Kick things off
Find a game
Put in coins
If you're totally new to pinball, welcome to the beginning of a load of fun (and frustration, and challenge, and joy). On the front of the cabinet about waist high, you'll see a coin slot or dollar bill slot (like a vending machine). Most games cost $1 for one credit; some will give you 3 credits for putting in $2 at once. After you've paid for your credit, press the start button—it will be flashing a bit to the left of where the money went in. If you're playing with a friend you can buy multiple credits, press start once for each of you and play together; you'll alternate turns between each ball, racing to keep up with each other's score.
Once you've started a game, try out the flippers with the buttons on the side of the machine. Pull back the spring loaded plunger on the front right of the machine to launch the ball into play. Try to keep the ball from draining down the sides or the middle, shoot for the flashing lights, and have a good time.
Please come on out to one of the locations hosting frequent tournaments. Join in the fun and compete; or just stop by to make some new friends and learn a few new things about pinball. Event details are on the home page and generally follow this schedule:
Fellowship of the Silver Ball (hosted in homes near Greenville) twice monthly on a Friday (one fun night, one tournament)
Firefly Toys & Games (Columbia) weekly on Thursdays and monthly on a Sunday
The Break (Charleston) twice monthly on Tuesdays and once a month on a Saturday
Tournaments typically run for 3 to 4 hours but you're welcome to skip out early if you've had your fill of pinball or need to get on to other things. Most tournaments will have practice time for an hour before the start and that's a great time to come out and introduce yourself you're not yet ready to commit to a full event.
Cosy up to more content
Just like any great hobby, there are a wide range of ways to get involved or learn more online. Here's a quick guide to a few of our favorites.
South Carolina Pinball group is the central Facebook group for all things pinball in SC.
Fellowship of the Silver Ball is the Facebook home of a welcoming community of pinball enthusiasts near Greenville, SC who open up their homes for big monthly tournaments.
You can watch people play pinball live online on YouTube and Twitch (warning, not all streams and podcasts are kid friendly). It's a good way to learn about pinball and be entertained. PAPA TV and Dead Flip are the most popular.
Dead Flip Tutorials are little animations that will teach you some of the amazing things you can do to get control of the pinball.
PinballVideos.com hosts a huge index of competition and tutorial videos.
The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA) has a great Learning Center with resources about picking up pinball as a hobby. They have tutorials for specific games and more on flipper skills. You'll be dead bouncing and live catching like a pro in no time!
Pinball games are more than just flashing lights and sound effects. If you want to know more about how a particular game works, how to start different modes, how to score big points, then take a look at its rulesheet on Tilt Forums.
Owning a pinball machine
You can have one of these in your house? Yes! you can.
If you're interested in owning a pinball machine you can get a good idea of prices on used games and find available machines in the Pinside Marketplace. Check out the Facebook Marketplace and the Carolina Arcade and Pinball Collectors group too.
Lexington, SC is the home of Marco Specialties. a huge player in the pinball parts business. Marco Specialties provides tens of thousands of parts for thousands of machines, shipping across the world. They're the source for everything pinball for owners and operators, and they're right here in SC.
Pinball on location
Pinball machines are all over the state if you know where to look.
These are just a few of the SC businesses featuring pinball. (Reach out to us on Facebook if you'd like your business mentioned here.)
Marcelo Campos Hazan
For our first featured player, we're happy to introduce you to Marcelo. Congratulations to Marcelo for winning the 2019-20 South Carolina State Championship!
Marcelo, from Columbia, SC, is an avid player and fierce competitor with over 200 events under his belt since 2016 and 21 (twenty-one!) first place finishes in 2019.
You have the chance to run into Marcelo, say hello, and watch his pinball skills on display at almost every event in the state. Keep an eye out for his tap passes, they're a beautiful thing to watch.