The Alluring Men of Pinball

I love playing pinball almost as much as sex. The touching, nudging, and the necessary roughness to keep the balls in play. My hands might be in control, but my mind is on the outlanes, pinball’s equivalent to the gutter. 

Pinball art has always reflected the pinups of the age, from the modest beauty queens on the flipperless games of the forties to the iPad embedded in the playfield of a remodel of Playboy that is rumored to bare it all. I’ve had my crushes on — and fantasies of being  many of the lady characters in the game, but here are some of my favorite men featured on the machines. 

First there was the James Dean-esque driver in the red convertible on Earthshaker. I always imagined him as a certain 80s boy-band singer. Not only is this nameless pompadour my first pinball crush, Earthshaker was the first pinball game to feature a vibrating shaker motor that activates with the right combination of shots. 

As my taste in men matured a bit, I fell for Tony, the tall, dark, and handsome heartthrob detective in WHOdunnit. He’s a suspect as well, dangerous and dashing, gazing at you intently as you try to concentrate on the game and listen for the next clue to guess the guilty party. 

When it comes to the men on Dr. Dude and His Excellent Ray, I’m definitely in favor of the “before” look of the geek rather than the mullet headed grinning cool dude he becomes. 

In the 90s, Williams cornered the market on strong leading men with games featuring air brushed portraits of Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, and Keanu Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic

And which pinball crush takes up most of my attention? Definitely the reproduction of the 1980 Rolling Stones game that hangs in my bathroom. Whoever airbrushed those pants onto Mick Jagger definitely had people like me in mind. 

Courtney Klossner is a writer and pinball fanatic from California. She tweets at

Photo Credit: Aaron Parecki via Creative Commons


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