Let’s play Pachinko!
Ever heard of Pachinko before? If not, you’re missing out! It’s a game that’s taken over Japan like wildfire, and it’s one that players just can’t get enough of! Want to find out more? Then let’s play Pachinko!
What exactly is Pachinko?
Simply put, Pachinko is most similar to pinball – but it’s so much more than that. Think flashing lights, bright colours, animations, fun, excitement, and most of all, NOISE! As one of Japan’s favourite gaming pastimes, Pachinko parlours are everywhere, filled with rows upon rows of brightly lit and colourfully enticing machines, all ready to deliver hours of enthralling entertainment. But what exactly is Pachinko? Let’s take a look.
As we’ve said, Pachinko is a variation of traditional pinball – but at the same time, it’s unlike any kind of pinball machine you’ve ever seen. You’re probably more used to pinball tables that are aligned horizontally, right? Well Pachinko is a little different to that – instead, it’s played vertically, and is a mix of pure entertainment and gambling too. The idea of the game is to insert little metal balls into the game, and to guide them into landing on certain spaces or in certain holes on the machine in order to trigger payouts of more Pachinko balls.
When you’re done playing, you’ll be able to take the balls that you’ve won from the machine during your gaming session and exchange them for a prize – and later exchange that same prize for cash. Why such a roundabout process? As it happens, gambling for money is actually illegal in Japan, however Pachinko parlours have found a loophole with their prize exchange system. We’ll go into it in more detail later, but it’s just another aspect of the game that makes Pachinko so perpetually captivating!
How to play Pachinko
Stumble across a Pachinko parlour in Japan and you might initially mistake it for a slot machine hall. With its rows of flashing machines and eager players, it has virtually the same setup as the slots area in any traditional land-based casino – however that’s where the comparison ends.
Sit down at a Pachinko machine, and you’ll immediately notice how different it is to typical slots and jackpot games. Made up of a vertical mechanism enclosed in a case, a Pachinko machine has around 200 metal pins in it, which can be used to direct metal Pachinko balls into certain locations throughout the machine.
To play Pachinko, you’ll need to ‘rent’ Pachinko balls from your particular establishment. Just go to the counter of your Pachinko parlour, and you’ll be able to pay for a tray of approximately 250 metal balls, usually inscribed with some type of insignia specific to your parlour. Sit down at a machine, load your balls into the tray to get set, and you’ll be ready to go. You’ll notice a knob on the side of the machine – this is what you’ll use to launch the balls and play. Get your Pachinko balls into certain places on the machine and you’ll trigger different sequences, and even jackpots too. As you play, your ‘winnings’ from the machine will be paid to you in the form of more small metal balls, which you can either keep to exchange for a prize, or reload back into the machine to play for longer.
Winning at Pachinko
The Pachinko wackiness doesn’t end when your game does – in fact once you’re ready to ‘cash in’ your winnings, that’s when the real fun begins. Since gambling for money is illegal in Japan, Pachinko parlours have had to come up with innovative ways of circumventing the law, and luckily for players, they’ve found a handy loophole.
When you’re done playing, you’ll usually have trays of metal Pachinko balls to give back to the parlour. Signal an attendant to help you carry your trays back, and you’ll go to a counter where your Pachinko balls will be counted, and you’ll be given a slip with the final tally.
Now it’s time to claim your rewards! In the Pachinko parlour, you’ll be able to exchange your slip for certain prizes – anything from soap and pencils to CDs or books. If it sounds a little out of the ordinary, that’s because it definitely is! Of course, you’re not actually expected to keep your prize – why would you want to play Pachinko all day for a bar of soap? So the next step in claiming your reward is to exchange your prize for actual cash – and this you’ll be able to do at a secondary location on the same block as your Pachinko parlour. You won’t be able to ask where this location is – instead you’ll have to do a little amateur detective work and find it yourself. Once you’re there, you’ll hand in your prize (which is more of a marker than an actual prize you’re expected to keep) and you’ll exchange it for whatever cash value has been assigned to it. That’s how Pachinko parlours get around the ‘no gambling for money’ law, and that’s how yet another level of intrigue and excitement is added to this already enthralling game!
Playing Pachinko online
So, if you want to get in on this Pachinko craze, does that mean you have to fly all the way to Japan to find a parlour and play? Happily, no. More and more online casinos are catching the Pachinko wave, which means you’ll be able to find it in a modified online version right from your desktop or mobile device. While it started as a way of entertaining Japanese Pachinko fans online, its popularity quickly spread, which is why today you shouldn’t have any trouble enjoying the wonder of Pachinko online. Just make sure you’re playing with a reputable, trustworthy casino, and that you’re managing your bankroll effectively, and you’ll be golden.
With over 30 million people spending a total of $300 billion (yes, billion) on Pachinko every year, it’s by far one of the world’s most popular and lucrative games. So if you’re thinking of giving it a try, you’re in extremely good company. Sit down to a game of Pachinko online today (or in Japan, if you’re lucky enough to be there in person), and enjoy the wonder of this highly unique, hugely engaging game today. Let’s play Pachinko!