Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Nishijin Lucky Welcom arrangeball bonus feature

As promised, here is a short explanation of the bonus feature of the Nishijin Lucky Welcome arrangeball.

The bonus feature is located at the top of the playfield and starts when the first winning combination is achieved on the main card. You only get one bonus feature per game.

The bonus feature consists of 8 panels that are lit in sequence rapidly, like a really fast light chaser that goes from left to right.

The player presses the bonus feature button on the left of the cabinet to stop the feature on one of the panels. It's a kind of skill stop feature. 

Once pressed the feature animation will stop on one of the 8 panels that will stay lit for a few seconds.

There are four green panels that pay out 1 token automatically. 

That's on top the standard payout from the main card, just to be clear.

There are 4 panels that will prompt a second spin cycle localized within that one panel.

Those panels are divided into 3 different coloured sections. There is a light animation that spins clockwise during the second spin cycle. Pressing the feature button will skill stop the animation on one of the panel's section.

This panel will  pay out 1 token OR 2 tokens OR 1 token.

There are 3 panels that will spot numbers on the main card as a result of the secondary spin cycle.

By "spot" I mean that the number is lit on the main card, without having to land a ball.

Of course, these spotted number count for winning combinations on the main card and stay lit for the remainder of the game.

This panel spots 5 OR 8 and 12 OR 9 

This panel spots 1 and 6 OR 1, 4, 13 and 16 OR 7 and 11

This panel spots 2 OR 14 and 15 OR 3
Here is a short video of the bonus feature with only 1 skill stop landing on payout 1 token.

Here is another short video with the first and second spin cycle ultimately landing on payout 2 tokens.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Walktrough of Japanese warehouse of vintage pachinko and pachislo

I want to share this awesome walkthrough video of a warehouse full of vintage pachinko and pachislo machines in Japan. My favorite part is 5:45 to 10:50. *Not my video*

Also check out the channel スロアフロ. Really cool videos with alot of 80's and 90's gameplay content.



Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Nishijin Arrangeball: small repairs and flattening warped plastic in the oven

Nishijin Lucky Welcome Arrangeball Repairs

First things first: When working on Japanese domestics products, use JIS screwdrivers to avoid stripping the screws. Here's the set I use on my games.

I guess a good starting point for the repairs is the auction item description:

Translation from YJA

First issue: "there were places where the ball did not light up"

That was a funny one. The first time I played the game, I noticed the wrong number would light up on the card. Example: I'd hit a 11 and 6 would light up or hit 2 and 14 would light up.

At first I thought the connector for the card light PCB might have been plugged backwards, the wiring loom did have an unnatural kink going to the board, but I noticed the connector was keyed when I pulled it, so that wasn't the problem. Turns out it was just the whole card lamp board was installed upside down. As can be seen in the auction picture below.

Picture from YJA

Light board right side up

Second issue: "Pachinko balls can be hit endlessly."

That one was a lever to the ball release coil that was intentionally pulled by repositioning the return spring,  jamming the ball release gate in the open position, so that the balls would continuously circulate to the shooter. Flipped the lever back in it's intended position and bingo.

Ball release fixed

The MAJOR problem with this game was the card that was melted into an unsightly mess. It didn't affect gameplay but it looked awful. 
I guess that at some point the card number bulbs were replaced with lamps that ran too hot when lit and the game stayed on too long. The card warped and sagged from the heat.

I decided to try flattening the card using my kitchen oven. But first I had to remove the card.

To remove the card, first I had to remove the card lamp board.

With the lamp board out (again) I replaced all the lamps with new 2187 bulbs that run way cooler.

Then I removed the card besel and the pegs that held the card to the shroud. To remove the 4 chromed pegs in the centre of the card. First I had to remove nuts in the back of the shroud, then I had to gently persuade the pegs out with a pair of miniature vise-grips. To avoid damaging the chrome I put some duct tape on the jaws of the pliers. Pro tip ;) 

Here's what the front of the game looks like with the bezel and card removed.

Once the card removed I took a few detailed pictures just in case I totally mess up and had to get the card reproduced somehow.

This picture really doesn't show just how badly the card was warped. It was the elephant man of arrangeball cards 

As can bee seen from the back of the shroud, the bulbs ran way too hot!

Here's a pinside thread about flattening pinball plastics.

I used that information as a starting point for my experiment.

The trick is to soften the plastic by heating it up, close to the melting point but below the boiling point (That's when you get bubbles in the plastic).

What people fail to consider is that regular ovens suck at controlling temperature. The dial is vague at best and the heat control is awful. The temperature oscillates +20 and -20 degrees celcius from the set point in my oven.

For better control and temperature reading, I used my multimeter that came with a thermocouple

I found two pieces of thick plate glass in my supplies and sandwiched the card in between, then put it in the oven at a low (safe) temperature.

Getting the oven warmed up:

No, I didn't heat the plastic directly on the rage element. I was just illustrating getting ready

The thermocouple supplied with my multimeter.

I slowly and gradually turned up the heat in the oven and continuously monitored the temperature and state of the card. The plastic became soft at a temperature between 110 and 120 degrees Celsius (that's 230 to 250 in Freedom degrees). The card flattened out just with the weight of the glass.

The end result isn't great but at least the card is is flat now. Looks way better. I'm satisfied the result considering the state of the card.

To wrap up this post here's a couple teaser videos of the bonus feature in action.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Nishijin Arrangeball Lucky Welcome

Introducing: a mysterious Nishijin Arrangeball.

Nishijin Lucky Welcome Part 3. Actually I'm not sure what the game's name is... 

Picture from the YJA auction

I saw this game on YJA, and thought: "Never seen a Nishinjin Arrangeball before! Looks interesting"

Judging by the auction pictures... the machine looked reasonably complete and minimally festy.

The browser translation of the japanese item description was vague but it was worth taking a chance:

Vague, but not terrible.

To this day... I still don't know what 3N stands for :-(

Conveniently, the game had a "buy it now" option at what I considered a fair price so I bought it and had it shipped via the usual method.

The machine's insides did sustain a bit of damage during transport but I don't mind.

I will bag these bits and file them under: "I don't care"

That's part of the game when importing games from Japan.

A subassembly got loose, banged around inside the game and some plastic bits got broken. Nothing two wood screws can't fix.

On the plus side. I found some tokens and a 1 Yen coin inside the cabinet.

Two of those fancy Sammy Arrangeball tokens: Score!

When I first opened the cabinet I was surprised to find a transformer AND a power supply. The transformer was added later I believe.

Power supply on the left. Transformer on the right.

The power supply has a standard power cord and plug that would fit in any 100V or 120V receptacle, but with a red tag stating that it runs on 24V.

Sadly, since this picture was taken, the graphics on the tag have disintegrated into dust. Morgul Ink!

If the tag was missing and someone unknowingly plugged it straight into the mains, that would be the end for that game.

I guess that when this game was in a parlour, it would have dedicated power plugs for that system.

As a side thought:

When this game was new, it was probably stuck in a row of identical machines, making the game generic. 
A row of identical games that, as a whole, was probably imposing.

But now the game by itself, almost forgotten and on a different continent. Somehow that gives it some kind of uniqueness.

When new this game was considered novel cheap entertainment.


Rows of identical games, filling dead air with electronic sounds and cigarette smoke. 

The game has a strange Art Deco Cabaret / Carmen Opera / Can Can theme to it.

Almost every element is wrapped in bright orange plastic.

In the top left corner there's a graphic of a smoking woman pointing with her thumb to the abstract motif in the back, with "Part 3" in a kind of 30's art deco style below.

Top right has a slightly different art deco styled "Stop" for when the machine is out of tokens and the payout below. This machine pays out a maximum of 10 tokens per game.

Nishijin Lucky Welcome


Top centre there's a cool feature that I will go over in details next post

Feature / side game

On the left, from top to bottom:

coin chute, coin return button, coin return slot, payout button and feature button

Nishijin door lock

Four by Four card, standard number arrangement.

Next part: Repairs and gameplay

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Satomi Miracle Can Can Arrangeball Pictures

Satomi Miracle Can Can Arrangeball

More Pictures! Everyone likes pictures. They unintentionally, but inevitably, end up where pictures go to die... pinterest.

But first, I must admit, I made a mistake: One evening, I decided to clean the chrome frame around the arrangeball card... It  turned out very nice.

Since I had a rag saturated in Autosol polish, I thought: "I wonder if the nails clean up?"

So I started cleaning a dark brass nail head and it shined up great.

Typical nails Before:

Nails after:

But then I realised: I have one clean nail in a sea of black nail heads. It looked ridiculous.

So basically I had to clean all the other nails on the game.

I'm glad of how it turned out and that I didn't damage the machine in the process.


Lesson learnt: Don't polish up a pachinko nail unless you want to do the whole game.

Now for the pictures.

The machine is not for sale... don't bother asking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Going 4 deep with Bally Capersville pinball

In this post I want to go deep with my favorite Bally electromechanical flipper game: Capersville 

Bally Capersville was released in December 1966. It was designed by Ted Zale with artwork by Jerry K. Kelley. At the time Capersville was Bally's highest production electromechanical game, since Bally restarted it's pinball production in the late 50's, with 5120 units. The impressive production figure was surpassed in 1973 by Monte Carlo with 5254 units. Despite the high production figures, Capersville is a very hard to find game today, or at least hard to find here in Canada.

Capersville is a 3 ball multiball game. It was the Multiball follow up to 1963 Bally Star-Jet, being a 3 ball multi-ball game and incorporated the 4 step free ball escape assembly used in 1964 Bally Mad World. The grandmother of Bally Multiball games is Balls-A-Poppin

Capersville combines gameplay elements of Star-Jet, with the two captive ball saucers at the top of the playfield and the 4 step free ball escape device of Mad World.

As a side note the same captive ball saucer configuration was used for 1970 Bally Big Valley, another EM multiball game.

I think Capersville is the EM flipper pin game with the most features, or at least the most complex features ever released. Later I will focus on one feature: the 4 deep caper feature.

Capersville's artwork by Jerry K. Kelley is inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 film Alphaville:

The plot follows agent Lemmy Caution, on a mission to Alphaville. The mission: to repatriate or eliminate the architect of the Alphaville society. Alphaville is a technocratic society where everyone is controlled by the central computer Alpha 60. Everyone has a serial number and everyone must behave within the parameters of Alpha 60's logic. People who cannot adapt become outcasts in the society and are pressured to commit suicide or simply executed. People who do comply with alpha 60, but who for one reason or another act illogically, are executed publicly.

For the rest of the story, you have to watch the film.

Everyone has a serial number
Béatrice, séductrice d'ordre 3. In front of an AMI Continental. Notice the serial number on the left shoulder.

Personally I love the movie. It's filmed like someone who draws building plans, or EM schematics, on the back of an envelope. Quick and dirty. A science-fiction dystopia. It's a noteworthy example of the French New Wave film movement and I find the film to have a powerful message in context to today's society. "Sauvez ceux qui pleurent" agent Dickson said.

In both the style and in the theme, we can see art elements that are picked up by Jerry Kelley from the film and it's many movie posters:

Pointy people: (A Jerry K. Kelley art style purloined by Christian Marche)

This one might be debatable, but the influence is definitely there... Alphaville was released May 5th 1965, Capersville was released December 1966 BUT Kelley's first pinball offering with pointy people art was Williams Pot-O-Gold released June 30th 1965. When was Pot-O-Gold's artwork conceived? I do not know... but it's less than two months apart:

The central element of the backglass but with inverted roles and hats....

Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) with hat and trenchcoat.

Tapered big block letters. Vertical instead of horizontal letters on the backglass art 


The rest of the Capersville's art alludes to themes of spying (concealed guns, decoders) and science fiction themes of the submarine ship and "Zap" of the code zapper.

The very name: Capersville, a caper by definition: "an activity or escapade, typically one that is illicit or ridiculous"

As a side note: I have a theory to the purple female character in the background of the backglass art that looks like she is doing a backflip is the main character one the backglass of The Wiggler, the multiball follow up to Capersville, but this theory could be expanded into a whole other post. One day maybe...

The 4 deep Caper feature:

But first an explanation of how the multiball gameplay of Capersville works:

Capersville is a 3 ball multiball game. That means that up to 3 balls can be in play simultaneously.

There are two ways to achieve the multiball:

By way of the two top captive ball saucers 


By way of the 4 deep caper.

However, the 3 ball multiball is only possible with the top captive ball saucers, and the captive ball saucers can lock balls only if there is no ball in the 4 deep caper alley.

So you lock a ball in one of the captive saucers. The machine feeds another ball to the shooter lane to play.

The second ball can be locked in the second captive ball saucer and a third ball is fed to the shooter lane to play.

Hitting the white mushroom bumper frees the captive balls from the saucers.

At any point if you hit the mushroom bumper it releases the locked balls in the saucers. Doesn't matter if there's one or two locked balls. Doesn't matter if it's the left or the right captive ball saucer. Doesn't matter if you are already in a multiball. Hitting the white mushroom bumper releases locked ball(s) and a 2 or 3 ball multiball is initiated.

Now Capersville has a very brutal layout and the multiball will quickly become a multidrain but once in a while, you get a really good multiball and when that happens it's sublime.

If during a 3 ball multiball you lock a ball in one of the top saucers or in the 4 deep caper alley, that ball is locked and you now have a 2 ball multiball.

If you have a 2 ball multiball and you lock a ball it does not release the third ball to the shooter lane. Locking a ball in one of the top saucers or in the 4 deep caper alley during a 2 ball multiball ends the multiball.

Now for the 4 deep caper alley:

The gate to the 4 deep caper is open only if there are no locked balls in the top saucers and no ball in the alley.

Once you shoot a ball into the alley, the gate at the entrance of the alley closes and a small diverter closes just in case a second ball somehow makes it into the entrance to the alley it is diverted to the shooter lane.

As long as there is a ball in the 4 deep caper alley, balls cannot be locked into the top saucers. If a ball makes it into one of the top saucers it is automatically kicked out. There can be only one ball in the 4 deep caper alley.

It is called the 4 deep caper because to release the ball, you have to hit the mushroom bumper 4 times. Each time, the ball progresses deeper in the alley until it is finally released to the shooter lane.

The rollover switch for when the ball is released by the 4 deep.

The ball in the 4 deep caper carries over from player to player and from game to game.

Some might argue the 4 deep caper does not lead to a multiball since the ball is returned to the shooter lane, not directly into play. I can't be bothered... To me it's a multiball.

As another side note, a 3 step free ball escape assembly was used in Bally Four Million B.C. for the "Tar Pit". The unit works the exact same way but with 3 steps instead of 4. With 4MBC you can still lock a ball in "The Volcano" even if you have a ball trapped in the Tar Pit. Furthermore, after 3 steps the ball is released to the playfield instead of the shooter lane.

How does the 4 deep caper feature work:

First a diagram from the Bally parts catalogue

Here's how it looks inside the machine

The 4 step free ball escape assembly (every time I type "free ball" Free Bird starts playing in my head)

A series of asymmetrical "horse shoes" each with an off centre pivot. The "horse shoes" are linked to an arm by way of a second pivot point. The arm is connected to the solenoid plunger.  When the solenoid is energized, it pulls the arm. The arm rocks the horse shoes, allowing the ball to go down the alley one step at a time. At the other end of the mechanism there is a spring that pulls the arm to its rest position when the solenoid isn't pulling.

A closeup of the diverter unit called the 2nd Ball trap solenoid in the schematic.

The Free Ball gate relay (... knows I can't change...) that opens and closes the gate, drives the light indicating the gate is open and energizes the 2nd ball trap solenoid.

So how does it works?

To better understand, we have to see Capersville as having 2 modes: Normal mode and 4 deep caper mode.

Normal mode is when there is no ball in the 4 deep caper alley. Balls can be locked in the top saucers. The white mushroom bumper in this mode ejects the balls from the captive saucers.

The 4 deep caper mode is when there is a ball in the 4 deep caper alley. The white mushroom bumper in this mode advances the ball through the alley and balls cannot be locked in the top left and right saucers.

What toggles the game between both modes is the Captive Ball interlock relay.

When a ball enters the alley it rolls over a rollover switch that momentarily energized the trip coil locking the relay . The game is now in 4 deep caper mode.

As the ball exits the alley it rolls over another rollover switch that momentarily energizes the latch coil. The actuator is released and the game goes back to normal mode.

A trio of bottom view:
Left: Free Ball gate relay (...high, free bird...)
Centre: Ball advance solenoid
Right: 2nd Ball trap solenoid

The ball advance solenoid is energized momentarily by the white mushroom bumper relay by way of the captive ball interlock relay.

The white mushroom bumper relay is energized by the white mushroom bumper switch. The w.m.b. relay has a hold in circuit, keeping the relay energized until the normally closed score motor 10C switch is momentarily opened. Pretty simple.

I think we have gotten to the bottom of the 4 deep caper of Capersville. If you have the chance to play Capersville, I strongly recommend it. It's a very difficult game so it's not for everyone. Now go play some pinball. Enjoy!