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History of Bagatelles

When most pinball fanatics think about the origins of this game we all love, if they ever do at all, they may recall hearing about bagatelle, or maybe they remember playing a toy version. But the roots of Stern's Simpson's Pinball Party may run much deeper and extend quite a bit further back then most of us would ever begn to imagine.

An Interesting Bit Of Pinball History

As Bullet6 these photographs will show, bagatelle began as a different game than we know it as today. Actually, the French game of bagatelle grew out of the English Victorian-era game of billiards, which has also been called snooker. In fact, the bagatelle shown is a board rather than a table, which would be laid atop a sturdy Victorian table, and was played using billiard balls and a cue stick. The balls would be aimed at pockets formed by small depressions in the board, which each had a set point value. Of course these first bagatelle boards were played flat, without any incline, which would be added at a later time.

What links this board to the games of the 21st century are its Pins. First used
to make bagatelle a gentleman's sporting game of chance, or a Parlor Game When the board was tilted and propped up, the Pins made for a quite challenging game. As the game evolved and was refined, smaller balls were used, a small spring launching device was added, and bagatelle eventually became Pinball. Since my passion for bagatelle is quite well known, I wlll occasionally have friendly debates with some fellow VP members who don't understand the allure of bagatelle, much less the earlier days of coin-op tables. And while I haven't exactly convinced anyone yet, I have made a few converts, who at least now play and enjoy Flipperless. Think about this my friends, as far as I know, there's no game called Flipperball, is there? And I don't remember ever seeing even one single Pin on any flippered table. So could someone please explain once again why bagatelle isn't really Pinball? Case closed, wouldn't you agree?

Updated Jul 06, 2004 Written by tiltjlp
Visual Pinball Bagatelle Downloads


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