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Gallery: Pinball wizard from Burnley hosts competition in his home

Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Robinson with two of his machines Mark Robinson with two of his machines

A PINBALL enthusiast hosted the latest instalment of the UK League – in his East Lancashire home.

Around 50 competitors from as far away as Scotland turned up at Mark Robinson’s home, on the Kibble Bank estate, in Burnley, for the contest, where they were treated to exclusive use of two of the rarest machines in the country.

Mark, who has an enormous games room to house his 11 pinball machines, said everybody had been really looking forward to playing on the Wizard of Oz and The Avengers tables.

He said: “This was definitely the first time, at least in the UK, maybe in the world, that both of these machines have been used.

“We were really lucky and it was very exciting.

“A lot of the people who came had not seen these machines before.

“I have been into pinball for a long time.

“It is a really good game. A lot of people have been playing it on the Xbox and are wanting to go onto real machines.”

As so many people attended, the winner of the day is not yet known.

Mark, a 50-year-old father-of-two and self-employed electrician, got his first pinball machine nine years ago, and joined the UK Pinball League five years ago.

He said machines ranged from around £350 for older models, to £5,000 for new ones.

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He said: “Over the years, I have spent a lot of money.

“But when I started buying them it was not as popular.”

Mark said younger people were now becoming more interested in taking part in the league.

He said: “It is getting more popular now.

“We had people in their 20s take part.

“Even my three-year-old granddaughter is always asking to play pinball.

“I am not really a good player, to be honest, I just enjoy the social side.

“It is all just about having a good time.”

The UK Pinball League was set up in 2006 and was the first pinball league in the country.

It is split into four regional sections – South West, Midlands, London and South East, and Northern.

Members of each division take it in turns to host competitions in their house.

A symbol of rebellion

  • Pinball was developed from the game of bagatelle, which was popular in France in the 18th Century
  • The game was banned from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s in most of America's big cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago because it was seen as gambling
  • Because it was illegal for so long, it became a symbol of youth and rebellion in Hollywood movies.
  • It is understood the best-selling pinball machine of all time is "The Addams Family," which came out in 1991.
  • Playboy director Hugh Hefner, below, is reported to be a massive fan.
  • Rock band The Who released a song called Pinball Wizard in 1969. It reached number four in the charts and spawned a rock opera musical with Elton John about the “deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball.”

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