Part of rediscovering pinball often includes experiencing the epiphany that pinball is a deep game involving a lot of skill. This was certainly my own situation; the limited amount of pinball I played back in the day was mostly just me trying to keep the ball from draining in the hopes that cool light shows and multiballs would materialize at some point.
OK, I'm still doing that a little bit; I make much better shots now, and I'm much more aware of modes, but I'm still a newbie when it comes to the strategies of stacking modes and timing multiball for optimal jackpots and so forth. My scores reflect this, but I want to get better.
Pinball 101 is a good step in that direction. It's an instructional video that goes over different moves. It does a great job explaining and illustrating how to do various passes. These moves are essential for controlling the ball, and they have the added bonus of looking pretty badass when executed in front of any pinball newb friends you might have hanging around.
The most common criticism of this film is the weird music video breaks in between instruction sets. They have a tiny remote control car with a camera attached that they drive around various playfields. I'ts actually kind of a neat idea, but it does feel like filler; I'm here to learn about pinball skills, dag nabbit!
The hardest part about applying these shots to your game is taking the time to practice them. Even with home games on free play, it's very hard, for me at least, to not just go back to playing and actually practice. Even when the reward is great. And it is. I taught myself the post pass move on Frankenstein without realizing that was what it was called, and it was extremely satisfying to make that shot. The frustrating (or maybe just infinitely interesting) thing about pinball is, just because I can do a good post pass on one game, doesn't mean I can on a different game.
Overall, Pinball 101 is a valuable instructional video for a new player looking to improve and you just have to ignore the interspersed hokiness. You can buy Pinball 101 on their website, and it is also available on iTunes. These guys have a second DVD, The Pinball Collector, which seems like it focuses on older machines (part 1 will focus on pre-1960 machines, with a part 2 planned for machines created after that). What perked my ears a bit more, though, was seeing that they are working on a Pinball 102 film. I'll keep you posted on that one, but I better get to work graduating from Pinball 101 first.
Watch the Pinball 101 trailer on YouTube