Lessons From A Pinball Wizard

At 98, the father of modern pinball still has some lessons to impart to the video game industry.

It was in 1948 when Steve Kordek revolutionised pinball. Asked to design a new pinball at the last minute for the upcoming pinball trade show, Kordek decided to add flippers to his design. Competitors were using six, he decided to reduce the number to two, and amp up the power.

It was a decision based on minimalism, both in design and costs. Its impact changed the face of pinball permanently. He went on to introduce both drop targets and multiballs to pinballing.

Kordek, an outsider to the industry when he walked into his first job to literally seek shelter from the rain, says that the secret to designing a good game is to attract the player. Not the other way round.

In other words anticipate, instead of create, your audience.

It's a surprisingly simple notion that Nintendo has been tapping into recently with the advent of the Wii and it's TV-remote like controller as well as games like Wii Fit and perhaps the recently announced Vitality Sensor.

Chicago's 98-year-old pinball wizard has the magic touch for game design [Chicago Tribune, thanks Kevin]


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