The device in a pinball machine used to launch the ball into play. It usually consists of a metal rod, in the lower right hand corner of the playfield, that extends out from the front of the machine, where it has a handle to make it easy to grab.

When a ball is placed in the plunger lane in front of the plunger, the player just has to pull it back as far as desired, and release it. There's a metal spring inside which causes the plunger to snap back and hit the ball, launching it into the playfield.

The plunger is probably the one feature that has been on all pinball games since the beginning. As early pinball games were played simply by launching the ball and watching it fall among the pins into scoring holes, the plunger was the only method for the player to interact. The fact that the strength of the hit can be varied allows for skilled players to aim the ball. In fact, starting in the 1980's, pinball games started including the skill shot, giving extra bonuses to a player adept with the plunger.

Some newer machines use an autoplunger.

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