I actually did get into the hobby by buying a TZ, LOL. I had a buddy getting a divorce who called me out of the blue looking to sell belongings to raise cash. I told him I didn't think he had anything I wanted, and he said "What about my pinball machine, it doesn't work right now but it's in nice shape". I was like, that's a TZ right? I then thought about it for a day, figured it would be cool, and bought it for $1,500 bucks (seems like a good deal, but I had no idea what was wrong with it and no experience with pins). That was back in the summer of 2008, and it's all been downhill since (in a good way).
The only thing wrong with it was a fuse. Yeah, that's cliche, but it was true in this case. After fixing a blown fuse, I replaced the original clock board with a new one that had LEDs, got a reinforced target for the left of the slot scoop, removed the slot scoop to fix a broken weld, rebuilt the flippers, and I eventually removed the ball lock assembly because I got sick of bounce outs. I reformed the upper roof of the lock assembly and had it rewelded, and no more bounce outs. This was all within a year of purchasing the TZ. By then I was hooked on pinball, and the TZ has been pretty much bulletproof since all the above work was done.
The only bad thing about starting with a TZ, is that if you end up thinking that TZ is the best pin ever made, it's hard to top it with any other future aquisitions. It is nice to compliment it with a fast and furious pin like Black Rose did with a BSD, or a HS2.