(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • 24,902 posts
  • 990 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 hour ago by noitbe1
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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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52 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20 (Show topic index)

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-17
#24601 39 days ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

knockerlover is the man who saved my Alien and help others with his knowledge.
The Alien community is great thanks to guys like him.
Please go to PM for your stuff.

Appreciate your input but perhaps the Alien community needs to look at others and their smartarse comments before having a go at my replies.

#24602 39 days ago

I was the Danish distributor for Heighway and got my order of 3 of the last produced LE’s out just before they closed the doors. All 3 are green and all 3 are still in Denmark. I sold 2 and kept one for my own collection. It is LE #200 and it is still sitting unopened in the box.

It is a fantastic and very special game there are no doubt about that(yes I have played the game a lot). Taste varies and I say if you have an Alien and don’t care for it sell it to someone who want one!

#24603 39 days ago
Quoted from Cigaretteman:

I was the Danish distributor for Heighway and got my order of 3 of the last produced LE’s out just before they closed the doors. All 3 are green and all 3 are still in Denmark. I sold 2 and kept one for my own collection. It is LE #200 and it is still sitting unopened in the box.
It is a fantastic and very special game there are no doubt about that(yes I have played the game a lot). Taste varies and I say if you have an Alien and don’t care for it sell it to someone who want one!

Just wondering from your experience how many do you think were made?

#24604 39 days ago
Quoted from gold1:

Just wondering from your experience how many do you think were made?

~200 machines including LE and SE

Quoted from Cigaretteman:

I was the Danish distributor for Heighway and got my order of 3 of the last produced LE’s out just before they closed the doors. All 3 are green and all 3 are still in Denmark. I sold 2 and kept one for my own collection. It is LE #200 and it is still sitting unopened in the box.
It is a fantastic and very special game there are no doubt about that(yes I have played the game a lot). Taste varies and I say if you have an Alien and don’t care for it sell it to someone who want one!

Or just keep it unopened sitting in the box!

#24605 39 days ago
Quoted from royneblom:

The last Alien New in box ??
Well there are one more Alien LE new in box left in my warehouse.
Not only is it properly the last one in the world its also the most wanted one LE NO 426.

Quoted from Cigaretteman:

I was the Danish distributor for Heighway and got my order of 3 of the last produced LE’s out just before they closed the doors. All 3 are green and all 3 are still in Denmark. I sold 2 and kept one for my own collection. It is LE #200 and it is still sitting unopened in the box.
It is a fantastic and very special game there are no doubt about that(yes I have played the game a lot). Taste varies and I say if you have an Alien and don’t care for it sell it to someone who want one!

There will be more !! Also under 18.000 Dollar

#24606 39 days ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

knockerlover is the man who saved (many) Aliens and helps others with his knowledge.
The Alien community is great thanks to guys like him.

+1

#24607 38 days ago

The troll aside...

For anyone with the older style inverted logic drop target board Freeplay has a couple full drop target assemblies. Bit pricey at 130 shipped, but after recieving pics it is very obvious that it is not using a williams/bally drop target board like mine is. Have not found another source for that board and wondering if once they sell out anyone else needing it to upgrade will have to design their own?

#24608 38 days ago
Quoted from dung:

The troll aside...
For anyone with the older style inverted logic drop target board Freeplay has a couple full drop target assemblies. Bit pricey at 130 shipped, but after recieving pics it is very obvious that it is not using a williams/bally drop target board like mine is. Have not found another source for that board and wondering if once they sell out anyone else needing it to upgrade will have to design their own?

I’ve never had hands on the original problematic drop target board. But the way it was explained to me is there is something reversed. So the game is constantly trying to put the drop targets into a state they are unknowingly already in, and get stuck in a loop.

I would *think* this could be hacked to work.

#24609 38 days ago
Quoted from knockerlover:

I’ve never had hands on the original problematic drop target board. But the way it was explained to me is there is something reversed. So the game is constantly trying to put the drop targets into a state they are unknowingly already in, and get stuck in a loop.
I would *think* this could be hacked to work.

So, I spent some time on this. The problem is this. The game see's the drops as down when they should be up. At the start of a ball the game fires the drop target coil raising the drops. With the inverted board the switches are marked as active ie down. The game does not recognize this, probably the loop you are referring to.

So, if you pull the board off the drop target assembly, and then start a game you can break the opto's line and trigger the drops correctly.

Digging further a friend and I spent an evening searching google for schematics of the chip and tried to find one that would do the inverse, did not find it. Reading around the net we read that you can switch the inputs (ie cut the traces and run jumpers so that the inputs are opposite) and I tested it on one opto, but it just fails to work now.

Had I not found a source for the correct board my next step was to talk to Ed at great plains or possibly someone who makes an aftermarket version of the bally style board that was in my game. My guess is they would know how to invert their product.

#24610 38 days ago

IMHO, cheaper to just order the correct "production" part from Freeplay. I'm sure you can re-wire the one you have if you can figure out the exact changes they made between pre-production and production boards...but you'd need to know how to do electrical design and IC soldering work.

#24611 37 days ago
Quoted from Pale_Purple:

~200 machines including LE and SE

Or just keep it unopened sitting in the box!

I was under the impression that if you buy something you are free to decide when you want to unbox it? It is not sitting in the box waiting to be sold for a profit I can tell you that much.

#24612 37 days ago
Quoted from Cigaretteman:

I was under the impression that if you buy something you are free to decide when you want to unbox it? It is not sitting in the box waiting to be sold for a profit I can tell you that much.

Of course 100% I just thought it was funny to have “fantastic very special game” next to “still unopened in the box” I don’t know what I would do honestly if I had a LE NIB right now, probably open it and keep it, selling my standard because I’m dumb and love this game. I wonder if there will be any truth to the rumors of more being made by another company. Seems unlikely but who knows these days.

#24613 37 days ago

I have played the 2 other games a lot so I don’t have to unpack this to get the pleasure of playing it. It is one of those things where to much work and to little time to play is a factor.
I for one is hoping it will get remade right. I would love to see JJP redo this. To much work went in to this game by a dedicated team and it would be a shame if it stopped with just 200 games. I want to see many more people being able to enjoy it.

#24614 37 days ago
Quoted from Cigaretteman:

I have played the 2 other games a lot so I don’t have to unpack this to get the pleasure of playing it. It is one of those things where to much work and to little time to play is a factor.
I for one is hoping it will get remade right. I would love to see JJP redo this. To much work went in to this game by a dedicated team and it would be a shame if it stopped with just 200 games. I want to see many more people being able to enjoy it.

Eh, I am mixed. Part of me wants them to move on to the next thing rather than revisit the past. Part of why I don't get the hype over Chicago Coin's remakes at this point.

#24615 37 days ago
Quoted from Pale_Purple:

Of course 100% I just thought it was funny to have “fantastic very special game” next to “still unopened in the box” I don’t know what I would do honestly if I had a LE NIB right now, probably open it and keep it, selling my standard because I’m dumb and love this game. I wonder if there will be any truth to the rumors of more being made by another company. Seems unlikely but who knows these days.

I thought the more ironic part was something about ‘if you don’t love this game sell it to Someone who will’ — yet yours sits unopened. That’s all.

#24616 37 days ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

I thought the more ironic part was something about ‘if you don’t love this game sell it to Someone who will’ — yet yours sits unopened. That’s all.

maybe it’s a love / hate kinda thing.

#24617 37 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Eh, I am mixed. Part of me wants them to move on to the next thing rather than revisit the past. Part of why I don't get the hype over Chicago Coin's remakes at this point.

This game is part of the future, it was just mismanaged. I would buy a new Alien in a heartbeat.

#24618 36 days ago
Quoted from Roostking:

This game is part of the future, it was just mismanaged. I would buy a new Alien in a heartbeat.

Disagree, but I collect all sorts of odd ball games. Mystery Castle for example is a stellar game hobbled by a company that was dying as it was built. Pistol Poker even more so as the playfield design was excellent, but the code is so bare bones its kinda moot.

Alien is a great game. I do wish it had gotten more code, but for the time a company could spend to remake it, they could design something new. I'd rather see what that something new was.

#24619 36 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Alien is a great game. I do wish it had gotten more code

What do you feel it's missing in the code department?

#24620 36 days ago
Quoted from Ferret:

What do you feel it's missing in the code department?

To me the code seems 100% complete. This is not CC...
A lot of great ideas:This is my favorite gameplay pin anyway and I’ve played a lot of games.

#24621 36 days ago

Think the code is quite good. Maybe some slight glitches here and there, but overall quite solid.

The engineering is where the shortfall came, and believe it could be said of any title....Alien never had a chance to develop, work the hardware, connectivity issues out, and provide the true factory support needed to have the game thrive. Plastics, no hall effect sensor or opto to sense the ball, I/O connectivity, PS issues were the biggies. Alot of good in this machine, however.

This title would have been sold solid #'s....one of the few out there that really plays differently, and doesn't need gimmicks to pull it off. Layout is so unlike anything I've had or played prior.

#24622 36 days ago

Speaking of code. I have an early FT Cabinet version of alien it was originally running .94, crashed Then I got it back running with 1.02. Just curious since it seems to work fine with that version in my original Zoltac Computer could I just upgrade to the full 1.2 version without any problems? The only thing I’m waiting on is timebandit To let me know when he has stock available for bulbs. Then on eventually move into upgrading the head to work. The tongue comes out and jaw opens after I replaced the motor, But it doesn’t seem to activate in the game no surprise. Interesting enough though when the magnet holds the ball it somehow deactivates the upper flipper and drop targets and mother hole On that switch string. It doesn’t look like it’s blowing any fuses it just somehow makes them stop working?

#24623 36 days ago
Quoted from megaladon:

Just curious since it seems to work fine with that version in my original Zoltac Computer could I just upgrade to the full 1.2 version without any problems?

The answer is "probably".

IN THEORY, there's no reason why v1.2 shouldn't work on the Zotac computer if v1.02 is working properly.

IN PRACTICE, we didn't do much testing of the later software releases on the Zotac, because of the expectation that most/all production units would have the HPraise computer.

If you want to try this upgrade, might be a good idea to first make a backup image of the existing hard drive, if you know how to do that... then you could get back to that image if you had a problem with 1.2. (Actually, I think you already used an image to get your machine up to 1.02, so you're probably already set in that regard... just re-image again using the same steps as before if you run into trouble.)

#24624 36 days ago
Quoted from Ferret:

The answer is "probably".

Yes it should work. I kept a spare Zotac and installed code to it occasionally before I got my Alien game. I also know someone who updated an early Zotac game without any problems.

#24625 35 days ago
Quoted from megaladon:

Interesting enough though when the magnet holds the ball it somehow deactivates the upper flipper and drop targets and mother hole On that switch string. It doesn’t look like it’s blowing any fuses it just somehow makes them stop working?

You have red "prototype" IO boards? Replace the middle playfield IO board with a newer design one and this issue *should* go away.

I say "should" because the issue haunted us in debugging it, and we believe it's caused by poor USB comms (collapsing due to electromagnetic interference), and the way in which the circuit overload protection circuits interact with the IO control design they chose. HWP hacked/disabled one set of the overload protection in the newer run IO boards, keeping the main protection circuit, and it seems to have helped this particular scenario, but actually doesn't 100% fix the root cause of poor USB IO and interference. I actually have oscilloscope screen captures of the upper right flipper coil getting "locked on" because of the way the USB comm collapses and doesn't receive it's command to switch coil to hold. I've been meaning to do a write up on our findings for some time.

The other thing that has been said 1000 times here is USB cable quality. Get high quality USB cables with the ferrite cores, and shorter the better. Run them away from noisy lines, meaning, keep them away from coils and other sources of EMI.

IMHO, the real fix assuming hardware is unchangeable, would be game code and an IO board firmware update that changed the USB commands around and did coil hold timing on the IO board, rather than in game code, so the board will know when to switch from fire to hold by itself even if USB comms drop, that way not reliant on the USB comms to stay 100% reliable during such timed command. The way it is now, if USB comms drop mid event, it is over taxing the coil drivers causing the protection circuit to save the day (and stop the coil from working until power cycle), but falling back to the main protection circuit isn't actually better either...which I'll save for another day when I can dig up the o'scope pics.

#24626 35 days ago

My Alien has been working fine ever since I got it... until last night. When I turn it on I get a quick “no signal” on the screen then it just goes dark and never boots up. I have no idea where to even begin trouble shooting. Any advice greatly appreciated!

#24627 35 days ago
Quoted from adamross:

My Alien has been working fine ever since I got it... until last night. When I turn it on I get a quick “no signal” on the screen then it just goes dark and never boots up. I have no idea where to even begin trouble shooting. Any advice greatly appreciated!

I would check the computer first. Did you check the screen plug connection and did you tried to plug a usb too? Seems like You can’t plug the usb key to it during the boot because it prevents the start.

#24628 35 days ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

I would check the computer first. Did you check the screen plug connection and did you tried to plug a usb too? Seems like You can’t plug the usb key to it during the boot because it prevents the start.

I’ve never plugged a USB key into it.

#24629 35 days ago
Quoted from adamross:

I’ve never plugged a USB key into it.

Aside from all the playfield stuff, if the computer was booting normaly you should have something on the screen.
Either there is something wrong with the signal which turn on the computer either the computer itself is not booting for some reason.
It’s possible to test the computer with plugging a extra 6A plug and a pc display to check if it’s still working.
If the computer is ok then it reduce the possibility to the PS maybe.
Good luck.

#24630 35 days ago
Quoted from megaladon:

Speaking of code. I have an early FT Cabinet version of alien it was originally running .94, crashed Then I got it back running with 1.02. Just curious since it seems to work fine with that version in my original Zoltac Computer could I just upgrade to the full 1.2 version without any problems? The only thing I’m waiting on is timebandit To let me know when he has stock available for bulbs. Then on eventually move into upgrading the head to work. The tongue comes out and jaw opens after I replaced the motor, But it doesn’t seem to activate in the game no surprise. Interesting enough though when the magnet holds the ball it somehow deactivates the upper flipper and drop targets and mother hole On that switch string. It doesn’t look like it’s blowing any fuses it just somehow makes them stop working?

I finally upgraded my Zotac for my Alien LE
I was having issues with the IO Boards Losing connectivity no matter how many different cables and USB Hubs I tried.
Game plays flawlessly with the New computer.

I suggest any other Zotac Users Invest in the Upgraded Computer from Freeplay, it really made a difference for me.

7558E0DA-70D4-4AEA-8699-7E8E506CE582 (resized).jpeg7B5B82F0-6FB6-4B76-BE21-4A56537885BD (resized).jpeg8714E3FD-D526-496C-B18A-E775776E9AF1 (resized).jpeg
#24631 35 days ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

I finally upgraded my Zotac for my Alien LE
I was having issues with the IO Boards Losing connectivity no matter how many different cables and USB Hubs I tried.
Game plays flawlessly with the New computer.
I suggest any other Zotac Users Invest in the Upgraded Computer from Freeplay, it really made a difference for me.[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Jealous of all the plastic covering. Mine has none of it
.

#24632 35 days ago

The lower plastic cover needs a foil on the nderside ... otherwise the green LEDs from the fuses wil disturb the playfield ... will shine trough ...
In my Alien they did not remove the white coverfoil ...

IMG_0215 (resized).JPG
#24633 34 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Alien is a great game. I do wish it had gotten more code, but for the time a company could spend to remake it, they could design something new. I'd rather see what that something new was.

Quoted from Ferret:

What do you feel it's missing in the code department?

well... we're waiting dung!

#24634 34 days ago
Quoted from Lamprey:

So, I've been away from the forums for about a month and am getting caught up. But, I'm thinking about adding a shaker to my game.
Is the Stern Rev B a direct plug in for Alien?
https://www.pinballlife.com/shaker-motor-kit-rev-b-for-most-stern-sam-system-games.html
As far as power goes, is it just the 12v PSU that needs to be upgraded, right? I thought I had read that adding things, like a shaker, can over load the 12v PSU, so I'll upgrade that. But I wanted to double check on the 70v PSU. It doesn't need to be upgraded, just the parallel cap "upgrade", right? Or am I wrong on the 70v PSU?
Thanks!

Bump..

-5
#24635 34 days ago
Quoted from Dee-Bow:

well... we're waiting dung!

Waiting for what? To hear that a game that got a production of 200 isn't as fully fleshed out as Houdini? Any JJP? Some stern's depending if they sold well or if stern just dropped the ball (ghostbusters). The game is fun, its got some legs, but if it had been in prod longer the code would be deeper. Think early hobbit vs 3.0.

22
#24636 34 days ago

Nope, the problems with the company had nothing to do with the code status. The overall code experience in the 1.2 software is pretty much exactly what was designed for this game. Reaching the mini-wizard modes (Self Destruct and Loader Battle) is attainable, though not a gimme, for many players. Doing so with high shot values (i.e. having won several scenes along the way) is harder. Getting to All Out War is pretty tough for anyone. Along the way, there are plenty of stacking opportunities to try to blow up your score. (Combat Drop + Rescue + Hypersleep MB + Sentry Guns MB + 2X Playfield is a pretty good stack.) Using weapons well is a bit of icing on the cake for advanced players.

The point of Alien wasn't to throw everything and the kitchen sink into a game, it was to create a game that took players into the Alien/Aliens universe with strong theme integration and fun modes and multiballs. Obviously I'm biased, but I think the team achieved that wonderfully. Is the game missing some "gotta have it!" scene from the movies that would've translated into an amazing mode or multiball? I dunno, possibly, but I can't recall any of our team (most of whom are very devoted Alien(s) fanatics) saying "I can't believe the game doesn't have <blah>!". And adding dubious tie-ins to the game just to say we have 12 modes instead of 10, or 8 multiballs instead of 7, or 4 wizard modes instead of 3, seems worse than pointless: I think it would stand out like a sore thumb if some features had crappy links to the movies.

If you can reach All Out War every game: congratulations, you're a far better player than most, and it might be time to pass your Alien on to someone else. For everyone else, I'm completely satisfied with the experience we provided, and the balance of easier and harder features and goals.

#24637 34 days ago

the code is very good. my only regret to this almost perfect game, the lack of flash light, and the lack of vibrating effect

#24638 34 days ago
Quoted from cyber-greg:

the lack of vibrating effect

Err... do you have the shaker motor accessory?

(I'm also a little sad about the lack of flashers.)

#24640 34 days ago
Quoted from Ferret:

Err... do you have the shaker motor accessory?
(I'm also a little sad about the lack of flashers.)

I kicked my shaker out yetserday. First moved the lame Alien shaker to my BK and still .. lame. Brought an other one in the Alien. Now in test it works a little harder but in game ... still powerless and lame, could not identify one scene where the shaker was working.
All settings are on normal, shaker is "on" power is on high.
So I was missing the working shaker in BK and swapped back. The broken (??) shaker is the one which was delivered with the Alien.

Any ideas why my game is not supporting a shaker ?! Settings ??

IMG_3414 (resized).JPGIMG_3415 (resized).JPG
#24641 34 days ago

cyber-greg, TomDK ... yeah, the Quake shaker is kind of lacking oomph. If you haven't already done so, the 1.2 software offers a "Install Quake" preset that tries to improve the vibration experience with the Quake motors, but in my experience it's just not as feisty as the Cointaker Red Tremor shakers that were previously shipped from the factory.

You should experience shaker effects in Ambush and Sentry Guns multiballs, and the APC, Combat Drop, Queen's Nest, and Tunnel Escape modes.

#24642 34 days ago

Thank you Ferret !!

I never ever saw in 1.2 "Install Quake" .... ?! Where is this hidden ??
I will see to get such a "Tremor" and try again !

#24643 34 days ago

Actions > Presets > Quaker

#24644 34 days ago

I have a stern, not a quake, the problem is not the power, but the frequency of use is too low.

#24645 34 days ago
Quoted from cyber-greg:

I have a stern, not a quake, the problem is not the power, but the frequency of use is too low.

So you don't think the Shaker is worth it either? I remember installing a red tremor from CT which generally rocks too hard but was really disappointed as it went off barely ever. I hear the new code it goes off now though which is why I was thinking of getting one for my new alien. I haven't ordered as I'm waiting on maiden

-2
#24646 34 days ago
Quoted from Ferret:

Nope, the problems with the company had nothing to do with the code status. The overall code experience in the 1.2 software is pretty much exactly what was designed for this game. Reaching the mini-wizard modes (Self Destruct and Loader Battle) is attainable, though not a gimme, for many players. Doing so with high shot values (i.e. having won several scenes along the way) is harder. Getting to All Out War is pretty tough for anyone. Along the way, there are plenty of stacking opportunities to try to blow up your score. (Combat Drop + Rescue + Hypersleep MB + Sentry Guns MB + 2X Playfield is a pretty good stack.) Using weapons well is a bit of icing on the cake for advanced players.
The point of Alien wasn't to throw everything and the kitchen sink into a game, it was to create a game that took players into the Alien/Aliens universe with strong theme integration and fun modes and multiballs. Obviously I'm biased, but I think the team achieved that wonderfully. Is the game missing some "gotta have it!" scene from the movies that would've translated into an amazing mode or multiball? I dunno, possibly, but I can't recall any of our team (most of whom are very devoted Alien(s) fanatics) saying "I can't believe the game doesn't have &lt;blah&gt;!". And adding dubious tie-ins to the game just to say we have 12 modes instead of 10, or 8 multiballs instead of 7, or 4 wizard modes instead of 3, seems worse than pointless: I think it would stand out like a sore thumb if some features had crappy links to the movies.
If you can reach All Out War every game: congratulations, you're a far better player than most, and it might be time to pass your Alien on to someone else. For everyone else, I'm completely satisfied with the experience we provided, and the balance of easier and harder features and goals.

Again, ifs a good game, but its not perfected. Shaker implementation, beacon implementation, usage of the airlock lcd. We are going to have to just disagree on this. It is however an effort to be proud of and should hold up over timr vs a lot of titles

#24647 34 days ago
Quoted from delt31:

Donc, vous ne pensez pas que le shaker en vaut la peine? Je me souviens d’avoir installé un tremblement rouge de CT qui, en général, est trop dur, mais j’ai été vraiment déçu car il n’a presque jamais eu lieu. J'entends parler du nouveau code, mais c'est pour cette raison que je pensais en obtenir un pour mon nouvel extraterrestre. Je n'ai pas commandé car j'attends Maiden

the bass HP offers more beautiful sensations! in any case much more often

#24648 34 days ago

does the perfect game exist? no. but alien is almost there. it's one of the best game in the world.

#24649 34 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Again, ifs a good game, but its not perfected. Shaker implementation, beacon implementation, usage of the airlock lcd. We are going to have to just disagree on this. It is however an effort to be proud of and should hold up over timr vs a lot of titles

So you disagree with the creative choices - not that the code is immature, or 'needs more work'

#24650 34 days ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

So you disagree with the creative choices - not that the code is immature, or 'needs more work'

At first it was the software but now it seems to be other things. Even if anything could be improved beyond the plan, it could be true for any pin out there. As far as mechanical, some stuff could have been done diferently or improved a bit for sure as long as official support which no longer exist from HW.
I'm currently working on the TOTAN code and it's one of the frequent remark I got: old code is not perfect and so on... sure. But at the end, I try to see the bright side of it and not the other way around.
If we're not happy with this hobby, why not collecting stamps.

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