3 Jokers Pinball
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Manufacturing date : November, 1970
Manufacturer : Williams Electronics, Incorporated
Number of players : 1
Theme : Cards/Gambling
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Pinball lesson with
Features of a pinball game
Contact with or manipulation of scoring elements (such as targets or ramps) scores points for the player. Electrical switches embedded in the scoring elements detect contact and relay this information to the scoring mechanism. Older pinball machines used an electromechanical system for scoring wherein a pulse from a switch would cause a complex mechanism composed of relays to ratchet up the score. In later games these tasks have been taken over by semiconductor chips and displays are made on electronic segmented or dot matrix displays.
Pinball scoring can be peculiar and varies greatly from machine to machine. During the 1930s and the 1940s, lights mounted behind the painted backglasses were used for scoring purposes, making the scoring somewhat arbitrary. (Frequently the lights represented scores in the hundreds of thousands.) Then later, during the 1950s and 1960s when the scoring mechanism was limited to mechanical wheels, high scores were frequently only in the hundreds or thousands. (Although, in an effort to keep with the traditional high scores attained with the painted backglass games, the first pinball machines to use mechanical wheels for scoring, such as Army Navy, allowed the score to reach into the millions by adding a number of permanent zeros to the end of the score.) The average score changed again in the 1970s with the advent of electronic displays. Average scores soon began to commonly increase back into tens or hundreds of thousands. Since then, there has been a trend of scoring inflation, with modern machines often requiring scores of over a billion points to win a free game. At the peak of this trend, two machines, Johnny Mnenomic and Attack From Mars, have been played into the trillions. In 1990, the Bally pinball machine Dr. Dude made fun of this trend, offering the player a chance to score a "Gazillion" point jackpot. Another recent curiosity is the 1997 Bally game NBA Fastbreak which, true to its theme, awards points in terms of a real basketball score: Each successful shot can give from one to three points. Getting a hundred points by the end of a game is considered respectable, which makes it one of the lowest scoring pinball machines of all time. The "scoring inflation" trend continued until the 1996 release of Tales of the Arabian Nights, where all points would shrink over 100-fold. For example, replay scores that used to be in the billions have now shrunk to usually no more than 30 million. The inflated scores are the source of one of the Spanish-language names of pinball machines, máquina del millón ("million machine").
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