(Topic ID: 200173)

A dark night for Stern


By jfh

2 years ago



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There are 1860 posts in this topic. You are on page 9 of 38.
#401 2 years ago
Quoted from jedimastermatt:

Hey guys, what's going on in this thread?

Quoted from SuperPinball:

Not sure myself but I think it has something to do with Stern and JJP selling Burritos.

It was a burrhetorical question.

#402 2 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

It's a total deflection and a cop out. They manufacture games. If their manufacturing is sub-par & the games aren't complete, they've failed at making a product regardless of where it ends up. One of the perks of pinball for ops is resale value. If the games don't hold up or gain a good reputation, ops lose out too.

Agree, the presentation as a whole was lacking. Just saying the part about barcades etc was not ridiculous. The big manufacturer is conscious of the big picture, as they should be. They should have also used the opportunity to address the other issues such as code and QC. Whether they are either out of touch with these concerns, or choose to ignore them, im not sure. They could have easily just said they are aware of the operational issues that come with rapid growth and are putting resources in place to correct them. They had 40% growth last year (based on what im not sure?) and I read somewhere Gary said SW has been their biggest selling game of all time. They deal directly mostly with distributors, who are all telling them everything is great - record figures etc. Are the ops really complaining when SW is earning so well?

Stern owns the Pro/commercial end of the market - and will continue to do so based on theme and fast playing easily accessible games. Its almost impossible for any manufacturer to produce both an entry level and a luxury product. They're not competing very well at the luxury end and their manufacturing model isn't flexible enough to allow it. Smaller manufacturers that focus only on the top end can easily beat them here.

What they really need to do is split the luxury manufacturing into a smaller sub unit that has a lot more flexibility to add back in the features home collectors really want - kind of like the AMG (cargument!!!!) of Mercedes.

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#403 2 years ago

Gary always insists that on location pins is Stern's bread and butter, and is the main cog in keeping pinball afloat. I heard him talk half a dozen times and I always walk away perplexed. I know dozens of people that own pins, but don't know of any new pins on location.

If the goal is to get more pins into barcades, then that should not be such a tough thing to do. I live in Fresno, California, the 5th largest city in California, with over half a million people. I don't know of one barcade within a 100 miles with multiple, well maintained pinball machines. If you stretch out that far, the populace is over 1 million people.

I used to drive up to Sunnyvale's Pizza Depot during the summer to get my pinball fix, or the Pinball Museum in Oakland. I've traveled to Santa Cruz's boardwalk, and Las Vegas' Museum.

Pin a go go, and CAX are packed, but those are stocked by people that donate pins from home. Those places are the only places every year I get a chance to play the new pins, besides different friends private collections.

My point is - is barcades really that high of a percentage of their sales, or does Stern not know to whom their distributors are selling pins to?

#404 2 years ago
Quoted from jimjim66:

My point is - is barcades really that high of a percentage of their sales, or does Stern not know to whom their distributors are selling pins to?

I live in a area of ~300K people. I know of one new stern on location ( in a laundromat). but I know a handful of collectors with new games at home.

Where’s the barcade?

#405 2 years ago

IMHO, Stern, Gary in particular, knows more about pinball than anyone else currently in the industry.

There are quite a few distributors of Stern product that the ones we hobbyist/collectors deal with. Shaffer or Betson alone probably buy more of one machine model than all of the hobbyist/collector distributors combined.

Full-Time route operators pay less for pros that what Stern advertises.

#406 2 years ago

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

#407 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

There are quite a few distributors of Stern product that the ones we hobbyist/collectors deal with. Shaffer or Betson alone probably buy more of one machine model than all of the hobbyist/collector distributors combined

Fair enough, but where are they putting them? I live in an MSA of about 200,000 people or so. There is one (1) modern Stern on rout in my entire MSA, a TRS pro. There are two other routed machines in my MSA, a South Park and a RCT.

Yet in my MSA there are about 40 or so modern Srerns in homes and game rooms that I know of. That's about a 40-1 ratio where I live. Where are all the routed Sterns, if they are out there?

#408 2 years ago
Quoted from jimjim66:

Gary always insists that on location pins is Stern's bread and butter, and is the main cog in keeping pinball afloat. I heard him talk half a dozen times and I always walk away perplexed. I know dozens of people that own pins, but don't know of any new pins on location.

I’m not perplexed by it. Do the math, it’s a lie. It may be true overseas, but around me I see games go into houses, and very few go onto location.

#409 2 years ago
Quoted from DaveH:

I’m not perplexed by it. Do the math, it’s a lie. It may be true overseas, but around me I see games go into houses, and very few go onto location

Let's not toss the "lie" word around just yet. Perhaps the operator buyers are just creating an artificial scarcity and are stashing them away in mass to one day flood the market.

IMG_5772 (resized).JPG

#410 2 years ago
Quoted from robotron:

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

Lol. Welcome to pinball.

#411 2 years ago
Quoted from MrBally:

There are quite a few distributors of Stern product that the ones we hobbyist/collectors deal with. Shaffer or Betson alone probably buy more of one machine model than all of the hobbyist/collector distributors combined.
Full-Time route operators pay less for pros that what Stern advertises.

Within about a 50 mile radius of me in the northeast, there are a few redemption arcades, and a small handful of 90s and early 2000's pins. There are two ghostbusters pins....one put on location by a pinsider, another is in a redemption arcade were they got rid of a dozen or so older pins. Another redemption arcade has a Stern Star Trek, but that is supplied by an outside operator, rather than actually owned by the arcade.

Otherwise, that's about it. Most of the pins are older, rather than the latest & greatest.

#412 2 years ago

But new collectors are not going to materialise over night without being exposed to pinball on location somewhere. No one wakes up without ever having played pinball and sais "Gee, its a nice day, I think ill go and drop $6000 on a new pinball machine". They need to encounter it somewhere. What Stern was talking about was growing the whole market. There may not be 100's of barcades, but they are definitely growing. Stern realise, as strong as the home collector market is, eventually everyone reaches capacity. They also realise most of us are over 40 and wont keep buying forever. The only way the hobby is going to continue to grow is introducing new and younger players on location.

#413 2 years ago
Quoted from robotron:

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

Because they don't?

#414 2 years ago
Quoted from robotron:

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

Shit bro, wait til you try doing it with $8,000 pins.

14
#415 2 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Fair enough, but where are they putting them? I live in an MSA of about 200,000 people or so. There is one (1) modern Stern on rout in my entire MSA, a TRS pro. There are two other routed machines in my MSA, a South Park and a RCT.
Yet in my MSA there are about 40 or so modern Srerns in homes and game rooms that I know of. That's about a 40-1 ratio where I live. Where are all the routed Sterns, if they are out there?

yeah -- i live in Northern VA. the DC/MD/VA area is huge. about 6 million people. i can count the number of locations with new Stern pins on one hand. and it's not like there are a bunch i am not aware of.

meanwhile, i know of a dozen people who bought NiB Stern games to put in their basements, and i'm 100% positive there are plenty of people like that in my area i DONT know about.

i'm finding it hard to believe that home sales don't make up a huge chunk of Stern's business.

#416 2 years ago

There’s a google doc here in Canada that the community regularly update with all of the games on location. It’s about 95% accurate. A couple games might have changed. But I just did a rough count for all of southern Ontario. There’s about 180 games on route in this part of the province. About 50 of them are stern games (x-men or newer). Maybe 5 are ghostbusters.

If your looking to play in Canada find a game here.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NXpZrLSA8IKqgNbimMxd3X491mKkZNJCPe4QS2A6y4o/htmlview

#417 2 years ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

yeah -- i live in Northern VA. the DC/MD/VA area is huge. about 6 million people. i can count the number of locations with new Stern pins on one hand. and it's not like there are a bunch i am not aware of.
meanwhile, i know of a dozen people who bought NiB Stern games to put in their basements, and i'm 100% positive there are plenty of people like that in my area i DONT know about.
i'm finding it hard to believe that home sales don't make up a huge chunk of Stern's business.

What about distributors that route AND sell to homes? I would be willing to bet that Gary includes those in his operators sales #'s.

#418 2 years ago
Quoted from Manic:

Black Knight is the guy that told everybody to completely remove "all the clear" before attempting to re-clear. lol
"I followed his advice and it removed all the paint off my PF... now what do I do?"
You guys sure love your self-appointed experts.
Nothing personal against the guy but I like people that have the confidence to say "I don't know" when they don't know the answer. These "expert" types loudly proclaim everything they say as "fact" even when they are out of their depth on certain subjects. They don't seem to realize that makes *all* their opinions suspect.

black knight is not a professional playfield restorer. All advice and things I state about playfield restoration are indeed fact, because i've been doing it for 11 years and have done close to 400 fields. So I do consider myself an expert when it comes to playfields.

#419 2 years ago
Quoted from Manic:

Black Knight is the guy that told everybody to completely remove "all the clear" before attempting to re-clear. lol

Don't forget when he said "HEP restoration" was around before HEP.

Huh?

#420 2 years ago

I don't think it's was a dark night for Stern but maybe a wake up call. If Gary can blow away everyone with the new Elvira pin, he may get some respect back. Take chances, risk and most of all, LISTEN to costumers.

#421 2 years ago

I honestly think they will kill it with GOTG and Elvira but same old same old with code

#422 2 years ago
Quoted from robotron:

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

It ain't easy man. Let me tell you.....

#423 2 years ago
Quoted from Skyemont:

I don't think it's was a dark night for Stern but maybe a wake up call. If Gary can blow away everyone with the new Elvira pin, he may get some respect back. Take chances, risk and most of all, LISTEN to costumers.

The "dark night" in the thread title was a pun on my part to tie in the state of Batman 66. If Stern sees that, as of this post, 235 Pinsiders see Stern on a downward trajectory or that there is work to do when it comes to addressing the concerns of a growing portion of their customer base, then the thread has been useful. If they don't think that's a big enough number to be concerned with, then nothing will change.

The easiest thing to do is communicate more (substance, not fluff) and that costs them virtually nothing. There are so many basic things Stern could do that would register 99% positive. But unless Stern sees us as important to their future plans nothing is likely to change.

(And there is a little in this for JJP and CGC. A few years ago some the comments about Stern could have easily applied to either of those two. Despite JJP essentially abandoning Pinside, they heard many of those concerns and acted on them, making it clear we were important to them. Ditto for CGC who have engineered a 180 degree turnaround when it comes to customer focus from the early days with Rick as their spokesman. There are still issues with both companies but far fewer pitchforks as we have shown we are willing to be more forgiving when we see things moving in the right direction).

12
#424 2 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I honestly think they will kill it with GOTG and Elvira but same old same old with code

Then anyone who buys either game before they are satisfied with game features, code or price better not complain about any of the three. If they do, they are nothing but enablers that show Stern there is no need to improve anything.

#425 2 years ago

The only thing Stern is going to blow away are themselves. They are their own worst enemy and all they had to do is make good games with good codes and tighten up their quality control. That is all the pinball community is asking for and JJJP is delivering while Stern is quivering.

#426 2 years ago
Quoted from robotron:

how is it profitable routing 5000.00 pins that are always breaking down?

Have you seen the thread of ST pro with 11,000 plays on location? That pin is completely paid for itself and can be sold for $3700+ (estimate).

Not every pin is breaking down.

I have been to one barcade that is somewhat local but it's really one hour drive each way so it's not really convenient to me, so I don't go unless I want to play a game like DI. But really they may not be set up well, they had a Met which the hammer didn't work so it was pointless. I mean I have a mint condition Met in my basement. Also it's hard to hear the games because they don't set the volume too lout but with JJP games you could at least bring your own headphones.

but in my area (30-40 minute drive) there is no point on location.

#427 2 years ago
Quoted from jfh:

Then anyone who buys either game before they are satisfied with game features, code or price better not complain about any of the three. If they do, they are nothing but enablers that show Stern there is no need to improve anything.

But they will because that's the cycle. You starting a great thread isn't going to change that. This is nothing new, it's the same thing as it ever was. We've been reliving it for years. To think 1 new game that looks good is going to change that... Not gonna happen.

#428 2 years ago

The truth is that stern makes a lot of games and not all of them can be great. JJP certainly did not hit a home run with the hobbit and while it has a lot of code it certainly is not close to as polished as woz and it's not likely to be as it's not selling. Same goes for BM66, it was a huge mistake and now stern is having trouble justifying code support for so few sales. It will get done but it's won't be what people want and it will be at a snail's pace.

The most important thing stern can do is make great games which I think they will with GOTG, Elvira 3, pulp fiction, whatever Trudeau was doing, and what ever Keith is doing. SW and AS both had good enough code at release and stern needs to focus on doing that going forward. When people see GOTG sales will be through the roof and no one will give a shit about winning expo. I remember the time TBL won expo lol.

#429 2 years ago
Quoted from jimjim66:

My point is - is barcades really that high of a percentage of their sales, or does Stern not know to whom their distributors are selling pins to?

They are at other places than just barcades of course. Like there's a bowling alley here in Encino that has a bunch of new Stern pins for example. Also remember that while people may know many that own Stern's, often those are bought used at auction, etc, or that they originally were routed games. There's a reason no one tends to believe "home use only" claims when buying pins, because it's assumed most all were routed at some point.

#430 2 years ago

Gary's Barcade speech & Jack's POTC speech are just the newest examples from two men with different visions of what the future pinball industry will be.

Jack's interview with thoughts on Stern & JJP from wayback in 2011

http://www.silverballpodcast.com/15b_The%20Silverball_09_13_2011.mp3

#431 2 years ago
Quoted from jgentry:

The most important thing stern can do is make great games which I think they will with GOTG, Elvira 3, pulp fiction, whatever Trudeau was doing, and what ever Keith is doing.

The games may turn out to be great, but I am always wondering what Stern's next blunder will be.
Will GOTG suffer from splitting cabinets, ghosting, peeling decals, abysmal code?

Moving forward, my max on a NIB is $7,500 so I'm hoping Stern will raise their game to earn my cash again.

#433 2 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Don't forget when he said "HEP restoration" was around before HEP.
Huh?

C'mon dude... he explained it was a "well recognized term" back then.... that nobody had ever heard. Ever.

Quoted from Manic:

Quoted from CaptainNeo:

black knight is not a professional playfield restorer. All advice and things I state about playfield restoration are indeed fact, because i've been doing it for 11 years and have done close to 400 fields. So I do consider myself an expert when it comes to playfields.

And that's why I didn't mention you as I consider you one of the "do'ers" and not the "talkers".
Though come to think of it you DO talk a whole damn lot...

#434 2 years ago

Bet JJP sees a 40% gain after their POTC2.0 announcement

#435 2 years ago

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#436 2 years ago

I'm in Eugene Or and we've got 2 pretty nice barcades. The bigger of the two gets all the latest Stern releases. I think there pretty happy with the amount of play they get. I ask the owner if he was getting DI and he kinda thought I was crazy, probably the price point. I went to SF to play it and nobody played DI for 2 hours, was really surprised. Most of the modern Stern machines were being played constantly. The barcarde thing in the PNW is going strong. Lots of options in Portland also

#437 2 years ago

I can't vouch for the rest of Europe but here in the UK barcades are practically non existent. I believe there are two.
It cannot be underestimated how important export sales are to Stern and we are just not seeing the games over here.

#438 2 years ago
Quoted from BaggerVance:

I'm in Eugene Or and we've got 2 pretty nice barcades. The bigger of the two gets all the latest Stern releases. I think there pretty happy with the amount of play they get. I ask the owner if he was getting DI and he kinda thought I was crazy, probably the price point. I went to SF to play it and nobody played DI for 2 hours, was really surprised. Most of the modern Stern machines were being played constantly. The barcarde thing in the PNW is going strong. Lots of options in Portland also

Two barcades ... and how many private collectors?

#439 2 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Fair enough, but where are they putting them? I live in an MSA of about 200,000 people or so. There is one (1) modern Stern on rout in my entire MSA, a TRS pro. There are two other routed machines in my MSA, a South Park and a RCT.
Yet in my MSA there are about 40 or so modern Srerns in homes and game rooms that I know of. That's about a 40-1 ratio where I live. Where are all the routed Sterns, if they are out there?

Not in LA, a state where video gambling has killed off pinball.

You have to realize there are Sterns on location all the Hell over the place. In NYC there's probably over 100.

Maybe there's more Sterns in home use now then locations? Still, the majority of locations have at least one "modern" stern.

#440 2 years ago
Quoted from Reality_Studio:

They are at other places than just barcades of course. Like there's a bowling alley here in Encino that has a bunch of new Stern pins for example. Also remember that while people may know many that own Stern's, often those are bought used at auction, etc, or that they originally were routed games. There's a reason no one tends to believe "home use only" claims when buying pins, because it's assumed most all were routed at some point.

Instead of barcades, I should of just used routed pins in general. I would still say home buyers = a bigger percentage of Stern sales. I don't see too many newer stern for sale at auctions it is mainly older stuff. Again, I personally know 10x over more home users with newer pins, bought from distributors, than pins in the wild anywhere. Only auction in California I know of is the Captains, and 90% of his stuff is older pins.

Just looking at the pinball map for the Bay Area, there are 270 locations/690 pins...just looking at the numbers I don't see 5% of those being a newer Stern (2012-2017). Pin a go go - CAX have 1/3 of that in one location from private collections.

In my area, the Central Valley, expanding the area to Fresno (500,000) - Bakersfield (400,000) - outlying area (400,000) there is a total of 1 newer pin on route according to the Pinball map.

Video pinball games/ emulation is probably a better gateway to ownership at this point.

Here is my point - I believe Gamerooms/collectors are the future of pinball. People being exposed at shows, and gatherings at private game rooms are probably exposing newer pinheads at this point.

As to the newer games being once routed, I doubt that too. Yes, the older games were routed, but newer games (5 years or less) seem to be listed way more by private individuals that do not own a route.

I really have a hard time believing the home market is NOT the most important market. I would say it is 75% of sales now.

#441 2 years ago

I didn't listen to Garys Expo speech this year, but I have heard it before.

I know where he is coming from ... we were discussing it when he was down in NZ last year.

What he is saying (or trying to say) is the Barcades are introducing a new younger generation to pinball ... in the same way that arcades did back in the 70s/80s. He sees that as a great thing. He loves to see kids/teens playing pinball, he was surprised how many we had playing at Pincade when he was here.

The last thing anyone wants to see is pinball dying off with the guys currently in their late 40s/50s/60s, which is on the cards unless we bring the young guys on board in big numbers.

rd

#442 2 years ago
Quoted from rotordave:

I didn't listen to Garys Expo speech this year, but I have heard it before.
I know where he is coming from ... we were discussing it when he was down in NZ last year.
What he is saying (or trying to say) is the Barcades are introducing a new younger generation to pinball ... in the same way that arcades did back in the 70s/80s. He sees that as a great thing. He loves to see kids/teens playing pinball, he was surprised how many we had playing at Pincade when he was here.
The last thing anyone wants to see is pinball dying off with the guys currently in their late 40s/50s/60s, which is on the cards unless we bring the young guys on board in big numbers.
rd

Yup. I have a ton of 20 something's coming into the cafe, eating and smashing beers, and playing pinball. 99% of them have never played before. Don't realize you can play more than 1 player on game! They get hooked, and hard. Lots of repeat business from the younger crowd.

#443 2 years ago
Quoted from smokedog:

Yup. I have a ton of 20 something's coming into the cafe, eating and smashing beers, and playing pinball. 99% of them have never played before. Don't realize you can play more than 1 player on game! They get hooked, and hard. Lots of repeat business from the younger crowd.

That's awesome man.

I see the same thing when I travel around the States, in Denver, Chicago, NYC ... bars with pinball (and arcades) packed with people of all ages, drinking beer, playing pinball and having a good time.

Unfortunately we don't have any barcades here in Auckland yet ... we don't really have any location pinball to speak of really, a few games here and there. A few of us are working towards making something happen.

Wellington has a thriving little scene happening now, thanks to pinsiders clg and simonzzz. Awesome to see people playing pinball on location again!

rd

#444 2 years ago
Quoted from rotordave:

What he is saying (or trying to say) is the Barcades are introducing a new younger generation to pinball ... in the same way that arcades did back in the 70s/80s. He sees that as a great thing. He loves to see kids/teens playing pinball, he was surprised how many we had playing at Pincade when he was here.

How many kids and teens will be playing in a barcade?

#445 2 years ago
Quoted from cooked71:

The speech Gary gave about barcades etc was not as stupid as it sounds. Stern have always publicly spoken about broadening pinballs exposure - barcades and competitive pinball are great ways to expose more people to pinball. .

I would agree if Sterns reliability for one thing was not so bad, along with their quality control. Of course having designing games with stuff that people have not seen in the last 25-30 years would help as well. People need to see new things happening in pinball and the only thing thats been different from a player perspective is the LCD. The only one imo thats been on the money is SW.

#446 2 years ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

yeah -- i live in Northern VA. the DC/MD/VA area is huge. about 6 million people. i can count the number of locations with new Stern pins on one hand. and it's not like there are a bunch i am not aware of.
meanwhile, i know of a dozen people who bought NiB Stern games to put in their basements, and i'm 100% positive there are plenty of people like that in my area i DONT know about.
i'm finding it hard to believe that home sales don't make up a huge chunk of Stern's business.

Conservative estimate:

Home sales make up more than 95% of sales in Europe.

Batman and Star Wars have gone over terribly, for the most part, here.

#447 2 years ago

OP's post has 260 likes and 0 dislikes.

Speaks volumes really....

#448 2 years ago
Quoted from rotordave:

I didn't listen to Garys Expo speech this year, but I have heard it before.
I know where he is coming from ... we were discussing it when he was down in NZ last year.
What he is saying (or trying to say) is the Barcades are introducing a new younger generation to pinball ... in the same way that arcades did back in the 70s/80s. He sees that as a great thing. He loves to see kids/teens playing pinball, he was surprised how many we had playing at Pincade when he was here.
The last thing anyone wants to see is pinball dying off with the guys currently in their late 40s/50s/60s, which is on the cards unless we bring the young guys on board in big numbers.
rd

And he is absolutely correct - you need to introduce a younger generation to pinball.

But if someine's first introduction to pinball is in a barcade, that's probably too late. And it reinforces some of the darker stereotypes of pinball (the very reason J.K. Rowling wants nothing to do with a Harry Potter pin).

Listening to Gary's comments the other night, you would have thought barcades were going to single handily drive the pinball market. But how many new businesses are opening up with the intent of being a barcade? I suspect very few. A restaurant or bar that has a few games and serves beer is not a barcade.

Where was the pie chart that showed the market segments? (By percentage of sales, not raw sales). If barcades are such a critical percentage or growing component of the market, show us. But if home sales are steadily growing, show that too.

I suspect part of the problem is that Stern doesn't have the data that they need to determine what their actual markets are. They can obviously figure some out - if I buy 10 Pros from Betson, you can safely assume I'm a large operator. But if I buy a single game or two, am I a home collector, a route operator or the owner of a bar? MAYBE the distributor know that, but does Stern? Stern doesn't seem to know (or care) if I have bought 2, 20 or 200 games from them or care if I ever buy again.

#449 2 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Batman and Star Wars have gone over terribly, for the most part, here.

Why do you think that is? Is it strictly cost related?

#450 2 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I honestly think they will kill it with GOTG and Elvira but same old same old with code

NOthing they do in the next 5 years MIN will come close.. Its just not in their business model to goto that much effort. Do they have the potential to change or do better? Sure. Will they... No chance.

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Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
The MOD Couple
9,300
$ 49.95
Lighting - Led
Pin Stadium Pinball LEDs
$ 10.00
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
Gweem's Mods
$ 199.00
Gameroom - Decorations
Lit Frames
$ 119.00
Lighting - Interactive
Hookedonpinball.com
From: $ 127.05
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
PinWoofer
Great pinball charity
Pinball Edu
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