I can't call myself a pinball player, although I played a tiny bit years ago, and have recently become very intrigued by pinball. I'm a college professor--a philosopher of science--and I want to use a pinball machine as an analogy for something that I'm describing in a book I'm writing. As a result, I've got some perhaps odd questions for knowledgeable pinball folks here. I'm hoping someone can help me. (Let me know if you think I should really split this into different posts.)
First, have you ever heard of someone setting up an automatic, self-playing game? The idea would be to add mechanisms to a machine so that it would automatically release balls and decide to release flippers at certain moments, etc. No fun to play--since it's not played by anyone--but might be fun to watch. Maybe some company set this sort of thing up as a demo display at some point?
Second question: There are lots of great, colorful photos of machines on the web. I would be interested in black and white diagrams that display a machine from the outside--e.g. looking down on the playfield. If I could get appropriate permissions, this kind of image would be useful to include in my book. I figure there are some people who read my book who just have no clear idea of what a pinball machine is, and I need to include a picture of one. However it's expensive to include a single color photo in a book, and black and white photos of complex things like pinball machines can be difficult to interpret unless they're printed in an expensive way.
Lastly, is there any particularly, humongously large and complex machine that you know of? Maybe a simultaneous (not alternating) multi-player pinball machine?