The world of gambling goes much deeper than blackjack, roulette, and poker. Depending on where you’re playing from, there are games that you’ve never even heard of that are just as exciting as Vegas favorites. Just take a look at pachinko machines. Originally popular in Japan only, their influence has now spread all over the world thanks to online variants.
For a long time, the pachinko machine’s popularity didn’t make it outside of Japan. The online gaming industry changed all of that. Those wacky themes and the unique mix of pinball and slot gameplay have made pachinko a game players from the west crave. It’s fun, it’s unique, and can pay solid rewards with a bit of luck – just like slots do.
The online industry hasn’t seen many successful adaptations of the pachinko game, but we’re trying to change that. Our first real pachinko online game is set to go live soon. It honors the tradition of the original machines while adding new features adapted to modern times. The result is a perfect implementation of everything the pachinko machine stands for that will surely take your breath away.
That’s just the first step. We’re planning to take a deep dive into the rich world of pachinko as soon as the game is released. Pachinko machines come in many shapes and sizes, and not tapping into the colorful world of potential would be a mistake.
What Kind of Pachinko Machines are There?
There are hundreds of pachinko machines you can play in parlors in Japan these days. Many of those have also found their way online, although parlors still lead in this category. Classic pachinko machines operated simply by pulling a lever or pressing a button that launches the steel ball or balls up the arcade.
They then pass through obstacles similar to what happens in a pinball. Instead of virtual coins or cash prizes, pachinko machines pay in tokens that can later be exchanged for cash at another location (not the parlor itself). Online, the payment system is similar to that of slots.
One of the best things about the pachinko machine is how versatile it is. From the original machine to modern versions, the gameplay has changed a fair bit. New steel balls were introduced and gameplay features have also been added to new machines. For example, most modern pachinko machines have a feature known as a tulip catcher where random patterns are opened on the screen. These new holes add further excitement as the balls fly on the screen and give you higher chances to win.
The versatility of pachinko machines is a great thing as they can be wrapped up around any theme you can think of. From classic pachinko machines to sports-themed games and even machines based on Konami’s video game hits, the pachinko machine industry in Japan is budding.
Is Every Pachinko Machine the Same?
Well, most classic pachinko machines are the same, but for what it’s worth, you’ll see hundreds of different ones in a parlor these days. That’s the whole point of pachinko – it’s a game for players form all walks of life.
How would one get closer to a player than offering a machine that appeals to his wants and needs? Pachinko machines are incredibly versatile when it comes to themes, and in this article, we’ll explain more about the most popular pachinko games of all time.
Top 10 Most Popular Pachinko Machines
With the pachinko industry in Japan as booming as ever and more and more developers bringing the game online, the pinball-like game is bigger than ever. Its versatility is a trait rarely any other type of game possesses. Slots come close to it, but they are modelled after international themes, whereas pachinko machines are molded after Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
With pachinko machines getting a virtual overhaul in the past few decades, many of them have been combined with the manga format and video games. As you probably know, Japan is the home of video games, with many of the world’s leading companies residing in Japan. Konami is just one of the many gaming conglomerates in the world whose hits such as Metal Gear serve as a major inspiration for slots and pachinko machines.
Below you can see the most popular pachinko machine types that you must try at least once.
A series of video games from Tecmo that initially released in 1988, Ninja Gaiden became a cult video game in the following decades. Its influence has spread past game consoles and arrived to the world of pachinko machines as well. The CR Ninja Gaiden pachinko machine features imagery from the game and cool animations showing the protagonist Ryu Hayabusa as you rack up high scores.
Just like in the game, he’ll slash all of his opponents on the screen as the metal balls slash new high scores in the machine. This pachinko machine is available in most parlors in Japan, so it’s pretty easy to find.
Published by Project Garo, the CR Garo pachinko machine is based on the Garo metaseries which originally started airing on TV. The story of the boy who grew up into a powerful warrior known as Golden Knight Garo is a fan-favorite theme in Japan. It was only a matter of time before it made the jump to pachinko machines, arriving to the market in 2013.
The pachinko version offers the same level of thrills like the anime series. The flashing lights and one-of-a-kind action give it all the pizzazz it needs while you try to collect as many possible coins as you can on the screen. The light show is simply unmatched when compared to other machines. The further you progress and hit bigger wins, the brighter and more colorful it gets, which is why Japanese players love the CR Garo pachinko game.
The critically acclaimed manga found a new home on a surprising medium in pachinko machines. Japanese players can enjoy the adventure of a group of space marines who travel to distant planets to collect info on the inhabitants that lived there. The first team of scientists is dead, so Earth sends another team who must find them.
Like in most sci-fi series, the team finds the planet overrun by aliens, in this case powerful humanoid cockroaches. The marines need to use all their smarts and tactics to defeat them and eradicate them for good. That might not sound like a great setting for a pachinko game, but the CR Terra Formars is among the most popular games in parlors.
Protagonists from the manga regularly pop up on the screen to attack the enemies. Whenever you defeat one you get bonus points, and the game also offers extra coins to keep you playing. It all looks pretty nice as well, making Terra Formars one of the most popular pachinko machines of all time.
Persona is a series of RPG video games that is incredibly popular among pachinko players. The fourth installment in the series is the most popular machine of them all. It’s a colorful game with fun and rewarding gameplay, and it helps that the action is led by Kuma, the cute little mascot that celebrates your wins.
The Persona 4 pachinko machine has a few different bonus rounds. For example, Shuffle Time shakes the screen with red neon lights flashing in the center while different animations from the video game indicate what’s next. Cut scenes from the video game can also be noticed, creating a uniquely immersive experience that fans of the series will surely enjoy.
If you’re into Persona and you want to gamble every now and then, the Persona 4 pachinko machine is the way to go.
Super Street Fighter IV
Who can forget one of the original fighting video games? Super Street Fighter 4 is a legendary Capcom fighting game featuring characters such as Ken, Ryu, Blanca, and Mr. Bison. One could make the case that it’s the most legendary fighting video games of all time and they’ll probably be right. Street Fighter is a major brand that has enter the world of movies, comics, and pachinko machines, with the latter adapting the fourth game in the series.
Super Street Fighter IV is a huge game in Japanese pachinko parlors. Just like in the video game, you’ll be fighting against an opponent for the top spot. The cool animations and unique character powers such as Ryu’s hadouken are not missing in action. In one of the game’s bonus rounds, different characters will strike matching numbers that you haven’t hit, causing brilliant explosions on the screen.
Combo specials will help you win more points. Super Street Fighter is the king of fighters among pachinko machines, so if you loved the game in the past, you shouldn’t miss on the opportunity to play it this way.
Super Robot Taisen
Mechas and old-school video games are a match made in heaven. Super Robot Taisen is one of the most popular pachinko machines of this kind, putting you right in the middle of a robot fighting universe in a very cool experience.
Land the bonus round and the machine will start flashing in millions of colors, creating a unique effect that is simply stunning to watch. It’ll pay great too, with coins flying in your direction. The Super Robot Taisen CR pachinko machine is available in Japan’s top parlors and is among the most popular of its kind.
If you love mecha action paired with anime, it’s the perfect game to pick.
Gantz is a Japanese manga series that tells the story of two friends named Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato. They both lose their lives in a bizarre train accident. Right after that, Kei and Masaru find themselves in a game in which they and other recently deceased people need to hunt down and kill aliens with special weapons. Gantz was adapted into comics, an anime TV series, and of course, pachinko machines.
The Gantz pachinko machine is one of the greatest you’ll find in parlors. It’s a unique blend of action and horror with fantastic 3D CG scenes that elevate the experience up a notch. Of course, the Gantz CR machine also features a bonus round with each reward causing neon lights to flash along with appropriate sound effects.
It’s a sight to behold, and thanks to the rewards, a game you should certainly play as well.
Lupin the Third
Arsene Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise in several novels by French writer Maurice Leblanc. The global popularity of the character has led to the creation of a Japanese manga series about Lupin’s grandson, Lupin the Third. The popular manga series has quickly found its way to pachinko parlors, becoming one of the most popular machines of all time.
The CR Lupin the Third game is a game where you need to master the art of disguise to evade your enemies and win. Hit the big wins and the machine will flash in bright colors, with a police siren announcing the massive hit. It’s a pitch-perfect experience that captures the essence of Lupin the Third and makes it a game you won’t forget soon.
Another major mecha action pachinko machine, Evangelion easily makes the case for the best pachinko machines of all time. It’s a colorful game with plenty of great action and high-paying bonus rounds. Depending on the timing of pressing certain buttons, different animations will pop up on the screen. Score 888, and the Eva Unit-01 will appear on the screen and throw a huge bonus round your way.
Of course, this will be followed with an array of cool lights and sounds typical for an Evangelion-based game. It’s a time-bending pachinko machine – just give it a run and you’ll find yourself immersed in an entertaining world where you can easily lose track of time.
Hokuto No Ken
While many prefer Evangelion as the top pachinko machine, the original Hokuto No Ken from 2007 holds that title. Everyone loves Kenshiro and that’s not something that’s going to change soon. The protagonist of the Fist of the North Star manga series has ‘infiltrated’ all kinds of media and pachinko parlors have not stayed immune to his influence.
It’s a celebration of the hugely popular manga series in Japan and a perfect example of why Kenshiro is the ultimate manga character. It’s a machine that will immerse you into the rich lore of the Fist of the North Star series, complete with Kenshiro’s legendary catchphrase “You are already dead”.
If this is your first time in a pachinko parlor, you’ll probably have to wait in a line to play Hokuto No Ken. It’s that popular and that good.