Pachinko is the Japanese counterpart to slots. As the popularity of slot machines increased in the US, so did the popularity of pachinko games in the country of the Rising Sun. Nowadays, pachinko parlors are huge in Japan, and Americans also have a chance to play the popular game in casinos.
Let’s see what a pachinko slot exactly is, how it works and what the differences are between vintage and modern pachinko slot machines.
Pachinko works like a slot machine, which means it's based on luck, and you can win prizes if you're lucky. There are two types of land-based pachinko machines. The first is a vintage mechanical machine, while the other is a modern pachinko machine.
Both follow an identical gameplay structure. You first need to purchase balls and insert them into the machine. After that, you’ll have to use a handle to set the angle at which you want to shoot pachinko balls into the main area. The balls will then randomly drop into various openings, with one of the openings offering a mini-game.
Whenever a ball lands in that opening, you’ll start a small mini-game that is based on the element of chance and can help you win a small jackpot. It usually comes in the form of more balls that you can later exchange for gifts.
Vintage pachinko game machines don’t have mini-games. They look very similar to pinballs, and the balls that make it to the rewarding hole will instantly release more balls as a reward. Everything is mechanical in these pachinko machines, meaning there are no electronic elements that affect the gameplay.
During the 70s and the 80s, the pachinko machines were changed, with electronic parts introduced to them gradually. Pretty much the same thing happened to slot machines.
Instead of getting instant payouts when the balls land in the right spot, players now have a chance to play a mini-game (the most common one being spinning a 3x1 slot with a goal to match all three symbols). These mini-games made things much more exciting and gave lucky players a chance to win bigger prizes.
Even though pachinko is big in Japan, its time is yet to come in the US. The good news is that US players have a unique opportunity to play online pachinko in certain states, such as NJ, PA, MI, and WV, alongside many other online casino games.
Online pachinko is even more exciting compared to its land-based counterpart, allowing more interesting mini-games and other features.
As for land-based options, the only proper pachinko parlor in North America is called Pachinko World and is located in Wilmington, North Carolina.