Few crazes in the world are quite as hard to understand outside of the home culture that spawned it as Pachinko. You might have heard the term but have no idea what it actually is. The simplest way to describe a pachinko machine would be a ‘Japanese slot machine’ but that does not do the actual fun and madness of the game any justice.
The Rules of the Game
Pachinko is a commonly played form of gambling in Japan, as gambling for cash is illegal across the country. Low-stakes pachinko gaming, then, takes the place instead. The convoluted nature of legal discussion around what you can and cannot trade for money in Japanese culture does mean that while pachinko balls cannot be traded directly for money, you can use a process to trade ‘em for tokens, which can then traded for actual money.
However, the rules of the game itself are pretty easy to follow. Similar in many ways to a pinball machine, a pachinko machine uses small balls that is rented and put into the machine by the player. The pachinko balls are the ‘prize’ – you basically need to try and get that small ball back out of the machine. You release the handle, which launches the ball across the metal track. The track then guides the ball through an obstacle course of sorts; when the ball loses momentum, it will fall into the playing field. These are filled with small cups and pins that you want to see the ball into so that you can win.
The ball will move from pin to pin, slowing and speeding up as it moves through each section. If it falls into a catcher, then you can get a payout from the machine. Otherwise, you need to start again. basically, you want to capture as many Pachinko balls as is possible within the machine, and turn them in for prizes.