Some of us can remember back to the early 1980s and before when pinball machines gave you 5 balls per game by default. Then at some point in the early 1980s, 3 balls per game became the new standard.
My question: are there any machines that default to 3 balls/game where you think the game just works better as a 5-ball game? What about the other way, a machine that defaults to 5 balls that would just work better as a 3-ball game?
My oldest machine, Haunted House, is a 5-ball game, and so is my newest, Black Knight 2000 (Williams's idea at the time was to make the game 50 cents/play but 5 balls/game). The others, Laser Cue, Sorcerer, and Swords of Fury, all defaulted to 3 balls. The only one I change is the Laser Cue, because it's a vicious game, and so much of the game is built around running up the bonus (the bonus holds over between balls, and the multiplier will only reset down to 5x instead of 1x (maximum of 20x)), that it's much more satisfying to play as a 5-ball game. Since it was designed so close to the 5->3 switch, I wonder if it was originally designed as a 5-ball game but ended up released as a 3-ball game because that was what Williams was doing at the time.
I know some early 90s machines have a setting that enables 5 balls but also makes other things harder to compensate; e.g. Funhouse won't light special until you reach the third multiball instead of the second, plus it starts the clock at a much earlier time (5:00 instead of 8:00?). Also alleviating the pain of having 3 balls instead of 5, some games will make it much easier to collect an extra ball on the 3rd ball if you don't do well on the first two balls (my Swords of Fury will start AVENGER at Extra Ball instead of 50K if you drain the first two balls inside of 1 minute).