$1500 budget - what would you buy?

(Topic ID: 159920)

$1500 budget - what would you buy?


By MIpinhead

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 141 posts
  • 96 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Snowyetti
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    #1 2 years ago

    Just a hypothetical question: if you had a shoestring budget of $1500, and could only own one machine, what would you look to buy? Ideally a machine that you can use to train for playing on more modern, fast paced games.

    Apologies if this is a duplicate topic. It's late at night, I'm new to the community, and I'm feeling excited about pinball.

    #2 2 years ago

    If you're looking for a modern or modern-feeling game then I'd look for a Data East like Lethal Weapon 3. Can be found pretty easily in that price range.

    Personally I'd go with a classic bally like Harlem Globetrotters, Flash Gordon, or Future Spa.

    #3 2 years ago

    Just save your money and get what you really want down the line...

    -1
    #5 2 years ago

    Or, a players condition NBA Fastbreak

    #6 2 years ago

    Hard to find any of those three in this budget anymore.

    Would have to be rough players condition for sure.

    #7 2 years ago

    1/3 of a ghostbusters and rotate every three weeks with a friend!

    #8 2 years ago

    A bit more and consider No Fear, a Players condition WPT.
    At $1500 DMDs are tough but Ive seen some Black Rose, Cue Ball Wizard.

    11
    #9 2 years ago
    Quoted from MIpinhead:

    Just a hypothetical question: if you had a shoestring budget of $1500, and could only own one machine, what would you look to buy? Ideally a machine that you can use to train for playing on more modern, fast paced games.
    Apologies if this is a duplicate topic. It's late at night, I'm new to the community, and I'm feeling excited about pinball.

    Welcome to the hobby. I suggest that you play a variety of games from each era. Perhaps there's a pinball expo, bowling alley or an arcade near you, with some machines?

    There are many factors which fuel the choice of a machine. Do you like to tinker? If so, include electromechanical games among your choices. Don't let anyone try to convince you that EM games are slow and/or boring. I assure you that a dialed-in EM game is every bit as fun (or more fun) than a solid state game. My collection includes games from the 1930s to a 2013 Jersey Jack Wizard of Oz Emerald City Limited Edition. Also, unlike the Bally/Williams A-list games of the 1990s and most solid state games, EMs have resisted price-inflation to some extent, so there's far more value in most EMs, in my opinion. Feel free to view my collection and commentary at: and send me a private message with any questions.

    The 1950s Gottlieb woodrails arguably represent the epitome of pinball inasmuch as the games were designed for the player, with multiple avenues to a replay. Also, the Roy Parker art of the Gottlieb woodrails is pure Americana. At $1,500, you could purchase one of the better woodrail titles in decent condition.

    The 1960s games were more operator-oriented, with fewer ways to win replays. However, the 1960s was a very good decade for pinball as well. For example, most single-player Gottlieb wedgeheads in the $1,500 range will be some of the best of that genre, e.g. restored King of Diamonds, Kings & Queens, Bank-A-Ball, North Star.

    Most of the middle to late 1970s games featured 3 inch flippers. Your $1,500 price point will buy a good condition Gottlieb Atlantis, one of the best drop-target games of that decade. However, this title is in high demand so you'll have to wait to find one.

    Williams and Bally made some excellent games in the 1960s and 1970s as well. Chicago Coin and Data East also made some good games, contrary to naysayers of those manufacturers.

    One of the very best early solid state games (actually made as an electromechanical in much smaller numbers, as well) is Gottlieb's 1978 Joker Poker. It's drop target nirvana, with an addictive ruleset. They come up for sale fairly regularly because 9,280 were made. For $1,500, you could likely find one in above average cosmetic condition, with a new, replacement circuit board. Also, you won't have any trouble selling it, if you choose to do so, because it's a very popular 4-player title, and for good reason. However, there are no ramps, like modern games.

    The solid state games of the 1980s offer many good choices. Medusa (1981 Bally), Centaur (1981 Bally) and Black Hole (1980 Gottlieb) come to mind, although excellent examples can fetch more than your budget. Gottlieb's 1979 Count-Down is a great value in the solid state category. They made almost 10,000 of them so they are available for sale. You could likely buy a fully restored one, with an improved circuit board, for $800 to $1,200. Pin-Bot (1986 Williams) and Taxi (1988 Williams) are also good choices. Taxi has a couple of good ramps.

    I will leave the 1990s and thereafter to other Pinsiders. I am primarily an EM guy. However, Judge Dredd (Bally 1993) is among the better values of that decade, albeit above your price point. Johnny Mnemonic (1995 Williams) is in your price range. You might want to investigate that title.

    Naturally, the game's theme may factor into your decision. There are a number of "top game" lists on the internet. Frankly, I suggest taking those lists with a proverbial grain of salt. Your best guide will be to play as many games of different eras and manufacturers as possible. I recommend that you take your time. There are many games from which to choose. You can find a great game for $1,500, if you're patient. Good luck.

    10
    #10 2 years ago

    In the under $2000 range, I'd always cast my vote for a System 11 title if you aren't fixed on getting a DMD.

    #11 2 years ago

    For reference if you're not familiar with the System 11 lineup. Classics!

    http://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_9_-_11#System_11

    #12 2 years ago

    1500 lottery tickets so you could buy 20 cool games when you win $100K

    #13 2 years ago

    I'd buy Big Hurt. Case closed.

    So much going on with the machine: subways, drops,a scoop captive ball, cool wire forms, stand-ups, lifting ramp... Great lighting and interesting rules that leave decisions to be made and hurry up modes.

    #14 2 years ago

    You might be able to find a few Sega's in that range, Maverick, Space Jam, Jurassic Park the lost world, X-files, Data East Lethal Weapon 3 is a great starter pin, Hook should be under 1500, I cannot think of any DMD Williams in that range, Several Gottlieb models, Big Hurt as mentioned, Street Fighter II (I do NOT recommend it though), and some others, I am not a Gottlieb fan, but I know there are others.

    #15 2 years ago

    If you look hard enough, Nascar, Viper, and plenty of DMD Gottliebs can be had for that. Best value for the money is SEGA DMD games. These games deserve more love than they get.

    #16 2 years ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    I'd buy Big Hurt. Case closed.
    So much going on with the machine: subways, drops,a scoop captive ball, cool wire forms, stand-ups, lifting ramp... Great lighting and interesting rules that leave decisions to be made and hurry up modes.

    When this machine is dialed in, it's a great value for a DMD machine.

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from Aeolus7:

    For reference if you're not familiar with the System 11 lineup. Classics!
    http://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Williams_System_9_-_11#System_11

    Thus might be better for system 11 info for a new guy

    http://system11.org

    #18 2 years ago

    I believe you can buy a Getaway for around that price. My first game 18 years ago and I still love it! Pinbot is also a fund sys 11 game.

    #19 2 years ago

    I'd buy another Sharkey's Shootout for $1500. Fun game and I miss it already....just sold it last week.

    #20 2 years ago

    Id save another 500-1000 and have a lot more options. If you're dead set on 1500 try to find a beater 90s Williams.

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from WaddleJrJr:

    If you're looking for a modern or modern-feeling game then I'd look for a Data East like Lethal Weapon 3

    I agree. I have owned one and I miss that game. Would love to get it back. Has the modern feel, and tons of modern features.

    #23 2 years ago

    Fast game, classic Steve Ritcjie and there's still a lot of these around although many have quite worn playfields but still can be made to play very well. Other classic Ritchie games include Rollergames, F-14, Black Knight, and one of his earliest is Flash. Most of his games are high paced and great to learn on.

    #25 2 years ago

    Yo Taxi!

    #26 2 years ago

    Harvs Laser War for 950.00 and have cash back!!!

    #27 2 years ago

    A $1500 getaway will be trashed. Maybe not best experience for a new guy to hobby.

    OP
    Save and spend a little more a game that's in great condition. Play now.. Learn to fix later

    #28 2 years ago

    Lots of good advice in this thread. It's tough to find any working DMD game in this price range. If you like older solid state games, Eight Ball Deluxe in the limited edition cabinet is a fine choice. It will teach you accuracy, some strategy, easy to work on, and when you're tired of it you can easily get your money back out of it.

    Regular EBD are typically $2K+ but I've seen the LEs regularly go for $1500ish in my area. No difference but the cabinet.

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from Strange:

    Just save your money and get what you really want down the line...

    That's terrible advice. What if "what you really want" costs 2-5X the $1500 he's got to spend now? It's gonna be a long time before he gets a game. Set a budget, stick to it, and buy something. You can always sell the game "down the line" for what you paid for it or more and then buy "what you really want" at that time. That's what we all do.

    I'd go for a classic Bally, firepower or flash, or a low end system 11 like Rollergames or big guns. Or a couple EMs
    Happy hunting dude!

    #30 2 years ago

    I have a Maverick and a Waterworld each forsale at that price, both in good condition and fully working.

    #31 2 years ago

    Another vote for any System 11 game.
    Certain DE games are great as well, such as DE Simpsons, Hook and LAH

    #32 2 years ago

    I totally agree with the system 11 thought. You might consider one of them. Not sure where the pricing is though as I have had most of mine for some time now. BK2000, WW, Taxi, ES, SoF and whole lot more. again you will have to ask the other pinsiders for pricing estimates...

    Oh! I love Black Hole. I do believe a nice example of this can be bought for under your amount. If you like gambling kind of stuff perhaps High Roller Casino. It is DMD and in my opinion a good player

    #33 2 years ago
    Quoted from vdojaq:

    If you look hard enough, Nascar, Viper, and plenty of DMD Gottliebs can be had for that. Best value for the money is SEGA DMD games. These games deserve more love than they get.

    I have never seen a Nascar under 2K, I guess it depends on what area you live in, if I could find one for 1500 I would buy it in a heartbeat. Someone mentioned WPT as well, never saw that one in the range either, 2200 and up is the norm, at least what I have seen...

    I am not saying they don't exist at those prices, but please share where you have seen those prices.

    #34 2 years ago

    Get two: Street Fighter II and Hardbody. Neither are fantastic, but they'd be a start and anything you got down the road would likely feel that much more fun. Non-pinheads would play them and hardly know the difference between them and some random overpriced game that goes for twice that amount.

    #35 2 years ago

    Rollergames. Great play, cheesy theme makes it affordable.

    #36 2 years ago

    Current lineup has:

    Viper Night Drivin' - $1400
    No Fear - $1100
    Baywatch - $1100

    Previous under $1500 DMD pins we've owned (that I can recall):

    SST
    X-Files
    Space Jam
    Wipe Out
    Rescue 911
    TFTC
    LW3
    Maverick
    Hook

    #37 2 years ago

    I forgot about Baywatch... That's another super Big Bang for the buck...

    Lots going on

    #38 2 years ago

    Easy. I get in the truck and go pick this up:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/for-sale-laser-war-data-east-1987-1988

    Oops, too late--someone got a great deal at $900.00.

    #39 2 years ago

    I can say that it's pretty damn easy to find a LW3 under $1,500. If you are new to pinball I'm not sure it's very wise to spend 1,500 right off the bat. Unless you have collectors already that you know really well and you can buy a full working nice game from them or someone they recommend, your chances of regretting your first purchase is pretty high.

    Do you research, be patient, and be willing to learn to work on them. Good luck!

    #40 2 years ago

    Probably this

    image_(resized).jpg

    image_(resized).jpg

    #41 2 years ago

    Really, just save a couple hundred more and get in a better bracket for this one. Don't rush things as I have in the past. What's waiting a couple more months or so?

    If you have absolutely no choice, I would go with what everyone is saying with the system 11's or maybe a decent Sega/data east.

    #42 2 years ago

    For $1500 you should be able to find decent to amazing examples of these:
    Pinbot
    High speed
    Jungle Lord
    Grand lizard
    firepower
    Alien poker
    F14
    Big guns

    #43 2 years ago

    Might be able to find a Water World for somewhere around $1500.00.

    #44 2 years ago

    Capcom breakshot.

    #45 2 years ago
    Quoted from vdojaq:

    If you look hard enough, Nascar, Viper, and plenty of DMD Gottliebs can be had for that. Best value for the money is SEGA DMD games. These games deserve more love than they get.

    The giant, super expensive plasma DMD replacement is the problem with many of the SEGA machines. If he got one for $1500 that was outgassed, he's looking at almost half again to replace just the display, unless he settles for one of the computer LCD screen hacks, which aren't super cheap, either.

    #46 2 years ago
    Quoted from erak:

    Capcom breakshot.

    Agreed..
    Game caters best to fans of old school pins, as it's a DMD that has no ramps, toys, or major pizazz.
    What it does have is a good ruleset, great hardware, terrific playfield (usually), and is quite fun.

    Something system 11 would probably be easier to locate, and easier to resell if you do not like it, however.
    Your options will open vastly if you can increase your budget to 2K.

    #47 2 years ago
    Quoted from BoozeMarlin:

    Might be able to find a Water World for somewhere around $1500.00.

    I would recommend against this one. A one-note game, for sure.

    If he's patient and can work on a broken pin to bring it back, many of the 2000-2005ish Sterns can be had for $1500ish. Austin Powers, World Poker Tour, Ripleys, NASCAR, Harley Davidson SEGA or 1st Edition Stern, Rollercoaster Tycoon, etc. Just about timing and having the cash on hand to do the deal when it pops up.

    #48 2 years ago
    Quoted from balboarules:

    I have never seen a Nascar under 2K, I guess it depends on what area you live in, if I could find one for 1500 I would buy it in a heartbeat. Someone mentioned WPT as well, never saw that one in the range either, 2200 and up is the norm, at least what I have seen...
    I am not saying they don't exist at those prices, but please share where you have seen those prices.

    ALSO agreed.
    Nascar is a high maintenance game.
    If it's $1,500 - there are probably 7 reasons why - all bad. Good copies are $2300-$2600.

    #49 2 years ago

    I would save more or target top tier solid state games ... Flash Gordon, taxi, high speed, black knight, Pinbot

    Or firepower sorcerer etc..

    #50 2 years ago

    That price is between a very nice SS and a shitty DMD.

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