I'm thinking of buying our first (probably only, as we don't have room for more) machine as a Christmas gift for the family. We are all novices. About 2 years ago, we stayed at a home for a week that had an old pinball machine and enjoyed playing it. I got sucked in and have been browsing CL and FB marketplace on and off since. I've also gone to The Sanctum in CT a few times to play a variety of machines and meet people in the hobby. But with other priorities and COVID, I haven't been there in about a year.
So, I decided to look for a machine more seriously. Almost bought a Fish Tales, but it was already sold when I called about it. I have a dealer nearby, so I've been thinking about just diving in with a NIB machine, thinking it would be more modern and hopefully more reliable, at least initially. I think I have it narrowed down to a Jurassic Park Pro or a Monster Bash classic. Any thoughts on which would be better for a family of inexperienced players? I was originally leaning towards the MB based on the theme and cabinet art, but didn't really enjoy playing it. The issue I had with it was the sound, the callouts were fine, but the music volume seemed low, even if I turned up the volume in the front door. Is there a separate setting somewhere for music volume vs callout volume to adjust that somewhere? Or should I look at the SE for the upgraded sound? The JP sounded better and played well. I thought I had decided on the JP, but they don't have any NIB in stock and might not get any in before Christmas, so reconsidering the MB as an alternative if I can figure out the sound issue and try playing it again. I know the JP has a deep rule set that should help keep our interest as we get better, does anyone think we would get tired of the MB over time?
I'd also be open to other Stern Pro models, if something else would be better for newer/casual players, as long as I like the theme. (Not interested in a Stranger Things for example.)
Then there's the other option, buy something like a Lethal Weapon or a Last Action Hero used to save money and see if the family really likes this. But I'm concerned it wouldn't play as well, or would require a lot more maintenance.
So I'm hoping to get some advice from the more experienced hobbyists here on Pinside, please let me know what you think.