You can often bump a machine to shift the playing field under a ball. Lots of players will bump from the bottom of the machine to force a ball back out on to the field that has passed the bottom bumpers. It takes real skill to tilt a machine correctly, but once you learn how, it's quite awesome.
Well, you use to be able to do "death saves" and "bang backs", but you haven't been able to do them on machines for quite some time now - they designed it out of newer games (newer being relative - you have to go many years back). I mean the real machines, of course. More importantly, that was, in effect, a cheat, which is why they designed it out of the games.
The real part of the game comes in the form of bumping the machine to affect the ball while it's in play (not out of play), and doing so without tilting. That's always been a part of the game. It's not a cheat - you can't just shove the machine and expect good results - too much and you're going to tilt. Pinball machines have a little pendulum inside them - a "tilt bob". It's a pendulum with a metal ring around it. If the tilt bob hits the metal ring it makes contact and you get a warning. Typically games are set up to allow two warnings, and then the third time it hits the ring you tilt. On older machines (early solid state and earlier), there were no warnings. If you were just to shove the machine the tilt bob would swing back and forth like crazy and hit it three or more times in one fell swoop and you'd tilt immediately.
There's a lot of skill to it. There's general bumping to coerce the ball somewhere (or away from somewhere), but then there's things like slap saves, which I'm pretty pretty good at. In essence you slap one side of the machine while flipping (slap the button), which for an instant jars the ball toward that flipper, then nearly immediately do the same thing on the other side. "BAP-BAP". If you do it just right you'll knock the ball over to the other flipper and then be able to flip it back up onto the playfield with that flipper. You do this when the ball is headed down the middle, but closer to one flipper then the other.
Alas, slap saves I don't think any video game has ever simulated. Not to mention the bumping in general. Pressing a button to bump the machine is not even remotely the same thing.
EDIT: while death saves and bang backs where designed out of the games, there was one Sega pinball machine that actually gave you a bonus for performing a death save. I can't remember which one it was now. It did this by noting that the ball had hit the rollover switch in an outlane, which would normally mean the ball drains. If you did a death save or bang back the ball would end up back on the playfield and if it hit another switch (likely), it then figured you'd done a death save and gave you a bonus.
EDIT2: Oops, not Sega, Data East. But really they were the same company. In fact the lone remaining pinball manufacturer, Stern, is really Sega, which was Data East. Sega bought Data East, then Gary Stern bought Sega Pinball. Anyway, the game was Data East's The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends (1993).