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Pinball Machine Purchase

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Currently building a new house with game room basement. I love pinball machines and willing to buy about 3 of them. Do anybody on this forum currently own pinball machines? How hard are they to set up and maintain? I live in Wyoming, we have no service or dealers that sell pinball machines. I would really like to buy the limited edition Hobbit machine that's due out next year, along with Advengers and Transformers. TIA!
post #2 of 13
I own 3 Gottlieb machines from 1986/1987. They are processor controlled with with several boards (sound/control/driver/lamp) and plenty of transistors (mostly for the lights). I'm sure the newer machines are pretty trouble free but if you buy any older ones like I have I advise you to learn how to fix them because they will need repair. I rarely play mine anymore and have found the longer they are turned off the more problems they have. When working they are great fun. Good luck with whatever you decide to get.
post #3 of 13
I have a vintage Pinbot (1986), and while I don't play it much, visitors - especially kids, love it. I'd like to have another one, and if I do get one, it would probably be a new/recent machine. Unless I can get a good deal on a Black Knight 2000... biggrin.gif

The appeal is the novelty vs. video games - I think most folks would play a pinball machine regardless of the "game" itself, whereas a classic video game will evoke a "meh" from folks that don't / didn't like that game. Any pinball machine is fun for at least a few games!

But yeah, these antiques are just that - if you don't have any nostalgic reasons for buying an old machine, I would highly recommend getting a new one - or at least, a <10 yr old used one. While basic parts are readily available - the big stuff can be a challenge to find. I've been lucky with no major failures, and I just rebuilt the flippers myself (which wasn't as hard as I expected it to be). I also have a local pinball dealer if I really ran into trouble.

The new machines are very much expected to go into private use, not businesses, and if you buy a used one, getting one that hasn't been through the rough handling of a commercial machine would be highly preferable.

Play any machine before you buy it. New one you must play first to know whether or not you actually like the game or not (there are certainly "bad" games), although reading some reviews on pinball forums may get you enough info to decide. But a used machine must be exercised to make sure it's in good working order. Don't buy used machines on eBay / sight-unseen / etc.as an "amateur" pinball customer - it's very easy to make a machine look pretty for photos - and still be a POS...

Note that Stern is the only pinball maker left - so "limited edition" games are really just "how many we expect to sell". biggrin.gif If you haven't seen the Discovery channel stuff on the Stern factory - take a look, it's very cool to watch. And you'll be surprised at how much there is under that playfield!

post #4 of 13
I got my first pinball (a 1978 Williams Flash) out of my uncles barn for $50 and a table saw. It had the typical acid damage from the batteries on one of the boards, that blew a bunch of stuff on other boards. I sent the three boards to a guy in Chicago in 1997 and he fixed them all for $170.

Other than that one major repair, I have only done little stuff to it, replacing the rubbers (twice now) and smoothing the connections for better contacts. Soldering wires every so often, or replacing a blown fuse/light bulb every few years.

The kids have loved it, (and me too) at parties it is always used. I would imagine the newer ones are much less trouble if you are buying new, and if the game is good, they seem to hold their value if not increase (man I wish I could have afforded a medieval maddness when they came out... today they are worth 3X what they were new).

So yeah, a game like Hobbit would likely be a good investment long term. But, a game like avengers, or transformers, is less likely to be a long term "hit" unless they have really good gameplay. As the Hobbit has a much larger following than the other two...

To collectors though, they often are looking for games that play really well.

Go try a bunch out and see what you like. I prefer lots of different skill shots myself, but some people just like easy gameplay, and every pinball is HUGELY different.

Some of the best in my opinion (besides medieval maddness which is usually #1 on anyones list) is addams family, funhouse, cyclone, the original simpsons, black knight, pinbot, and a few others I can't think off.

Buying new is a good idea if you have the money... Used is good too, if you know how to troubleshoot and fix stuff, the older machines are pretty easy to work on, anything past 1980 is harder, as they are more software driven.
post #5 of 13
I have four of them. I have the new Stern Tron, Williams Terminator 2, Bally's Creature from the Black Lagoon and Stern's Spiderman. I am looking forward to buying the new Stern StarTrek when it gets released as it suppose to have an LCD monitor in the backboard.

I also would love to get my hands on a Eight Ball Deluxe.
post #6 of 13
Hah Jautor! I used to Love the original Pinbot, played it all the time since it was in the student center in college.
post #7 of 13
I have a jurassic park and Williams indiana jones, we love them and have only had minor things happen with them ( mostly $3 switches)
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Its hard to find the Wizard of Oz...I have been trying but all of the preorders are sold out, only 1000 made.
post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by damelon View Post

Hah Jautor! I used to Love the original Pinbot, played it all the time since it was in the student center in college.

Same here! It was either in the Student Union arcade or the one nearby in campustown...
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by xo4all View Post

Its hard to find the Wizard of Oz...I have been trying but all of the preorders are sold out, only 1000 made.


Looks like they are taking orders for more:





I own over a dozen machines and have had many more.  You can't go wrong with one or two really good machines.

post #11 of 13
I am a Jersey Jack Pinball distributor located in Wisconsin and can help you with your purchase of either Wizard of Oz or The Hobbit Limited Edition (or both).

i can also get you the newer Stern titles if you would like. (AC/DC, Metallica, Transformers, Avengers, X-men, etc)

give me a call or send me an email to discuss

incentives for people who have served (or are currently serving) in the US Armed Forces

King Pin Games
post #12 of 13
Check out pinside.com. It is the AVS of pinball
post #13 of 13
Pins are awesome, just be careful as they breed. I've got 60 odd and counting wink.gif

Pinside is nothing like AVS, it is largely (until recently) unmoderated and there are a lot of trolls there. There is a bunch of useful info though if you can ignore the trolls.

Edit - just realised that was my first post - only 7 years as a lurker biggrin.gif
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