Many pinball machines use a form of ball saver to extend the life of a players ball. Sometimes a ball saver is only active at the very beginning of the ball, while others may be activated by completing certain objectives. Some ball savers will be activated for the left, middle, and right drains, and some will only activate for certain drains. There are two main types of ball savers in pinball machines:
A physical form of ball saver is an actual piece of equipment that is designed in a way to block the players ball from draining down the middle. These physical ball savers took various forms, but one of the more popular styles was a round post that would pop up from the table. These types of ball savers were mostly found on electro-mechanical machines, however some newer machines, like Shrek, have also used them.
Some examples of machines that use physical ball savers are:
The software version of ball savers are generally a non-physical time limit where if the ball is drained too soon the player will get to re-shoot. Some of the software ball savers can only be activated a single time for each ball while others can be activated multiple times within a set time limit. Software ball savers can only be found on solid state pinball machines.
Some examples of machines that use software ball savers are:
Many digital pinball video games also feature ball savers. Some of these tables are re-creations of real world pinball machines and replicate those tables ball savers while other tables are completely original to the video game and contain their own ball savers. Some digital pinball games that feature ball savers are: