Location: Places >> Central Asia >> Japan >> MADE IN JAPAN
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Posted May 25th, 2007 - 5:25 pm by from Montreal, Canada (Permalink)
Alright. Here we go for this one.

As a big fan of these old pinball machine... pachinko was amazing for me when I discover it at my first travel in Japan in 80.

First, the typical sound, the design and more about the strange way to play (?) this game as a foreigner. But once you start to try it, more it's become interesting to understand what's going on... nothing is more fun to have no clue about what's going on in front of your eyes and ears.

It is a total audio/visual immersive experience in Japan that I always suggest to peoples to try at least once.

Beside this said, I found excellent articles about the history of this unique game...

Articles about pachiko and design:





Details on the history of pachinko in Japan vary from source to source, but there are a few historical points that seem to be well accepted.

“Pachinko machines first found their way to Japan in the cosmopolitan years of the 1920s. However, because Western-inspired activities were increasingly discouraged during the war years of the next two decades, the game fell out of favor. In the postwar years, however, the populace craved new leisure activities. The first commercial pachinko parlor was opened in Nagoya in 1948. From there, parlors spread rapidly around the nation. Today, pachinko parlors can be found even in remote rural villages, and it is estimated that as many as one-quarter of the population ventures into the ear-shattering din of pachinko parlors at least occasionally. Particularly avid players dedicate their time to pachinko parlors as they would to a job. However, although the payoffs can be great, so can the losses.”

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“The word pachinko is onomatopoeic—Pachi-Pachi is the sound that the little metallic balls inside the pachinko machine are making. A good pachinko machine will cost a casino owner between 2000 to 3000 US Dollars. In a small pachinko casino you can find about 100 of these machines, and in the big casinos you can find 500 of them and even more—all sorted together, one next to the other.”

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One story of the origins of Pachinko says that after World War II manufacturers had a surplus of ball bearings, so to put them to use they made a series of upright pinball machines that became what are now Pachinko machines.

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“The player purchases a large number of small steel balls which are inserted, in bulk, into the machine. Originally, machines had a spring-loaded lever for shooting the balls individually, but modern machines use a round "throttle" that merely controls how quickly an electrically fired plunger shoots the balls onto the playfield. The balls then drop through an array of pins, and usually simply fall through to the bottom, but occasionally fall into certain gates which make the machine pay out more balls.

Most current machines include a slot machine (these are called "pachi-slo"), and the big winnings are ultimately paid not from the balls falling into gates, but from the slot machine matches that follow. In fact, in many modern machines the balls have nothing to do with determining winnings, which are based strictly on electronic random number generators.

The winnings are in the form of more balls, which the player may either use to keep playing, or exchange for tokens or prizes such as pens or cigarette lighters. Under Japanese law, cash cannot be paid out, but there is virtually always a small exchange centre located nearby (or sometimes in a separate room from the game parlor itself) where players can conveniently exchange tokens or prizes for cash. Such pseudo-cash gambling is theoretically illegal, but from the sheer number of pachinko parlors in Japan, it is clear that the activity is at least tacitly tolerated by the authorities. (In fact, no pachinko parlor without a cash payout window has ever been documented.)”