Pachinko/Pachislo questions

So I recently bought two new pinball machines and love them to death, but my 4-year old is a bit rough on them and although he will learn, I wanted to find something else that he would not only enjoy, but also look nice in our game room-to be.

The first thing that popped into my head was pachinko. I have never played them and know that they are gambling games in Japan, but would they be appropriate for a 4-year old? I am namely looking at the more modern ones like Star Wars and whatnot that have the video screen in the middle. Also, can they stand up to more ‘abuse’ because of the nature of the game, namely flicking a lever over and over to shoot the balls?

Now although that was more IMHO, my factual question is simply what is Pachislo? They look like standard slot machines, so why not call them slots? They do not appear to have anything resembling the ball bearings that are to be shot so I am confused as to what differentiates them.


Might he swallow the little metal balls? :confused:

Googed for the two names and the machines displayed look too busy or visually confusing for a 4 year old. Seems to me something simpler like a small manual pin ball device would be better suited and more durable than super-duper pb machines with lots of bells and whistles. OTOH those features may be the attraction.

A good question but at his age that shouldn’t be a problem. We adopted him at 2 1/2 and even though we keep the house child proof (or at least we did), we have not had a problem with him putting things in his mouth that he shouldn’t. We still keep medicines and poisons locked away safely, but he does not at all put any of his toys in his mouth.

I’d say that a pachinko game is an excellent toy for a 4 year old. I believe 3 years old is the standard minimum age for put-in-mouthable small objects–Consumer Product Safety Commission (pdf).

The more immediate concern would be fixing or anchoring the box… they can be of heavy construction and/or have glass casing. Even if it has a base or feet, you’d want to be careful that when the child stands up he doesn’t use the top of the box for pulling or leverage.

I have an older machine, and pachinko ball-return technology might have changed in the last 30 years, but with mine the hopper needs to be refed manually which requires accessing the rear of the machine. Also, if too many balls are “wins” after the hopper is depleted, it requires getting into the guts of the machine, which of course requires adult involvement. When he’s a bit older the mechanical aspect will be as entertaining as the play itself.

Pachislo, or Skill Slots, have three additional buttons. Where typical US slots starts with a lever pull (or pressing the “spin reels” button instead), the Pachislo machines do not automatically stop the reels after a while. Instead, you press a button to individually stop each of the reels. While this introduces additional interactivity and gives the illusion of control over the results, the payouts are still algorithmically fixed. The machine has enough fine control to affect the outcome by stopping a reel slightly slower or faster. This apparently doesn’t stop suckers from believing it is a skill or reflex game.