I wish Bally/Williams would come back!!!!

Started 3 years ago by SeinfeldKramer in forum PinsideWebsite.


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I wish Bally/Williams would come back!!!!


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  • Started 3 years ago by SeinfeldKramer
  • 33 Pinsiders participating in this thread.
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    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    I just played a Stern pinball machine for the first time today (the new Indiana Jones), and it sucked hard. The flippers are weak the machine looks and feels cheap. There are barely any toys or gadgets on the playfield. I love the Indian Jones from Williams, and now Stern just ruined the Indiana Jones name for pinball. I just can't belieave Wiliams had to quit and leave Stern in command of the pin world. The only machines that I have seen that look any good from Stern are Lord of the Rings and The Simpsons. What I don't get is who would buy these cheaper made machines for $4,000-$5,000 when you can just buy a classic well made machine for alot less. It's just my opinion and thoughts on the subject, so don't get to mad if you don't agree with me. Leave your thoughts on whether you like Stern or not.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    The Stern indy actually has quite a few interesting "toys" on it. I own a lotr and a Family Guy and am pleased with the build quality and gameplay of both. I also think its a bit narrow minded to take a whole company (the only company) down a peg due to one machine you didn't like. depending on where you played it, you mentioned weak flippers, you could have an issue with the condition as well. Spider-Man is another favorite, and it seems as though the other heroes (Iron Man and batman) are on that track as well. so i guess i do like stern but i will agree that some machines they have made have been less than perfect, but even williams/bally any company makes duds. although competition makes companies strive to be better...


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    I see your point, and I will have to give Stern another try.


    donjagra

    Pinball master
    3,002,000 4
    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    If you think about it, Stern has made a lot of pins over the years. Especially if you count all the pins they made as Data East before restructuring under the Stern name.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Yeah at least they came up with there own game idea's Medevil Madaness, Attach From Mars, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Monster Madness, White Water, Fun House, Junk Yard, and many others Bally/Williams machines killed the market. They killed it wth design, fun, and innovation.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    I played a brand new Iron Man last weekend. The game is really FUN, BUT...so cheap. For example: The extra ball light is not centered with the apron....the shooting rod is not centered with the ball...it is really easy to shake the machine...the flippers are not enough strong for the ramps....the DMD animations are shit...ect.

    The game is really fun to play and i will go again but i will never buy it. At this time, i have a LOTR. This is a great game but it really feels cheape than the CV of my friend.

    I'm trying to trade my LOTR for a Williams. I'm happy Stern still there because it keeps the hobby alive!!


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    No offense but this argument has been beaten to death more than pretty much any argument in the history of pinball.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Stern "feels cheap?" That is because they are cheaper. Bally / Williams machines cost tons to produce, which is why the companies abandoned making pinball machines for the easier profits made from slot machines. If Stern started to make these kind of intricate and toy-heavy machines, their failure would be quick as well. Although all the collectors want to see another Twilight Zone, and I am no exception, we need to grasp reality and see that it will never happen with the current popularity levels of pinball, and the general state of the economy. Gary Stern puts out great games that may not be quite the same as a 90's B/W, but I think that he does more than keep the hobby alive, he pumps new life into it by integrating new and (sometimes) exciting licenses with a few memorable toys. Rather than nitpick about the few minute details that make Stern so "bad", how about we enjoy them and give Gary a pat on the back for doing his best.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    When I was at the PHOF, the first thing I did was play some of the older games that I hadn't played in a while. After a few hours, I decided to check out some of the more recent Sterns. Going directly from one to the other, I was immediately taken aback by how much cheaper the Sterns felt. That being said, some of them are still a lot of fun. You just have to get used to the way they play. Do I wish Stern was making more solidly built, intricate machines? Of course, but I understand that it's a business, and they have to do whatever it takes to survive. Whether you like Stern or not, the fact of the matter is that it's good for all of us to have them around. If you think Bally / Williams pins are expensive now, just imagine how the prices will sore if/when Stern closes up shop.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Even B/W started to "simplify" their games for cost savings. Look at AFM, MB and others. Now, AFM and MB are great fun games, but they are completely different than TAF, TZ, IJ, and STTNG buit a few years earlier. There are also earlier examples like Harley Davidson.
    Most of the difference in feel IMO comes from the plywood thickness of the cabinets. B/W used 3/4" ply and Stern uses 5/8".
    I will agree that IM seems less robust than earlier games. My LOTR is built well and I soooo much want a SM.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    The New Indiana Jones is one of the worst games Stern has made. I suggest you give some others a try like Spider Man, LOTR, and some others. Don't base your opinion on the new Indiana Jones because in my opinion that is the worst game they recently have produced. Give some others a try see what you think.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    I think people (like me) who doesn't have a lot of experience repairing pinballs should buy a HUO Stern first. One year ago, i was intimidated to have problem with my first pin so i bought a almost new LOTR. Now that i'm more confident, i'm ready to buy a used Williams and shop it out.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Yeah you know whats funny I picked up a Nascar from craigslist HUO and the playfield was covered with grease and grime. 4 months later I find a Roller Coaster Tycoon same thing with the grease and grime on the playfield. How is that happening I never seen that on pins. You wanna know the best way to tell if it's a Stern look for flipper button cabinet wear those are the only machines to show it because there machines are made so cheap


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Grease and grime = someone not changing balls enough and maintaining well, I have a Stern and never have anything like this because I treat it well, my brother has one too without anything like this. And please don't complain about cabinet wear by the flippers...its such an inexpensive fix to buy those metal covers, and if you don't like the look you can get clear stealth ones for a little more. Little complaints like this really make me wonder if Stern is really bad or if people just love to hate them.


    donjagra

    Pinball master
    3,002,000 4
    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Too bad people don't buy the covers before they wear the cabinet art away.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    "who would buy these cheaper made machines for $4,000-$5,000 when you can just buy a classic well made machine for alot less"

    Ha.. not from what I see on ebay, craigs, mr pinball.
    It's hard to find a williams Indy for under 5k that is in nice condition.
    or Addams Family, TZ, AFM, etc etc..

    it's obvious what machines are the favorites. either way, God Bless Stern for still making these fantastic games. love 'em, or hate 'em.


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    I only paid $1,700 for my Twilight Zone, not 5k (phrmtek).


    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    wow kramer, that's a sweet deal.
    I would love to find an Addams Family or Indy for that much, even in horrible condition.
    looks like all the nice deals and machines are out West.


    lb45

    Pinball addict
    1,083,650 4
    3 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Phrmtek ,
    I don't know where SeinfeldKramer lives , but i see the difference about prices between US and Europe for example and I agree with him.

    I'm not surprised by 1700 USD for a TZ.
    I don't have much time to make a business, catching all the machines on the net , ou by me.

    But I have plenty regrets for a T2 at 150 euros , a TZ < 1000 euros , and a Lethal Weapon for free , that I missed.

    So it does exist.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I played a Williams IJ and was blown away by how great the widebody playfield played and looked. Had simple yet creative design features. The tilting snake pit was cool. You could bump the ball from right out lane to inner. Cost of that was nothing. I said why cant they make them like this again. Please. Stern look at past and design them better.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    jonnyo said:

    No offense but this argument has been beaten to death more than pretty much any argument in the history of pinball.

    I agree. Just because Stern made Nascar and IJ4 doesn't mean Stern is a terrible company. Look at some of the pins that came out from WMS/Bally, some of them aren't that great at all.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    the problem that stern is making lightweight pins should already be solved with jersey jack coming on the scene with the fully loaded pins. look at tron and Transformers.two ramps,more toys etc. and fwiw i like stern indy and Nascar.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    There are lots of good Sterns, IJ is not one of them..


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    frankay39 said:

    Gary Stern puts out great games that may not be quite the same as a 90's B/W, but I think that he does more than keep the hobby alive, he pumps new life into it by integrating new and (sometimes) exciting licenses with a few memorable toys. Rather than nitpick about the few minute details that make Stern so "bad", how about we enjoy them and give Gary a pat on the back for doing his best.

    'Nuff said. Stern has made some great f-ing games, they deserve our respect for carrying a torch during pinball's dark ages


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Well, you know how the saying goes....

    You can wish in one hand, and #%*t in the other. Pretty sure we all know which one will be filled first.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Well, I applaud Stern for continuing to make commercial pins and some of them being pretty decent. But there is no doubt my Twilight Zone and even my Sorcerer(1985) feel much more solid than any of their efforts. When I bought my one and only NIB pin The Simpsons Pinball Party, I was appalled at the cheapness of the wood used. When I first lifted the playfield it nearly buckled under its own weight and I could see a crease forming what would have been a split in half if I didn't support the underside with one hand from then on out. When I try nudging a Bally/Williams pin I find it a challenge. When I nudge a new Stern I worry I might get arrested for the destruction of property.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I like many Stern pins but the build quality is whats keeping me from buying more. Just take a look at the Clearcoat on a IM & compare it to that of a Bally/Williams from over 15 years ago & its amazing how poor it looks.

    There is a IM on location at a local bowling alley & the playfield around the Monger magnet has sunken in all around the edges. I mean does it really cost that much more to apply a few extra coats of clear to a playfield??

    I very much love my SM & there are a few other pretty good Stern title's (LOTR, FG, IM) to name a few but from a pure longevity standpoint I'm sticking to what I know will stand up for the long haul.

    Im glad Stern is still in business & has kept the hobby alive for over a decade since B/W's closed their pinball division but I think we can all agree they can do better. And i'm not talking about making games as toy filled as the past cause i'm sure we all know that may cost too much but how about some better flippers, more clearcoat, a tad better artwork (enough with the photoshop crap).

    These things shouldnt drive up the cost of the games that much & since they are already charging over a grand more then what games used to cost (sometimes 2k more if you consider the costs of these new LE's) these changes should be quite possible.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Compare a new stern cabinet to an old Gottlieb or Bally Williams and it's obvious which machines will be around the longest


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    every business is based on cost vs sales. Same reason why there is no pontiac, hummer, saturn. The market got too flooded with a global sales and imports.

    Stern sales are what, 3-4k units per year? compared to about 12k in the early 90s? There's room for possibly one smaller other niche company (jersey jack), not another big company like williams.

    I would say they could save cost by outsourcing to china, but I doubt it would really make much difference. I've worked with companies that built in china, mexico, and america, and by the time you pay for shipping costs and deal with warranty issues, you dont' really save any money.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I have played all of the top 10 pins. I bought and fully restored a WMS pin (I touched every single piece in that pin) and I have to say WMS gets the nod in quality of material over Stern. But in the end, I prefer playing the newer Sterns over the older (15-20yr) pins. And as others have mentioned, in today's world with material & labor costs so much higher than they were in the 90's, those NIB pins would be selling for $7.5k+ today. Having said that, JJP's pins will be equivalent to WMS quality but there will be a premium to pay for that level of pin. Frankly, I don't see JJP making any money on those pre-order LE pins when all of the start-up costs are factored in. So for those that have pre-ordered, you are really getting a deal for that level of pin. Hopefully JJP will make it up in mass production of the non-LE versions.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    So many think this same thing but they bitch when somebody tries getting NIB prices for a completely refurbed top then WIlliams/Bally Top Ten pin.

    I remember there was a NIB roadshow on ebay for $6K and it sat there for like a month.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    MY SM is built well-2007 model. The legs on my STTNG are thicker and stronger than the legs on my SM making it seem that B/W is sturdier.As for game play,fun and software I think a few Sterns are better than most 90's B/W games in my opinion.They are only going to get better with the competition.

    JJP'S games will most likely be similar to B/W in build quality.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    davewth said:

    So many think this same thing but they bitch when somebody tries getting NIB prices for a completely refurbed top then WIlliams/Bally Top Ten pin.

    I remember there was a NIB roadshow on ebay for $6K and it sat there for like a month.

    JJP is using WMS parts. The NIB non-LE version will supposedly be selling for $6.5k. If WMS/Bally were still in business, they would be in the same price range.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    kmoore88 said:

    I have to say WMS gets the nod in quality of material over Stern. But in the end, I prefer playing the newer Sterns over the older (15-20yr) pins.

    +1 here. I find the game-play on many of them excellent. They have been steadily improving over the years.


    Atomicboy

    Pinball guru
    5,503,400 2
    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    emo said:

    +1 here. I find the game-play on many of them excellent. They have been steadily improving over the years.

    I don't think so, they have been getting worse. The height of Stern was 2003-2004, with the depth in LOTR TSPP and RBION. SM was an exception, but all in all they went down fast. I haven't spent much time with tron to really know if there is any depth in it, but the TF PF just doesn't do it for me.

    There are quite a few WPCs that were not that great, but far more Sterns that failed. These are also different times as well, so it's hard to say. There were some very williams'ish DE machines in the early 90s.

    I think people confuse the feel of Sterns. Many associate different than b/w to be cheap, when it is just that, different.

    Stern staying alive is massively important, and they make some great games. Even in the early days they never had the staff or capital that b/w did, so it's hard to ever compare them to the great b/w. They have continued making machines in the way they have for a long time now.

    We all have benefited from them holding the flame, regardless of the era or type of machine you like.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    just for the record i absolutely prefer WPC (Bally, Williams) over Stern any day.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Stern goes through cycles. From when they were data east / sega to Austin Powers they were mediocre and cheap. Then they had a string of fun (still cheap) but fun machines, Monopoly, TSPP, RBION, LOTR, etc. Then again another pile-o-shite CSI, 24, Family Guy (good theme, bad layout), Shrek (bad theme + same bad layout = fail). Then a miracle, spiderman. Then more shit, Avatar, Iron Man, Big Buck Hunter Pro. And i think they're about to embark on another upswing of good machines like the 2001 to 2004 streak. Starting slowly with Tron and now we wait for Transformers etc. Who knows what could happen?


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    jonnyo said:

    No offense but this argument has been beaten to death more than pretty much any argument in the history of pinball.

    The onlt other arguement close is price


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Williams/Bally may have had more money in their pins...but it was not profitable. Stern is doing what they have to do to stay in business, and Williams would have had to do the same if they were to stay in business this whole time.
    Most of the best designers from Williams are working for Stern now anyway (Richie, Pat Lawlor Design, Gomez).
    Love Stern games...yeah there are a few duds, but all other companies have there share as well.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I was able to play a few stern's this weekend for the first time. SM, POTC, WOF, RBION to name a few and for sure SM, POTC and RBION felt and looked a little different as I was playing AFM, MM CFBL and AF. But I still found POTC and SM pretty good, SM more so. If they were the right price used I would snap them up. But as everyone says, glad they are around to keep up the business as no one else is. I too hope TF is another move in the upswing direction


    Atomicboy

    Pinball guru
    5,503,400 2
    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    Rbion you didn't??? That game is on my high priority list, and basically is all around amazing. i just had a $120M+ game at my friends.... just an awesome game.


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I definitely have a soft spot for the Bally / Williams of the 90's. But the pin2k flippers and cabinets feel different than the standard ones. Does it make those games bad? I personally don't think so but others certainly don't like them. As for Stern, I remember when Monopoly was brand new and it felt lighter to nudge, but the gameplay was (and still is) good to me. LOTR feels good, but the flippers seem a *tad* weaker (multiple games at homes and on location, not just one) than maybe the B/W 90's games. I have a Nascar (for sale, great condition!) that I think the flippers and feel of the cabinet are just great. Same with T3, spiderman and Tron -- to me they feel great. The Stern games I'm not crazy about, it's not because of the cabinet or flippers, it's the same as some of the B/W games, the layout or game play just isn't my cup of tea.

    Maybe, just maybe, part of the perception of the Stern cheapness is due to operators? When there were full arcades with pins the operators would maintain them better? Something I've noticed is operators buy a brand new Stern game, put it on site, and instead of maintaining it, they wait until it's dirty and/or broken and no longer generating revenue and sell it off (hopefully buying the latest Stern to fill its spot). Maybe it's a matter of playing a Stern in good shape?

    Back to the original question: Do I like Stern? Yes. Do B/W 90's games have a higher "like" ratio from me? Yes, but I don't think it's because of cabinet / flipper build quality.



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