(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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#12351 2 years ago

Anyone considering skipping the LCD? I really like Aurichs work on the backglass. Without considering resale value or anyone else's opinion I don't have much of a desire for it. For less money I can add PDI and EL lighted side blades and get more playfield enjoyment.

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#12352 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

Anyone considering skipping the LCD? I really like Aurichs work on the backglass. Without considering resale value or anyone else's opinion I don't have much of a desire for it. For less money I can add PDI and EL lighted side blades and get more playfield enjoyment.

Well when it's off yes it looks better with just the art; but when playing it looks better with the screen. I mostly bought the screen to "future proof" my Highway cab.

#12353 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

So did either of you get the face huggers for the slings? I know there was only one pair between the three games. Who got game three? I'd have taken it because I just happen to have a spare piece of glass and a FEW scratches might not have bothered me or maybe polished out. Congrats to both of you!

Yes I believe they all had face huggers now. Game three was being kept by Cointaker on account of the broken glass being in the cabinet and the playfield of it being scratched. I assume they will ship that back to heighway and get a new playfield kit for the cabinet but I have no idea really other than I was told they were keeping it. I think it may be to take to other shows as well once they get it fixed up.

#12354 2 years ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

I also wonder ....

Whoa

I need to take a trip north when the game arrives.

#12355 2 years ago

I'm just thinking back to the old days when this was good enough to make us drool and open our wallets. It even had a real plunger!

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#12356 2 years ago
Quoted from redundor:

A similar thing happens on a hobbit a friend of mine has. The right wire form causes the ball to spin from the inlane to the outlane. Super frustrating when it happens, but that's pinball. If it was my game id be right in there tweaking to get it working "properly", but some people don't mind...
Still worth trying to minimize it as much as possible!

Yep, tweak the wireform. Easy enough of a fix.

#12357 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

I'm just thinking back to the old days when this was good enough to make us drool and open our wallets. It even had a real plunger!

I guess if it's possible per Heighway, if your unsure and undecided you can add the monitor at a later date with a future game kit with LCD upgrade!?

21
#12358 2 years ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

This one will be going on location in Springfield, MO for a few weeks until I can get down there to pick it up. I left straight from TPF to go to Florida for my spring break and will pick it up here in April then it will be on location in Lafayette, IN so anyone wanting to get some time on it you have some options.

Yup, we just put it on location tonight! I spent and hour or so cleaning, mylaring and adjusting things and it is playing great. Got the screen leveled out and it is a nice smooth transition now. So if you are in the Missouri area and want to give it a go, head to Springfield.

That said, I played several games tonight after dialing it in and it just played so much better than it did at TPF. If our customers like it I will probably end up selling my GB Prem and buying one of these. I already enjoy playing it more. Big thanks to Tommy for allowing to give it a test run before he can take it over to Indiana.

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#12359 2 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

That said, I played several games tonight after dialing it in and it just played so much better than it did at TPF.

What all did you adjust to dial in?

#12360 2 years ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

What all did you adjust to dial in?

Scoop, ramp ball drops to keep it from rattling out of the inlane, sling switches, leveled the playfield LCD so the ball rolled smooth, adjusted the ramp switches so they would register every time. Then the normal cleaned, leveled and waxed. Not a ton of stuff but it really made a difference in how it played.

#12361 2 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

Yup, we just put it on location tonight! I spent and hour or so cleaning, mylaring and adjusting things and it is playing great. Got the screen leveled out and it is a nice smooth transition now. So if you are in the Missouri area and want to give it a go, head to Springfield.
That said, I played several games tonight after dialing it in and it just played so much better than it did at TPF. If our customers like it I will probably end up selling my GB Prem and buying one of these. I already enjoy playing it more. Big thanks to Tommy for allowing to give it a test run before he can take it over to Indiana.

I really like the black cab so much more than the original FTH run. Now about those legs...

#12362 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

I really like the black cab so much more than the original FTH run. Now about those legs...

My dad and I were talking about this last night. The new black cartridge for the glass is perfect as far as looks go. Not sure why they didn't go with black legs. If I end up getting one I will just swap them out.

One thing I didn't expect was how heavy the playfield glass cartridge was. Weighs a lot more than you think it would and can be kind of hard to handle.

#12363 2 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

Yup, we just put it on location tonight! I spent and hour or so cleaning, mylaring and adjusting things and it is playing great. Got the screen leveled out and it is a nice smooth transition now. So if you are in the Missouri area and want to give it a go, head to Springfield.
That said, I played several games tonight after dialing it in and it just played so much better than it did at TPF. If our customers like it I will probably end up selling my GB Prem and buying one of these. I already enjoy playing it more. Big thanks to Tommy for allowing to give it a test run before he can take it over to Indiana.

MAN, all these locations getting an Alien! That's awesome! Someone in the Cincinnati area PLEASE put one on location so I can get my fix until my LE arrives!!

Brian

#12364 2 years ago

California needs an Alien!
Will someone please bring this to PAGG or California Extreme in the coming months.

#12365 2 years ago
Quoted from conester:

MAN, all these locations getting an Alien! That's awesome! Someone in the Cincinnati area PLEASE put one on location so I can get my fix until my LE arrives!!
Brian

This particular machine will be in Lafayette, In in a few weeks so maybe you can make a road trip. Great arcade in Lafayette in Main Street Amusements that is worth checking out as well.

#12366 2 years ago

Mk1Mod0 took this picture in Texas and posted.

I thought it was Exceptional! I cleaned it up a little.

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#12367 2 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

My dad and I were talking about this last night. The new black cartridge for the glass is perfect as far as looks go. Not sure why they didn't go with black legs. If I end up getting one I will just swap them out.
One thing I didn't expect was how heavy the playfield glass cartridge was. Weighs a lot more than you think it would and can be kind of hard to handle.

Do you think the legs could be swapped with other out there, like sterns? Are the legs a different shape than most others or do they stick out further because of how they mount on the cab?

I spoke to Morgan and he believes we can order them with black legs. He said he'd check with Andrew. They have been great about answering my pre order questions and I'll be pulling the trigger soon!

28
#12368 2 years ago

Ohhh Myyy Gaaawwwdddd.... I've tweaked a few things, and ALIEN is playing GREAT. I finally broke 40 million on a few games, finished several multi-balls, completed modes - even got close to seeing a wizard mode. Trust me, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, you will not be disappointed. This game ROCKS!! The lightshow and sounds are truly amazing.

That being said - yeah, my game is early production and not everything was 100% when I brought it home from TPF. I knew this going in. Andrew and I talked, and I let him know I've done a few playfield swaps and know my way around a pin. I wasn't going to freak out if a few adjustments or tweaks were needed. Here's what I've done so far....

Airlock scoop: This is the most important shot in Alien, as it starts modes. The last thing you want is to qualify a mode, hit the start shot - and be rewarded with a SDTM kickout. I adjusted this mech to prevent that.

Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.

Ball trough kickout: On a rare occasion, the ball would not launch cleanly into the shooter lane. This was also a pretty easy fix.

Pops/slings: Gapped the switches as you would with any new machine.

Leveled the machine. Yep - that helps.

Honestly, I enjoy working on pinball machines, so it doesn't bother me that, yes -even a new machine may not work perfectly 'out of the box' (or in my case, a hastily set up machine that subsequently gets pounded by over 400 players over a 48+ hour period).

I had a BLAST playing tonight.

#12369 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Ohhh Myyy Gaaawwwdddd.... I've tweaked a few things, and ALIEN is playing GREAT. I finally broke 40 million on a few games, finished several multi-balls, completed modes - even got close to seeing a wizard mode. Trust me, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, you will not be disappointed. This game ROCKS!! The lightshow and sounds are truly amazing.
That being said - yeah, my game is early production and not everything was 100% when I brought it home from TPF. I knew this going in. Andrew and I talked, and I let him know I've done a few playfield swaps and know my way around a pin. I wasn't going to freak out if a few adjustments or tweaks were needed. Here's what I've done so far....
Airlock scoop: This is the most important shot in Alien, as it starts modes. The last thing you want it to qualify a mode, hit the start shot - and be rewarded with a SDTM kickout. I adjusted this mech to prevent that.
Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.
Ball trough kickout: On a rare occasion, the ball would not launch cleanly into the shooter lane. This was also a pretty easy fix.
Pops/slings: Gapped the switches as you would with any new machine.
Leveled the machine. Yep - that helps.
Honestly, I enjoy working on pinball machines, so it doesn't bother me that, yes -even a new machine may not work perfectly 'out of the box' (or in my case, a hastily set up machine that subsequently gets pounded by over 400 players over a 48+ hour period).
I had a BLAST playing tonight.

Yeah, yeah, rub it in to all of us on the waiting list.

#12370 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Ohhh Myyy Gaaawwwdddd.... I've tweaked a few things, and ALIEN is playing GREAT. I finally broke 40 million on a few games, finished several multi-balls, completed modes - even got close to seeing a wizard mode. Trust me, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, you will not be disappointed. This game ROCKS!! The lightshow and sounds are truly amazing.
That being said - yeah, my game is early production and not everything was 100% when I brought it home from TPF. I knew this going in. Andrew and I talked, and I let him know I've done a few playfield swaps and know my way around a pin. I wasn't going to freak out if a few adjustments or tweaks were needed. Here's what I've done so far....
Airlock scoop: This is the most important shot in Alien, as it starts modes. The last thing you want it to qualify a mode, hit the start shot - and be rewarded with a SDTM kickout. I adjusted this mech to prevent that.
Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.
Ball trough kickout: On a rare occasion, the ball would not launch cleanly into the shooter lane. This was also a pretty easy fix.
Pops/slings: Gapped the switches as you would with any new machine.
Leveled the machine. Yep - that helps.
Honestly, I enjoy working on pinball machines, so it doesn't bother me that, yes -even a new machine may not work perfectly 'out of the box' (or in my case, a hastily set up machine that subsequently gets pounded by over 400 players over a 48+ hour period).
I had a BLAST playing tonight.

Glad you are loving the game so far, although hearing reviews like this make it even harder to wait for my game! Thanks for sharing info on what you've needed to tweak as well. Have you played around with any of the game settings yet? I'm curious if the flipper or coil power settings make much of a difference in game speed? How is the audio quality at home compared to the Metallica next to it? I will definitely be hooking mine up to my external sub when I get it!

#12371 2 years ago
Quoted from MikeS:

I will definitely be hooking mine up to my external sub when I get it!

Ditto!

#12372 2 years ago
Quoted from MikeS:

Have you played around with any of the game settings yet? I'm curious if the flipper or coil power settings make much of a difference in game speed? How is the audio quality at home compared to the Metallica next to it?

Yes, I've been through all of the menus. However, I did not see any flipper/coil power settings. The audio is simply amazing - seriously. I had to turn it down a lot when I got it home. Also, there are settings to adjust the callouts, movie quotes and music separately, so you can get the mix you want.

#12373 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

Do you think the legs could be swapped with other out there, like sterns? Are the legs a different shape than most others or do they stick out further because of how they mount on the cab?
I spoke to Morgan and he believes we can order them with black legs. He said he'd check with Andrew. They have been great about answering my pre order questions and I'll be pulling the trigger soon!

Yeah, pretty sure they are just standard pinball legs.

#12374 2 years ago
Quoted from Gov:

Yeah, pretty sure they are just standard pinball legs.

I can confirm. Standard legs.

#12375 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Ohhh Myyy Gaaawwwdddd.... I've tweaked a few things, and ALIEN is playing GREAT. I finally broke 40 million on a few games, finished several multi-balls, completed modes - even got close to seeing a wizard mode. Trust me, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, you will not be disappointed. This game ROCKS!! The lightshow and sounds are truly amazing.
That being said - yeah, my game is early production and not everything was 100% when I brought it home from TPF. I knew this going in. Andrew and I talked, and I let him know I've done a few playfield swaps and know my way around a pin. I wasn't going to freak out if a few adjustments or tweaks were needed. Here's what I've done so far....
Airlock scoop: This is the most important shot in Alien, as it starts modes. The last thing you want is to qualify a mode, hit the start shot - and be rewarded with a SDTM kickout. I adjusted this mech to prevent that.
Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.
Ball trough kickout: On a rare occasion, the ball would not launch cleanly into the shooter lane. This was also a pretty easy fix.
Pops/slings: Gapped the switches as you would with any new machine.
Leveled the machine. Yep - that helps.
Honestly, I enjoy working on pinball machines, so it doesn't bother me that, yes -even a new machine may not work perfectly 'out of the box' (or in my case, a hastily set up machine that subsequently gets pounded by over 400 players over a 48+ hour period).
I had a BLAST playing tonight.

Considering it took me 3 hours to get my NIB STERN Star Trek Premium working out of the box and lets not even talk about BM66 out of the box, its on youtube, ...... all this is TRIVIAL. and BTW, I'm really happy with both of those Sterns. These are complicated machines and often just need some love out of the box.

#12376 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Ohhh Myyy Gaaawwwdddd.... I've tweaked a few things, and ALIEN is playing GREAT. I finally broke 40 million on a few games, finished several multi-balls, completed modes - even got close to seeing a wizard mode. Trust me, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, you will not be disappointed. This game ROCKS!! The lightshow and sounds are truly amazing.
That being said - yeah, my game is early production and not everything was 100% when I brought it home from TPF. I knew this going in. Andrew and I talked, and I let him know I've done a few playfield swaps and know my way around a pin. I wasn't going to freak out if a few adjustments or tweaks were needed. Here's what I've done so far....
Airlock scoop: This is the most important shot in Alien, as it starts modes. The last thing you want is to qualify a mode, hit the start shot - and be rewarded with a SDTM kickout. I adjusted this mech to prevent that.
Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.
Ball trough kickout: On a rare occasion, the ball would not launch cleanly into the shooter lane. This was also a pretty easy fix.
Pops/slings: Gapped the switches as you would with any new machine.
Leveled the machine. Yep - that helps.
Honestly, I enjoy working on pinball machines, so it doesn't bother me that, yes -even a new machine may not work perfectly 'out of the box' (or in my case, a hastily set up machine that subsequently gets pounded by over 400 players over a 48+ hour period).
I had a BLAST playing tonight.

Can you describe your tweaks in detail? i.e. there was a MMR NIB owners repair/tweak guide thread, might be good to start one for Alien.

#12377 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Outlane posts: I'm not trying to take peoples money, I want to have fun. I tightened the outlane posts. EASY adjustment.

what do you mean by tighten the outlane posts? Did you move the left outlane up to make it more conservative. I have moed ours up to mid way to help but still gets the ocassional walkback to the outlane form ramp exit.

Is yours all the way blocked now on left?

#12378 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

Anyone considering skipping the LCD? I really like Aurichs work on the backglass. Without considering resale value or anyone else's opinion I don't have much of a desire for it. For less money I can add PDI and EL lighted side blades and get more playfield enjoyment.

Is there a way to get both.....have the artwork on the LCD when the game is not being played but in standby? Then when you play, it switches to interactive? Or were you just talking from a cost perspective?

#12379 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

Anyone considering skipping the LCD? I really like Aurichs work on the backglass. Without considering resale value or anyone else's opinion I don't have much of a desire for it. For less money I can add PDI and EL lighted side blades and get more playfield enjoyment.

Just get the LCD, it's awesome! It's a feature that 90%+ of buyers are going to want if you ever decide to sell down the line so you'd be limiting your buyer's pool. You'll get your money back on the LCD but not on the PDI and EL lighting. I'm getting mine with the LCD and EL side lighting as I think those are the best two bang for the buck additions.

#12380 2 years ago
Quoted from sandersj:

Can you describe your tweaks in detail?

Will do. My plan is to write up a complete post, with pictures.

Quoted from Whysnow:

what do you mean by tighten the outlane posts? Did you move the left outlane up to make it more conservative.

Yep, that's it.

#12381 2 years ago

Well...., I took a deep breath and paid in full for both Full Throttle and Alien LE. This gets me to the 'front of the line'. After the Dutch Pinball fiasco, I'm a little nervous that Heighway will get into some cash bind. However, the Alien title is even better IMO than 'The Big Lebowski'. So, I will cross my fingers and hope (pray) I get my games by June/July. I will report progress or lack thereof. Alien could be the game of the year. Let's hope they don't blow it.

#12382 2 years ago
Quoted from Manimal:

Is there a way to get both.....have the artwork on the LCD when the game is not being played but in standby? Then when you play, it switches to interactive? Or were you just talking from a cost perspective?

Per Morgan at Heighway just now the LCD is factory installed only. However, I can, and did, purchase the full translight by itself, just to have! I already have a lighted backbox tho display it in.

#12383 2 years ago
Quoted from MikeS:

I'm getting mine with the LCD and EL side lighting as I think those are the best two bang for the buck additions.

That is exactly how I ordered mine.

#12384 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

Per Morgan at Heighway just now the LCD is factory installed only. However, I can, and did, purchase the full translight by itself, just to have! I already have a lighted backbox tho display it in.

No, I probably should have phrased that better. I was talking more of a screensaver type of deal. Have the artwork display on the LCD when it is just sitting and turned on. I have no idea of what actually is displayed, but if you like that artwork, a stationary digital image would be as good as a translite.

#12385 2 years ago

Why stop there? You could have a full slide show of cool images from the movies during attract mode

Quoted from Manimal:

No, I probably should have phrased that better. I was talking more of a screensaver type of deal. Have the artwork display on the LCD when it is just sitting and turned on. I have no idea of what actually is displayed, but if you like that artwork, a stationary digital image would be as good as a translite.

#12386 2 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Why stop there? You could have a full slide show of cool images from the movies during attract mode

OR the option to do one or the other.

#12387 2 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

You could have a full slide show of cool images from the movies during attract mode

Operators could sell/install commercial content on it...remind you to buy some chicken wings in the attract mode

#12388 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Operators could sell/install commercial content on it...remind you to buy some chicken wings in the attract mode

Alien Eggs and Hash

Xeno Wings!

Mini Mouth Poppers!

#12389 2 years ago

Chestbursting Burger?

#12390 2 years ago

Green Acid Icee

#12391 2 years ago

I was thinking more like spaghetti. If someone falls on the table and starts jerking around just run.

#12392 2 years ago

Hi Andrew, I was seriously looking at one of these, however it really was bothering me that they are trickling out and taking so long. Does it bother anyone else sitting on the fence? Andrew can you let me know if your company is strong and viable enough to get all ordered machines out in a timely fashion? Not looking to read your financials had the pleasure, Cough Cough, of reading Zidwares' however been stung so many times I would at least like your honest synopsis of the situation and a rough time line to delivery if ordered today. Cheers and keep up the good work, the machine is looking great!

#12393 2 years ago
Quoted from Manimal:

No, I probably should have phrased that better. I was talking more of a screensaver type of deal. Have the artwork display on the LCD when it is just sitting and turned on. I have no idea of what actually is displayed, but if you like that artwork, a stationary digital image would be as good as a translite.

I'm pretty sure during the attract mode, it shows the very first scenes from Alien. The camera slowly making its way through the hallways & areas of the Nostromo. It's a brilliant choice IMO, and one of my favorite cinematography moments from either film.

#12394 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Hi Andrew, I was seriously looking at one of these, however it really was bothering me that they are trickling out and taking so long. Does it bother anyone else sitting on the fence?

I locked in a LE years ago so I'm not really on the fence but honestly pinball takes up such a tiny percentage of my recreational energy, especially this time of year, that it doesn't matter to me when I get mine.

Taken in context, in the pinside space where all the hardcore pinball Fanatics are concentrated together and have to know when this or that is going to ship is "interesting" to say the least.

I would probably weight this differently if shipping were close and it was winter and freezing outside and I was banging off the walls but it's just that time of year where I dedicate playtime towards other things. I have a garage full of new motorcycles that never seems to get enough of my attention.

#12395 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Hi Andrew, I was seriously looking at one of these, however it really was bothering me that they are trickling out and taking so long. Does it bother anyone else sitting on the fence? Andrew can you let me know if your company is strong and viable enough to get all ordered machines out in a timely fashion? Not looking to read your financials had the pleasure, Cough Cough, of reading Zidwares' however been stung so many times I would at least like your honest synopsis of the situation and a rough time line to delivery if ordered today. Cheers and keep up the good work, the machine is looking great!

I don't think they've actually begun shipping production games yet. The couple that shipped out early were prototypes and then they've sold the games they've had shipped to shows at the actual show (which is common practice so you don't have to pay to ship games back). If there is one thing all pin manufacturers should have learned by now, that's not to predict a delivery date before they are actually shipping production games, when they have a better idea for how fast they can produce and ship games. I think if I were concerned, I'd wait a few weeks until their production line is up and running and shipping before committing. But man, seeing those videos of the factory and all the cabinets, parts and machinery on hand, as well as the games that have come out so far and how upfront they've been here, sure builds confidence, even if they smartly avoid timeline predictions now.

#12396 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Does it bother anyone else sitting on the fence?

Lol, fence sitters are usually bothered by things. That's why they sit on fences. Pick a side.

#12397 2 years ago
Quoted from TimeBandit:

Lol, fence sitters are usually bothered by things. That's why they sit on fences. Pick a side.

You are right 1. bothered by all my fellow pinheads that have lost good hard earned money with Zidware and now looking like DP.
2. bothered by my loosing good hard earned money on Zidware and now looking like DP.

I will be glad to sit on the fence now with the wickets shoved so far up my ars, it reminds me to never give anyone money until I know exactly where the company stands and when I can get my pin if I order today. So perhaps Andrew can let me know the answers to my questions.

#12398 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

You are right 1. bothered by all my fellow pinheads that have lost good hard earned money with Zidware and now looking like DP.
2. bothered by my loosing good hard earned money on Zidware and now looking like DP.
I will be glad to sit on the fence now with the wickets shoved so far up my ars, it reminds me to never give anyone money until I know exactly where the company stands and when I can get my pin if I order today. So perhaps Andrew can let me know the answers to my questions.

I agree with you 1000% .....if I was in your shoes I'd do likewise.

That being said I did not get in on any JPOP titles and I did not get in with DP. In both those cases I had interest but was a little leary and wanted to wait until games where actually shipping and getting reviewed.

I sent in a deposit to Highway for an Alien. I just think Highway is a totally different situation. (But like I said.....if I was you I would be waiting).

#12399 2 years ago
Quoted from nwpinball:

I don't think they've actually begun shipping production games yet.

curious what you define as a production game?

#12400 2 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

You are right 1. bothered by all my fellow pinheads that have lost good hard earned money with Zidware and now looking like DP.
2. bothered by my loosing good hard earned money on Zidware and now looking like DP.
I will be glad to sit on the fence now with the wickets shoved so far up my ars, it reminds me to never give anyone money until I know exactly where the company stands and when I can get my pin if I order today. So perhaps Andrew can let me know the answers to my questions.

If I were as uncomfortable with pre-order as you appear to be (rightly IMHO, due to the unfortunate situations with Zidware, DP), I'd simply wait and see how things unfold in terms of the production ramp-up, etc.

Doesn't matter what Andrew says at the end of the day (and I have nothing but admiration for what Andrew and the Heighway team are doing), the only thing you can "bank" on is seeing games being delivered in a timely manner and at an ever-increasing rate to thrilled customers.

If you must have an LE, then a min. deposit to a distributor is the safest option. By the time your full payment is due there should be ample evidence of volume delivery, I would think. If things went completely off the rails for some reason, your deposit should be refundable by the distributor.

Or just wait and pick up an SE when they are widely available. Anticipation is half the fun.

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