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Despite strict gambling laws in Japan, Pachinko remains an absolute national obsession. A type of mechanical pinball game, similar to the slot machine, it has been popular there since the 1940s. The history of Pachinko actually has its roots in Japan, where it is now used as an arcade game and is the nation’s favourite gambling device. The Japanese Pachinko parlours are famous for their bustling, loud and energetic atmosphere. Today’s electronic machines are sophisticated, highly addictive and attract millions of players. They also generate a 30 trillion Yen profit every year- a $270 billion industry!
The history of Pachinko machines actually dates back to around the 1920s. It was first seen as a children’s version of the well-known Bagatelle and was called the “Corinth” game. In Japan, “Korinto Gemu”, a virtually identical game, emerged in the Far East around the same time. It was initially made popular as an attraction for children to buy candy in local stores. Little did anyone know how obsessive it would become! It paved the way for the infamous American pinball and emerged as a cult game in Japan around 1930 and then spread around the world. Japan’s thriving Pachinko parlours were actually all closed down during World War II, but the game bounced back in the 1940s. Their first commercial parlour opened in Nagoya in 1948, and the stage was set for the Pachinko revolution. Today, Pachinko has evolved into the most renowned game in Japan.
Throughout the history of Pachinko, the thrilling gameplay has remained basically the same. Like a pinball machine, players turn a handle which controls how fast the balls will shoot out into play. Machines are visually dazzling and extremely noisy, playing Japanese LCD animations throughout the game. Inside the flashy machine, silver metal balls whirl around and fall from the top. They catapult dramatically off pins and need to go into a special chamber and winning box at the bottom. When they do, the Pachinko screen brightly lights up numbers from one to nine. Three identical numbers, like 555, wins the player more balls or more money to cash in. Landing the ‘ōatari’ jackpot will cascade out a massive amount of balls to a deafening soundtrack. This game is every player’s favourite slot machine with an extra punch!
The popularity of Pachinko, it seems, is destined to continue growing over the coming years. It is gaining a devoted following in Canada and the USA and many other countries around the world. With the rise of online gaming, its visibility has been increased and gamers looking for a new challenge are fast becoming addicted. The most in demand version of online Pachinko is Dolphin Paradise, which is very similar visually and plays in the same way. It does not hold quite the same thrill as playing in a noisy Japanese parlour, however, it is amazingly good fun. The history of Pachinko has entered a new era of online play and is still being written.
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