A very, very short history of the pinball machine…..

The first pinball machines encouraged tilting. The original version of the game, named Whiffle Board, took its inspiration from a French diversion called bagatelle, which was similar to billiards. Whiffle Board and other games that followed had flat surfaces balanced on four wooden legs. With no flippers to keep the ball in play, players physically manouvered the playing field to score points.

Since that made pinball more a game of chance than skill, many cities banned it, likening it to gambling and believing, often correctly, that it was associated with organised crime. In 1942 New York City’s mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, went so far as to have thousands of the machines rounded up and turned into scrap for the war effort. Well into the 1970s, pinball was associated with corrupting youth and inspiring hooliganism. An 80-year pinball ban in Oakland, California, was finally lifted in 2014.

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