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post #1 of 17 Old 05-19-2008, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I know nothing about these other than they are fun as hell. I want to buy a Chicago Bears machine but have no clue as to how much they cost, what is a good brand, if they have "specs" etc. Can somebody please point me in the right direction??

Thank you.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-19-2008, 05:10 PM
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Welcome to the addiction of Pinball!

OK well here are some links to get you going. Pinball is totally cool! I wish I had more of them. They do take some maintenance and upkeep.

On google groups go to rec.games.pinball
That is probably the best message board/forum. There are some stinkers on that board, but there are also a lot of really cool helpful people.

Next a great resource is www.ipdb.org
The Internet pinball database. The machine you are looking for is the Stern NFL which you could then buy a Bears backglass translite. They have a pic of it on there.

Now for purchasing one. For your 1st, I might recommend a local dealer that can get it setup for your and show you the ropes etc. If you are a total DIY kinda guy, check out http://marvin3m.com/top/
There are some really great DVDs that show restoration etc. There is a link at the bottom for Clay's info. and repair guides.

OK if you don't go for the local dealer or the dealer doesn't have what you want, the 5 top ways I find something are:
1) www.mrpinball.com they have a great classifieds section
2) ebay
3) craigslist
4) put a WTB post on rec.games.pinball
5) Go to a know good out of state dealer e.g. www.actionpinball.com

A dealer will cost more especially if he has shopped out (cleaned, repaired, new rubber, bulbs etc.) the machine or done restoration. There are operators that you can go to, but I don't recommend that if you are just getting into it.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-19-2008, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Cameron!!!! Going to check those sites out now!!!
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-19-2008, 05:19 PM
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No problem. Have fun! I started with one. Now I have 7.

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-19-2008, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I found the machine from your first link, it looks awesome!!! However I could not find it at the other links, and I cannot find a price. I will keep looking though, man, some of these look soooo fun!!
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 04:35 AM
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The Stern NFL is not too common. I did a search on Mr. Pinball to no avail.
I don't think there are many of these out there. I see a guy was selling one on rec.games.pinball back in Jan 2007 for $4500.00 for a collector quality one.

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 04:39 AM
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Are you open to other machines other than that NFL one? I think you are going to have a long hard road finding one of those.

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 06:41 AM
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Hey Shane-- where are you located? Are you in the Chicagoland area (I'm assuming you are as you're looking for a Bears machine)? If so, there are a number of retail pinball stores around the suburbs, and a twice-yearly huge gameroom show at Pheasant Run that has a whole mess of pinballs. Here's a link to details of the show.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-20-2008, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreySkies View Post

Hey Shane-- where are you located? Are you in the Chicagoland area (I'm assuming you are as you're looking for a Bears machine)? If so, there are a number of retail pinball stores around the suburbs, and a twice-yearly huge gameroom show at Pheasant Run that has a whole mess of pinballs. Here's a link to details of the show.

I am actually from/in North Dakota, I have been a huge Bears fan for over 30 years, I just built my wife and my dream home, the upstairs is finished per "The wifes way" and now I have the whole basement to be my dedicated Bears room, I want it to look nice/classy with a nice bar, pool table with "C" logo, and I have a ton of memorabilia but will only display the "Nice" stuff, lol. The pinball machine would be the icing on the cake.

Cameron- Actually, I will just be patient and keep an eye open for the NFL machine, it is not in the budget today, I was more just trying to see what it looked like and price it out so I could plan for buying one in the next year or so.

Thank you both for the info!!

Shane
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-21-2008, 01:41 PM
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Cool. No problem!

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #11 of 17 Old 05-23-2008, 12:29 PM
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You might ask some of the folks at CBFANSFORUMS just google it for url. They are a diverse and knowledgable bunch, plus you can get a good bunch of bear talk form their boards while you waste away out in the hinter lands.
ALSO if you just can't pull off the Bears game. The Adams Family is a great and fun machine..IMHO

Good luck.
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-24-2008, 08:28 AM
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Thanks for the link. I live about 3 hours west of Chitown and will seriously try to hit the show in the fall...
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-24-2008, 02:18 PM
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Yeah the adams family is a much better machine than the Stern NFL ones IMHO. I like Twilight Zone even better (designed by the same guy Pat Lawler)

There are so many good pins out there. I am always wishing for more.

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-02-2008, 01:03 PM
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I have 15 pins right now, and want more. I just do not have the space anymore for any more machines.

I have usually found that the non-licensed ones are better because they focus on the gameplay instead of trying to make a machine that meets a requirement to be like the franchise. Although STTNG and Rocky and Bullwinkle are two of my favorites.

Check out my link in the signature.

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post #15 of 17 Old 06-02-2008, 01:56 PM
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If you live anywhere near York, PA, then you are at an advantage when it comes to picking up a pin. York PA is where almost all of the arcade games in the country are shopped and sold. I bought my Doctor Who machine there over ten years ago, fortunately before it appears that buying used machines became so popular because it has doubled in price since I got it. Anyway, you can search the web for dealers there and probably find the best deal, as there are several dealers of shopped machines in the town. I got mine from M&P amusements (www.mpamusements.com) for half of what I could find it local at the time. You can check them out and I know there are many other dealers in the town. Incidentally, they show the NFL machine as being one of the rarest and hardest to find machines and it looks like it's the most expensive used machine they sell. May want to check out some others unless you're hooked on it and nothing else will do regardless of cost. Good Luck, and BTW, having a pin at home is fantastic! IMO...
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-21-2008, 07:02 AM
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Pin games can be a great and fun home accessory BUT they are complex and difficult for the average person to repair.

My wife and I bought our first game in 1975 and over the years have bought and sold probably 150 games and have watched the evolution from EM (electro-mechanical - means no processor or computer brain and all functions are by wired logic) through the SS (solid-state meaing first games with stored probram control and computer/processor logic) to the digital games of today.

Where to buy? Finding good games at a reasonable price ain't too hard but it requires some creative research and "reasonable" for a mid to late '90s pingame is $1000 to $2000 and if a very popular and "collectible" condition a lot more $$$$$.

Retail Home Arcade Stores - these fancy places are my last choice and, in fact, we would never buy a game at one of these venues. The Why is price.

Route Operator - these are business types that buy and place games in commercial locations (bars, arcades, etc.) known as a route. We have bought most of our games from these route Operators. The Why is game condition and price. Operators keep track of a game's commercial value and when the location popularity wanes (fewer and fewer $$$$ earned) they will often sell the games to make room for more and if you invest the time to get to know area operators you can often get a good price compared to the Fancy Retail Store. Plus Operators usually know how to fix and maintain arcade games so if you are a careful shopper you can usually get a game "shopped" by the operator for a reasonable price.

Group or Club - these are groups of home game buyers/users who get together online to share information and physically get together now and then to buy or sell or trade games. In a good group you can depend on games in good shape at a wholesale price or an even trade.

Examples of price points - A Fancy Retail Store in our area recently sold a Twilight Zone pin game for $6000. I recently bought ours from an area Operator for $1900 - difference is I had to "shop" it. This means I had to clean the playfield and replace rubber rings and bulbs BUT what a difference in price - Oh Yeah, I had to fix the playfield clock by replacing transistors.

Examples of Problems - A friend bought a SS Bally game for his home. He is a PC smart guy (builds 'em) but goes totally dumb re this game. I have visited at least six times to fix simple things (to me) but rocket science to him. That's the problem with home pin - If/When something goes wrong can you find someone to fix it? Maybe - What will it cost? Depends - A local Operator is quite reasonable which is $40 for the housecall plus $40 per hour plus Parts.

Typical repair can be $100 for the first hour and $60/hr as the clock ticks.

For EM games a handy person with a schematic can fix most ANYTHING.

For SS or Digital you still need a schematic and a GOOD multi-meter and the skill to be able to work with circuit boards and replace things like transistors and diodes and resistors and coils and switches. One area Operator simply refuses to sell pin games for home use cause the buyers drive him NUTS.

PLEASE don't misunderstand. Pingames are fantastic fun for people of all ages and in my early 60s we still have 'em and play 'em. Two arcade games from the 50s, two EMs, five SS and most recent three - Twilight Zone, No Good Gofers and Judge Dredd - all work great and are great fun but recently in a SS called Eight Ball Deluxe a coil hard shorted that caused a circuit board transistor to "fry" along with its' diode. I replaced the coil in 15 min and the transistor and diode in about 45 min but it would have cost me a couple of hundred $$$ if I couldn' do it myself and there is nothing sadder than a non-working very big 300 lb. pinball machine in someone's house.
goodluck
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-21-2008, 06:10 PM
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Yeah I agree. Pinballs are a lot more upkeep than say an arcade game. It is totally worth it though. I think the Home Retail guys are nice to have around because they can provide a pin to somebody who doesn't want to mess with it at all. You pay your price, but if it is a good shop, you will have a good machine with good support. Just for a price.

Our local guy is one of the best in the country for doing restorations. Ray Johnson from Action Pinball. I bought a premier Twilight Zone from him, because it was perfect in every way. Completely restored etc. With the 2K price range TZs that our route operators have around here, you could never get them back to this condition. Getting that machine did cost a ton though. No regrets however.

If you want a brand new machine, you will have to go through a dealer too. I had to do this to get Lord of The Rings. (which I love!!!!!)

I can shop my own pins though and fix a lot of stuff. It is nice to have Ray around though when I get in over my head. Which is exactly what is happening with my Hyperball machine. Who knows though. It might be over his head too.

-- Well I have really blown my budget now. --
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