The pinball-like game of Pachinko is extremely popular in Japan and can be found in many American casinos. The term Pachinko is derived from the Japanese word pachi-pachi, meaning the clicking of small objects or the crackling of fire.
While the origins of pachinko are unknown, it most likely descended from the "Coringth Game" which originated in Chicago, USA. The game appeared in Japan in the early 1920's, and the first Pachinko hall was opened in the Osaka Prefecture.
Takeichi Masamura is known as the founder of today's pachinko for he developed the "Masamura Gauge", an arrangement of nails that became the basis for most of today's pachinko machines. In the 1980's pachinko machines became computerized and now have sounds and graphics that make the game more exciting.
Pachinko is similar to pinball in that small 11mm steel balls are shot onto the playing surface where they haphazardly bounce around and through a network of nails. The object of the game is to have the balls directed into winning pockets, whereby you receive more balls that equate to a prize or a monetary amount.
The pachinko player is only responsible for controlling the speed by which the pachinko balls are shot onto the playing surface, from then on it basically becomes a game of chance.
To initiate play you insert money to purchase a number of balls that are dropped into a loading area. By pulling the handle-like knob, one ball is released and projected by a spring. Most of the balls will fall unsuccessfully through the pins to the bottom, but some will fall into special pockets that activate a slot machine.
At this point you are instantly rewarded with a set number of balls, and if the same three symbols match up on the reels, you win an even greater amount.