Some Pinball Games From the 1960s and 70s

in #pinball3 years ago

Physical pinball games are a favorite pastime of mine when I can find them. As fun as video games can be, there is something very special about a machine that operates manually and provides hours of fun; like old cars, these games have some character of their own. I have written about my pinball interest before in several posts over the past few years. In this post, I'll introduce you to a selection of games from the 1960s and 1970s. The images here are my own snapshots.

All games featured in this post happen to rank in's Top 100 pinball games. All of them are made by one company, Gottlieb, except for the first one here, which is a Williams creation. I've been fortunate to be able to play them at various locations. There are several pinball "museums" around the U.S. and the world where you can pay an entrance fee and then enjoy many of the historic pinball games that they have. If you'd like to find a game close to you, some countries still have a few places where you can play. At the end of this post, you will find a list of some resources for you to locate some games that may be close to you, though in many parts of the world these are difficult to find.

Apollo (1967)

With the space race at its peak, Williams created three space-themed games that it released in 1967. The other two were called Lunar Shot and Blast Off. The latter had an add-a-ball feature, while Lunar Shot had some modifications to comply with strict anti-gambling laws in certain countries. During that period, Williams tried to capitalize on some other themes as well by having multiple games with titles such as sports-themed Base Hit, Touchdown, Big League, and Kick Off.

Apollo was one of the company's best. Its background and board graphics and its appealing play helped it rank it as a favorite. The bagatelle launch pad display was a great addition, providing not only a fun feature, but a nod to pinball's roots. Here are some pictures of the game.



Buckaroo (1965)

Buckaroo is considered a wedge head design with its trapezoidal orientation. The theme was a cowboy (also known as buckaroo), which was reflected in the artwork. However, if you are looking for a cowboy, you'll actually see many more girls than boys. As the spirited horse centerpiece suggests, the real cowboy is the player.

The Buckaroo is you!

The game features seven consecutive numbers. If you get four of them, then it awards an extra play, giving you the possibility of multiple plays. This is a fun, well-designed game that classifies as a real bucking bronco!



4 Square (1971)

The backglass design on this game defies easy explanation. To that end, it's eclectic and a bit trippy. That makes the game a perfect fit during a year that would feature new rock albums from Pink Floyd, the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Joni Mitchell, and Led Zeppelin, among others.

Looking more closely at the play field and playing a few balls, it becomes clear that the central theme is "fours". So they didn't lie to us, since the title spelled that out clearly. Aside from the three bulbs on top, nearly every feature comes in sets of four here. The numbers targets, the colors, the lanes, and the rollovers: it's all about fours. Complete a set of numbers for higher achievement.

Here are some images along with a YouTube clip of someone playing this game. As you can see, it's a lot more fun than many games of this vintage.



King of Diamonds (1967)

Yes, it's a card-themed game. What else is new? That must be the most popular theme for older pinball machines. Gottlieb did well here and KoD ranks with the other selections in this post as a Top 100-ranked pinball game of all time.

The lighted lanes and bulbs at the top, the jeweled posts, and the attractive centerpiece featuring a card hand are all quite attractive. I love having the specials lit in color. There is plenty of intrigue going on as the play unfolds. The King of D's is definitely a rogue and made me think of the Jack of Diamonds song by Bob Dylan a few years later. A little space wasted at the bottom of the board, but all in all, a great design is the king.



Sing Along (1967)

I think the layout of this one is really attractive. It is music themed and has some stellar artwork to go along. Some play field surfaces just feel good and this one does. That is, until you start playing it.

The play on Sing Along is a bit disappointing. First, there are loud bells ringing and the thing makes a real racket as you play. Not much fun. It's also one of those games where you seem to lose balls too often to the gaping gaps on the sides. I do like the sequence of holes, but it's not enough to add much to the big bulbs, which are really about all this game has going for it. It's not as fun to play as I would have hoped, but still an enjoyable, classic pinball game.



Find a Pinball Machine

If you’d like to play pinball, here is a map of current public locations. There aren’t many of these games left, but it’s a much different experience than playing on a computer or phone. And if you can find a good selection of old games somewhere, perhaps you’ll look for one of my favorites.
Here’s a map showing North American locations:
This site is a good general resource for pinball games; I consulted it as I was writing the above reviews.

Silverball Museum (NJ and FL)
Miami Pinball Museum
Pacific Pinball Museum
Roanoke Pinball Museum (with some great info on each of the games) (which also has feature pages for each game)

Photos by the author or as credited in the text.


There is something to be said about the old machines. Yes! Where are the museum in the US? thanks @donkeypong

Yes. Check the end of the post where I provided some links to hot spots.

I myself never played actual pinball machines but if only these things spurt cash when you win a certain point then it might get so popular to people because it is addictive to play as some people say @donkeypong :D

Yes, with the cash, you're probably thinking of some casino machines. The typical pinball games do not pay you anything besides their entertainment value, and you normally need to pay a few cents for that.

Standing ovation for best content quality as always @donkeypong

You're too kind.

I adore pinball, I could easily spend a couple hours a day playing those machines if given the chance :)

Too young for these - but I spent lots of time on Dracula, Indiana Jones and NBA themed ones. :)

Most of my favorites are a bit later than these ones also, but nice to see some classics.

Very old style sir @donkeypong. I remember I played this game when I was child and forget the time. Nice post sir. Blessing

It looks like you are very lucky could enjoy all the games according to the times. And I'm sure you have a very happy childhood. I have never known games since childhood. Maybe because I live in a country that is not yet developed. Games or pinballs only existed in my country a few years ago and I was too old to play it. So I'm no longer interested in playing it.

As a kid, I actually did not have many games either. There's nothing wrong with spending lots of time outside and playing with friends and nature.

Excellent review @donkeypong and you are right, with the old games of this type there is a certain charm and memories of the time spent in his youth, which bring pleasant moments. Unfortunately the games you listed were not in my country, but I would love to play them as soon as possible!

This is wonderful news, I am so grateful having such opportunity to read your post because I have learn much about pinball, from the year mention 1960 - 1970.

Through pinball is just like an old car have you say. @donkeypong you are old man to have all this experience.

Thanks a lot for sharing all this and I am grateful for the map has well because it going to help locate pinball station to enable catch my fun one of this week.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Oh this brings back memories from the cafe around the corner from my grandma's house

Ahhh, Lots of money was spent on pinball in my youth! Loved those things!

Ah, I'm not the only old timer then.

It is surprise that I have heard that pinball of a thing but I have not even tried playing it for once to see how entertaining it is

@donkeypong, Yeah I remembered you written some blogs about various pinball reviews and I mentioned there only few once I played before. This time introduced another parts of pinball games. In fact I most interesting Apollo, but never played and happened to passion for playing. I attracted it's graphics especially.

Thanks for throwing me down the memory lane, I feel like saying "You are a good human because you have a emotional human touch to yourself" :)

I wish I could play these games but in my luck. These games are so awesome. Thanks for sharing with us. Sir what’s your opinion on downvote added by Steemit. I have send them some suggestions if you support them that will be great sir here is the link

My opinion? The community suggested that change years ago to improve the site. It was a "no brainer" and apparently simple to implement. I'm disappointed it took them so long to make the change, but glad it was done quickly once they finally set their minds to the task.

Always enjoy playing some pinball when i can. Its a shame they aren't around as much as they used to be. thanks for sharing these with us @donkeypong!

If your ever in los angeles hit me up! I get down on pinball quite regularly, basiclly the only bars i goto since i quit drinking haha.

Totally love slower older machines, not a hudge fan of lightning fast old school machines.

I used to play in my childhood, thanks for the old memories sir @donkeypong

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