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The history of Pachinko

The history of PachinkoPachinko is a type of mechanical game which originates from Japan and is mostly considered a recreational arcade game. But despite the fact that they do not pay out with money these machines still fill a gambling niche. This is mostly due to the fact that gambling is illegal in Japan so people have to scratch that itch somehow.


Development of these machines first started in the 1920 and the were first created as a children’s toy which was called “Corinth game”. In the 1930’s though pachinko parlors started appearing all around the country and adults started enjoying the game. All of those parlors were closed though when World War 2 started but they later re-emerged in the late 1940s. The first pachinko parlor was reopened in Nagoya in 1948 and the game has remained popular ever since.

Until the 1980s, these machines were pretty much your standard mechanical device, using bells to indicate various things to the user. The only electrical devices in the machine were ornamental lights which could also indicate problems, for example a machine that had no more balls left in it. These balls could be launched with the use of a flipper and you could control the speed by pulling this flipper to different levels.

How they work

To start playing a player has to get a number of balls from the machine by inserting cash into it. These balls will then be launched by pulling a lever out of a ball tray. Then these balls will start falling through a mix of pins, levers, cups, traps and other obstacles until they get to the bottom of the machine.

If certain places on the board will be hit the player will get extra balls which he can use to keep playing. The more balls you have the more odds you have of actually winning something in the end. In the middle of the screen there is a digital slot machine on which you have to get 3 symbols or numbers in a row in order to win a jackpot.

Older machines had a spring-loaded lever which was used to shoot the balls individually. New machines on the other hand have a knob that controls a plunger which will then shoot the balls onto the playing field. When the balls reach the bottom and they pass through the center gate they will spin the slot machine once. Every spin will give you back some balls but your end goal is to hit the jackpot. This digital slot machine will decide the outcome of a particular spin when the ball falls through the center gate, not when the spinning animation starts playing.

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