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Quiz about The Great Game of Pinball
Quiz about The Great Game of Pinball

The Great Game of Pinball Trivia Quiz


I LOVE Pinball! Where I grew up, I had the nickname of "Wizard" for many years because of my skill at playing the silver ball. Take my quiz and try to attain the rank of "Pinball Quiz Wizard"! Three plays for a quarter! LOL

A multiple-choice quiz by krazykritik. Estimated time: 9 mins.
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Author
krazykritik
Time
9 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
323,405
Updated
Apr 01 22
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
16 / 20
Plays
1758
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 104 (12/20), hilhanes (12/20), Guest 95 (2/20).
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Question 1 of 20
1. History shows that modern day pinball machines were based on an older game called "Bagatelle"(French). It was originally a tabletop game made of wood, and was played by using a 'cue' to shoot balls onto the playing surface. Then the balls would bounce off numerous wooden pins and come to rest in a pocket or hole that had assigned scores.

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, what english meaning is the original definition attributed to the french word "bagatelle"?
Hint


Question 2 of 20
2. In 1871, a British inventor was issued a U.S. patent for what he called "Improvements to Bagatelle", with many of these 'improvements' still used in the design of pinball machines of today.

What was this inventor's name?

(no relation to actress Lynn)
Hint


Question 3 of 20
3. The game was so popular in France that the French soldiers, who were helping the British in the American Revolutionary War, brought their Bagatelle tables with them. Its popularity spread quickly in America and one of the major newspapers printed an 1863 political cartoon showing the President of the U.S. happily playing Bagatelle.

Which U.S. President of 1863 had his caricature shown in the cartoon?

Hint


Question 4 of 20
4. The name "pinball" was not seen until a few years after tabletop bagatelle machines began to appear in various venues. Although articles on the history of pinball vary as to which year the term "Pinball" began to be used and who was the first person to use it, they are precise about the decade when the name appeared.

In which decade did the games' manufacturers start referring to the game as "pinball"?

("Pinball" - one of the better things coming out of the "Great Depression" era.)
Hint


Question 5 of 20
5. In 1931, the first 'pinball style' game to show up was a countertop mechanical game and featured many improvements that had been suggested by an inventor and fan of the game from the 1800's.

What was the name of the first 'pinball' game released for use in public venues?

(think of another very popular game that uses balls and is played in big halls by many people at the same time)
Hint


Question 6 of 20
6. The first coin-operated commercially successful 'pinball machine' was called "Baffle Ball" and came out in 1931.

What is the well-known name of the amusements company that manufactured "Baffle Ball"?

(one of the few companies that were still making machines in the last decade)
Hint


Question 7 of 20
7. The first 'pinball' machine, "Baffle Ball", became the first overnight hit of the coin-operated games era, with an initial manufacturing run of over 50,000 units, of which most sold out very quickly.

How much did the machine, "Baffle Ball", originally sell for?

(this amount today MIGHT get two people into a movie, but NO Popcorn!)
Hint


Question 8 of 20
8. Due to the rise in illegal gambling in 1930s America, many cities and counties rushed to pass laws regulating and/or banning pinball. One major city actually banned pinball altogether in 1940, a ban that lasted until 1976!

What major eastern city had a 36 year ban on pinball machines?

(with a population of approx. 8.5 million, that would have been a lot of coins for pinball vendors in this city!)
Hint


Question 9 of 20
9. On the US West Coast, Los Angeles banned pinball machines from 1939-1974. Despite these cities overturning the bans, many places refused to follow. To try and deal with what they deem to be illegal bans, the manufacturers put a specific notice on all of their more recent pinball machines in an attempt to legitimize their legal nature.

What does this notice say?

(these notices still appear on pinball machines today)
Hint


Question 10 of 20
10. In Japan, they play a game which is a close and distinct relative of pinball. The game in Japan is very different though in that it involves quickly launching a lot of small steel balls, one after the other, into a vertical playing field.

What is the name of the pinball machine's 'Japanese relative'?

(sounds like everyone's favourite game on The Price is Right)
Hint


Question 11 of 20
11. The game of pinball became so popular, so quickly, that by the end of 1932, there were almost 150 companies manufacturing pinball machines, yet by 1934, only 14 remained.

Which company(s) made it through the major downsizing in the 1930's of game developers and remained in the top three developers in the design and manufacture of pinball machines?

Hint


Question 12 of 20
12. In 1947, a new invention came from D.Gottlieb & Company, and it appeared for the first time on a pinball machine called "Humpty Dumpty". It's hard to believe that pinball as we know it, ever existed without this important invention.

What invention am I speaking of that brought big changes in how we played pinball?

(games last a lot longer when you have this invention to keep the ball in play)
Hint


Question 13 of 20
13. Typical to mankind's fashion, pinball players quickly learned that by lifting, shaking, and moving the table around would help them get higher scores and win more games. So in effect, players learned how to 'cheat' the machines.

What mechanism was quickly invented and installed on pinball tables to dissuade players from 'cheating'?
Hint


Question 14 of 20
14. Another early invention installed on machines gives pinball tables their most important playability feature. These items create the electromagnetic field that induces the steel ball to move around the playing field in a sometimes quick and erratic manner.

What's the name of these items that give action to the steel game ball?

Hint


Question 15 of 20
15. Pinball machines/tables have various items on their playing fields that give you points when the ball makes contact with them.

What name was given to the round knobs that when hit by the ball, usually make a 'bell sound', give the player points, and actively push the ball away?

(these can make the ball go crazy when there are three or four close together)
Hint


Question 16 of 20
16. Another important game item on pinball machines appeared for the first time in 1962, and appear in sets or singular. These game enhancing inventions have various names such as; "stationary", "bullseye", "drop", "vari", and the "kicking" varieties and sometimes there are even "moving" ones.

Which of the following items am I speaking of?

(the name goes AFTER each of the varieties' names)
Hint


Question 17 of 20
17. As pinball machines became increasingly complex, many idiosyncratic features began to appear on the designs of different manufacturers.

Which of the following features, once unique to a specific game maker, is now considered standard on almost 100% of all machines?
Hint


Question 18 of 20
18. One of the truly exciting features of playing pinball, is the opportunity you have to win a free game! Up until the 1950s, the only way to win a free game was to acquire a score that was equal to, or higher than, a programmed points amount. Then as the manufacturers designed the games to be harder to win on, they added gameplay methods that allowed the player to win free games by accomplishing some or all of the games' objectives or even just by chance.

Which of the following player accomplishments would award a free game or games to the player who was skillful (or lucky) enough to attain the objective(s)?
Hint


Question 19 of 20
19. The largest commercially produced pinball machine ever, built in 1979, was called "Hercules" and it measured 6'11" tall, 3'3" in width, and 7'11" in length, and is still known to be the largest pinball machine ever made.

What video game manufacturer built and manufactured the game of "Hercules"?

(famous for inventing and marketing "Space Invaders")
Hint


Question 20 of 20
20. Here is a fun pinball fact. In 1974, Ronald L. Mowry set a world record for playing pinball non-stop for over three days, on a machine called "Super Soccer" made by "D. Gottlieb". He spent over $100 in quarters, despite winning 145 free games.

After 709 games of pinball, why did Ronald have to stop playing?

Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. History shows that modern day pinball machines were based on an older game called "Bagatelle"(French). It was originally a tabletop game made of wood, and was played by using a 'cue' to shoot balls onto the playing surface. Then the balls would bounce off numerous wooden pins and come to rest in a pocket or hole that had assigned scores. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, what english meaning is the original definition attributed to the french word "bagatelle"?

Answer: something of little importance, trifle

"Some of little importance" came directly from French to English. Bagatelle also refers to a "short musical composition, especially for the piano. But, it wasn't until decades after the French were calling the game "bagatelle', that dictionaries began including a definition of the game as one of the meanings for the word. During the reign of King Louis XIV of France, an unknown person narrowed out a billiard table and modified it into the game the French started calling "bagatelle".

It started with the goal being to knock down small pins, but it took too long to reset them, so the pins were affixed permanently to the board and holes were put where the pins were.

The idea was to use the 'cue' to ricochet the balls(nine of them) off the pins and into the holes(nine holes) for scores, with the goal to get as many of the nine balls into the nine holes as possible, playing each ball only once.

This game showed up at a party for King Louis and his Queen at the "Chateau de Bagatelle", hence the origin of the name for what is now known as pinball.
2. In 1871, a British inventor was issued a U.S. patent for what he called "Improvements to Bagatelle", with many of these 'improvements' still used in the design of pinball machines of today. What was this inventor's name? (no relation to actress Lynn)

Answer: Montegue Redgrave

British inventor "Montegue Redgrave" moved to America in 1869 and two years later, was granted patent #115,357 for his "Improvements to Bagatelle". These improvements included a plunger with a coiled spring attached that replaced the original 'cue', making the table smaller so it could be played on a tabletop, and the balls, having originally being approximately the size,shape, and weight of a modern billiard ball, were replaced with various size marbles.
These renovations by Montegue are acknowledged as the "birth of modern pinball".
3. The game was so popular in France that the French soldiers, who were helping the British in the American Revolutionary War, brought their Bagatelle tables with them. Its popularity spread quickly in America and one of the major newspapers printed an 1863 political cartoon showing the President of the U.S. happily playing Bagatelle. Which U.S. President of 1863 had his caricature shown in the cartoon?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

It's not certain that President Lincoln had developed an affinity to the game, but according to Wikipedia, there was indeed a satirically political cartoon released that showed the U.S. leader happily playing a game of bagatelle!
4. The name "pinball" was not seen until a few years after tabletop bagatelle machines began to appear in various venues. Although articles on the history of pinball vary as to which year the term "Pinball" began to be used and who was the first person to use it, they are precise about the decade when the name appeared. In which decade did the games' manufacturers start referring to the game as "pinball"? ("Pinball" - one of the better things coming out of the "Great Depression" era.)

Answer: 1930s

The year most mentioned regarding the name "Pinball" is 1936, yet this has never been confirmed, which is during the era of the Great Depression. At the beginning of the 30s, when the first electric machines were invented, the game was no longer called bagatelle, but was commonly referred to as "marble games" and/or "pin games".

By the end of the decade, the term "Pinball" had actually begun to appear on several machines, thereby confirming the name was a product of that decade.
5. In 1931, the first 'pinball style' game to show up was a countertop mechanical game and featured many improvements that had been suggested by an inventor and fan of the game from the 1800's. What was the name of the first 'pinball' game released for use in public venues? (think of another very popular game that uses balls and is played in big halls by many people at the same time)

Answer: Bingo

All these games are played with balls, but only "Bingo" is played in 'big halls'. The game "Bingo" was a glass covered tabletop model featuring a scoring grid on the back glass that had spaces which corresponded to holes and/or targets on the playing field.

The manager of the venue would provide the player with a certain amount of balls depending on how much the person wanted to spend. The player would drop one ball at a time through a hole in front of the plunger and 'launch' it into the playing field.

After all the balls were played, the player was awarded "free games" depending on how many patterns were matched. At some places, especially taverns, the player could cash in the free games for money.
6. The first coin-operated commercially successful 'pinball machine' was called "Baffle Ball" and came out in 1931. What is the well-known name of the amusements company that manufactured "Baffle Ball"? (one of the few companies that were still making machines in the last decade)

Answer: D.Gottlieb & Company

D.Gottlieb is probably the most well-known manufacturer of pinball games and machines in the world. The other names offered as answers are all companies that are famous for toys and board games. "Baffle Ball" was unique in that it could be set up to automatically dispense the balls one at a time and load it in front of the plunger. Depending on the owner/operator, the game could be set to give the player from five to seven balls to play for a penny.
7. The first 'pinball' machine, "Baffle Ball", became the first overnight hit of the coin-operated games era, with an initial manufacturing run of over 50,000 units, of which most sold out very quickly. How much did the machine, "Baffle Ball", originally sell for? (this amount today MIGHT get two people into a movie, but NO Popcorn!)

Answer: $17.50

For $17.50, one could own their own "Baffle Ball" pinball machine. I'm not sure if that amount will buy two people admission into a movie theatre, but as of Feb. 2010, it will in my area of the world. The game was a breath of fresh air for a frustrated and bored depression-era public.

The machines began popping up in drugstores, soda shops, train and bus stations, and especially taverns. Most of the locations made their money back in mere days.
8. Due to the rise in illegal gambling in 1930s America, many cities and counties rushed to pass laws regulating and/or banning pinball. One major city actually banned pinball altogether in 1940, a ban that lasted until 1976! What major eastern city had a 36 year ban on pinball machines? (with a population of approx. 8.5 million, that would have been a lot of coins for pinball vendors in this city!)

Answer: New York City

The ban on pinball machines in New York City ended in 1976 when Roger Sharpe, a star witness for for the AMOA{Amusement and Music Operators Association), testified that pinball games were "games of skill" and not "games of chance". He was able to convince the courts to overturn the ban when he had two different pinball machines set up in the courtroom, and proceeded to play while telling the judge's panel what he was aiming to shoot the ball at, and then doing exactly as he said he would. (Sharpe later confessed that his ability to hit every target he predicted was "sheer luck")
9. On the US West Coast, Los Angeles banned pinball machines from 1939-1974. Despite these cities overturning the bans, many places refused to follow. To try and deal with what they deem to be illegal bans, the manufacturers put a specific notice on all of their more recent pinball machines in an attempt to legitimize their legal nature. What does this notice say? (these notices still appear on pinball machines today)

Answer: For Amusement Only

The notice "For Amusement Only" is seen on nearly every coin operated video game in North America. The ban in Los Angeles was overturned by the Supreme Court of California in 1974 for different reasons than New York City. The Court determined;(1) if pinball machines were games of chance, the ordinance was preempted by state law governing games of chance in general, and (2) if they were games of skill, the ordinance was unconstitutional as a denial of the equal protection of the laws. Most of the original cities and countries that banned pinball machines still have the laws on the books, yet it is rarely enforced unless investigations involving illegal racketeering and gambling are undertaken and find that the machines are part of the operation.
10. In Japan, they play a game which is a close and distinct relative of pinball. The game in Japan is very different though in that it involves quickly launching a lot of small steel balls, one after the other, into a vertical playing field. What is the name of the pinball machine's 'Japanese relative'? (sounds like everyone's favourite game on The Price is Right)

Answer: Pachinko

Another big difference from pinball that Japanese "Pachinko" holds, is that the machines offer cash payouts and prizes because that type of gambling is legal in Japan. It is definitely considered a game of chance rather than skill as there are no flippers to keep the launched ball in play, leaving the player at the mercy of the game, which is viewed through a vertical, glass-covered, playing field.
11. The game of pinball became so popular, so quickly, that by the end of 1932, there were almost 150 companies manufacturing pinball machines, yet by 1934, only 14 remained. Which company(s) made it through the major downsizing in the 1930's of game developers and remained in the top three developers in the design and manufacture of pinball machines?

Answer: Both of these

Harry Williams, a man who worked for the pinball manufacturer "Pacific Amusements" in the early 30's, later went on to form his own company in 1944, known as "Williams Manufacturing". It closed it's doors after 55 years due to the downturn in the coin-op games industry, but as of the time this quiz was written(March 2010), there are new pinball companies that still produce machines based on plans and models purchased from Williams. Bally is still involved, although on a much reduced level, in coin-op pinball game design and manufacturing.
12. In 1947, a new invention came from D.Gottlieb & Company, and it appeared for the first time on a pinball machine called "Humpty Dumpty". It's hard to believe that pinball as we know it, ever existed without this important invention. What invention am I speaking of that brought big changes in how we played pinball? (games last a lot longer when you have this invention to keep the ball in play)

Answer: flippers

Harry Mabs, who worked for D.Gottlieb, came up with an idea while working on the design of a new pinball machine. He thought to himself, "what if the player was able to have some control in keeping the ball in play?" That was when he came up with the idea for "flippers"! "Humpty Dumpty" had six flippers, three sets of two, which allowed the player some control over the 'fate' of the ball.

After the advent of flippers, pinball took off like never before. By the early 1950s, almost every pinball machine manufactured incorporated at least two flippers in the style we see on machines right up to this day.
13. Typical to mankind's fashion, pinball players quickly learned that by lifting, shaking, and moving the table around would help them get higher scores and win more games. So in effect, players learned how to 'cheat' the machines. What mechanism was quickly invented and installed on pinball tables to dissuade players from 'cheating'?

Answer: the tilt mechanism

The "tilt mechanism" was invented in 1934 by Harry Williams of Williams Manufacturing. It turned out to be the answer to the problem of players physically lifting and abusing the games. The "tilt mechanism" was first installed in the game called "Advance".

It was a great invention for Williams as he was able to sell it to the other pinball game manufacturers as he had the patent on the invention.
14. Another early invention installed on machines gives pinball tables their most important playability feature. These items create the electromagnetic field that induces the steel ball to move around the playing field in a sometimes quick and erratic manner. What's the name of these items that give action to the steel game ball?

Answer: solenoids or coils

Without "solenoids"(also call 'coils' in pinball terms), the ball would play much heavier and the flippers, which are controlled by 'two coil solenoids', would be too weak to properly send the ball around the table. There are many "solenoids" are installed on pinball tables as they control all the different electromagnetic actions of the ball as you shoot it at everything from targets, up ramps, and to rollover buttons.
15. Pinball machines/tables have various items on their playing fields that give you points when the ball makes contact with them. What name was given to the round knobs that when hit by the ball, usually make a 'bell sound', give the player points, and actively push the ball away? (these can make the ball go crazy when there are three or four close together)

Answer: bumpers

The earlier version of the "bumper" was called "dead bumpers" or "passive bumpers" because they gave no points or sounds, did not propel the ball away from it, and were only installed to help the ball change direction. They were invented in 1936, and debuted on a table appropriately called "Bumper", which was manufactured by "Bally".

They were first used on a game called "Rainbow" by "Williams", but it wasn't until the late 50's and early 60's that bumpers became standard on most pinball playing fields.

They're also referred to as "pop bumpers", "turbo bumpers", "jet bumpers", and "thumper bumpers". When installed in small groups of three and four, they are capable of causing the game ball to "go nuts" bouncing back and forth between them!
16. Another important game item on pinball machines appeared for the first time in 1962, and appear in sets or singular. These game enhancing inventions have various names such as; "stationary", "bullseye", "drop", "vari", and the "kicking" varieties and sometimes there are even "moving" ones. Which of the following items am I speaking of? (the name goes AFTER each of the varieties' names)

Answer: targets

The first "moving target" was installed on William's Manufacturing's "Magic Clock" in 1960, while the first "drop targets" were installed on the company's "Vagabond" game in 1962. Targets greatly increased the need for 'skill' to play the game and acquire free games as pinball games advanced in technology and design.
17. As pinball machines became increasingly complex, many idiosyncratic features began to appear on the designs of different manufacturers. Which of the following features, once unique to a specific game maker, is now considered standard on almost 100% of all machines?

Answer: all of these

If you play on a machine that doesn't have all of these available features, then you're playing on what pinball lovers refer to as a "dinosaur", which refers to a machine that was manufactured before 1980. That's really not THAT old, but when you take the advancement of the technology of this era into account(March 2010), these "dinosaurs" are actually considered obsolete and are often sought as collector's items.
18. One of the truly exciting features of playing pinball, is the opportunity you have to win a free game! Up until the 1950s, the only way to win a free game was to acquire a score that was equal to, or higher than, a programmed points amount. Then as the manufacturers designed the games to be harder to win on, they added gameplay methods that allowed the player to win free games by accomplishing some or all of the games' objectives or even just by chance. Which of the following player accomplishments would award a free game or games to the player who was skillful (or lucky) enough to attain the objective(s)?

Answer: both of these

Besides being able to wins games by completing a "special" objective and by a "match" of the last two digits of their final score, free games were also acquired by achieving the "replay" score and/or accomplishing the difficult task of beating the game's "highest table score".

The "replay" score awarded one free game. "Beating the game" refers to when a player surpasses the highest recorded score ever on that particular table, a feature that only was added after the advent of the first pinball microprocessor(1975).

Not only did they get "bragging rights", they were able to prove it because the table allowed the winner to enter their name/initials into the game's microprocessor and the game would constantly display that score on the back panel. Better yet, it often awarded the player from 2 to 10 free replays depending on the game's programming.
19. The largest commercially produced pinball machine ever, built in 1979, was called "Hercules" and it measured 6'11" tall, 3'3" in width, and 7'11" in length, and is still known to be the largest pinball machine ever made. What video game manufacturer built and manufactured the game of "Hercules"? (famous for inventing and marketing "Space Invaders")

Answer: Atari

"Atari" can lay claim to having marketed the world's largest pinball machine, but it's poor sales numbers only served to prove that "bigger isn't always better". The ball was a little larger than a baseball and even with flippers that measured six inches in length, it was known for constantly burning out the flipper coils due to the weight of the ball and the amount of electricity needed to power the flippers. It's real purpose was to serve as a novelty idea and hopefully increase the popularity of pinball while bringing notoriety to Atari as a pinball games manufacturer. It started out costing fifty cents to one dollar per game of five balls, and as much fun as it was to play the world's largest pinball machine, it sadly failed at both of its original efforts.

A predecessor, called "Bigfoot", was even slightly larger, but was never put into production. Only two units were made.
20. Here is a fun pinball fact. In 1974, Ronald L. Mowry set a world record for playing pinball non-stop for over three days, on a machine called "Super Soccer" made by "D. Gottlieb". He spent over $100 in quarters, despite winning 145 free games. After 709 games of pinball, why did Ronald have to stop playing?

Answer: physical injuries

Hard to believe but the answer is "physical injuries". How can one get injuries from playing pinball? Ronald did! Paramedics had to convince him to quit as he had lost feeling in his feet and legs and was suffering from severe inflammation of his lower extremities.

It was rumoured that he also had blisters on the ends of several fingers and on the palms of his hands from friction caused by slapping the flippers and nudging the machine. It took nearly a week for his legs and feet to return to normal.
Source: Author krazykritik

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Bruyere before going online.
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