Pachinko machines have been part of Japanese entertainment since it was first built in the 1920’s.
With the first parlor built in Nagoya back in 1948, by the 1980’s, mechanical pachinko machines became popular as the technology improved by showcasing flashing lights, levers and more.
Today’s modern pachinko machines have improved dramatically within the last decade as video machines show longer videos, feature more gameplay and also giving people a chance to win more prizes.
As pachinko machines are looked as a form of gaming, others look at it as a gambling machine because it is addictive and you must pay to use your pachinko balls during a gaming session and it’s easy to go through hundreds of pachinko balls without winning anything.
But lately, pachinko parlors are upping the ante of what kind of prizes people can win and sure enough, people have easily blown their money playing a pachinko game.
For any person living or visiting Japan, it’s easy to see why pachinko machines as part of popular culture. With the many tie-ins to major anime, video game and musical properties, it’s easier to become addicted to pachinko.
When I was younger, I was introduced to a basic toy pachinko machine that my father had purchased for me in Japan. And each time that I visited a pachinko parlor in Japan, while I was always amused and curious, I wasn’t driven to playing a game until the first AKB48 Team Surprise (2012) pachinko game was released.
Because I was actively purchasing the AKB48 Team Surprise CD+DVD’s at the time, there would often be shows on television and also clips on YouTube playing the game.
Seeing how popular the AKB48 Team Surprise pachinko game was at the time, all one could wish is that a console version would be released (as many pachinko games have easily been released for consoles, cell phones and tablets).
Two years later, as AKB48 Team Surprise (Second Stage) CD+DVD’s are now being released in fall/winter 2014, a new AKB48 Team Surprise pachinko game has been released.
As for the 2012 machines, fortunately, the company formerly known as Akimon and now known as Clover Collectables based in the United States had imported two dozen of the AKB48 Team Surprise 2012 pachinko machines and are selling to anyone who has an interest in pachinko games but also having the convenience to play pachinko at your home and most importantly, without having to continually spend your own money to play, Akimono has set the machine, so you can play as much as you want.
For those interested in ordering any pachinko machine, ordering from Clover Collectables through their website is much cheaper than ordering on eBay. And while a total of 500 pachinko balls are included, I do recommend a purchase of an additional 500 pachinko balls. I also recommend the purchase of three or four containers (or pachinko trays).
You will need to put several hundred pachinko balls in the front of the unit (which you will play with), about a hundred or more on the top of the unit as these are your bonus cash-out pachinko balls. And the other balls, I would keep in a container because you will need to continually fill up the front or top unit occasionally.
As for the containers, the reason why I recommend the purchase of them is that you have a container to catch balls at the front/bottom unit (if you do well in the game, you win a lot of balls) and often, you will need to quickly switch out the containers if they get full. And you will need a container at the back of the machine, as this catches the “bad” pachinko balls that fall into the gutter area.
So, that is why I recommend purchasing an additional 500 pachinko balls with the 500 that comes with the purchase of the machine and have at least three slim plastic
containers and one slightly taller container for the back, as the container will fill up quickly.
As for if you need to purchase a shelf unit for your pachinko machine. That depends on you. My friends have purchased or created their own shelving units, while for me, I have it sitting on a small dresser.
Pachinko machines are quite heavy, but a shelving unit is good if you are scared of someone tipping it over or if your area is prone to earthquakes.
For those wondering how the unit is shipped, the unit is shipped in a huge box with a lot of styrofoam. So much styrofoam, that it can get into the unit or open areas of the machine.
Fortunately, to do maintenance on your machine, Clover Collectables provides a key, to open up the front door case of the machine. I did have a piece of styrofoam that got lodged in the front pachinko ball tray, but I was able to get it out, thankfully with the use of a bend paperclip. This is rare but it did take me sometime to remove it.
As for how it plugs in, Clover Collectables provides a plug for those to use it on their US outlets. They are held together by a wire crimp cap and there may be times when a wire may come of the crimp cap during shipping but it’s easy to put back into the pincher and also, I would use electrical tape to hold things together.
It’s important to only plug in your pachinko machine during gameplay. You do not want to keep it plugged in 24/7 because even though the machine is turned off, there is still power going into the machine and it will literally kill certain electronics on your pachinko machine.
As for audio, there are audio controls for left, center and right channels. The machine is meant to be loud but fortunately you can adjust the volume controls if you want to turn things down.
When you first begin the AKB48 Team Surprise pachinko game, the first thing you will want to do is select your character (the first character you can start off with is
Atsuko “acchan” Maeda).
On the bottom right is a lever which you can shoot pachinko balls out and the goal is to have them fall in a center area of the machine. This is not easy to do as you have to be precise of where you shoot your balls. The more balls that fall in to the center, the more videos and music you start to open for the game.
There are times where a mini-game will open and it will require you to hit the center button.
But where you will get to level up your character is through “Music Rush” mode and that is trying to hit an area on the right side of the machine with a pachinko ball and many mini-games will start to take place. And this is a workout because you will need to continually fill up on the top area of the pachinko machine with balls, as you start to win more of a payout of balls that come out of the front of the machine.
The most awesome thing about AKB48 Team Surprise is how the machine lights up differently, how it automatically moves and transforms itself throughout gameplay. But also with each hour, on the top center is a timer. Once you reach a full hour, the ma-chine goes into LIVE mode in which you can watch a full music video from AKB48 Team Surprise (or you can keep playing).
But what amazes me about this game is the sheer amount of music videos, documentary videos, animated music videos and mini-games.
There is so much gameplay in this game that owning the machine is much better because you can see how people literally gamble their money away because its addicting but to keep furthering your gameplay as you level up, you literally need to use more balls.
In the parlor, you need to pay for those additional balls, while owning the machine, you keep using the balls that you have.
And the most difficult part about owning a pachinko machine is that you want to purchase more. Similar to those who collect pinball machines, you just want to buy more because they are so awesome. But you will need to have the space to hold the machines.
Clover Collectables tends to have many sales running on their website and they offer so many pachinko games based on anime (such as the popular Evangelion and Gundam pachinko games) and also a good number of J-Pop pachinko games which include Koda Kumi or Hamasaki Ayumi.
But if you ever want that pachinko part of Japanese pop culture in your home, now that you can thanks to Clover Collectables. As for the AKB48 Team Surprise pachinko machine, I definitely recommend it!