By Russ Jensen



     Ever since the inception of the pinball game in the early

1930's, some form of "scoring" was used to indicate the player's

prowess at the game.  Although in the majority of cases some form

of "point system" was used, some games used other methods of

"keeping score".


     In this article I shall attempt to briefly describe many of

the "scoring themes" used on pinball games over the years, and when

a straight "numerical" scoring system was used, elaborate on how

the values of these scores changed over the years.


      One point I wish to make at the outset.  When I refer to the

"scoring theme" of a game I am talking about the theme of the type

of scoring used in the game, and not the theme of the artwork used

on the backglasses of later machines, except when the "art theme"

and the "scoring theme" happen to coincide.  An example of this

latter situation would be a "baseball theme" machine where the

artwork and the "score system" (hits, runs, etc.) both depict the

game of baseball.




     The early "counter top" pingames of 1932 all had holes on

their playfields into which balls dropped for scoring.  Most of

these holes were marked with score values in the hundreds (100,

200, 500, etc.) and the player had to total his own score by adding

the values of the holes into which he had succeeded shooting balls.

A very few games had holes marked less than 100, but this was rare.


     Many of these early games also had a special hole (usually at

the top of the playfield) which would make the player's score count

double if a ball was shot into it.  A few of the early games (for

example CONTACT in late 1933) had one ball which was a different

color from the others and which counted double the value of any

hole in which it landed.  Within a year or two the values of

scoring holes on pingames increased, with holes with values in the

low thousands (1000, 1500, etc.) up to as high as 5000 by 1934.


     Most of the early pins of 1932-1934 had "numerical" scores as

just described.  A few of these early pins, however, had scoring

themes other than numerical.  Some early games, such as Gottlieb's

1932 game PLAYBOY, had holes associated with playing card symbols

where the object of the game was not to get a high score, but to

make certain card combinations such as Poker hands.


     It was also during this period that the theme of "baseball"

(hits, runs, and outs, instead of just plain points) came into

pinball with Rockola's classic game WORLD SERIES from 1933.  This

novel game simulated the scoring of a real baseball game allowing

the player to accumulate "runs" until "3 outs" were made.



     In addition to the continuation of "point scoring themes",

with ever increasing top scoring capability (up to about 20,000 by

1938), new innovations in pingame scoring developed in the period

from 1934 through 1938.


     With the introduction of "payout pingames" during this period

came a type of scoring in which cash payout amounts were

"disguised" as simple "points".  While non-payout "novelty" pins

boasted of scores in increments of 100 and going up into the

thousands, the "payouts" had much lower values on their scoring

holes such as 10, 20, etc. (Some up to 200).  These numbers

actually represented the number of "cents" the player would receive

for getting a ball into that hole (10 meaning "10 cents", 100 a

dollar, etc.).


     It is interesting to note that since it cost a nickel to play

one of these games, a player getting a ball into any of these

numbered holes would "make a profit" (or at least "break even").

For this reason these payout machines were constructed in such a

manner that it was very difficult to get a ball into any hole, and

therefore most of the time a player's ball or balls would end up in

the "out-hole" at the bottom of the playfield.  That doesn't sound

like a very interesting game to play, does it?


     Other forms of payout pingames originating in the mid Thirties

had what was known as "odds" which represented the actual number of

coins paid out, rather than their value (eg. A payout odds value of

"8" for a particular "winning combination" meant that the player

would receive 8 nickels (40 cents) if he succeeded in making

whatever game feature was required to receive those "odds").  The

actual "theme" of most of these games was generally a form of

"number matching" which will be discussed shortly.


     This "odds" system was used on the many "one-ball horserace"

pingames which were quite prevalent from the mid Thirties up until

1950.  For a detailed history of these games (and the "bingo

pinballs" which followed them) I refer you to my previous article

titled "Multiple Coin Pinballs" which appeared in the SPRING 1985

issue of COIN SLOT.


     In December of 1936 Bally revolutionized the pinball industry

with the introduction of a new form of scoring device featured on

their game called BUMPER (the name which quickly became the generic

term for this device).  BUMPER also featured a new form of score

indicating/totalizing device (the "score projector") which

projected a lighted number representing the player's score onto a

frosted area of the game's backglass.


     The score values used by BUMPER were in units of 10, up to a

maximum of around 400, producing much lower total scores than the

other games of the period which had hole values generally between

100 and 5000.  Players however probably didn't mind those lower

scores because now the job of adding up their final score was

performed by the machine!


     These projectors, however, were only used for a short time on

a few machines (mostly by Bally) as the primary score indicating

device, because the idea of indicating score by lighted "panels" on

the game's backglass was to become the most popular method used to

indicate score on most non-payout ("novelty") pingames for many

years to come.


NOTE:  Even though "score projectors" were not used as the primary

score indicating device on too many pingames, these units were

quite widely used for many years for other purposes, such as replay

indicators and "reserve jackpot" displays; but more about that



     Possibly the first game to use this form of "light scoring"

was Chicago Coin's LIVE WIRE in early 1937, followed quickly by

Genco's ROLLOVER.  When this form of scoring was introduced, score

increments of 100 (as opposed to 10 in BUMPER and other "projector

scoring" games) were again used, with the backglass having scoring

panels for 100-900 and for thousands, usually ranging up to between

4000 and 9000 at first.  This scoring you will notice had similar

values to the "scoring hole" games prevalent at the time this new

score indicating system was introduced.


     The use of the new scoring "bumpers" on the playfield quickly

spread to almost all forms of pingames, including payouts; games

with almost all types of scoring themes.  An example of the use of

bumpers on a very novel payout pingame, Bally's GOLDEN WHEEL, will

be described shortly.  Enough about strictly numerical point

scoring for awhile.  What about other scoring themes used in the

mid 1930's?


     Baseball theme pingames were also quite popular in the mid

Thirties, especially in 1937 and 1938.  The "scoring" in these

games was based on "runs" which actually was "unity" (lowest score

increment of "1") scoring which was quite rare on other pins since

the scores seemed low, but it did simulate baseball scoring.


     In early 1937, for example, no less than five "baseball pins"

were introduced, all of which utilized the new "spring bumpers" (as

introduced on Bally's BUMPER) to advance "light animated" base

runners on their backglasses.  Chicago Coin's HOME RUN came out

first around January of 1937, followed in April by four more games

using this theme: Genco's BATTER UP, Bally's BOOSTER, Gottlieb's

"(electric) SCORE BOARD, and Daval's BASEBALL.


     Another scoring theme used by games in the mid 1930's was that

of "number matching".  By far the most common type of games to

employ this principle were the "one-ball horserace" games mentioned

earlier.  These games had numbered holes on their playfields

(generally numbered from 1 to 7 or 8).  When the player inserted a

coin one or more numbers would light up on the backglass, and in

order to win the player had to get a ball into a hole with a number

corresponding to the lighted number(s).  These games were generally

"payouts" employing the "odds" system described earlier.


     Another "number match" game, which came out near the end of

1935, was Bally's novelty pin MATCH THE DIAL.  This game had holes

on the playfield numbered between 1 and 15 and had a dial-like

device near the bottom of the playfield which indicated a number at

the start of each game.  If a player got a ball into the hole

corresponding to that number he would win a "free play". 


     Still another game, MATCH 'EM, made by Genco in early 1937,

had a short backboard on which a different column of three numbers

would light up at the start of each game.  A player was given 6

balls per game and in order to win had to "match" any one of the

three lit numbers by getting a ball into a correspondingly numbered



     Probably the most interesting "number match" pingame however

was Bally's 1937 "classic" GOLDEN WHEEL.  In that game one (or

possibly more) groups of 4 numbers would light on the backboard

when a coin was inserted.  This game used bumpers to increment a

"score" indicated by a score projector similar to that introduced

on BUMPER.  In order to win the player's final score (number of

bumpers hit) had to exactly match one of the lit numbers on the

backglass.  This was a "payout", and the number of coins paid out

for a "match" varied depending on whether you matched the lowest

number in the group of four lit numbers or one of the higher

numbers (the larger the number matched, the larger the payout).  A

very novel idea indeed!


     Another scoring theme used on a few games in the mid 1930's

was that of the game or "Blackjack" or "21".  In these games the

player had to make a total score as close to "21" as possible

without going over that amount as in the card game.  Examples of

games of this type were Chicago Coin's SWEET-21 and Pamco's BEE-JAY

(both "payouts" coming out around November of 1936), and Gottlieb's

"novelty" pin "(Electric) 21" from April 1937.


     The pingame's "competitor" in the 1930's, the "bell slot

machine", was also used as a pingame scoring theme.  A few very

early pins had slot symbols (Bells, Cherries, Lemons, etc.) next to

their score holes, but Mills' ONE-TWO-THREE, which first appeared

in 1938, really "took the cake".


     That game had three slot machine type reels behind it's

backglass which, instead of "spinning" as in a slot, "advanced",

one symbol at a time, when the ball in play hit bumpers on the

playfield.  At the end of the game, if the reels ended up on a

winning slot machine combination, a payout would be made based on

that combination in the same manner as with a slot.  This game was

so popular that it was produced for quite sometime.  There were

also a few pingames, such as Mills' 1935 game TEN GRAND, which

actually contained a Mills slot machine mechanism beneath it's



     Other popular games were also used as pinball scoring themes

in the mid Thirties.  The always popular game of Golf was used as

the scoring theme of GM Laboratory's PAR GOLF in 1935, the

scoreboard indicating the "9 holes" of a golf game.  A dice game

was the theme of Keeney's 1935 payout pingame IVORY GOLF, with the

player shooting one ball to try to get it into a hole next to which

was a number between 1 and 11.  Landing in the "7" hole (very

difficult to do) gave the player 48 nickels, "11" giving 20, with

other numbers paying less, or nothing at all.


     One very popular game used as a scoring theme on pingames was

the game of pool.  One such game was Gottlieb's KELLY POOL which

came out in the Spring of 1935 and had it's playfield holes

arranged in the form of a "rack of pool balls".  Bally's POCKETS

from late 1936, however, was a "life-like" simulation of that game.


     The playfield of POCKETS (which was flat, and not sloped like

other pingames) resembled a real pool table.  It only had six holes

(in the same positions as the pockets on a pool table) and was

covered with a green synthetic felt material.  The "catlin" (a form

of ceramic) balls were launched onto the playfield using a pinball

type plunger.  When they reached the top of the field a slanted

rail would direct them into the playing area.


     Since the field was flat (except when tilted downward at the

start of each game to retrieve any balls still "stranded" in the

middle) the balls could stop anywhere on the field without going

into a pocket.  The sides of the field were cushioned however like

a pool table so balls striking the side would be deflected,

possibly into one of the 6 pockets.  Balls stopping in the center

of the field could possibly be placed into a pocket when hit by

another ball played later.


     The player's "score" (number of pocketed balls) was indicated

on the backboard by a "light-up totalizer".  This was probably the

closest simulation of the game of pool using a pingame plunger

which was ever produced.  Some may argue that this was not truly a

"pingame" because it did not have a sloping playfield, but it's use

of a plunger certainly made it "pin-like".  Anyway, I'm sure you'll

agree that Bally's POCKETS was a very novel amusement device



     Probably one of the most popular pinball scoring themes

(although not often the "primary scoring theme") from the late

1930's through the 1940's (and even later) was that of "number

sequences".  In fact pioneer pinball designer Steve Kordek is fond

of saying "'One to Ten' was the most popular pingame ever made".

For an in-depth discussion of number sequence pins I refer you to

my previous article, "Bally's Variety, and Other 'Sequence'

Pingames" which appeared in the FALL 1985 issue of COIN SLOT.


     One of the early "sequence scoring" games was Exhibit's REVIEW

which came out in the Summer of 1938.  This game had fifteen

bumpers on it's playfield which were numbered "1" through "15".

The backglass had a nautical theme with fifteen "ship's flags"

correspondingly numbered.  The object of the game was very simple;

hit the 1 through 5 bumpers for a small replay payoff (probably 1),

hit 1 through 10 for a larger number of replays, or hit all fifteen

bumpers for the "Big Bank-Nite Award" of a large number of free

games.  There apparently was no other form of scoring on this game,

thus making the "number sequence" it's "primary scoring theme".  By

the way, this was also an early pin employing the new "light-up"



     In the years to come, variations on this theme of hitting

bumpers to light "sequences" were often used in pingames.  On many

of these games the number sequence was "supplemental" to other

scoring themes, most often "high score", the completing of the

number sequence (or part of it) enabling certain game features

which promoted better scores.


     Some pins, such as Bally's RESERVE of 1938, used the

completing of a number sequence to award the player a "reserve

jackpot" (of coin payout or free games) the value of which

increased the more the game was played until it was won.  This same

general idea was also used as a "come-on" feature on many of the

previously mentioned "one-ball horserace" pins, the "reserve

jackpot" being awarded when the player got a ball in a special

"pocket" (usually labeled "Feature") when that feature was enabled

by insertion of extra coins at the start of the game.


     Before leaving the mid-Thirties one other pinball scoring

theme should be mentioned, although at that time it was only used

a few times, but was revived in the 1950's as we will see later.

That theme was "in-line" scoring.


     Possibly the earliest pingame to employ this theme was Pacific

Amusement's LITE-A-LINE which appeared on the market in late 1934.

This game had a circular playfield containing 25 holes numbered "1"

through "25".  The backglass had three 5 by 5 number patterns

similar to a "bingo card".  The player "bought" 1, 2, or all cards

by depositing coins in three separate coin chutes (one for each

card).  In order to win the player had to light a row of 5 numbers

on the selected card(s).


     Two later games with this theme were Keeney's KEEN-O from

Spring of 1937, and Bally's LINE-UP later that same year.  KEEN-O

had one 5 by 5 card on it's backglass with a center "free spot"

replacing the number "13".  Numbered spring bumpers on the

playfield would each light one (and in a few cases two) numbers on

the card.  In order to win the player again had to complete a five

number line on the card (which could include the "free spot").   



     Bally's LINE-UP had a similar "bingo card" on it's backglass,

but the playfield contained a 5 by 5 array of holes in the exact

same pattern as the backglass card.  We shall see later that a

similar game format became very popular in the 1950's.





     In the years from 1939 until the World War II pingame

manufacturing ban in early 1942, "numerical scores" were the

primary pinball scoring theme.  There were a few games of this

period with baseball (runs) scoring and a couple, such as

Gottlieb's LITE-O-CARD, which had an "in-line" theme to supplement

high scores.  Many games in this period used "number sequences",

mostly in addition to "numerical score" scoring.  As far as

"payouts" were concerned, they were almost all "one-ball horserace"

number matching games with the payout "odds" as described earlier.


     The "scoring units" in the numerical scores used during that

period began to change from what they had been in the mid 1930's.

Previously scores had generally been in units of 100, with maximum

scores reaching up to between 5 and 10 thousand.  During the late

Thirties and early Forties scores increased and many of the later

games of that period had maximum scores ranging into the 10,000's,

in some cases up to as high as 70 or 80 thousand.


     Most of these games had "visible" scoring panels on their

backglasses indicating "thousands" (from 1000 to 9000) and

"ten-thousands", starting with 10,000 and going up to at least

40,000, with some as high as 80,000.


     The "basic scoring increment" for most of these games was

generally 100, or some other "pseudo-score" unit as will be

described shortly.  In most cases these 100-900 scores (or the

corresponding "pseudo-scores") were "hidden" on the backglass, only

visible one at a time (100, then 200, etc, for example) using some

form of "light animation" as the score was advanced during play.

Some of the later games abandoned these "sub-thousand" scores all

together using 1000 as their smallest scoring increment.


     Some games during this period (instead of using 100 as their

basic score increment) used the "completion" of some

"light-animated activity" on the backglass to score 1000.  For

example, Genco's METRO from 1941 had an animated display of 12 cars

circling on a roadway which advanced each time certain bumpers were

hit.  Each time this "circle" was completed (12 hits of the

bumpers) 1000 was scored.  This "pseudo-score" was equivalent to

each bumper hit being worth 1000/12, or approximately "83 points"

in straight numerical scoring.


     Before leaving the subject of pingame scoring in the near

pre-war period, one additional type of "score display" should be

mentioned, that being the display of "replay credits".


     Many games in the early 1940's displayed "replays" in units of

"1" in some area (usually near the bottom) of the backglass.  These

indications were usually of the "hidden" type, only the number lit

being visible to the observer.  On some games however, like many

games made by Exhibit and Gottlieb, replays were "disguised" as

"numerical scores" in unit of 1000, each 1000 being equal to one

"free play credit".  This was probably done to aid operators

operating pingames in areas where "free games" were illegal.  In

these areas the operator or location owner could say these were

merely "special skill scores" having no intrinsic value.




     When the World War II ban on pingame production ended, the

first new games to be manufactured were almost identical to those

produced in 1941.  Numerical "high scores" were the primary scoring

themes of most games (except for the "gambling type" pins, but more

about them later) with "number sequences" used on almost all games

as an "adjunct" to high score scoring.


     Most, if not all, of the pingames produced in 1946 had 1000 as

their lowest scoring increment, with their maximum scores at first

ranging up to about 90 thousand.  It wasn't long, however, until

10,000 became the basic scoring increment, remaining so through the

1950's, except for the "multi-player" games which will be discussed



(NOTE: Some of the early post-war pins actually had 1-9 thousand

scores displayed, with the lowest value bumper scoring 5000 by

pulsing the 1000 score unit 5 times for each hit.  So these games,

you might say, had a minimum scoring increment of 5000).


     With the introduction of 10,000 minimum scoring came an

increase in the maximum score possibilities.  In 1947 and early

1948 games with "100 thousand" scoring panels on their backglasses

began to appear.  Early games of this type, such as Chicago Coin's

1947 hit KILROY, only indicated 100 and 200 thousand.  By late

1947, however, a few pins could score up to 800 or 900 thousand.


     Then, in 1948, a few games came out with a "One Million" light

on their backglass, thus beginning the era of the "million scoring

pingame".  One of the early pins capable of scoring over a million

was Gottlieb's 1948 game ALICE IN WONDERLAND.  In this game there

was a "One Million" light on the backglass, which was not visible

except when lit, with the words "One Million" shown in sort of a

'script' form.


     Within a year all pins had scores ranging up to 8 or 9

million.  These high scoring pins even prompted a Country and

Western song in the early Fifties titled "Pinball Millionaire", the

lyrics of the chorus saying:  "I made a Hundred, I made a Thousand,

I made a Million, but I won't quit there;  I'm going to be a

pinball millionaire!"


     In the early 1950's a "secondary scoring system" was

incorporated into many pingames, in addition to their

"multi-million scoring".  These "scores" were called "points" and

generally had a basic scoring increment of only "1", while the

"high score" scoring system on the same games had an increment of



     The "points" earned by a player (from hitting certain bumpers,

targets, etc.) were in many cases indicated by lighted plastic

"inserts" on the playfield, rather than on the backglass where the

"high scores" were displayed.  The maximum number of points

possible usually ranged between 20 and 50, a player being awarded

replays for exceeding one or more point values indicated on the

instruction card.


     For example, on Williams 1951 game SHOO SHOO, a player could

earn up to 40 points, with replays being awarded at 32 and 40

points, for instance.  This idea gave the player an additional goal

to strive for, thus increasing the "player appeal" of the game.


     A major change in "high score" scoring in pingames came with

the introduction of "multi-player" (2 and 4 player) pins in the mid

1950's.  With the exception of a few Williams games in 1953, all

pins in the early Fifties indicated the player's score by means of

lighted panels on the backglass, nine light-up numbers indicating

10 to 90 thousand, nine more indicating 100 to 900 thousand, and

additional panels for the millions.


     Well, in 1955 Gottlieb produced the first 4-player pingame, a

game called SUPER JUMBO.  Apparently the Gottlieb designers decided

that four separate sets of "scoring panels" would leave the

backglass too cluttered and decided on using "reel type" digital

counters to display each player's score.  One big difference

between the "light scoring" method and this "reel scoring" idea was

that the lowest scoring unit became "1" instead of 10,000, with

"maximum" scores  being lowered to 999, instead of going up into

the millions.


(NOTE:  The previously mentioned 1953 Williams games used scoring

reels, but used "fake" zeros for the low order digits so that the

minimum scoring increment was still 10,000.  Williams shortly went

back to "light scoring" again however).


     Shortly after SUPER JUMBO, Gottlieb introduced a 2-player pin,

DUETTE.  Williams soon followed suit and the two major amusement

pinball manufacturers in the 1950's began producing "reel scoring"

multi-player games in addition to "light scoring" single player



(NOTE: Bally, who throughout the mid-Fifties concentrated on their

"bingo pinballs" (more about these later), produced three 2-player

games around 1957.  Two of these, BALLS-A-POPPIN' and CIRCUS, used

"light scoring" for both player's score with a lowest score

increment of "1", and the other, CARNIVAL, used "reels" like

Gottlieb and Williams).


     In late 1959 Gottlieb came out with a single player pin called

UNIVERSE which used "reel scoring" like the multi-players.  Their

next few single players again used "light scoring", but they soon

started using "reels" on all their games.  About a year later

Williams also went over to "reel scoring" exclusively.


     Some games had three reels with a possible high score of 999.

Others used a single light, next to the hundreds reel, to indicate

"1000", therefore allowing scores up to 1,999.  Still other games

used four reels allowing a maximum of 9,999.


     Well, it wasn't too long before pinball manufacturers

apparently decided that players wanted even higher scores than a

few thousand points.  At first one "fake" zero was added to score

reels making the minimum increment "10", then another, bringing the

minimum increment up to "100", etc, boosting "maximum" scores by

the same factor, of course.  When solid-state pingames were

introduced "fake" zero displays were also used to give the player's

higher scores.  Today's solid-state pins again have high scores

running up into the "millions", like their ancestors three decade



     We have just seen how "high scores" in pingames have changed

in the four decades following the end of World War II, but what

about other pinball "scoring themes" used during that same period?


     Paralleling the "amusement pinballs" in these years (at least

until very recent times) were the "gambling type" pingames.  The

"One-ball horserace" pinballs, which were very popular in the late

1930's and early 1940's, again emerged after the war's end,

beginning with Bally's VICTORY DERBY and VICTORY SPECIAL coming out

as soon as the war was over.  These were "number matching" games

with "odds" similar to the ones I described earlier.


     Well, in 1951 these games were almost totally "outlawed" with

the passage of the Johnson Act which forbad interstate shipment of

"gambling devices".  The major manufacturers of this type of game

had to come up with a "substitute" to keep from losing a lot of



     The new type of game which was developed to replace the "One

ball" utilized the "in-line" scoring idea similar to that used on

Pamco's LITE-A-LINE, Bally's LINE-UP and Keeney's KEEN-O in the

1930's which were described earlier.  These games soon became known

as "bingo pinballs" because of the resemblance of the number

arrangements on their backglasses to the common "bingo card".  For

a detailed description of the "evolution" of these games I again

refer you to my article MULTIPLE COIN PINBALLS which I mentioned



     Baseball scoring pinballs (scoring in "runs") were not to be

found after the war.  The only games using this type of scoring

were the "pitch-and-bat" arcade type baseball machines very popular

during the late 1940's and 1950's.


     One game to use an unusual scoring theme in the early 1950's

was Genco's 1951 pin STOP AND GO.  This game had an "auto racing"

theme with scoring in terms of "laps" and "miles".


     As I said previously, "number sequences" were used as

"supplemental themes" on most pingames coming out right after World

War II.  Within a few years some pins were using a variation of

this idea where the player would try to light the letters in the

name of the game displayed on the backglass.


     Examples of games using this idea were United's series of

"destination games" (games named after cities, countries, etc.) in

which the player would hit bumpers (or go through rollovers) which

lit certain letters in the game's name, such as MANHATTAN.

Completing these "sequences" (either in total or in parts) would

enable certain special features in the game, such as doubling the

value of "bonus" kickout holes on the playfield.  Many games of

this same period also employed straight "number sequences" for

similar purposes.


     Playing card "sequences" were also a popular "supplemental

theme" on many games made from the 1950's through the 1970's.  This

was really just another form of the old "number sequence" idea

started in the late Thirties, with replicas of playing cards (or

just the numbers 1 through 10 and the letters A, K, Q, and J)

replacing a strictly numerical sequence.


     One example of a game employing a "playing card sequence" as

a supplemental scoring theme was Gottlieb's 1957 game STRAIGHT

FLUSH.  The 13 card "heart suit" was pictured on it's backglass.

The player could light some of these cards by rollovers on the

playfield, while a "roto-target" in the center of the playfield

gave the player the possibility of lighting any of the cards,

possibly 2 at a time, if hit properly by a ball in play.  The

advertising brochure for this game indicated that a "special score"

could be obtained by lighting "any five cards in a row".


     Gottlieb's QUEEN OF DIAMONDS two years later had the diamond

suit in a semi-circle on it's backglass.  These could be lit by a

combination of rollovers and playfield targets.  Lighting all 13

cards awarded the player a replay plus 400,000 points.  In the

early 1970's Gottlieb came out with several games which had the

then popular "drop targets" labeled with "card values" (1 through

10, J, Q, K, and A).  On their 1971 game DROP-A-CARD hitting the

2-5 or 6-9 targets lit pop bumpers for extra points, hitting 10-A

increased the value of the bottom rollovers, and getting all 13

targets down lit rollovers for "specials".


     As in the mid 1930's, the theme of the popular card game

"Blackjack" (or "21") was also simulated on a few pingames in more

modern times.  On these games the player could score special "card

points" in addition to the "high score" aspects of the game.  In

order to win an additional replay the player's "card score" had to

be as close to "21" as possible, without going over that amount.

Examples of this type of scoring were found on Gottlieb's 1950

"turret shooter" game JUST-21, Williams' BLACKJACK and "21" in

1960, and their 1968 pin LADY LUCK.


     The popular game of pool was an even more popular theme on

post-war pingames than it was in the Thirties.  Most of these games

used depictions of the standard 15 pool balls on either their

backglass, their playfield, or both.  Lighting these "pool balls"

in reality was just another form of the old "number sequence" idea

discussed earlier, the balls simply being a "sequence" of the

numbers 1 through 15.  This again was a "supplemental theme" with

"high score" as the main theme of almost all "amusement" pingames

made since World War II.


     Another theme used by some pingames in the 1950's through the

early 1970's was that of "horseracing".  While the "one-ball

horserace" games mentioned earlier were supposed to be simulating

a horserace (their "number matching" theme indicating the 7 numbers

to be seven "selections" on a racing program, and their 4 playfield

sections corresponding to the "finishing position" of a horse), the

games to which I am now referring had "animation units" (either in

their backbox or on their playfield) employing mechanical horses

which advanced when certain playfield bumpers/targets were hit.


     These games were all made by Williams, and their horse racing

themes were again generally "supplemental" to the "high score"

aspects of the games, except in a few rare cases.  Both Williams'

NAGS in 1951 (which gave the player only one ball) and TURF CHAMPS

in 1958, had the "horserace" as their "primary" scoring themes.  On

the former game, one of the 6 horse "selections" was randomly lit

at the start of a game, but a rollover between the flippers could

change it if the ball passed over it as it exited the playfield.


     On TURF CHAMPS, on the other hand, the player himself

"selected" which horse he wanted at the start of the game using a

button on the front rail.  On all these games "thumper bumpers",

rollovers, and targets on the playfield advanced each of the horses

in the animated unit on the game.


(NOTE:  For a fairly good list of both pool and horserace theme

pins (including a more detailed description of two pool pins and

one horseracing game) I refer you to my previous article "Pingames

At The 1988 Fun-Fair" in the WINTER 1988/89 issue of COIN SLOT).


     Before leaving the subject of pinball "scoring themes", I

think I should mention the "Special".  While not exactly a "scoring

theme" per se, it was a very important part of pinball scoring (at

least the winning of replays) for many years from the early 1940's

up until fairly recently (at least I don't believe today's pins

have them).  Exactly when that term was first used I do not yet

know (that is something I am trying to determine) but I have

narrowed it down to somewhere between the beginning of 1939 and

August of that year.


     For those "non pinball players" reading this who might not

know what a "Special" is, it is a bumper, target, or rollover on a

pingame which scores one (or more) "replays" ("free games") when

contacted by a ball, if it is "lit" (a playfield light

corresponding to it is lit).  The term "Special When Lit" has been

a "standard pinball phrase" for many years and even the title of a

fine book on pinball written by Canadian Ed Trapunski.  Anyway, for

us pinball fans who played pins during the Forties, Fifties,

Sixties, or Seventies "lighting the Special" was one of the primary

objectives of playing any pingame.


     Well, that ends this discussion of the various "scoring

themes" used on pinball machines since the early 1930's.  Although

many "themes" were employed in pingames over the years, many were

only themes of the artwork and were not connected with the

"scoring", other than that in the earlier "light bulb scoring"

games the score numbers on the backglass were blended in with the

artwork theme.


     Before concluding, one final note regarding the "scoring

values" found on pingames over the years.  While reading this

article you probably noticed that the "minimum scoring increment"

(10, 100, 1000, or 10000) and the "maximum score" (1000 or so on

some games, and up into the "millions" on others) have changed

considerably over the years (both upwards and downwards).  Well,

there is one "side effect" of this phenomena which can be

beneficial to pinball collectors.


     By combining knowledge of how these scoring values have

changed over the years with knowledge of other changes in pinball

construction (such as the complexity and size of the backglass - or

lack of it altogether) one can make a fairly accurate "educated

guess" of the date of manufacture of a game you may hear about or

have found.  If the game is not listed in "Pinball Reference Guide"

this may very well be your best method of judging it's age!