(Topic ID: 165193)

11 EM games mini pinraid - worth anything?


By DEN

3 years ago



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  • 95 posts
  • 33 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by NicoVolta
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    18
    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from AlexF:

    Oh weird, I didn't notice that. One with and one without. Where's NicoVolta? He loves the prototype version. It would be fun to have them set up side by side for awhile.

    Whoa... I was at a pinball party this evening and Xerico just informed me about this thread... "You didn't hear about it?"

    NOPE! *gasp*

    Hi DEN. What you've got there is, in my *opinion*, the most desirable EM of them all. Both in terms of play and collectability (collectibility?). The main reason why....?

    Norm Clark.

    The guy was a WIZARD of innovation from the start of his career and never quit. His first game was Williams King Pin in 1962... a novel game with four flippers in an unusual layout w/center kicker. King Pin is (rightly) considered one of the very best of the "reverse wedgeheads" from that era along with River Boat, which he also designed. Other innovations followed:

    1964 - Stop N' Go with reverse flippers and unique stop/go scoring
    1966 - 8-Ball - 2-player middle-pop game
    1966 - A-Go-Go - first game with roulette captive ball spinner (which he invented)
    1967 - Magic City - 1-player middle-pop game
    1968 - Cue-T/Miss-O - 1-player middle-pop games w/AAB variant
    1970 - Jive Time w/huge backbox spinner
    1971 - Doodle Bug w/innovative captive ball scoring and nonstop action
    1972 - Spanish Eyes - First middle-pop game w/3" flippers
    1972 - Fan-Tas-Tic - First 4-player middle-pop game
    1973 - Travel Time - unique time-based play
    1974 - Norm Clark modifies some Bow and Arrow machines with a new little thing called "solid state technology"

    ...as well as having designed many beloved games in-between such as Apollo, Pit Stop, Klondike, Gulfstream, etc.

    If you look at pinball history, you will see that every middle-pop game since the woodrail era (with the exception of Safari) was designed by Norm Clark. Essentially, he is responsible for bringing back middle-pop games and taking them to the next level.

    Knowing this... we continue...

    In 1975, Norm Clark joined Bally as head of the design department. The next game in production was for the American bicentennial celebration in 1976... hence "Freedom".

    As we know, only 100 Freedom prototypes were ever built. Primarily because European distributors didn't "get" the middle-pop thing. They demanded a redesign... and Bally caved in order to sell more units. Which essentially destroyed its fundamental figure-8 geometry and wide shot stance (not to mention the unpredictable fun of the middle-pop).

    Isn't it ironic that a game named "Freedom" of all things, with an over-the-top American theme, gets shut down by fussy Europeans from which Americans came in the first place? I imagine a snooty Frenchman in a beret... "zis meedle-pop bumper... tut tut... no no no... zees will not do at all. Not at all. Just make eet like all ze others. Do eet now... or you... and your MEEDLE-POP BUMPER... can sweem back to America."

    LOL and thus here we are today.

    A lot of rare games and prototypes were made in low quantities because they weren't very good, but this one is definitely an exception. The Freedom prototype is Norm Clark's last, and best, middle-pop game... deployed on the last, and best, Bally EM platform... in its original unmolested form... having escaped with its "Freedom" intact... with a touch of Kmiec's "house energy" in full swing... and is the single best-playing EM I have ever found. The layout is wide, fast, and fun and will teach you new flipper skills in the process. Enough that I think every serious player or collector should have at least one middle-pop in their stable (Fan-Tas-Tic or Spanish Eyes would be the obvious alternatives since they offer a similar layout and relatively high production count... can still be had affordably).

    So, DEN... if you are not an EM-guy... if you don't enjoy disassembling steppers and relays and rebuilding things by hand... if you don't plan to give this special game a head-to-toe restoration... I suggest passing it on to someone who will do so and put it in front of people who will play it and be entertained by its history. Who knows, since yours is in Europe, maybe that very game was the one which set everyone off? :p

    And yes, I'd also very much like to own it and restore it.

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from DEN:

    Wouwww i really enjoyed readin your post.
    What a storey leason. Thanks.
    Well i have seen one youtube video of a guy who is playing freedom em prototype and it looks hell of a fun.
    But i really dont know about em games. Bought so many of then. When i read this i really want to let it past on to you

    Well then... check your PM's and lemme know!

    #41 3 years ago

    John Weeks (Arcade Expo in Banning) has one.

    #45 3 years ago

    Playfield is rough, but fixable. It should be airbrushed and professionally clear coated.

    This one is mine (photo from TPF 2016): https://arianaby.smugmug.com/Professional/Texas-Pinball-Festival-VECTOR/i-9TKMNGg/A

    (can't seem to upload pics today... odd)

    My playfield was in WORSE condition... so fear not, it can be saved!

    Note: I had the large white ring area on my playfield resprayed with a lighter shade of white (matched with white pop bumper bodies/flippers). I think this looks ideal... better than dingy faded white.

    #49 3 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Let's not get carried away here - that Freedom is a cool find but I think a couple vocal lunatics in this thread are really overrating both it's awesomeness and it's desireability. I don't think it's worth significantly more than the regular production version, which is a better game anyway. I hate center flipper pop bumper games. Someone offered you 1200 Kroner for it? Is that a lot? If it's 1200 US you should take it in a heartbeat.
    Still that's a very cool haul in Denmark. Those games all look worth saving to me.

    Outspoken? Yes. Lunatic? No.

    C'mon... history is fun. We can peacefully agree to disagree, aye?

    If you hate middle-pop games that pretty much sums it up. I love 'em and this one in particular is my all-time favorite EM (thus far).

    All good... different strokes as they say.

    BTW if you find a prototype I'll be happy to trade you a revised version for it.

    #53 3 years ago

    "Two million rupiah!"

    ...actually, that's even less.

    #56 3 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Well I mean, there's "what it's worth to me" and "What it's worth." I'd say it's pretty unrealistic to suggest Freedom Weird Edition is worth anything close - in the actual financial sense, not warm fuzzies - to ACTUAL valuable EMs like Fireaball, Mata Hari, Captain Fantastic.

    Yes, but the market isn't linear. Experienced collectors and seekers of high-end restorations are always looking for something special.

    As far as the Captain Fantastics of the world are concerned... I'm not sure how much staying power they have. Great artwork, but the gameplay is meh and a LOT of them were produced.

    Anyway, not to hijack the OP... let us know what you decide to do.

    2 weeks later
    #62 2 years ago

    So... any news on the fate of Freedom? Just curious.

    #67 2 years ago

    That's good... it is a nice game. Did it go to another Pinsider? Would love to see the restoration process if they intend to share it!

    #72 2 years ago
    Quoted from DEN:

    Went to a local american car collector, he fell in love with the theme, american flag, presidents, eagle, and so on.
    So much love with all americana.
    He took freedom spacemission and gorgar.
    Also a bally pin to use for spareparts, the green one with casino theme, it looked like new under the playfield.
    I couldent wait to get it all home and restore em.
    He wants all to look old used and original, will only replace only nesesery parts.
    Hee will invite me when its finished, i will take some pics.

    LOL just for the theme? How funny... and the regular Freedom is so easy to find. Does he even know what he has with the middle-pop version? Kind of a shame not to restore it for future generations. The playfield is so worn already. At least put a new ball in it!

    Quoted from metallik:

    Reading all the center pop love here... Is Spanish Eyes a fun game? Friend of friend has one in a garage.. bad cab repaint (orange/black) but the BG and playfield look good. Unknown mechanicals but appears unmolested. Play-wise, is it worth grabbing? What's a decent one go for? Figure I can buy from him and resell if I don't like it, but want to give him a fair price while not screwing myself

    Spanish eyes is blazing fast and I love the unusual artwork. Excellent choice for complementing a collection with something fun and different (looks-wise, too).

    #94 2 years ago

    I'll be visiting the PPM at the end of this month. I'm sure your games won't be ready for prime time by then, but it is good to know they'll have a Freedom prototype in the inventory. I gush about that game a lot but it really is special... has a neat story and is super fun to play.

    Arcade Expo in Banning also has one. Needs to have "the full rebuild" done to it. Pretty neat how you can play it side-by-side with the mass-produced version.

    4 weeks later
    #95 2 years ago

    BTW, I just created a new middle-pop club thread with further analysis and comparisons with other games if you'd like to follow...

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/join-the-middle-pop-club

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