In 1960 Alvin Gottlieb, who was now working at the plant, had an idea for a new type of flipper game which did not give replays at all, but still provided a "challenge" to the player and an opportunity to "earn" something for his skill at the game. His idea was to give "free balls", rather than "free games", for the player attaining certain scores on the machine. After all, it would be almost impossible for a player to "sell" an extra ball to another player.

Alvin's idea, after the design was perfected by Gottlieb's ace designer Wayne Neyens, became the first of the so-called "Add-A-Ball" games. The company decided to call this game FLIPPER to strengthen in people's minds its identity as a "flipper skill game" and further indicate that it had no connection with the notorious "bingo" machines which had no flippers.

This game, and the many "Add-A-Balls" which followed over the years, had a ball counter which could indicate up to ten balls. At the start of a game five balls were indicated, one being subtracted as each ball was played. When the counter reached zero the game was over. If, however, the player reached one of the pre-set high scores or specials, the counter was incremented by one giving the player an additional ball to play. These new games won acceptance in many states and localities where "replays" had been outlawed, and states such as New York became known as "Add-A-Ball territories". Often a game would be designed and issued with one version as a “free play” type, and another version as an “Add-A-Ball”. For example, SING-ALONG is the free play version and MELODY is the “Add-A-Ball version.