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Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown

October 29, 2010

Believe it or not there are a few pinball manufacturers in China.

While trying to find some info on them a few months ago I ran across this Jap Pop video:

Several people have said the pinball in the video is an Apollo 13.

Anyway, I emailed a manufacturer or distributor (I’m not quite sure which) company called Sibo Electronic and their rep sent me these pics. (click for larger version)

Here’s an email where she explains the pricing:

from Dolley Nong
to Jon O
date Fri, May 7, 2010 at 6:04 PM
subject Re: Re: pinball machine you inquired
hide details May 7
Hi Jon,
We haven’t had distributor in US.Our US customers bought directly from us.For one machine,it is USD495/piece,delivery cost by DHL USD550.So the total cost for one GM8108 is USD1045.This price is available for one week.
In fact,it may cost you the same cost or more to buy from a US distributor.
What do you think?

Best regards


I also occasionally receive other email from her about other products, such as “Popularity-winning bumper car” and “Favorable kiddie ride”. for more.

So where are they selling these games anyway? I tried to find some arcade videos in places like Shanghai and Macao but came up empty.  Judging from the videos, 2D fighters, Driving and music games are the most popular in those places.

Turns out the soccer theme is one clue.

A little searching and I found some pictures on this pinball bingo fan page:

That tipped me off to the idea of searching down south, and as fast as you can say “Hola, chica”, the links and vids started pouring in.  So the games are made in China but they get shipped over to countries like Costa Rica and Mexico.

In the videos and pages I kept seeing a word repeated: “Tragamonedas”.  My Spanish is limited to the Taco Bell menu and whatever I picked up from West Side Story, so I brought up Google Translator.  Turns out it means “slots”, as in “slot machines”.  Yup, these are payout machines.  They’re actual flipper-less gambling pinball machines.  The same exact kind of game that got the industry started in its very early days.

But to be totally sure I emailed Dolley at Sibo Electonic and asked her about it.

Hello Dolley,

I see some of your products in Mexico.  Do you have Distributors there?

Also, can your products be used for casino gaming such as gambling and
money prizes?


Chief Ballistics Interpreter
Rudy’s Pinball Palace


Hello Jon,
You see some of our products in Mexico.That is nice.
We have several customers there.Two of them distribute our products there.
For gambling,we sold pinball machines to Mexico,pay out coins as prize when players win.For other casinos,we don’t offer
Do you also have business in Mexico?

Thanks and best wishes



So there you have it.  At least some of the games are payout machines but not all of them.  This makes sense because in the original two pictures Dolley sent you can clearly see flippers on the game.


Cabinet and Internals Tour:

Manufacturers and Distributors:



Taiwan Yuan Mei Co.:

And while we’re on the subject Dept:

Here’s a 2-player LCD virtual pinball game from Hungary:

Different manufacturers tried several times to create a monitor displayed pinball game at which the players’ gaming experience would be identical with a real pinball’s. Nobody succeeded in making it! “Pinball addicts” just smiled at them at best or they kicked the games in the worst case. The Viking Adventures is the kind of 3D pinball program at which even the most demanding pinball masters click their tongue.

  1. October 29, 2010 11:11 am

    These are not pinball machines, these are bingo machines !
    Still in use here in Belgium (almost every pub has one)
    for more information.


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