Pinball Vocab

Pinball Vocab 500 648 GAD Vending

Maybe this could be a test but wanted to share a few, common pinball terms and resources to help you start a new hobby of owning Pinball Games.

What is a ruleset?

A pinball ruleset are just the rules for the game.  For example, if you shoot the ball into a certain hole, it will score a certain number of points, or on modern games maybe start start a mode or a multiball.

Modes?  Multiballs?

A mode is a “level” of the game that happens for a limited amount of time during a game where you’re typically trying to accomplish a certain task to score points or progress through the game.  Multi-balls are modes when more than one ball is in play at a time and can be some of the most exciting times in a pinball game.

Are the levels like the levels on a video game?

Yep.  And just like a video game, you can beat the game if you complete all the levels or goals in a game.


Modifications – upgrades or additions to the machine.  These are very subjective, and sometimes add little or no value to the machine.  However, if it has popular mods or mods that are no longer produced it can add significant value.

What are some basic things to know when looking at a pinball machine?

Depending on the age and manufacturer of the machine, the following may vary slightly, but here are some basics for most solid state machines. When you look at a pinball machine, there is the cabinet and the backbox. To turn the game on, there is usually a switch on the bottom of the cabinet a few inches behind the right front leg. Some newer machines have the on/off switch on the bottom of the right side of the backbox.

Basic Slang To Know? 

  • Pinhead – enthusiast
  • Panic flip – flipping before the ball has a chance to reach the flipper
  • Bumper – Bumpers are round, mushroom-shaped targets set into the playfield of most pinball machines.  They fall into two categories: active and passive.  Both types register a hit when the ball collides with them
  • Drain – when the ball goes through the flippers and that ball is over
  • Frenzy – a special feature when the machine scores a lot of points by releasing balls into the playfield
  • Multiball – When several balls are in play at one time. During multiball, there is often some sort of objective, most commonly a jackpot target that scores an obscene amount of points. Multiball is trademarked by Williams Electronics.

Where do I find more information about Pinball? 

  • Pinside – has a wide variety of forums, resources and great information.
  • Wikipedia – may not sound too cool but as usual, very comprehensive information.
  • Internet Pinball Database – not only a comprehensive glossary but lots of great information to check out.

Where to find the best Pinball?

Where to find the best Pinball? 2083 2083 GAD Vending

Family is soooo bored? Looking to get away from the TV? Many people are looking for what to do with their family – and with themselves – while spending more time social distancing.

At GAD Vending, we are a distributor for the premier manufacturers of Pinball games. We stock these machines at our warehouses in Omaha, Des Moines and Kansas City. Our customers range from arcades and bars to game rooms in commercial business’ and homes.

While we have a few machines on our showroom floors, generally our customers go to a commercial facility – like a game room, bar or arcade – that has the game they are interested in. That way, various pinball machines can be played to determine what is the best for you.

With COVID, it’s important to know ahead! There are many great locations we service with pinball games that are open and following CDC guidelines. But – call ahead for hours, sanitation questions and the like.

  • To find Stern Pinball Games – enter your zip code and the pinball game you are looking for.
  • To find all Pinball Games – go to Pinball Map.
  • Call GAD Vending. We can help you decide what game, variation you may want to try based on your needs and where that game is located.

If you already have pinball game(s) in your home, bookmark our website. We have a full service department with parts in stock. Parts are available to pick up by appointment curbside or via mail.

Thank you for choosing GAD Vending for your home pinball game needs.


Places to Go Play #TMNT Pinball

Places to Go Play #TMNT Pinball 792 612 GAD Vending

Ready to see what all the hype is about for our new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pinball release? Your local arcades and pinball showrooms just got the brand new game from Stern Pinball.

These have been a difficult couple of months for small businesses so every quarter counts. Contact your local arcade, distributor or dealer for availability, hours, and safety precautions so you can help them continue to #PlayStrong!

Those of you in the U.S. can also find your closest location with our Stern Pinball Locator ( powered by

IA – The Operating Room (West Des Moines)

KS – 403 Club

KS – Industry Old Town

MO – Fric & Frac

MO – Levelup

MO – Outpost Bar & Grill

MO – Silverball

MO – Up-Down KC

NE – Big John’s Billiards

NE – DJ’s Dugout

NE – Dundee’s Place

10 Quick Tricks to Profit with Pinball

10 Quick Tricks to Profit with Pinball 650 650 GAD Vending

Pinball games have been a favorite entertainment machine since their introduction in 1931. “Pinball” came from the steel silver ball traveling across wooden pins. Since, pinball has inspired an entire industry and a pop culture phenomenon. Pinball games are inspired by Marvel Comics, DC Comics, TV shows, rock bands, movies, sports and cultural phenomenons. And, pinball is a staple in the Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa bar scene.

To buy a new pinball machine is an investment. The cost is dependent on the game itself, shipping and payment acceptance system. Payment systems include the basic coin acceptors to the newest digital payment acceptance with card readers and touchless cell phone payment acceptance. GAD Vending can help you determine the best payment system for your environment.

To maximize your pinball game profit:

  1. Brighten – energize a dark corner (and make sure there are no bright glare to make game play harder).
  2. Patron building – Use pinball machines to draw patrons deeper into your bar and keep them longer.
  3. No broken machines – make sure you have a regular maintenance schedule with GAD Vending. As a stocking distributor, we have the common parts to keep your machines playing.
  4. Quarters – place an ATM and coin changer near your pinball machines.
  5. Variety – swap your pinball machines regularly. Retire a game to the back room for a time or trade between locations.
  6. Pinball Junkies – don’t wipe high scores! Pinball players are competitive and want to show their high score!
  7. Cleanliness – keep pinball machines clean – especially the glass.
  8. Sanitation – deep clean between players with cleaners that won’t harm the graphics.
  9. Player Cleanliness – give your players handi-wipes to clean before and after play. Offer disposable buttons to each gamer.
  10. Free Game – let players enjoy a free game! GAD Vending can help you determine how lose your free games should be.

When you are thinking of new pinball machines in the Midwest – Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota – give your local GAD Vending sales rep a call (or our main office at 402-553-2812).

New! Hot Wheels Pinball

New! Hot Wheels Pinball 1600 435 GAD Vending

New from American Pinball – Hot Wheels!

For over 50 years, Mattel’s HOT WHEELS™ die cast cars have been sought and collected by hundreds of millions of fans all over the world. Over 5 billion cars have been sold incorporating more than 20,000 different car designs. For all the action playing with the cars comes alive with this pinball machine.

Today this multi-generational franchise is bigger than it’s ever been, and by far the #1 selling toy in the world!*

And now American Pinball is proud to present the first officially licensed HOT WHEELS™ pinball machine. The exciting and fast-paced world of HOT WHEELS™ comes to life under glass, featuring a dazzling array of game play objectives that will keep players of all ages racing back to play again and again.

True fun for the entire family. And, GAD Vending is offering $100 off now through July 4, 2020.


Pinball: Run a Casual (or Professional) Pinball Tournament

Pinball: Run a Casual (or Professional) Pinball Tournament 640 646 GAD Vending

You may already be running dart tournaments, trivia games off your digital music jukebox, and Golden Tee digital tournaments. Your audience is already competitive and looking for unique experiences, running pinball tournaments is a naturally fun addition.

*The suggestions in this article are general. Make sure you check your local NE, SD, KS, MO or IO laws about gaming, awards and tournament rules before you choose the tournament type and rules that work for you.

Play Control

Try an app like Match Play to control your tournament. Players can enter their score, with you controlling the official approval. You choose the games from head-to-head, round robin, elimination, best score, ladder brackets…. This allows you to run tournaments over time. Change the type of tournament to entertain your audience. And – extend the contest so everyone who wants can participate.

If you want a simple, manual bracket game – try printing a large format bracket. Or use chalkboard paint on a wall and draw or paint a bracket.


Think ahead to make the game approachable. Everyone likes to participate and win!

  • Grand “Prize”
  • Best Fan Club
  • Announce winners across your TV screens with AMI Ad Manager
  • Consolation “prizes” – worse ball, best flipper, etc
  • Prizes can be money, trophies, medals, gift cards, bar swag (free advertising!), or other prizes

Don’t Drag It Out – But Maybe You Can

Pay attention to how long your tournament will last. You don’t want people to get too bored and leave. Or you can’t finish within last call.

Think about your tournament running over multiple evenings or on a particular week day. Invite players back for a “best of” tournament – along with drink/food specials.

Here’s one real life example from SkyKing2301, Pinside member:

“The last tournament I held was probably more complicated than necessary, but it kept everyone interested (most of whom were just casual / rare players) and they all had a blast. Here was the format I used:

  • 16 people
  • 6 operational pins
  • First: ‘Mini-tournaments’ on each individual pin
  • Players randomly broken into two groups of 8
  • All players play 2 games. (For reasons Bugsy described — sometimes you just have a crap game, or need a chance to figure it out.)
  • Players with the top 2 scores in each group advance to a semifinal match
  • Semifinal winners play one more game to determine individual pin champion
  • Overall Finals: After all 6 pins’ champions are established, each champion then plays one more game on each of the six pins
  • Champion who wins the most games out of the six is the overall tournament winner!
  • Tournament winner receives a trophy and a few scratch-off lotto tickets.
  • High score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
  • Low score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
  • Fun is had by all!”

Start Your Own Pinball Tournament

Interested? Looking for more resources?

  1. Professional and Amateur Pinball Association ( guidelines.
  2. Stern Army
  3. International Flipper Pinball Association
  4. Bullshooter Dart League Downloadable Ads

Call GAD Vending office closest to you or our Omaha office at (402) 553-2812. Our staff has extensive knowledge in tournament resources

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Soon from Stern

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Soon from Stern 2560 1420 GAD Vending

Reviewed at The latest silver ball playground from Stern Pinball is a trio of machines based on the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. They’ve got a spinning magnetic pizza. They’ve got a sculpted Turtle Van that can capture up to four balls. They have a floating Krang. They even play the original theme song.

A new licensed video game is nice, but a new licensed pinball game is a glorious convergence of pop culture and precision mechanical and electrical engineering, a monument to play that will one day hold a place of honor in dirty dive bars and dark, dusty arcades. I can almost see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machines there now. Read the full review at


New TMNT Pinball. Stern Authorized Dealer in NE, IA, KS, MO.