Monday, March 27, 2023

‘Pinball’, a nostalgic machine

Txus Algora, the author of the book ‘Bola extra’ and an expert on the subject, made an association with this art.

Popular culture is a definite reflection of man. Great social phenomena usually find their bones in the pantheon of popular culture, their rise can disappear or extend for generations. I came to the pinball ‘phenomenon’ for a nice change of time. It was the 80s… cards, shoulder pads, leotards, Fiorucci jeans, Sabrina Salerno and those awesome musical anthologies playing full blast on the Walkman. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the metallic sound of pinball machines, authentic nostalgia machines. However, that flirtatious, festive and ambiguous period was far from the best stage of this monster of fun, a member of the usual bars and arcades. We’ll talk more about that below, but first allow me a quick leave.

The other day, while I was waiting my turn at the counter, I overheard two boys in their early twenties. They were talking about video games. I could hear how they mocked the vaults of yesterday, they destroyed them mercilessly, and it is true that their arguments were not without cause, which did not prevent me from calling to a duel in the first light of another century. But I kept silent and counted to ten. Anyway, no matter how much I kick my liver, I have to admit that “two sharp” is right. Technically, there is no color between the video games from the eighties and the amazing ones that are being killed today, but pinball games are in a different division, damn me, I thought to myself. and so it is.


Some place its period of effervescence between the 70s and 80s, but it is true that it was already creating a frenzy long before that. “Pinball was invented by the Americans during the War of Independence when they turned Bagatelle, a variation of billiards, into a game of chance, where the player simply had to hit the balls that were thrown onto the field. spikes to get scores. This form arrived in Spain in the 19th century, but here it is called Roman billiards or automatic billiards”, Txus Algora, author of the book Bola extra and head of the largest database on pinballs in Spain.

His love for this game, which began to decline with the arrival of “consoles and computer games”, was born in the “summer” of 82, when I came to Ibiza with my family and, absent friends, spent time between the beaches. He keeps a library and a game room in Vara del Rey that had a lot of pinballs.

Today, pinballs are true rarities intended for collectors who have the budget to buy and keep them. “Apart from the occasional pub, bowling alley and arcade in the middle of shopping, it’s not easy to see them in action.” A new pinball “around between 6,000 and 10,000 euros”, on the other hand, “second hand varies a lot and there have been cases in which some models have exceeded the prices of new ones, but hey, they usually move between 500 and 5,000 euros, depending on the model and its condition, explains Algora , who bought his first pinball 25 years ago “and then I always had one at home.”

But where can we find one in Mallorca? According to Algora, which supports the Recreational Museum of Jaen – an entity that sets itself to create the greatest recreational machines in the world – in Mallorca it is difficult to “throw some balls”… “I think. There are some pinballs in the arcades in the places of the city that are repeated only in the summer They are open, and also in hotels with their own sports area.

Perhaps its presence is residual, and perhaps, in the heat of unsteady technological progress, the figure of pinball will become a hazy memory of the past… but in the same way that I love music, comics and movies. 80s plus., the format in which I spent half my adolescence, no machine with flashy graphics will be able to erase those Saturday afternoon twenty hard coins in the arcade. Sadly, some great things in life don’t last, it happened with Concorde, the net, the discoplay Newsletter, the Crystal Ball, Sonny Crocket shirts…

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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