Baffle Ball is the first commercially successful pinball game, created by David Gottlieb and released in November 1931. Baffle Ball's over 50,000 sales during its lifetime can be attributed to its affordability; costing $17.50 per unit (in 1931 dollars), it was affordable enough for store and tavern owners to quickly recuperate the costs of purchasing the machine.
For just 1¢, players are given ten balls. Balls are fired using the plunger and they will simply roll down into various pockets and holes. The game does not use flippers, which were not introduced to pinball until Humpty Dumpty in 1947; the plunger has to be used precisely to launch balls at the right speed. There are no bumpers either; pins nailed down to the board will knock the ball around. There are four pocketed targets, each with an inner pocket and an outer pocket, with inner pockets scoring more than the outer pockets. A "baffle point" on the upper area of the table will double all points earned if a ball gets caught in it and doesn't get knocked off by another ball. The game did not use electricity, so players had to calculate the scores themselves.
Microsoft Pinball Arcade
The digital version of the table found in the 1998 video game Microsoft Pinball Arcade has a few changes. Besides being able to calculate scores for the player automatically, players have ten colored balls (three red, three white, three blue, and one gold) instead of ten silver balls. If the ball goes into the matching colored targets (with the silver target matching with the white balls), players earn double points for that ball.
These are the targets and their point values. This table is primarily based on the Microsoft Pinball Arcade version.
|Baffle Point||Double all points|
|Silver (upper) target||100 (outer pocket), 150 (inner pocket)|
|Blue (left) target||200 (outer pocket), 250 (inner pocket)|
|Red (right) target||300 (outer pocket), 350 (inner pocket)|
|Gold (lower) target||400 (outer pocket), 500 (inner pocket)|
|Drainage holes||Left-to-right: 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5|