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How to Improve Your Pinball Skills

Becoming a pro at pinball is like learning to drive – it's easiest to master one model before you try to master them all.


  • Step 1: Pick your machine Find a machine in good working order, and in a place where you can get lots of practice time.
  • Step 2: Get in position Stand in front of the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart, and position your hands loosely on the flipper controls.
  • TIP: If your body is tense, your reaction time will be slower. Stay relaxed and ready, and don't lean on the machine.
  • Step 3: Learn the game Play the game several times, paying attention to how the ball behaves and what the display says. Figure out which targets you need to hit to score the most points.
  • TIP: Aim for shots that keep the ball in play for the longest amount of time, as well as those that score the most points.
  • Step 4: Practice using the flippers As the ball comes down the chute toward your flippers, press and hold the flipper to trap the ball in the bend near its base. Release the flipper and press the button again, when the ball is part-way down the flipper, allowing for precision shots.
  • Step 5: Learn the slap save When a ball is headed down the center, between your flippers, activate the flipper closest to the ball first, followed immediately by the opposing flipper. This "slap save" is the best method for saving a ball from the chute.
  • Step 6: Practice nudging and tilting Use your arms and body to nudge the sides of the machine as you play and redirect balls that are headed straight down the middle.
  • TIP: If your nudging activates the tilt sensors, use less force. Tilting may result in a warning, or it may end your game or subtract points you acquired.
  • Step 7: Have fun Try new machines to hone your skills.
  • FACT: Mechanical pinball games were the earliest form of coin-operated games. The electronic pinball machines of today were introduced around 1930.

You Will Need

  • A pinball machine
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Quarters or game tokens (optional)

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