What is Pachinko?
To describe Pachinko is probably easiest by saying that a packinko game is a cross between a pinball machine and a slot machine.
To play a standard pachinko machine, you must first purchase a quantity of steel balls which are inserted into the machine. In a pachinko parlor you would generally purchase a large amount of balls and these would be supplied to you in a bucket.
The original machines had a small lever which you used to propel the balls into the machine, in a similar way to a pinball machine, however, modern machines have an automatic firing facility with a control that allows the player to set the speed and thus the power of the firing.
Once a ball is in the machine it falls through a series of pins or other obstacles to the lower section of the screen. Most balls don’t win and fall out the bottom of the screen but if a ball falls into a catchment area then the player wins more balls. In the traditional machines, the idea is to end up with more balls than you started off with to make you a winner.
In Japan, these balls have to be exchanged for prizes rather than cash but these are then effectively sold back to the parlors for cash via a prize centre located close to the parlor itself. In theory this is probably illegal due to Japanese laws but in reality the practice is tolerated.
Of course playing pachinko online, it’s much easier.