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A term referring to the subtle or not so subtle bumps and nudges a player uses on a pinball machine. Initially, body english was the only way to manipulate the ball on early protean pinball machines as the flipper was a later invention. Early pinball games basically involved little more skill that pulling back a plunger, launching a ball, and passively watching what hole it went into. That quickly lost its appeal .

Players quickly discovered they could manipulate the ball by bumping the machine. Unfortunately, people weren't content with merely giving the machine a quick bump with their pelvic bone. They'd give the machines really hard shoves. Although body english became the accepted way of playing pinball, machine owners began to become concerned with not only the potential for damage but their neatly placed machines were soon migrating all over the shop floor because of so much physical manipulation.

To reign in excess body english, Harry Williams, founder of the Williams game company, eventually invented the tilt mechanism.

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