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My New Vintage Pachinko Machine

July 30, 2008

I suck at Pachinko, at least in it’s modern whirling and buzzing and shrieking form. I last about 3 minutes with ¥1,000 (or around US $9) and leave with a headache and utter bafflement. But I am decent at pinball, or at least used to be. Anyways, I’ve always admired the vintage machines since I was a kid and a neighbor had one – probably a war souvenir.

My friend Joy talked his friend down from $165 to $70, so I snagged it! It’s probably from the 50’s or 60’s (any help here?). Sorry it’s such a crappy cel phone photo but my brand new Nikon is broken (erg – any advice on sending it in under warranty?).

I’ve been surprised that a lot of people I’ve told didn’t know or vaguely knew what Pachinko is (short version = the opiate of the Japanese salary masses), so I was hoping to explain it to them (top link is to Wikipedia) and also to ask some advice about getting it in full running order from anyone who might be able to help. Thanks!

The mechanics all work perfectly, but I can’t figure out for the life of me the power source comes from for the bells and lights! Maybe it’s been ripped out completely. I’ll take detailed pics of the back with a better camera soon.

Meanwhile, this sequence from Wim Wender’s TOKYO-GA (available as a bonus disc here) nicely portrays the catatonic trance-like state some of it’s ardent enthusiasts / addicts will fall into – and all despite unbearingly loud music and distorted announcements shouted over cheap megaphones.

You can see that even by the early 80’s, Pachinko was already adding more videogame-like features, plus the plunger is automatic instead of pulled each time – much like the way it’s cousin pinball did. By now I’m sure that 3-D Hentai nurses jump out and engulf you in their boobs.

UPDATE: I got some solid advice from reader Greg (see comments) and took a few (better) photos. Thanks Greg!

Nishijin Type A Machine - It has an A-type personality...

Nishijin Type "A" Machine - It has an A-type personality...

Nishijin Type A Machine - the guts

Nishijin Type "A" Machine - the guts

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg permalink
    October 23, 2008 9:30 PM

    From the ‘fuzzy pic’, what you have is a vintage Nishijin Type “A” Machine.

    The only areas that would light up are the upper left corner (Out-of-Balls) indicator and the center (Jackpot) indicator. In the upper right (viewed from the back) there should be a power input connector with screw-type terminal posts. This would be the place to connect your power supply. Typically 10V AC or DC. The bulbs are usually 7V screw type incandescent bulbs.

    The “Bell” is totally mechanical with the balls striking a bell housing as they fall into the lower tray.

    If the bulbs are ‘good’, and you connect a power supply correctly, the lights should light, otherwise you may have broken wires or the ‘reed’ switches are not making contact.

    Good Luck!

  2. November 24, 2008 2:18 PM

    Hey Greg,

    Nice looking machine you have there. I have 3 machines, two vintage and one modern. Here’s a website for ya. This website has information, discussion boards, photos and LOTS of Pachinko addicts that love to talk Pachinko!

    Look me up when you go there: wrkey



  3. November 24, 2008 2:25 PM

    Thanks Rusty!

  4. mark permalink
    January 4, 2009 1:57 AM

    I’m having the same problem, I’m in LA, have 2 older machines I would like to get working and
    give them to my sons. I know they would like to
    have them in there home, but I’m having trouble
    locating someone local to refurbish.

    any body have any ideas?


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