Visual Pinball. Is it real or is it…

Filed under Arcade

Take one Bally pinball plunger off EBay (7.99$)


Hack together a plate and attach a roller microswitch to it (4.95$ at Happ, but 1.98$ at Fry’s)


Position things such that the switch is pressed when the plunger is at rest, but when you pull back on the plunger, the switch releases, like so:


(it’s a vertical picture, normally the plunger sits horizontally)

Then wire the NC (normally closed) connection to an Ultimarc IPAC as just another pushbutton.

Finish up with a couple of Competition pushbuttons mounted to the side of your desk (or some other convenient place).

Now, load up Visual Pinball, grab a few table files (the Black Hole table is especially nice), crank the volume way up, and line up some quarters on the lip of your monitor, just for some ambience.


All (ok, most) of the arcade goodness of the early eighties in a fraction of the space. This nifty thing is, wired up this way, when you pull back on the plunger, the switch is released, which, because of wiring it to the NC connection, has the effect of pressing and holding that button, until you release the plunger. This exactly models the Visual Pinball concept of pressing the Enter key and holding down on it longer to “pull farther back” on the plunger. Granted, it’s not as exact as, say, a cog driven mouse wheel hack, but it seems to be pretty accurate so far and it was a heck of a lot simpler.

Next? Hook a tilt plumb bob


to several contacts to simulate a full-on tilt mechanism (Visual Pinball supports tilt-left and tilt-right keys, not sure about other pinball sims).


  1. Ralf says:

    That, sir, is incredibly clever. Very cool. Sometimes you see a hack and it’s just *perfect*.

    But… the plumb bob? Good god man, I’ve spent way too much time in my life DISABLING the tilt sensors in pinball machines. 🙂

  2. Darin says:

    Hey, if you’re going for (semi) realism, you gotta go all the way!

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