In Europe in the middle ages, there wasn’t a great deal to do for entertainment – so amongst the rich and aristocratic (who had plenty of time on their hands), lawn games like Boules, Quoits and Croquet were incredibly popular.
These were all well and good during the summer months – but it’s not nearly so fun to play outside when it’s cold and wet.
Around the 15th century, a few bright sparks had the idea to bring these outdoor games inside – creating miniature versions that could be played on a table, using a cue instead of a mallet. Billiards was born.
It would’ve been a wasted opportunity just to import the rules from these lawn games straight onto the table top – and so people began to experiment. Billiards began it’s own evolutionary journey. And it’s this evolution that eventually leads all the way up to the Modern Pachinko game.
In France, during the reign of Louis XIV, a new form of the game took inspiration from bowling – the tables were thinner, and the aim was to use the cue to shoot the ball from one end, knocking down the pins set up at the other.
It took far too long to reset all the pins after each turn – and the French are an impatient lot – so in the next evolution of the game, the pins were fixed in place, and the objective instead was to get the balls into holes cut into the table’s surface.
This new game was dubbed Bagatelle – and in it, you can already see the beginnings of the game that has the Japanese hooked.