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Bally Bumper

September 2, 2013

In today’s money, that’s about $1050. Image from

As the name implies BUMPER was one of the earliest games with scoring bumpers.  It also features a pendulum-style tilt mechanism which is identical in operation to the one used in games made today.

Bumper was made in 1936, more than ten years before flippers were invented.  Because pre-flipper games were mostly luck they were often used for gambling or as “trade stimulators”, where you might win cigarettes or a pack of gum for beating a certain score.  Notice in the advertisement above the emphasis on the word “novelty”…

There is a BUMPER at the Pacific Pinball Museum.  It’s currently on display only, though it does work.  However, you’ll see from watching the video you’re not missing out on too much.  Similar to a slot machine, they’re not terribly fun to play without money on the line. Regardless, the innovation, history and art deco style are the jewels here.  Almost 80 years later, a game without bumpers is almost inconceivable.

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