A RECIPE FOR CHANGE
Arnold Minors – “The Recipe Guy”
You’re a Change Agent and you want to make a significant change. It is rarely easy. It can, however, be exciting. As in the rest of life, it is often messy, sometimes even apparently random. Yet you can increase the odds that the change you want to make will happen. In doing so, I have found striking similarities to PLAYING PINBALL.
The Pinball Surface consists of the people in an organization and the elements of the organization, including where it fits in the larger society.
The Stages or bumpers of change are INSTITUTIONALIZATION, INITIATION, INNOVATION. These stages are written in an unexpected order to remind that change moves from one to another – and back and forth among them – in unexpected ways.
The Strikers or levers of change use Left Brain and Right Brain skills and require the use of various kinds of power.
You, the Change Agent, are the Pinball Player. You must use a variety of strategies and tactics at different times in order to make the change happen.
I hope Playing Pinball is a recipe to help increase your skill. I also hope you get some good luck.
- OVERVIEW……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
- ELEMENTS OF THE GAME………………………………………………………………………. 3
- Surface…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
- Stages (Bumpers)………………………………………………………………………………. 5
- Strikers (Levers)………………………………………………………………………………. 7
- PLAYING PINBALL……………………………………………………………………………………… 9
- Styles of Pinball Player……………………………………………………………………. 10
- Strategic Action in 3-D…………………………………………………………………….. 12
“The best laid plans of mice and [wo]men aft gang agley ….”
People spend a lot of their energy and time trying to make things happen. They want to re- engineer an organization; create an anti-discriminatory environment; get their children, Sue and Bernard, to pick up their clothes. But things don’t always turn out quite the way they were planned. People in the “NEW! IMPROVED!” organization behave much like they did before. The anti-discrimination policy gets scuttled by nervous politicians, even though employee demographics still do not reflect the population at large. Susie picks up her pants but leaves her shirts lying around.
All of us know that making change isn’t tidy. Making things happen seems messy, even random. The Playing Pinball recipe helps make sense of our experience.
Playing the game of pinball and making change in organizations seem to be similar in several ways:
- You can’t always predict what will happen
- Both luck and skill are
- The more skilled you are, the more likely that what will happen is what you want to
happen; i.e. you seem to get luckier.
- You get better through concentration and practice; by being patient and
- The better you are, the more chances you
- Still, no matter how good you are, you cannot be certain when you’ll run out of
- You can take advantage of lucky
- Even though you may want only one event to occur, it still seems like hundreds of things are happening at once, some of them seemingly unrelated to what you thought you had done.
PLAYING PINBALL requires:
./ a SURFACE
- Social Relationships
- Structure: Stuff, Systems, Style, Spirit
- Societal Context
./ three STAGES
./ two STRIKERS (or Levers) requiring
- Left and Right Brain Strategies
./ STRATEGIC ACTION in 3-D
./ seven STYLES of PINBALL PLAYER (the Change Agent)
- Technical Expert
- Joint Problem Solver
- Process Facilitator
- Reflective Observer
A. SURFACE (THE 6 S’s OF ORGANIZATION)
- STAGES (THE BUMPERS)
- STRIKERS (THE LEVERS)
- SURFACE – Six S’s for Success: A Model of Organizations
Copyright ©1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005 Arnold Minors & Associates. All rights reserved.
|• Working Conditions||• Reward||• Communication||• Rituals|
|• Capital Assets||• Measurement||• Learning||• Norms|
|• Technology||• Personnel||• Management||• Values|
|• Procurement||• Decision-Making||• Ways of Knowing|
|• Resource Allocation||• Ethos|
|• Control||• Essence|
|• Accountability||• Meaning|
to deliver the organization’s
For any given change you want to make, the earliest in the INITIATION stage is zero; i.e. nothing is happening in the area you want to have changed.
At a slightly later INITIATION stage, a set of problems gains some momentum for change; or opportunities – such as a staff shortage – cause people to think of changes they’ve always wanted to make. It is not so much a systematic process as it is a coming together of actors with differing agendas who feel that their agendas will be met by supporting the change. Problems and solutions are frequently vague. Ideas gain bandwagon support and are often not the product of carefully reasoned examination.
Although the ideas have usually been around for some time, at this point in the INITIATION stage, there is a will to act – i.e. “you can flip the ball”.
At an even later point in INITIATION, various approaches to a problem or problems crystallize into a set of “ideas in good currency” – i.e. ideas with enough power or energy to demand attention. The words often sound like slogans; i.e. they are brief, like newspaper headlines. Visions are usually high in intuitive good sense, but low on specifics. They are already beginning to float around parts of the organization. They are not usually widely shared, known, understood, or accepted.
Some characteristics of Visions at this STAGE
./ They are urgent.
./ They are short so as to be easily remembered – slogans, as long as they are real and not trite, are pretty effective.
./ They are different from the status quo, but not too different.
./ They cater to ego and social needs, e.g. the need for consistency or for fair play or for recognition of prevailing/dominant values.
./ They are congruent with prevailing values or at least not in conflict with those values, particularly to the demonstrated values of senior management, or influential board members, especially in not-for-profits.
At INNOVATION, Vision and Design become more and more concrete.
This is a transition state which exists between the present and the desired future. People are dismantling the old system and learning how to make the new system work. They are learning new skills and new relationships.
Resistance to change may be highest at this stage since it is the time when actual behaviour has to change. It is the first time some people believe that “they really are going to do what they’ve been talking about all this time”. To predict the form
that resistance might take, you should be aware of the four most common reasons people resist change:
- a desire not to lose something of value;
- a misunderstanding of the change and its implications;
- a belief that the change does not make sense; and
- a low tolerance for
At this STAGE, adjustments are made based on learnings at INNOVATION. That is, the Vision and Design are turned into permanent reality, at least until the next change is needed.
At INNOVATION there is higher complexity, less formalization (relaxed standard operating procedures, for example), and more decentralization to facilitate gathering and processing information. By comparison, at INSTITUTIONALIZATION, there is lower complexity and ambiguity. Therefore, there can be higher formalization and centralization, to reduce role conflict.
The change processes which you use to move the change the change from one stage to another can be done using left brain capacities: linear, logical, mechanical and analytical.
The PINBALL PLAYER needs to:
- Know the formal (usually written) hoops that need to be
- Be prepared to be patient.
The change processes may also be done using right brain capacities: holistic, intuitive and creative.
In some ways, the effects of these interventions are much less predictable than those of left brain interventions and therefore the use of this striker creates much more volatility in the change.
The PINBALL PLAYER needs to:
- Know the informal hoops that need to be jumped.
- Pay attention to the politics of the Know the agendas of all the principal actors.
Be prepared to be impatient and to take advantage of emerging opportunities; stay alert.
Note: Left and right brain capacities are not independent; they are richly interdependent, analogous to cross-connections in the brain. As the PINBALL PLAYER, you will use both capacities, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes sequentially.
- A key task is to determine how “hard” you need to hit the STRIKER. That is, pay attention to various forms of power. See the POWER BAR,
THE POWER BAR
“WHERE CAN YOU PLUG IN?”
- unburdening oneself
- access to information
- image making
- ability to cope
- nuisance (PITA)
- willingness to manipulate
- credible threat of violence
- control of boundaries
- policy support
- control of decision-making
- control of resources
- ascribed (e.g. tradition, gender)
- social memory
Copyright ©1990, 1998, 2001 Arnold Minors & Associates. All rights reserved.
- PLAYING PINBALL
A. STYLES OF PINBALL PLAYERS
- STRATEGIC ACTION
- STYLES OF PINBALL PLAYERS
Change Agents (Pinball Players) need a variety of styles to ensure effective change. The following description of roles (styles) is based on the work of Felkins, Patricia K., B. J. Chakiris and Kenneth N. Chakiris. Change Management. White Plains, N.Y.: Quality Resources, 1993.
- actively speaks for the vision of the change
- provides clear directions about a path to the changed state
- provides measurement/diagnostic expertise about the stage of an organization
- gives authoritative information about consequences of failure to change
- uses specialized knowledge about content areas or about change processes to plan for
provides input to assist in making policy-level decisions
designs action plans to move the organization from one phase of change to another or one organizational stage to another
designs organizational structures appropriate for the stage of an organization describes a coherent social, political and economic analysis
- designs tools to diagnose the stage of the organization
- provides feedback on group dynamics in relation to understanding of the change
- recommends appropriate diagnostic tools
- analyzes and presents data
- surfaces information about issues
- surfaces information about social structures, prevailing ideas and interpersonal dynamics that
may explain resistance
- acts appropriately in response to a diagnosis/assessment of the organization or a part of it
- helps people in organization understand change
- trains individuals and groups in change agent skills
- designs and delivers programs to boards, senior management, staff and volunteers in
- helps people learn how organizations change and how they remain the same, particularly related to issues of race, gender and power
- surfaces information about the relationship between society’s values, personal beliefs, intentions, actions and judgement
- works with organization members to diagnose stage of organization and its critical challenges
- shares in testing assumptions about what can and cannot be changed (easily) at any given
- uses own position as insider/outsider to collect information about constraints to completing action plans
- leads feedback sessions on action planning and monitoring activities
- uses a variety of approaches to problem solving
- confronts dysfunctional behaviour to improve the quality of communication
- processes group issues for discussion during group meetings
- provides feedback on group dynamics, especially by surfacing issues which are not being dealt
- uses active listening to model equitable behaviour
- debriefs process and content issues
- applies theories of conflict in surfacing, resolving/handling conflicts
- uses models of group development in giving feedback
- asks reflective questions to help people look at situations from a variety of perspectives
- provides personal experiences as a way of helping groups learn about where they are in the
- describes situations in ways which allow people to form their own opinions about their situations
- mirrors behaviour in group meetings in timing and pacing
- critically reflects on practice that leads to action for change
- uses non-verbal communication to help in diagnosis and monitoring
- uses exploratory questioning to help in diagnosis and monitoring of change
Change actions can be thought of as being of three types:
- Diagnosing “What’s going on?”
- Designing “What do I want to have happen?”
“Where do I want it to happen?”
“How do I want to make it happen?” Doing Using a variety of intervention strategies
STRATEGIC ACTIONS in 3-D are required because while the PINBALL PLAYER is attempting his/her change, several other people are simultaneously trying to make similar and
different changes – i.e. playing pinball on their own. All games of PLAYING Pinball in
organizations are connected to each other. Regardless of what you do in using a Striker to move your change from one stage to another, what actually happens may be quite different from what you intended.
The PINBALL PLAYER looks at the SURFACE to determine what needs to be changed at each of the elements of the 6-S’s, and what is happening on the SURFACE at each moment, relative
to the change.
Some design strategies that are appropriate during INITIATION:
./ Get clarity about:
- The forces pushing for
- The problems to be fixed by the
- The identities and agendas of the principal
./ Know when the “right moment” is – this is often about as much choice as you have in making a change.
./ Start thinking about ways in which this change is similar to those of other people with differing (or similar) agendas.
./ Make sure that those who have (formal and informal) power to commit or withhold resources won’t, at the very least, block you. It’s better if they actually support you.
Some design strategies that are appropriate during INNOVATION:
./ Develop a clear plan – with schedules and goals – to minimize pain.
./ Develop a plan for defining whose commitment is required.
./ Develop methods to gain commitment, e.g.
- Power sharing
- Appeals to legislation, collective bargaining agreements/intents
- Appeals to precedent
- Appeals to rationality
- Development of incentives such as increased mandate or better office space
- Persuasive and coercive techniques
- Attempts to calm
./ Plan for a pilot project or different experiments in different parts of the organizations or different geographical locations to see what works best.
./ Pay attention to the Ezekiel Phenomenon (dem bones) – de ‘stuff’ bone connected to de ‘systems’ bone; de ‘systems’ bone connected to …
./ Build in contingencies.
./ Remember the Victor Borge Phenomenon: “While Mr. Hambro is playing his selection, I shall be playing mine” – i.e. remember lots of folks are doing things simultaneously, not all of them helpful to you.
./ Make sure that the impact on each individual is clarified.
Some intervention strategies that work during INNOVATION
./ Get a management structure to manage the change, such as:
- Chair of the Board as Project
- Chief Executive Officer as Project
- Use the existing hierarchy – e.g. add it to present work of
- Task Force – perhaps by taking people from various levels and various organizations such as unions, or client/customer associations.
./ Tell influential people what won’t be changed.
./ Be clear about objectives.
./ Have appropriate involvement (as defined by them) of those who will be affected by the changes. Don’t forget clients/customers or people who think they’ll be displaced.
./ Make sure you’re seen as knowing what you’re talking about.
./ Get the senior administrator/manager and key board members on your side.
./ Get real management support, e.g. their demonstrated commitment to allow time for learning.
./ Know when to move: don’t allow “analysis paralysis.”
./ Give enough time so that people can learn about what’s required – e.g. orientation workshops.
./ Develop communication strategies so that the relative advantage(s) of the changes are clear. Use the appropriate language: some people need written communication; some need verbal.
./ Ensure that experimentation is encouraged. Do not punish people for trying.
./ Make sure senior management gets information on what’s happening.
Some intervention strategies to use during INSTITUTIONALIZATION
./ Provide visible recognition of, and support for, those who demonstrate the change.
./ Make sure appropriate training is available; give people a chance to know the procedures.
./ Demonstrate tangible benefits to staff, clients/customers, politicians, directors.
./ Attempt to calm anxiety, especially about job security.
./ Be patient and enthusiastic. Keep your sense of humour.
./ Maintain active contact with politicians and/or directors, union representatives, key staff, including senior management.
Trust and Intervention Strategies
In relatively high trust situations, particularly where you have lots of time:
./ COMMUNICATE. Err on the side of excess, if you have to err. For example you might call a department-wide meeting or organize a series of meetings (e.g. by video
conference) to include the entire organization.
Light many fires. Take a number of small visible steps. Be open and honest about odds of success.
Join and form alliances.
In moderately trusting situations:
./ Appeal to precedent.
./ Sell the ideas; use persuasive techniques.
./ Bargain; collect chits.
./ Appeal to friendship.
./ Don’t mobilize the opposition – don’t be so visible they want to attack you.
./ Strategically release information; censor information.
In low trust situations, particularly where change must happen quickly:
./ Use coercive techniques: “Tell ‘em.”
./ Use fear.
./ Try to get out. Let someone else do it.
Suggestions from bryon and donna
Thank you sending along your pinball concept. Apologize for taking so much time to respond. I read it quickly when it arrived and was clear that it would require some reflection.
A few comments. First, I will only mention a few of the things I found helpful or else I would be taking all the note repeating the usefulness of the various ideas. Finally I will make a few comments on areas that were more of a reach for me.
Especially helpful was the description of Visions in the Initiation stage. I had never seen a description quite like this. The second highlight for me was the “Do” list.
Unfortunately I had a bit of a deprived youth and have to admit to understanding change much more then I understand pinball. Think I played it once. I found myself glossing over the pinball analogy and going right to the change concepts.
You mentioned the 3D nature of change. That suggested a picture to me and I would be helped with a 3D picture example to solidify the image in my mind.
Finally, I liked your grid describing roles. It strikes me that at the high authority/high content end there is a role that is less facilitative and more “boss”. You provide people with clear direction regarding the changes you expect, how you plan to measure success and how you plan to hold people accountable for successful implementation of your vision.
Thank you for the introduction to your thinking. I am interested in seeing the “game” develop. the boss, as change agent, is also an important addition.
measures of success have obvious metaphorical links to playing pinball.
i’ve been thinking a lot about accountability and the kind of changes which are required in society
even for people who haven’t played pinball, the metaphor works. it does need some description so that it has a better context for those of us who don’t have the experience.
I agree with Bryon. Barry Oshry uses pinball as an example in his book on Seeing Systems. It is a cleaver way to describe playing pin ball.
add in tph and iol michaelides
Pinball is a type of arcade game, usually coin-operated, in which points are scored by a player manipulating one or more steel balls on a play field inside a glass-covered cabinet called a pinball machine. The primary objective of the game is to score as many points as possible. Points are earned when the ball strikes different targets on the play field. A drain is situated at the bottom of the play field, protected by player-controlled plastic bats called flippers. A game ends after all the balls fall into the drain. Secondary objectives are to maximize the time spent playing (by earning “extra balls” and keeping the ball in play as long as possible) and to earn free games (known as “replays”).
FlippersThe flippers are one or more small mechanically or electromechanically-controlled levers, roughly 3 to 7 cm in length, used for redirecting the ball up the playfield. They are the
main control that the player has over the ball. Careful timing and positional control allows the player to intentionally direct the ball in a range of directions with various levels of velocity. With the flippers, the player attempts to move the ball to hit various types of scoring targets, and to keep the ball from disappearing off the bottom of the playfield. The very first pinball games appeared in the early 1930s and did not have flippers; after launch the ball simply proceeded down the playfield, directed by static nails (or “pins”) to one of several scoring areas. (These pins gave the game its name). In 1947, the first mechanical flippers appeared on Gottlieb’s Humpty Dumpty and by the early 1950s, the familiar two-flipper configuration, with the flippers at the bottom of the playfield above the center drain, had become standard. Some machines also added a third or fourth flipper midway up the playfield.
Wire rampAs the name implies, ramps are inclined planes, with a gentle enough slope that the ball may travel along it. The player attempts to direct the ball with enough force to make it to the top of the ramp and down the other side. If the player succeeds, a “ramp shot” has been made.
Ramps frequently end in such a way that the ball goes to a flipper so one can make several ramp shots in a row. Often, the number of ramp shots scored in a game is tallied, and reaching certain numbers may lead to various game features. At other times, the ramps will go to smaller
“mini-playfields” (small playfields, usually raised above the main game surface, with special goals or scoring).
Dot Matrix DisplayContact with or manipulation of scoring elements (such as targets or ramps) scores points for the player. Electrical switches embedded in the scoring elements detect contact and relay this information to the scoring mechanism. Older pinball machines used an electromechanical system for scoring wherein a pulse from a switch would cause a complex mechanism composed of relays to ratchet up the score. In later games these tasks have been taken over by semiconductor chips and displays are made on electronic segmented or dot-matrix displays.
Pinball scoring can be peculiar and varies greatly from machine to machine. During the 1930s and the 1940s, lights mounted behind the painted backglasses were used for scoring purposes, making the scoring somewhat arbitrary. (Frequently the lights represented scores in the hundreds of thousands.) Then later, during the 1950s and 1960s when the scoring mechanism was limited to mechanical wheels, high scores were frequently only in the hundreds or thousands. (Although, in an effort to keep with the traditional high scores attained with the painted backglass games, the first pinball machines to use mechanical wheels for scoring, such as Army Navy, allowed the score to reach into the millions by adding a number of permanent zeros to the end of the score.) The average score changed again in the 1970s with the advent of electronic displays. Average scores soon began to commonly increase back into tens or hundreds of thousands. Since then, there has been a trend of scoring inflation, with modern machines often requiring scores of over a billion points to win a free game. At the peak of this trend, two machines, Johnny Mnemonic and Attack From Mars, have been played into the trillions. Another recent curiosity is the 1997 Bally game NBA Fastbreak which, true to its theme, awards points in terms of a real basketball score: Each successful shot can give from one to three points. Getting a hundred points by the end of a game is considered respectable, which makes it one of the lowest scoring pinball machines of all time. The inflated scores are
The primary skill of pinball involves application of the proper timing and technique to the operation of the flippers, nudging the playfield when appropriate without tilting, and choosing targets for scores or features. A skilled player can quickly “learn the angles” and gain a high level of control of ball motion, even on a table they have never played. Skilled players can often play
on a machine for long periods of time on a single coin. By earning extra balls, a single game can be stretched out for a long period, and if the player is playing well he or she can earn replays by points and possibly also free games, known as “specials”.
A placard is usually placed in a lower corner of the playfield. It may simply show pricing information, but should also show critical details about special scoring techniques. This information is vital to achieving higher scores; it typically describes a series of events that must take place (e.g., shoot right ramp and left drop targets to light ‘extra ball’ rollover). Learning these details makes the game more fun and challenging. With practice—and a table in good operating condition—a player can often achieve specific targets and higher scores and trigger exciting events.
NudgingSkillful players can influence the movement of the ball by nudging or bumping the pinball machine, a technique known as “nudging.” There are tilt mechanisms which guard against excessive manipulation of this sort. The mechanisms generally include:
a grounded plumb bob centered in an electrified steel ring – when the machine is jostled too far or too hard, the bob contacts the ring, completing a circuit. The bob is usually cone-shaped allowing the operator to slide it vertically, controlling the sensitivity;
an electrified ball on a slight ramp with a grounded post at the top of the ramp – when the front of the machine is lifted (literally, tilted) too high, the ball rolls to the top of the ramp and completes the circuit; and
an impact sensor – usually located on the coin door, the playfield and/or the cabinet itself. When one of these sensors is activated, the game registers a “tilt” and locks out, disabling solenoids for the flippers and other playfield systems so that the ball can do nothing other than
roll down the playfield to the drain. A tilt will usually result in the loss of bonus points earned by the player during that ball. Older games would immediately end the ball in play on a tilt. Modern games give tilt warnings before sacrificing the ball in play. The number of tilt warnings can be adjusted by the operator/owner of the machine. Until recently most games also had a “slam tilt” switch which guarded against kicking or slamming the coin mechanism (or for overly aggressive behavior with the machine), which could give a false indication that a coin had been inserted, thereby giving a free game or credit. Apparently, this feature was recently taken out by default in new Stern S.A.M System games. However, it can be added as an option. A slam tilt will typically end the current game for all players.
 TrappingSkilled players can also hold a ball in place with the flipper, giving them more control over where they want to place the ball when they shoot it forward. This is known as “trapping”. This technique involves catching the ball in the corner between the base of the flipper and the wall to its side, just as the ball falls towards the flipper; the flipper is then released, which allows the ball to roll slowly downward against the flipper. The player then chooses the moment to hit the flipper again, timing the shot as the ball slides slowly against the flipper. Multi-ball games, in particular, reward trapping techniques. Usually this is done by trapping one or more balls out of play with one flipper, then using the other flipper to score points with the remaining ball or balls.
Once a player has successfully trapped a ball, they may then attempt to “juggle” the ball to the other flipper. This is done by tapping the flipper button quickly enough so that the trapped ball is knocked back at an angle of less than 90 degrees into the bottom of the nearest slingshot. The ball will then often bounce across the table to the other flipper, where the ball may then be hit (or trapped) by the opposite flipper.
Occasionally a pinball machine will have a pin or post placed directly between the two bottom flippers. When this feature is present, the advanced player may then attempt to perform a “chill maneuver” when the ball is heading directly toward the pin by opting not to hit a flipper. If
successful, this will cause the ball to bounce up and back into play. A related move, the “dead flipper pass,” is performed by not flipping when a ball is heading toward a flipper. If done properly, the ball will bounce off the “dead” flipper, across to the other flipper, where it may be trapped and controlled.
One controversial technique for saving the ball is called a “death save” or “bangback”. Very few pinball players can successfully perform this advanced technique. The death save may only be performed when a ball has dropped through an outlane and is heading down toward the drain. If the timing is exactly correct, a player may hold a flipper up and then nudge the machine hard enough (but not so hard as to tilt the machine) to pop the ball back up into play on to the opposite flipper. Usually the death save is performed by kicking one of the legs of the machine with great force, which is why the move is unpopular with many players, and is often strongly frowned upon by less-experienced arcade operators. More recent machines have recognized this maneuver as a legitimate one though, even going so far as to grant the player a point reward for a successful death save.
A player may try to obtain free games by attaching a piece of string to a coin and lowering it to the counter switch, then raise and lower it to obtain free credits. This is actually quite difficult to do, since a coin acceptor mechanism is designed to reject anything other than a true coin, and uses thickness, diameter, weight and inertia as tests. A slow-moving coin on a string is simply treated as a slug and rejected.
Slugs made from hammered metal pieces or foreign coins are sometimes tried. An operator can modify the acceptor mechanism to be less forgiving and so reject further attempts.
Electromechanical pinball machines manufactured by Williams (until approximately 1973) had a wiring anomaly which could be exploited with one or more credits remaining on the game reel. By depositing a single coin and pressing the reset button one-quarter to one-half second later, up to five games could be obtained.
Some early (late ’70s) computerized games could be fooled into giving free credits by switching the power off and on quickly, or applying a static shock to the coin door. These issues were quickly fixed, and today, may cause existing credits to be removed.
Sometimes, a faulty playfield item will bounce or switch to rack up extra points that are not earned. The result is that a solenoid may be destroyed in the process of constant triggering.
Gottlieb machines had a mechanical game counter (like an odometer) that could be advanced with a long-handled ‘ladies’ comb wedged under the back panel cover to manipulate the counter mechanism.
Simulating a pinball machine has also been a popular theme of video games, most famously when Bill Budge wrote Pinball Construction Set for the Apple II in 1983. While there had been earlier pinball video games, such as Video Pinball for the Atari 2600, Pinball Construction Set was the first program that allowed the user to create his own simulated pinball machine and then play it.
Most early simulations were top-down 2D. As processor and graphics capabilities have improved, more accurate ball physics and 3D pinball simulations have become possible. Tilting has also been simulated, which can be activated using one or more keys (sometimes the space bar) for “moving” the table. Flipper button computer peripherals were also released, allowing pinball fans to add an accurate feel to their game play instead of using the keyboard or mouse.
Modern pinball video games are often based around established franchises such as Metroid Prime Pinball, Super Mario Ball and Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
There have been pinball programs released for all major home video game and computer systems, such as:
David’s Midnight Magic (1982) Pinball Dreams (1992)
3D Pinball: Space Cadet (1996) Pro Pinball (since 1996)
Visual Pinball (since 2000) Emilia Pinball (since 2000) Future Pinball (since 2005) Pinball FX 2 (since 2010) Pinball Arcade (since 2012)
Simulators also exist for gaming consoles and tablet computers such as Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii.
http://pinball.org/videos/gameplay-videos/2001-2/ differences between pinball machines and playing pinball http://pinball.org/videos/tutorials/8-ball-deluxe/
topline; bottom line; pipeline