STEP 1. Watch and listen to the game. In order for the profits to trickle back upward, operators need as many players as they can get. This means that the last thing anyone in the industry wants is players walking away from machines confused and frustrated because they couldn’t understand what they were doing. To combat this, machines today give the player lots of instruction. But some beginner players don’t realize this and this miss easy hints from the game. So while you are playing, look at and listen to the machine.
- “Look at” mostly means watching the display. Most games from roughly 1990 onward will tell the player what they need to do next. Keep an eye also on the play field lights: often if you don’t know what you are doing, just hitting a target with a flashing light in front of it will do something.
- “Listen to” means just that. Pinball machines have had speech since the late 70s, and will verbally tell the player about things going on in the game. And even the sound effects are designed the cue the player in certain ways. Start listening to the sounds games make in conjunction with the things they do and you’ll start to get the connection. And this isn’t trivial: often the sound is meant to tell you something like, “Hey, I’m about to kick the ball at you really hard: be ready!”