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YMMV / Pinball

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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Although it has its fans in Japan, the fanbase there is a cult following at best. Pachinko machines, which share a few similarities to pinball, are far more popular there.
  • Awesome Music: So many, we put them on their own page.
  • Dead Horse Genre: First, it was because video games were cheaper to maintain and took up less space at arcades. Later, as arcades died out, pinball machines all but disappeared. Of all the major pinball machine manufacturers such as Gottlieb, Bally, Williams, etc., only Stern Pinball remains today.
    • It could be argued that pinball has more of a Popularity Polynomial, as it is staging what appears to be somewhat of a revival in the last few years. Second-hand machine prices have surged. As an example, the value of Medieval Madness has gone from about $4,000-$5,000 in 2007 to over $7,000 in 2012. And as of 2013, a new pinball manufacturer, Jersey Jack Pinball, has sprouted up and released their first pinball, based on The Wizard of Oz.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Pinball has long been more popular in Europe than in the United States, partially due to post-WWII love of all things Americana. During the 30-year-ban on pinball in the US, manufacturers continued to thrive solely on the strength of sales to European markets, and even today, European orders for a new game will be fulfilled first.
    • In regard to individual countries, Scandinavia has latched onto pinball rather fiercely, and machines can be found in most bowling alleys, arcades, amusement centers, and convenience stores. The Polish are also crazy for pinball, with a large hardcore group that does high-quality maintenance work and writes books. Spain has traditionally been the second-largest producer of pinball machines, and is also the only country to export domestic pinball machines to the United States.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: Pinball requires careful aiming, fast reflexes, and even (gently) rocking the machine just to survive for longer than 30 or so seconds per ball, and unlike in video games, real-world physics can complicate matters. As such, it's easy for newbies to dismiss pinball as cashgrabs designed to suck out customers' money.
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • Roger Sharpe's courtroom demonstration of pinball skills, as recounted on the main trope page. Made all the more amusing by his later admission that his success was due to luck.
    • Atari Games' 1979 Hercules measured 93 inches long, 39 inches wide and 83 inches high. It used a pool table cue ball for the pinball. Sometimes this would be an 8-ball.
    • The Pinball Circus, a pinball machine built to fit in a videogame arcade cabinet. Only two of these machines were ever built.
    • Performing any of the advanced techniques in a pinball machine. Admit it, you cheered upon your first live catch.
    • Triggering a Wizard Mode, which is rarely ever easy, and often makes everything on the table activate and/or be worth a large number of points each.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Outlanes, particularly for beginners; it can seem unintuitive for the ball to slide into an outlane, resulting in a drain that seems quite non-preventable. While experts argue that nudging the table can easily prevent an outlane drain, nudging requires knowing exactly when the ball is about to slam into the outlane as well as being delicate with the table; a nudge too weak is the same thing as doing nothing while a nudge too strong is a TILT. However, some tables have "kickbacks" that will eject the ball from an outlane (usually the left one), or other means of catching balls that are about to head into either outlane (such as the Shooting Star in Tales of the Arabian Nights); either way, anti-outlane measures often have limited activations so don't count on them saving you every time.
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    • Skill Shots involving flashing lanes at the back of the table are often dismissed for being Luck Shots in practice; even Roger Sharpe admitted that his pinball-saving skill shot was a stroke of luck, i.e. he proved pinball wasn't about luck through sheer luck (pinball tables had been banned in some jurisdictions on accusations of being gambling machines). Even other kinds of plunger-based skill shots can still fall under this trope depending on how well-maintained the plunger is. Perhaps because of this, some tables use flipper-based skill shots instead, where the player has to hit the ball into a designated target with the flippers immediately after launch.
    • Video Modes are seen by some as interrupting the flow of a pinball game and being fairly out-of-place; after all, why play pinball and end up playing a video game? Pat Lawlor, among other pinball creators, is known for refusing to put video modes in his tables as a result.
    • Every pinball machine that provides unlimited balls but only allows you to play until time runs out—James Bond 007, Flipper Football, and Safe Cracker—have all bombed in sales and were unpopular with people passing by putting coins in to play. (A fourth one, Goin' Nuts, was scrapped before it could even be sold.) For all of these cases, the reason is the same: Newcomers get destroyed until they run out of time, whereas people dedicated to playing them well could learn to exploit time bonuses and play for way longer than it would remain interesting. Safe Cracker has since been Vindicated by History when individuals bought used machines for personal use and they didn't have to worry about paying per game, however.
    • Plunger lanes that lead to pop bumpers are a major cause of annoyance for a lot of players, especially if the pop bumpers do not have a fixed exit and can fly out in any direction. The reason is that there is a good chance that when you begin the ball, it goes to the bumpers and rockets into the drain, without any way of saving it. Even with a ball saver (a mechanic to return the ball to you with no penalty when the game begins), the ball could bounce around in the bumpers for so long that the ball saver runs out while the ball is still there. Machines where this has been an issue include Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Walking Dead.