Story dated August 9, 2003

Look, we all love pinball, right?

And we've all got our favourite old games too, yes?

But just how far should we go to show our appreciation of those games?

Once again, the land of the rising sun shows us the way forward with religious ceremonies to celebrate their old games, the manufacturers and parts suppliers.

The games in this case are Pachinko, not pinball, but they are frequently confused in the mainstream media. Pachinko is big in Japan, very big, and as we've seen before it's led to the downfall of one prominent politician who overindulged.

Now, as reported by Reuters "a Buddhist temple in Tokyo held a special ceremony on Friday (August 8) to honour those 'pachinko' pinball machines which have come to the end of their working lives."

"Buddhist priests in silk robes and pinball industry officials dressed in dark suits gathered at a temple in Tokyo to offer prayers to old 'pachinko', or pinball, machines."

"In Friday's solemn ceremony, Buddhist monks chanted sutras in front of a candle-lit, brocade-draped altar adorned with a golden replica of a pachinko machine. Executives from firms that make pachinko machines and parts for them offered incense before bowing their heads and praying to honour those machines that have come to the end of their working lives over the past year."

So could the idea take off over here? Probably not until the pinball market grows somewhat larger than it is at present. Pinball has quite some way to go to match the earnings generated by Pachinko games in Japan. Last year alone, according to the report, they brought in an estimated US$240 billion which sounds utterly incredible, but that's what it says.

The ceremony, which usually takes place to honour the dead, was held against the background of rising machine sales, despite an general economic downturn.

"Heiwa Corp, a leading pachinko manufacturer, had sales of 45.04 billion yen ($378
million U.S. dollars) in the six months ending on June 30, a rise of 13.8 percent over the same period last year despite economic woes that have hit other leisure industries hard."


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