Pachinko is mechanical game originated in Japan. This gambling game is played for money, prizes and recreation. In Japan, Pachinko is similar to the American version of slot machines. The game was created after the original pinball machines. Pinball involves shooting metal balls using flippers onto the playing field. The balls then go through a series of metal pins before landing into special holes. Playing Pachinko is very similar.

When the balls land in specific locations, an event sequence is triggered resulting in the release of additional balls. The object of Pachinko is for the player to capture the highest number of balls possible. In Japan, the machines are referred to as Pachinkos and are located in thousands of parlors that you can find almost anywhere in big cities. The actual playfield is vertical and surrounded by a case. The majority of machines have 200 pins or brass nails located in the playfield.

pachinko balls

Thousands of small balls are generally used to play the game. The player is required to rent the balls. The game begins once the player starts firing the balls using a flipper and they start bouncing through the pins. Once the playing is over, a variety of prizes can be redeemed. Vintage Pachinko machines generally use ball hopper-low lights and 10VDC. Antique machines are completely mechanical. Modern machines require a knob for firing the balls and have video screens.

The modern machines are completely electronic and offer different payouts and jackpots. Although these machines were initially 100 percent mechanical, extensive electronics are now used resembling video slot machines. Some Pachinko machines are based on popular video games, movies and cartoons. Since these machines are very small, collectors often have them in home parlors. The weight of the average machine is just 25 kilograms.

How to Play Pachinko

The balls must be rented before the game can be played. The balls keep score and are how the player wins. The player begins by approaching the counter and offering currency in exchange for a tray of brightly colored street balls. In most cases, the player receives 250 balls. Each ball is engraved with either characters or insignia to identify the specific Pachinko parlor. Once the player has chosen the desired machine, the balls are loaded into the tray.

The balls are launched onto the playing field with a knob or flipper. The idea is to trigger a jackpot or winnings. Once the balls are released, they are either fired back into the machine or removed. A lot of players have trays filled with balls waiting since the more balls put into the machine the better the payout. When the player is finished, an attendant is signaled for assistance. The assistants are easy to find due to bright leather jackets and must take the winnings to the counter.

Pachinko machine

This is not the same counter the player visits to purchase the balls. This counter has a jet counter machine for collecting and counting all the balls. The player is then given a slip showing the number of balls. Many of the newer parlors offer jet counters not requiring assistance so the players can handle the transaction themselves. This slip is unable to be directly exchanged for currency. Instead, there is a nearby display case containing prizes such as books and CDs.

The prize selection is considered eclectic, and a specific number of credits is required to claim each individual prize. Some players do not realize the prizes are simply a type of marker. Every parlor has an area where the player can take their prizes and exchange them to receive cash. The reason for this process is circumventing the gambling laws. The authorities understand this practice and simply look the other way. It is forbidden for any player to ask the location of the prize exchange.

The players must find this area without assistance. During the actual gameplay, there are numerous obstacles, pins, cups and landing places for the balls. The specific receptacles for the balls are dependent on the design of the Pachinko machine. When the ball lands on specific areas inside of the playing field, additional balls are released. This offers the player a better chance of winning because they are able to play longer.

Digital slot machines are incorporated into some of the modern machines and placed in the center. The operation is similar to a slot machine because three symbols must be lined up by the player to win. A lever containing a spring is used by the older games for launching the balls. The majority of modern machines use a type of dial instead. The player decides the amount of force they will use to launch the ball onto the playing field. Most modern Pachinko machines have a gate in the center to activate the game.

If the slot machine has already started to spin, more spins will not be triggered when additional balls come through the gate. The goal of the game is to receive a jackpot, but the players can also win by playing with fewer balls. Just like slot machines designed in the United States, the reels are animated. The programming of Pachinko machines is to ensure maximum excitement. When the first two symbols match, the suspense is increased with additional animation until the third reel is revealed.

The Japanese refer to this delay as reachi. At the same time this is happening, payout mode is activated. During the animation, the payout gate on the slot machine opens near the bottom of the playing field. While this mode is in progress, the player has the ability to earn extra payouts by shooting balls right into the gate. Only 20 years ago, many of the features now common for Pachinko machines were not possible. A good example is the modern machines that enable the players to switch the mode of playing.

These modes are generally extremely different than the typical gameplay so popular in the past. Dedicated players are generally able to recognize specific color patterns signifying the likelihood of a win. For veterans partial to this mode, this is one of the major reasons they enjoy playing the game. Players interested in enjoying the game online can simply conduct a search with any of the major search engines to find free Pachinko games available online.

The online versions are a lot like the slot machines popular with a wide range of players. Certain online casinos have Pachinko machines where players can win real money. The majority of clientele for these casinos are Asian or Japanese. In recent years, the popularity of the game has increased all over the world.

Pachinko Etiquette

Despite the similarities between American casinos and the Pachinko parlors located in Japan, there are also some major differences. The biggest difference between the two is the way the players behave. The parlors are usually crowded, but the Japanese believe Pachinko is both a solitary and personal game. According to the etiquette of the game, players should not bother or disturb other players in any way. A lot of players enjoy not having to talk to the people playing in the same vicinity.

Players shut out everything happening around them in the world and concentrate only on the path of the small balls. Players can reserve their machine for approximately 30 minutes if they need to use the restroom or want a snack simply by placing a pack of cigarettes or anything similar into the tray. Touching the Pachinko balls of another player is not allowed because the Japanese consider it either a personal insult or bad luck. Proper etiquette is extremely important in Japanese culture.

If a player notices there is a ball on the floor, the expectation is they will notify one of the attendants for removal. This practice originally began due to superstition. The Japanese believe the ball must be removed or their machine will be infected with bad luck.

History of Pachinko

The original game was called Corinthian Bagatelle and began in 1924 in Chicago. Due to the popularity with children, the machines were placed inside candy stores. The children played in the hopes of winning specific types of candy based on the results of the game. The game was often referred to as Pachi-Pachi because of the sounds made by the machine when the children when playing. In 1930, the first Pachinko parlor was opened in Nagoya.

The popularity of the game increased fairly quickly, with the Pachinko machine becoming a goldmine by 1936. Within the next four months, 35 new Pachinko parlors were established just in the Kochi prefecture. All of these parlors were forced to close from 1938 to 1946 to make certain there was enough manpower and materials for the war in China followed by World War II. After the wars, the growth of the industry significantly increased.

By 1953, 387,644 parlors were registered. Many of them offered Pachinko machines. By 2018, this number dwindled to 9,794 because only roughly 125,000 square kilometers in Japan were habitable. In 1953, there were approximately three parlors for every square kilometer. The parlors evolved with the passing of time. Despite the lower numbers, the revenue increased and the parlors became larger. The peak occurred in 1999. Approximately 5.6 percent of the GDP for the country at this time came from the parlors.

The majority of modern machines are now sponsored by famous games and movies. A good example is the line of machines based on Star Wars. The industry attracts fans of popular games such as Mario and Zelda in addition to a wide variety of mangas such as Fist of the North Star.

Typical Pachinko Prizes

Although there are some differences, the prizes offered in parlors are essentially the same. Each prize requires a specific number of balls. Some of the most common prizes include:

• Watch
• DVDs
• CDs
• Digital camera
• Electric razor
• CD player
• Perfume
• Sunglasses
• 24 beer bottles
• Compact stereo system
• Necklace
• Cigarettes
• Zippo lighter
• Disposable lighter
• 1.5-liter drink

What is Koatari?

The majority of modern machines offer a small jackpot referred to as koatari. During this mode, the player does not have as much time for shooting the balls into the payout gate. Predicting the duration of this small period is not possible. This mode enables the designers of the machines to provide players with higher kakuhen percentages and not lose profits. This led to the development of battle machines. These machines enable players to win another kakuhen by fighting and defeating enemies.

When the enemy wins, the player receives a normal koatari followed by jitan mode. It is possible for the player to be in kakuhen mode without realizing it. This is purposefully done by the designers to ensure players continue playing when they believe they are still in the normal mode. Koatari is extremely popular in Japan because the players like the battle games.