Here are some of my favorite pinball resources.
The Pinball Map
The Pinball Map is my go to way to find out where to play pinball in an area. I have linked the website, but they also have iOS and Android apps. Just select your area and you will see where all the pinball is. It has locations, machines, distances, and even operators. You will find everything from individual machines in dive bars to destination pinball venues like Free Gold Watch and the Pacific Pinball Museum.
Pinball podcasts are a great way to find out about what is happening in pinball and who and what the greater pinball community is. Take a look here for the podcasts that I am currently listening to
Dead Flip Tutorials
The Dead Flip Tutorials page has amazing animations of flipper skills, with names and even alternate names. If you don’t understand what someone said and it has to do with flipping, you can probably find it here. It may also give you some ideas (I played pinball 25 years before finding out about post passes and dead bounces)!
Professional and Amateur Pinball Association
The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA) is an amazing resource. The PAPApinball youtube channel has tons of tutorials, recorded PAPAtv live streams, recorded competitions, and basic flipper skills videos. Here you can learn rule sets and see how the pinball gods play in competition. The PAPA website has a Learning Center with rule sheets, flipper skills videos, and a searchable list of their instructional videos. Here is the Basic Flipper Skills video.
If you need a super quick and dirty idea of how to play a machine, got to Pintips.net. Just enter the name of the machine and it will give you short player entered tips on how to play the game.
Pindigo is a cool iOS and Android app to share your pinball scores with other people. You take pictures of your high scores and load them into the app, and it keeps a list of all your high scores by game. You can follow people, and people can follow you. You can see how your scores rank among your friends and also how they rank globally. My Pindigo name is DavidLee.
Internet Pinball Database
The Internet Pinball Database (IPDB) is the encyclopedia for pinball. It has all the nitty gritty details about every machine, when they were made, how many were made, what versions there are, who designed them, who programmed them, who did the art, playfield and back glass pictures, etc. If you want to know about a machine (everything but the ruleset), you can find it here.
Pacific Pinball Museum
If you are in the Bay Area, the Pacific Pinball Museum is an amazing place. You pay an entrance fee, and then can play all day. They have 80+ machines from all eras (wood rails to current moderns), so you get to build the skills needed to play EMs, solid states, and modern games. Since you aren’t paying coin drop, you can practice difficult and risky skills with impunity. I learned how to tap and alley pass on their Harlem Globetrotters, Evel Knieval, and Seawitch.