.

Solid State (SS)

Solid State (SS) pinball machines use transistors, integrated circuits (ICs), including a CPU, and often feature digital scoring displays. This technology marked a significant evolution in pinball design, moving away from the electromechanical systems of earlier models. The introduction of SS technology in pinball machines allowed for more complex gameplay, advanced scoring methods, and enhanced audio-visual effects, contributing to the modern pinball experience.


A 'Special' in pinball is a reward that typically grants the player a free game, also known as a Replay, or sometimes an Extra Ball, depending on the game's settings. This reward is earned by completing a specific task within the game, such as achieving a certain combination of actions or lighting up specific elements on the playfield. For example, in 'Monster Bash', a player might earn a Special by lighting all monsters and their instruments.When a player is awarded a Special, it's often accompanied by a loud sound, like the knocker or a bell, to draw attention in the arcade to the player's achievement. Specials are usually indicated on the playfield by inserts, often red, located in the lower playfield areas like inlanes or outlanes and marked with 'Special when Lit'. However, the location and nature of Special awards can vary depending on the design of the specific pinball game.


A Spinner in pinball is a type of target located on the playfield that rotates when hit by the ball. Also known as a 'swinging target' in early Gottlieb games, a Spinner is typically a flat, weighted target made of plastic or metal. It is suspended between a flat metal frame and is designed to spin along its horizontal axis when the ball passes through it. The degree and speed of rotation, and consequently the scoring, depend on the force with which the ball hits the Spinner. This feature adds a dynamic element to gameplay, as players can aim for the Spinner to rack up multiple scores with a single shot.


In pinball game play, stacking is the strategy of getting multiple modes, multiballs, and multipliers all running at the same time. Doing so will provide more points for each shot made therefor drastically raising the player's score.


Staging in pinball is a technique where the player partially presses a flipper button to activate only the lower flipper, leaving the upper flipper inactive. This skillful maneuver allows for more precise control of the ball, particularly in machines with multiple flippers on the same side.

Standup Target

A Standup Target in pinball is a common playfield feature that consists of a stationary, vertical target. Unlike a drop target, which falls below the playfield when hit, a Standup Target remains upright and in place. It typically has a plastic face and is designed to register a hit when struck by the ball, often contributing to scoring or activating certain features within the game.

Star Rollover

A Star Rollover in pinball is a playfield feature characterized by a colorful, star-shaped actuator set within a playfield insert. When the ball rolls over it, the actuator functions like a rollover switch, contributing to the game's scoring. The star-shaped design is not just for visual appeal but also plays a practical role in the game's mechanics. The precise placement and flush alignment with the playfield are crucial for accurate scoring, as even minor misalignments can affect the switch's registration and, consequently, the gameplay.

Stop and Go

In pinball game play stop and go refers to how some games don't provide as much opportunity for the player to make multiple shots together, i.e. combos. Instead these games are designed for the player to make a shot then wait for the ball to come back to a flipper before they can make their next shot. The opposite of stop and go is what is usually referred to as flow or flowy pinball games. Flowy games tend to get the ball back to a flipper quickly between shots often feeding inlanes so that the player can make their next shot without waiting.

Straight Down the Middle (SDTM)

Straight Down the Middle (SDTM)" in pinball refers to a situation where the ball drains directly between the flippers, typically in a way that the player cannot reach or influence with flipping. This term describes a common and often frustrating scenario where the ball's path leads to an unavoidable drain, ending the current play.

Stuck Ball

When playing pinball there are moments when the ball itself can become stuck on the playfield. This is referred to as a stuck ball. The pinball machine will try to free the ball if it notices that no switches are hit in a particular period of time. The machine will perform a ball search by causing the solenoids to fire and moving the pinball mechanisms in order to free the ball. If this doesn't work pinball machines are often programmed to also put a new ball in the shooter lane for the player to be able to continue play.


Subway in pinball refers to a track system located underneath the playfield, designed to transport the ball from one area to another. Typically, the ball enters the subway through a hole on the playfield and is then propelled back onto the playfield at a different location by a solenoid. This feature adds an element of surprise and complexity to the game, as it momentarily hides the ball from view before reintroducing it to play.

Tap Pass

A pinball flipper technique used on older games to tap the ball as it rolls down one flipper to pass over to the other.


In pinball, a target is a mechanical switch that is activated by the ball to earn points, light indicators, and advance the game. These targets, essential in scoring and gameplay progression, can take various forms, including Drop Targets and Standup Targets, each offering different interactions and challenges on the playfield.


A Tilt in pinball is a mechanism designed to detect and penalize excessive physical manipulation of the machine. It serves to prevent players from lifting, tilting, or shaking the machine beyond acceptable levels. This feature not only helps maintain the integrity of the game but also protects the machine from potential damage. When a player moves the cabinet too violently, the tilt mechanism is triggered, usually ending play for the current ball and often forfeiting any accumulated bonuses. Most modern machines provide a configurable number of warnings, known as 'dangers', before a tilt occurs.

The primary tilt detection device is a weighted pendulum or 'tilt bob' suspended inside a metal ring. As the machine is nudged, the pendulum swings; if it touches the ring, a tilt is registered. Some machines also have a 'ball roll' tilt mechanism, where lifting the front of the machine causes a ball inside a track to roll and contact a sensor, leading to an immediate tilt or even a slam tilt. Additionally, impact sensors are placed in areas likely to experience player abuse, like the coin door, to detect and respond to harsh impacts.

There are variations in tilt mechanisms across different pinball machines, with some older games ending the entire game upon a tilt, while most modern games allow a degree of nudging with warnings before penalizing the player. This balance between control and challenge is a key aspect of the skillful play in pinball.


A Topper is a decorative element placed on top of the backbox of the machine, usually designed to enhance the game's theme. In the early stages of pinball, toppers were simple, often static signs. However, by the 1980s, they evolved to include illuminated elements or moving parts that synchronize with events in the game. Modern toppers have become even more interactive, lighting up in response to progress in the game and sometimes even unlocking new levels or features.Toppers can range from simple aesthetic additions to more elaborate, interactive components that react to playfield scoring or specific game features.

They are often used to dress up the machine and attract players. Examples of manufacturer-supplied toppers include the Addams Family mansion, the Dalek topper from 'Doctor Who', the flapping fish from 'Fish Tales', and the fan assembly from 'Whirlwind'. Toppers can also include toys, lighting, and mechanical effects that integrate with the gameplay, adding an extra layer of immersion and visual appeal.


Toys in pinball machines are unique objects placed on or above the playfield to enhance the game's theme and add an interactive element to the gameplay. They often resemble children's toys and are specifically designed to fit the theme of the machine they're part of. Toys can vary significantly in their interaction with the game; some directly impact gameplay, while others are more for visual appeal or are non-interactive.


A Translight in pinball, also referred to as a 'translite', is a graphic display component located in the backbox of the machine. It is a translucent sheet, typically made of plastic, featuring the game's main illustration or artwork. Designed to be backlit, the Translight allows light to pass through, highlighting and enhancing the artwork. This component differs from traditional backglass, where the artwork is painted directly onto a piece of glass. In modern pinball machines, especially those using dot-matrix displays, the term 'translight' is used more specifically. In these machines, the display is mounted underneath the glass rather than behind it, allowing the artwork to be presented as a single, uninterrupted sheet.

Trap Hole

A Trap Hole in pinball is a feature similar to a saucer but with a key difference: it holds the ball for the remainder of the game. This characteristic is mainly found in Bingo pinball machines and some games from the 1950s. Unlike a Gobble Hole, where the ball is lost from play after entering, a Trap Hole keeps the ball captive, effectively removing it from the game's ongoing play.


An often used acronym used in strategy guides, particularly for older EM and Solid State games. It means "Up Top All Day", where essentially, you want to keep the ball in the upper third of the playfield as much as possible, as that is where the major scoring opportunities are found.


A Vari-Target in pinball is a type of scoring target that can be moved varying distances by the ball, depending on the force of impact. The distance the target moves typically corresponds directly to the number of points awarded. Shooting a Vari-Target often involves a strategic risk, as aiming for and hitting this narrow target with full force can be challenging. Vari-Targets were notably used in Gottlieb electromechanical (EM) pinball machines, adding an element of skill and precision to the gameplay by requiring players to gauge the strength of their shots to maximize their score.

Vertical Up Kicker (VUK)

The Vertical Up Kicker (VUK) in pinball machines is a mechanism that captures the ball from the playfield and launches it vertically, typically onto a ramp or an upper playfield area. This action is achieved through a plunger and coil assembly located underneath the playfield. The VUK serves to dynamically change the ball's path and can introduce new gameplay elements, making it a key feature in modern pinball machine design. Its function is similar to scoops, which capture and eject balls back onto the playfield, but VUKs specifically direct the ball upward, adding a vertical dimension to the game.

Wedge head

Wedge Head refers to a specific style of backbox design, characterized by a trapezoidal shape when viewed from the front. This design is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, resembling a wedge. The term is most commonly associated with Gottlieb single-player electromechanical (EM) machines from the 1960s and 1970s. A variation of this design is the Reverse Wedge Head, where the bottom of the backbox is wider than the top. While Gottlieb was known for standard wedge heads, Williams produced some machines with the reverse wedge head design.


Widebody pinball machines are notably wider than standard machines. This extra width provides more space on the playfield, allowing for additional features and more complex game designs. Renowned examples of widebody pinball machines include 'Twilight Zone', 'Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure', and 'Guns N' Roses'. This design variation offers a unique gameplay experience with more elements and targets to engage players.

Wizard Mode

Wizard Mode in pinball is a highly coveted and challenging final mode that players can access only after completing a series of specific tasks or objectives within the game. It represents the ultimate achievement or goal in a pinball machine. Achieving Wizard Mode usually involves beating all prior modes or objectives set by the game. Examples of Wizard Mode include 'Lost in the Zone' (LITZ) in 'The Twilight Zone' and reaching 'Valinor' in Stern's 'Lord of the Rings'.


Woodrail pinball machines are classic models manufactured approximately before 1961, characterized by their use of wood to frame the playfield glass. As the name suggests, these early pinball machines feature wooden side rails, giving them a distinctive appearance and feel compared to later models that used metal or other materials. The woodrail design is a hallmark of the early era of pinball machines, reflecting the design aesthetics and manufacturing techniques of the time.

World Under Glass

In pinball the term world under glass refers to the experience under the pinball playfield glass that draws you in to a particular theme or experience. An example of this might be Jurassic Park by Stern Pinball. In Jurassic Park the artwork, sounds, and T-Rex mech helps the player feel like they are in a park filled with dinosaurs running loose.


The Williams Pinball Controller (WPC) was a significant advancement in pinball technology, operating several pinball games designed by Williams and Midway (under the Bally name) from 1990 to early 1999. It succeeded the System 11 hardware and was itself succeeded by the Pinball 2000 platform. The WPC system included several separate printed circuit boards with a main CPU (Motorola 6809), a Williams-proprietary ASIC, and varying sound CPUs and chips depending on the version. The original version, sometimes called WPC-89, evolved through six variations, with significant developments like the addition of a security PIC chip in WPC-S games, starting with "World Cup Soccer". This security feature made CPU boards game-specific and non-interchangeable without changing the PIC chip. The final revision of WPC hardware streamlined components, combining the dot matrix controller and DCS sound boards into a single A/V board and merging the Power/Driver and Fliptronics boards.

Zipper Flipper

Zipper Flippers in pinball are a unique pair of flippers that move together to close the gap between them when a specific target or goal on the playfield is achieved. This feature, used mainly by Bally and Williams from the 1960s to the early 1970s, adds an interesting twist to gameplay. The only solid-state game known to have Zipper Flippers is Bally's 1981 release, 'Medusa'.