Pinball is a game where the player controls the paddles of a virtual pinball machine. The game has two screens to represent the traditional pinball table and one for a bonus mode. Play begins when the player launches a ball with the plunger from first screen—the bottom of the pinball table—through the top of the screen to the second screen. Play will move to the first screen if the ball falls through the bottom of the top screen and will return to the top screen if the ball is hit back through the space at the top of the first screen.
The player controls the paddles on either screen to deflect the ball to keep it from falling off the bottom of the lower screen.
In this Breakout-like mode, the player will control Mario carrying a platform. The objective of this mode is to rescue Pauline (previously seen in Donkey Kong). The player achieves this by bouncing the ball off Mario's platform and hitting various targets, the destruction of which also earns them points. When the blocks under her are all gone, she will drop. Catching her on Mario's platform earns the player bonus points, but allowing her to hit the ground causes the player to lose.
Hirokazu Tanaka is credited for creating original music for Pinball.