Pachinko anyone?

I only recently learnt about Pachinko machines which are a Japanese invented gaming device for amusement and gambling.

Pachinko machines are unique to Japan and are apparently found in pachinko parlors all over the country (which are easily identified by the bright, gaudy decoration and flashing neon lights). It’s kinda like slot machine meet pinball, but vertical, without flips and with a number of little metal balls.

The only control the player has is over the speed with which the balls (up to 250) are fired into the machine by using a throttle. Most balls just fall down through the machine through pins to the bottom and you lose them. But if you manage to get one or more to fall into special target holes, it becomes like a slot machine. There’s a digital screen in the center of the layout and if the same three pictures appear, you win! And you get whole new bunch of balls as a jackpot which you can then exchange for goods in the parlor’s gift shop (since gambling is prohibited in Japan). You can apparently take these gifts outside and around the corner to a little enterprising business and trade them in for cash (these businesses are commonly owned by organized crime).

Check out these really bad commercials that Nick Cage did for Sankyo (a maker of Pachinko) for a good laugh. It’s little wonder the guy just declared that his going bankrupt!

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