This, of course, leads to the inevitable self-examination. It's ok - admit it. You started to read this node, and started wonder about yourself. How do I perform? Am I a good pinball player?

What's really going on is the creeping self-doubt most people have about sex. Now, why don't we all come clean and describe our pinball style - besides, dem bones will hate it almost as much as a "get to know you node.

Pinball, at least since the advent of fully-electronic games but probably before that as well, has always been subtly about sex.

One of my favorite exchanges occurs in The Machine: Bride of Pinbot when you lock two balls in the eye sockets of the Bride, as a major step toward starting multiball. The Bride speaks in a sexy female voice, while Pinbot, a character from an earlier pinball machine when they used crude speech synthesizers instead of digitally recorded samples, speaks in a robotic monotone.

The first two times you accomplish this, you are rewarded with the following dialogue:

Bride:
Now I see you.
Pinbot:
How do I look?

If you manage to play two multiballs and get to this step a third time within a single game, you instead get:

Pinbot:
How do I look?
Bride:
You look good.

(It's not easy to do this, so this certainly is intended to imply something about your pinball skills, though the context certainly seems to imply something else. This also reminds me of the time I played a doubles 5-ball game of The Machine with a friend, on a machine with apparently no tilt sensor at all, and he was doing bangbacks and death saves like mad. The game lasted 2 hours.)

The best pinball players I have seen are indeed patient and directed when it comes to playing pinball, most of the time. However, they will make the odd slap and slam against the machine when they need to direct the ball into the correct lane.

This may seem brutal, but it is cooly calculated, for an uncontrolled slam will result in a Tilt, and then it's game over, you lose all your balls.

Do the best lovers also use a combination of gentle manipulation and calculated brutality? How should I know? I'm still a virgin.

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