Pachinko and Pachislots Guide

Posted:: Apr 06, 2022 19:11 Category: Asia , Casino , Land-Based , Posted by Content Team

With extremely rigid gambling regulations, Japanese players have still found a way to circumvent the law and enjoy a spot of gambling in a country where both online and offline gaming is currently illegal.

With thousands, if not millions, dedicated to the cause, the Pachinko Parlour concept was born. Relatively gloomy and known to be excessively loud, these spots are amongst one of the most popular entertainment venues in Japan. More recently, Pachinko parlours are also known to host a different type of slot which might not be as commonly known in other parts of the world – the Pachislot. Interested in knowing more about this niche Japanese game? That’s what we’re here to talk about today.

What Are Pachinko Machines?

Designed as a recreational arcade game but used primarily for gambling purposes, the pachinko slot is a Japanese mechanical game that looks pretty similar to a pinball machine. In this case, players are invited to pour a number of metal balls from the top, which cascade while hitting brass pins on the way down, with the outcome being determined by the way the balls happen to drop. The plot twist here is that players are able to move the pins in order to potentially affect the outcome of the game.

The setup of a pachinko game is also relatively simple. There’s a playing field where the ball will first enter from, this field is filled with several brass pins, a number of small cups known as catchers where you hope your ball is going to eventually drop, as well as a hole at the bottom for the ball to exit the playing field should your pachinko round prove unsuccessful.

While there are several variations from the original 1960s pachinko machines, one popular feature is known as the ‘tulip catchers’ and these include catchers that open up and close in diameter, sometimes randomly and other times in a pattern.

The aim of pachinko is to collect as many balls as possible in the catchers. Originally, this game was strictly mechanical, but just like the slot machine the advent of the Internet made everything go digital, including pachislots, which are the equivalent of online slots.

Just like slot machines and online slots, there are hundreds of different pachinko slot games available on the market right now, some of which are themed after popular musicians, famous characters and so on. Once again, the more traditional games tend to include basic functions that include balls falling down across a maze of pins, to the more complex pachislots that could include high end graphics and animation, special effects, background noise, and more.

In terms of rewards, the Japanese have devised a brilliant loophole that circumvents the country’s strict gambling laws. Should you happen to get lucky on a pachinko slot, you’ll be paid out in metal balls. Since it’s illegal to gamble for cash in Japan, you won’t be able to exchange the balls for money via the pachinko parlour, however right next door there’s usually always a separate outlet that will allow you to purchase a number of items in exchange for the metal balls – which you’re then able to return for a cash refund. These rewards could include simple items such as chocolate bars or cigarette lighters, all the way to more expensive items such as electronics, luxury goods and more.

The Origins of Pachinko in Japan

The first pachinko games were created in Japan sometime around the 1920s as a children’s game known as the Corinth Game. In terms of gambling, Japan’s pachinko parlours were shut down during WWII and reopened once again in the late 40s, with the first official commercial premises opening its doors in 1948 in Nagoya. Since then, pachinko has remained one of the most popular games of all times, with several parlours also opening across Taiwan.

Until the 1980s, pachinko machines remained purely mechanical devices that made use of bells to indicate the various stages of the game. Electricity was only required to flash lights and indicate a number of issues such as when the machine ran out of balls for instance. After that, pachinko machines tend to evolve from an engineering standpoint, with the incorporation of a number of electronic features.

Online Pachislots Explained: Mechanism and Payment System

Deriving directly from the traditional Japanese pachinko game, pachislots are sometimes also called pachisuro, are the latest addition to this game family. These modern games are normally found within pachinko parlours as well as the adult section of games arcades. Working similarly to the way you’d imagine a digital slot machine would, pachinko slots generally offer up to six levels of odds.

Of course, just like you’d imagine, a number of pachinko parlour operators set these machines up in their favour, however they are also known to place a couple of pachinko slots that will offer large payouts in order to create a hype within the parlour. Identifying which machines these are is of course a big part of the game, even before you’re able to take a seat. This technique also creates a sense of false hope amongst players on other machines in a unique phenomenon known as gambler’s fallacy.

Once again, these pachinko slots vary greatly in design and theme from one to the other, and include a screen where you’re able to follow your gameplay closely. Even though pachinko games might appear to be a relatively grey area when it comes to gaming, there are still a number of rules in place in order to maintain legality. These include the fact that pachinko must always have three reels, each of which has to have buttons that allow players to stop them manually. The pachislot reels shouldn’t spin any faster than 80 rpm, and they should also be able to come to a perfect halt within 0.19 of a second, which is the equivalent of around four symbols give or take. Other pachinko slot rules include capped max wins amongst others.

The Difference Between Pachislots and Casino Slots

As mentioned briefly earlier on, pachinko slots are similar to casino slots in a way, but there are still some major differences between the two. With the rise of online gambling, pachislots have only recently risen in popularity outside Asia, with several pachinko slots inspired by traditional pachinko games. Nevertheless, these more recent additions tend to be more similar to video slots in terms of game rules and general design.

The most important difference you’re going to want to keep in mind is that pachinko are only able to have three reels, while video slots are known to have three, five, and sometimes up to seven reels. Apart from that, pachislots are known for offering very small potential wins that are accumulated over time, which makes this a game of patience more than anything else. On the other hand, casino slots are known for offering a number of special symbols and features, as well as some pretty massive wins which aren’t the norm in the world of pachinko games.

Even though they might appear to be similar at first glance, pachinko games have much less in common with casino slots than you’d imagine. Overall a pretty unique game to try.

Where to Play Pachinko and Pachislots

Pachinko games are generally found across various game parlours in Japan, with the majority of them located right next to the train station intended to attract customers on their way home from work. If you’re looking to try the game out without needing to hop on a plane, then there are a number of online casinos that offer a number of digital pachinko slots.

Despite being massively popular in Asia, it’s only recently that pachislots have made their way into the Western world including Europe and the US, with several software providers and game developers delving into this game genre.

It’s also possible to come across a number of pachinko slot machines in land-based casinos, where you’ll definitely be paid out in cash rather than metal balls since you’ll be gambling in an established and legal casino.

Japan Technical Games: Creators of Best Pachislots

Japan Technical Games or JGT are the current undisputed world leaders when it comes to pachinko games and pachislots. Offering a series of games marketed as simple and fun, this game developer has produced a number of titles that are simple to play and suited to players of all levels.

Today, JGT holds a number of successful partnerships with other game developers such as Oryx Gaming and Golden Hero amongst others, pioneering a new breed of online slot. Generally speaking, JGT pachinko slots are generally considered medium or high variance games with a relatively high RTP (return to player).

Payouts are generally on the lower side and brought about by a variety of symbol and number combinations on the reels. Typically, each of these pachislots comes with its own unique special feature or bonus round, some of which could lead to hitting a jackpot win if the gods happen to be on your side.

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