Author Topic: Just WHO was it that turned the standard ball count from 5 to 3 balls and why?  (Read 320 times)

Offline Weeze

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 Was it some association of route owners who wanted games to end faster so customers would shove quarters in their games faster? Some people rely on that one lucky ball per game theory. So if you get lucky on your one big ball out of 3 you have a higher chance of scoring the most then you do on that 1/5. Much more of a chance that the other guys might get a lucky ball too!. Maybe it was those people from Pennsylvania and Ohio who somehow sucked up all the add-a-balls out of New York State and are next to impossible to buy a game from?
 Was there a Strike at the ball bearing factories back in the early 60s so they made the games run on one ball?
  I mean to me, if you are going to play a game of Pinball PLAY a real game of pinball with five freaking balls! Don't be farting around with 3 balls and such because the games suddenly had ramps and shit.
 And what about all these JUMBO FLIPPERS? I will save that for another post sometime in the future. I don't feel like arguing with all the bind as a bat players,
Or maybe adults didnt want their bratty kids hanging around the arcades so they made the games end faster? Now that makes sense. Didn't want their kids there so they made the games be over in 2 minutes.
 Whatever, I set all my games on five balls per game, So the really manly manly guys like me and a few others of the REAL players, rest of you are all girly wimps.
 It is, therfore I am, weeze.
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Offline Centaur Brother

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1st I don't appreciate you calling me a "girly wimp"...lol
So my 2 cents. As an operator games are expensive and 3 balls and shorter games helps recover the cost. 5 ball games vs 3 ball games, can you imagine how much more wear and tear and maintenance would be needed on a 5 ball game. It's hard enough keeping up now sometimes with maintenance. Lastly modern games have so many ways to get extra balls, when was the last time you played a new stern and did not get at least one extra ball.
That said, I'm curious as to why it switched.
Thanks for the great topic!

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Offline stf

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Twip says bigger flippers and multiballs in SS coincide with the turn from 5 to 3, which makes sense from an operator point of view.
Till recently, i did not know about the 5 balls, in Europe even the em are 3 balls. I'll ask my father if it was different in the 60s there

Offline FUNWIZ

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In the early 70s it was two plays for a quarter, five balls per game. Then just before the solid-state came out, it went to one play for a quarter, five balls per game.  When the solid states came out, they were more exciting and more expensive to operate, hence they went to one play with for a quarter, three balls per game. In the mid 80s it switched to $.50 per game on the latest pins, thus keeping play on the current and older pins balanced. Before that, the older machines were replaced and put into storage, by keeping them set at the lower rate, kept them operating longer and more profitable. 
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Offline k7

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3 balls for every game on earth, unless the rules were written to support a 5 ball game, like Joker Poker.

i feel like i'm cheating if i see Ball 4 come out of the ball trough...it just ain't rights.

saying that, i'd say the machines at the shop go out at about a 50/50 split. if i work on a game, it goes out set to 3 ball.

the customer can call me if they want it on 5 ball, and i talk them down, and tell them to "play better, and fix the pitch". ;D

you only cheat yourself on a 5 ball game. and hey...you can set a stern to a 10 ball game. i'd set one on fire by ball 5. :P
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Offline hawknole

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In the early 70s it was two plays for a quarter, five balls per game. Then just before the solid-state came out, it went to one play for a quarter, five balls per game.  When the solid states came out, they were more exciting and more expensive to operate, hence they went to one play with for a quarter, three balls per game. In the mid 80s it switched to $.50 per game on the latest pins, thus keeping play on the current and older pins balanced. Before that, the older machines were replaced and put into storage, by keeping them set at the lower rate, kept them operating longer and more profitable.

I remember when Black Knight came out in December of 1980 it was the first pinball machine at my local arcade that cost 50 cents and of course quarters were lined up on it because it was and is a great game.

Offline hawknole

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Oh and it was only 3 balls but if you won in multi-player, which is always how BK should be played, then you got more play in “darkness”

Offline Weeze

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its just wrong. Games were just fine with the five balls and then all of a sudden wham! I still havent recovered.
 THe king sized flippers were easy to adjust to and of course all the girls liked those gigundah wamba bats anyway.
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Offline HFK

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Games also used to have scores in the hundreds and thousands. For me once scoring got into the millions and now billions it took something away. Still love to play them though.

Offline k7

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Neptune (1978) scores in the millions :P
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Offline Ron Donohue

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There are a fair number of woodrail machines from the 1950's that score in the millions.  Se e examples like Lightning Ball.

Offline k7

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« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 02:18:08 PM by k7 »
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Offline Weeze

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early 50s for sure and perhaps back onto the 50s were capable of 3 or 5 ball games. Never saw one set at 3. Not going to set them to 3 now. 3 balls per game  is just a lot of poo-poo. Even Betsy thinks so.
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