What I Learned from doing a pinball machine rental

By Heruthius

December 23, 2020


33 days ago

What I Learned from doing a pinball machine rental

I typically own one machine at a time and might trade it out every five years or so. Most of my pinball playing comes from visiting some local establishments around me. I have four to five good places around me to go to. One is a mainstay and kind of the local pinball historian. No food or bar, just get a roll of quarters and play. One is a newer place that attracts the hipsters. It has a good rotation of good games and upgraded LE+ models, and new games right when they come out. Serves craft cocktails and a fancy hot dog that I love. One is a bowling alley with a good selection of games. They have a mix of older games and many people go there to play tournaments. The other handful are some dive bars with a few games. 

With covid all of these places got shut down for a month. Pre-covid I heard of a few places doing monthly pinball rentals, but I didn’t know if I would be able to justify the cost. With no other options I went to “The Book Face” to find a recommendation. Found a reliable guy that does it by himself. Was impressed with his set up of having a lift gate on his truck and an electric dolly to move and set it up all by himself.

So what did I learn

  1. You get a chance to get to know a game real well. Occasionally I read the rule cards, but most of the time playing at other establishments I play 10 different games and might get a good score on one of them. A month with one game you stop just shooting at flashing lights and kind of can plan out your game more. 

  2. You get to hear the game. Or maybe this should be 1b) but being able to hear the game without 10 other machines near it, makes you appreciate music and dialogue more.

  3. It's like leasing a car. There is kind of a convenience of not having to do long term maintenance. You get a newer model more often, and don’t have to deal with selling it. Some renters will reduce the rates if you do more than a month, since moving the machine is the biggest time suck.

  4. In home high score competition. When everyone knows it won't be there forever, it may be more motivating to end up with the high score. You can think of it as a month long tournament.

  5. You will look forward to playing that game in the wild. Now that you have the game down, you will want to visit that old friend from time to time at your local establishment.

  6. It will probably cost you more money. Not on that rental but it may lead to you doing more rentals, renting two at a time or even buying that machine.

  7. It was fun while it lasted.

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