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A huge thanks to Dennis Kriesel of the Eclectic Gamers Podcast for this interesting article on The Dawn of the Solid-State Era!  Check out the Eclectic Gamers Podcast here, and their Facebook page here!
The Dawn of the Solid-State Era
by Dennis Kriesel

Introduction
The 1970s witnessed a major transition in pinball manufacturing, as the rise of solid-state (SS) technology took hold and forced the arguably biggest transition the hobby ever saw. Electromechanical (EM) games fell by the wayside as SS games hit the marketplace, offering greater capabilities for the playing experience (particularly around multiplayer games and maintaining “game state” from player to player). Boards and chips replaced what took sizable banks of relays and switches, with an end result that more bang for the buck could now fit inside the dimensions of a pinball cabinet.
The Big Three (Bally, Williams, and Gottlieb) each entered this new era of technology with their own approach. How they tackled the changing landscape not only influenced their sales at the time, but also laid the groundwork for what happened to each of them as the technology evolved.
This article will focus on the very first production board sets (commonly referred to by the MPU or system designation) of the major U.S. manufacturers. A simple summary of the features and capabilities will be listed, and each overall setup explored. This is not a repair guide (there are plenty of those online), but rather an attempt to explain just what these systems could do in a way that matters to players of the games.

First Production-Used Solid-State Systems (Big Three)

Bally AS-2518-17
Williams System 3
Gottlieb System 1

Date of first production game
Dec-76
Sep-77
Dec-77

Date of last production game
Jun-78
Aug-78
Dec-80

Microprocessor
Motorola 6800
Based on Motorola 6800
Rockwell PPS4/1

Switches

http://thisweekinpinball.com