Are you paying $1.00 a game to play pinball in your area?

(Topic ID: 203736)

Are you paying $1.00 a game to play pinball in your area?


By dcannan

1 year ago



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  • 176 posts
  • 103 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 13 days ago by dasvis
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “will you pay $1.00 to play one game of pinball”

    • yes it's worth it 63 votes
      53%
    • yes. but I'll play less 34 votes
      29%
    • wish i could but can't afford it 1 vote
      1%
    • no 21 votes
      18%

    (Multiple choice - 119 votes by 117 Pinsiders)

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    There are 176 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 4.
    #51 1 year ago

    €1 for 3 balls here most of the time.. Worth it though haha

    #52 1 year ago

    Wish I had a local place that had the newer pins to play.

    #53 1 year ago

    Most places in The Netherlands ask € 1.00, so about $ 1.15. (Like Rob stated above)
    Some games 3 balls, but where I live often 5 balls.
    I happily pay that for I think it helps keeping pinball on location alive. Unfortenately there're only a few pinball on location in my town.

    #54 1 year ago

    In Minneapolis we’re lucky that have two amazing barcarcades (Tilt and Up/Down). All the vids and pins are a quarter. Tilt will charge $.50 for the new games like Alien, TNA, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s heaven. There are several places to play around the Twin Cities that are $.50-$1 a game, but I simply stopped going there once these places opened.

    #55 1 year ago
    Quoted from Minneapolispin:

    In Minneapolis we’re lucky that have two amazing barcarcades (Tilt and Up/Down). All the vids and pins are a quarter. Tilt will charge $.50 for the new games like Alien, TNA, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s heaven. There are several places to play around the Twin Cities that are $.50-$1 a game, but I simply stopped going there once these places opened.

    You are spoiled with those prices for sure. Hope you are buying plenty of beers to keep them in business cause at a quarter per play they aint cutting much and likely losing on many.

    I have seen that model go 1 of 2 ways. Either to complete freeplay to try and beat the competition and the games end up going to crap real quick. Or they get smart and up prices to .50 per play across the board (when you dont have a split then .50 per play plus beer sales seems to be enough to keep things running)

    In Chicago, Logans Arcade chose the second model and it seems that they consistently have better quality games to play. That to me tells all pinhead to be wary of the model you support. Happy to hear Tilt has gone to .50 per play on the new stuff (that is what likely allows them to bring in the new stuff and keep it going).

    #56 1 year ago

    I’m fine paying a $1 a game as long as the pin is maintained and in good shape. A buck a game at Sunshine = great. A buck a game at some junk location with a bombed out game? No.

    #57 1 year ago

    In the Olympia, Washington area, it's 50 cents per game with some locations on 25 cents. We have Hobbit, Ghostbusters, Metallica, and Sopranos on 50 cents.

    #58 1 year ago

    $1.00 per game? I'd find a different machine. I will play new titles at $2 for 3 plays. I'll usually earn a replay or match or two with that $2.

    As previously mentioned, we're lucky around this area. Most pins are $0.50 play, save for the newer and popular older titles. And that will keep me playing without thinking how much I've spent. But at $1 per play, I cringe.

    #59 1 year ago

    If you aren't, you should be. A game of pinball in 2017 is worth $1.

    Just because a couple people in Seattle have bullied all of the ops into price-fixing at 50 cents doesn't mean it's right.

    #60 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    A game of pinball in 2017 is worth $1.

    Worth is in the eye of the beholder.

    #61 1 year ago

    If the game has short ball times it's not just worth it to us especially on 3 ball games.
    We play for fun not score/points and would rather have 5 ball games with no ball save.
    $1 for 2 minutes we will rather stay home and play. Lot less rules at home.

    #62 1 year ago

    errrr. if anyone has been to Dave & Busters lately, you are paying more than $1 in their confusing credits per game for a redemption experience of 20-30 seconds.

    Pinball is the best value going, at any price.

    #63 1 year ago

    The problem with $1/ play at barcades is that I go through my tokens/dollars fairly quick and then I'm not usually going to re-up and I end up leaving sooner than I would have. That means less drinks at the bar.

    I don't mind $1/game if it's an A-tier or brand new title that doesn't have tilt on super tight and zero ball save. Basically I just want my $1's worth. If I'm burning through dollars on drain monsters and ball eaters though, I'm taking notice.

    IMO Barcades should be approaching pins differently than standard locations. Their going to make lots more money on beers than coin drop. But the pins are what keeps me there drinking the beers. If the bar owns the pins, they should be dropping the pin price to keep me playing longer. If they split with an Op, the bar should be dropping their cut of the coin drop so the plays can be cheaper.

    I just know the last 2 times I've been to 2 places which are all pins @ $1/ea, I dropped $20 into pins and left well before I was ready to because I didn't feel like spending $40 on coin drop that evening. That's lost beer revenue, which is where the real money is.

    #64 1 year ago
    Quoted from Minneapolispin:

    In Minneapolis we’re lucky that have two amazing barcarcades (Tilt and Up/Down). All the vids and pins are a quarter. Tilt will charge $.50 for the new games like Alien, TNA, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s heaven. There are several places to play around the Twin Cities that are $.50-$1 a game, but I simply stopped going there once these places opened.

    I was in MN a few months ago. As far as I'm concerned TILT is the holy grail of location pinball. Excellent selection/excellent prices and played perfectly.

    Around here it varies but I'm far more likely to go to locations where games are $.50 than ones where the games are $1. And if they're $1 they better be well maintained and have replay be a credit (vs. just an extra ball)

    #65 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    That means less drinks at the bar.

    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    That's lost beer revenue, which is where the real money is.

    It also means lees chance of getting busted for DUI

    #66 1 year ago

    $1 per credit or 3 credits for $2 is perfect IMO

    On legit games. Now if its a F'n Roller Games or Maverick then nah hommie

    #67 1 year ago

    Ain’t nobody cheaper than pinheads.

    What the hell can you even buy for a dollar anymore?

    I pay $1/game for DI at the barcade even though I own one because I’m supporting location pinball. A whole night of entertainment for less than $20.

    #68 1 year ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Ain’t nobody cheaper than pinheads.
    What the hell can you even buy for a dollar anymore?
    I pay $1/game for DI at the barcade even though I own one because I’m supporting location pinball. A whole night of entertainment for less than $20.

    People often take for granted what they have around them. I bet a lot of people saying anything over .50 is to much would happily pay a dollar if all the locations around them closed their doors and the only way to play any pinball would be to track down and buy the machines themselves to put in their houses. After having to do that a few times and paying thousands to bring different games in and out of your house, i bet that dollar a play for location play doesn't look so bad, but they wont ever think that until they have to go through times with no location pinball around them.

    #69 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    The problem with $1/ play at barcades is that I go through my tokens/dollars fairly quick and then I'm not usually going to re-up and I end up leaving sooner than I would have. That means less drinks at the bar.
    I don't mind $1/game if it's an A-tier or brand new title that doesn't have tilt on super tight and zero ball save. Basically I just want my $1's worth. If I'm burning through dollars on drain monsters and ball eaters though, I'm taking notice.
    IMO Barcades should be approaching pins differently than standard locations. Their going to make lots more money on beers than coin drop. But the pins are what keeps me there drinking the beers. If the bar owns the pins, they should be dropping the pin price to keep me playing longer. If they split with an Op, the bar should be dropping their cut of the coin drop so the plays can be cheaper.
    I just know the last 2 times I've been to 2 places which are all pins @ $1/ea, I dropped $20 into pins and left well before I was ready to because I didn't feel like spending $40 on coin drop that evening. That's lost beer revenue, which is where the real money is.

    Sounds like you need to get better at pinball!! J/K Hahaha

    #70 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dr-Willy:

    People often take for granted what they have around them.

    And then wonder what happened when places around them closed.

    I should have kept track of how many places have come and gone in my area in the last 45 years. Especially the ones that were going to run me out of business.

    LTG : )

    #71 1 year ago
    Quoted from chippe01:

    Sunshine Laundromat is 75 cents for all games. That seems a fair price, considering how well the machines are maintained. I've played over 200 games on various machines, and not once have I gotten a match! Since I don't know what I'm doing on the new machines, games are VERY short.

    Sunshine is a great place to play pinball. Not a bad place to launder your money either. Jimmy likes his bills starched and pressed and keeping his training shoes white. Jimmy's got some new moves.

    #72 1 year ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    I am totally fine paying a buck a game. If I found a pin around me, I'd be happy to pay that. If multiple pins were there, I'm happy to drop 20 bucks for a bit of entertainment. If it's the latest game, so much the better. And if there is a nice place to eat close by, I'll make it an afternoon.

    When I first saw your post, I thought, what about the guy raising three kids like I did. Then I remembered in the eighty's I'd start each kid and my self with a roll of quarters, and usually ended up getting more before we were done.

    Good point

    #73 1 year ago
    Quoted from cottonm4:

    I remember being a kid in the 60s and pinball was a quarter a game and gasoline was .25 a gallon. Kind of even steven.
    Today, gas is $2.50 per gallon and pinball has lost ground comparatively as it struggles for $1.00 per game acceptance. Comparatively, pinball at $2.00 per game could be considered a bargain against the gallon of gas.

    .25 a game in the 60's? Man we still had .05 and .10 games here in the late 70's. Don't remember a single EM for more. Only the newest solid state games were 25 cents a game or 5 games for 4 quarters.

    #74 1 year ago
    Quoted from BrianBannon:

    Most operators aren't going to be too keen on placing a $1 pinball machine within an easy drive of these free or cheap play venues.

    Nobody in Dallas gives a crap...and why would we? Who the hell wants to pay a buck a game? It's not a hard choice to decide between dollar games, or 10 buck entry fees where I can play for hours, and especially in the case of Cidercade, get some excellent tasty beverages and Killer Queen games in!?

    I sold my restored Xenon to Free Play. /shrug

    And to the guy asking about how does Nickelrama make money? The entire rest of the building is a kiddie casino... almost entirely ticket games. Pinball is subsidized by the owner, because he likes pinball. That's it, AFAIK.

    #75 1 year ago

    The funny thing is, when games started hitting a buck a play I bought my first pin to save money playing at home. Heck you could buy working games for $50 to $100. Now at $6000 a pin it's probably costing me more like $10.00 a play.

    #76 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dr-Willy:

    After having to do that a few times and paying thousands to bring different games in and out of your house, i bet that dollar a play for location play doesn't look so bad

    Funny....we had two Trons on location for months. I bought Tron twice for my house. Same deal with Metallica...3 on location locally and I still bought the thing, because paying money out to other places that I won't recover any of it seemed dumb. =\

    #77 1 year ago

    There is 4 pinball machines in the town I live, they are in my basement, and probably not one more for 100 klicks. I'd pay a buck a game if an establishment has some to play and they are in fine shape.

    #78 1 year ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Funny....we had two Trons on location for months. I bought Tron twice for my house. Same deal with Metallica...3 on location locally and I still bought the thing, because paying money out to other places that I won't recover any of it seemed dumb. =\

    Out of curiosity did you play the trons and metallica before deciding to buy your own?

    #79 1 year ago

    I work at a Pinball Bar (no video games) 24 machines, all .25 unless it's brand new (Gaurdians, TNA, Alien) those are .50

    The other "barcade" in town is all .25

    #80 1 year ago
    Quoted from Minneapolispin:

    In Minneapolis we’re lucky that have two amazing barcarcades (Tilt and Up/Down). All the vids and pins are a quarter. Tilt will charge $.50 for the new games like Alien, TNA, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s heaven. There are several places to play around the Twin Cities that are $.50-$1 a game, but I simply stopped going there once these places opened.

    Ha! I work at Tilt, who dis?

    #81 1 year ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    Sounds like you need to get better at pinball!! J/K Hahaha

    That's the thing... I'm not terrible. So imagine what it's like for people who stink at playing too. They're going to blow through their dollars/tokens even quicker and not want to feed more money into the barcade.

    So there's a place my GF and I are going tomorrow in Boston. Basically all games are $1/play... AND the beers are like $6/ea.

    (Let's ignore the girl for a minute, though she can play!)

    Example A - I buy $20 in tokens, which in turn gets me 20 games. I believe Op's in other threads said ideal ball time for $1 games are 3-5 minutes. So let's take the average of 4min/play and I'm sipping on drinks between games. That's only like 90 minutes, and if my focus is on pins, I've maybe only ordered 3 beers tops. So the revenue for the barcade is $20 + (3x$6) = $38. At that point if I'm considering diving back in, I'm looking at potentially doubling that expense and instead usually call it and leave because $72 in one evening is a LOT of money for myself to drink and play pinball.

    Example B - I buy $20 in tokens, which in turn gets me lets say 30-40 games ($0.50-$0.75/play) now I'm there for 2.25 - 3 hours, basically double the time. I've ordered 5 drinks, and because I'm 5 drinks deep that menu is looking awfully nice (and this place does have good food). Same coin drop, but they've gotten two more profitable drinks off of me, and I'm ordering food. After that, perhaps I have a 2nd wind because we talked about the games we just played and how we were so close to the GC score. Now they've received $20 + (5x$6) = $50 + food + a potential 2nd token purchase as I don't feel like leaving yet as I feel I've been getting good value for the money I've spent. Plus I am more inclined to return, perhaps with friends, and just spread the word in general.

    OR...

    Example C - Johnny Hipster walks in because pinball is all the rage, and gets $20 in tokens. He gets schooled because GoT is too damn fast, TWD has a flipper gap he can't manage, and KISS tilts when someone across the room sneezes. He burns through that $20 in less than an hour, wonders where that money went so quick, realizes even a movie ticket yields a better entertainment/hour ratio and decides not to return. In that time, he only had 1 PBR tallboy for the bar's $3 special. They made a quick $23 off of him, but I bet he ain't coming back.

    I understand people need to make money, but this isn't the travelling carnival where it's about the quick buck. IMO Barcades should be about building a base of loyal customers, and strategically pricing things so we want to do 2 things and 2 things only - STAY and RETURN another day. If they can't do those things properly, they'll go the way of all the frozen yogurt places named after random fruits and colors. There's something to be said about games constantly getting $0.50 dropped in them vs. $1 sitting there not being played, and again I'm talking barcades here.

    #82 1 year ago

    Wait till you see $2/game It's real and not spectacular!
    It's been $1/game for 10+ years up here.

    #83 1 year ago

    I usually pay $15 for up to 6 hours at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park.

    Sometimes, when I'm short on time, I spend $12.50 for an hour.

    #84 1 year ago

    dollar a game seems like a deal. Wouldn't bother me at all. Rather see that than "free play". Gotta play for that credit.

    #85 1 year ago

    We operate new games at $1 ea. Or 3 for $2 ( WOZ, HOB, DILE, AS, SWLE, AS, SMVE) , and rotate our .50 games frequently ( right now is MB, RS, GameShow) ... HOB and SMVE are about to be replaced with GOTG and AFMLE this week, beers start at $2 a bottle/can...pinball is a great sideshow , but the main event is breakfast and lunch. We do a bi-monthly league and monthly IFPA tournaments as well. So far , so good !

    #86 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    Example B - I buy $20 in tokens, which in turn gets me lets say 30-40 games ($0.50-$0.75/play) now I'm there for 2.25 - 3 hours, basically double the time. I've ordered 5 drinks,

    Hope your not driving.

    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    There's something to be said about games constantly getting $0.50 dropped in them vs. $1 sitting there not being played, and again I'm talking barcades here.

    We have 4 pins at the league bar. 2 Stern $1.00 a play and 2 Williams/Bally at .50 cents a play. After league is over I see more people staying around to play the .50 games including myself.

    #87 1 year ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Nobody in Dallas gives a crap...and why would we?

    I was trying to point out that you might have more pinball in more locations, throughout your metro area, if these barcades weren't charging rock bottom prices for pinball. As it is, it sounds like these locations are terrific places to play, so by all means enjoy the party.

    #88 1 year ago
    Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

    If you are paying less than a dollar a play be happy. It isn't worth it nowadays to route at that price lol

    I have to disagree. All our 90s machines are $0.50 a play at all our locations. Nothing newer than 1995. And they make enough to pay for their parts, cheap and expensive, and enough left over to make it worth maintaining them. If we doubled our price we would instantly lose our player base. We operate in a small town with literally no other places to play pinball for 20 miles. We keep the games clean and working, with new electronics like power supplies and color displays.

    #89 1 year ago

    Many of the people saying $1 is too much and saying at 50 cents they'd get way more play and make more money are not taking into account repairs/maintenance.

    If the game at 50 cents gets 3 times as many plays as the $1 game, it's probably making less money after you factor in the increased cost of repairs/maintenance. It's not as simple as more plays = more profit.

    Pinheads gladly spend $100 on some piece of crap mod with an LED jammed in it. But are 'outraged' at $1/play.

    #90 1 year ago
    Quoted from Cantaffordgames:

    Ha! I work at Tilt, who dis?

    Were you cleaning games when me and a buddy were there today? Lol

    #91 1 year ago
    Quoted from RJW:

    Many of the people saying $1 is too much and saying at 50 cents they'd get way more play and make more money are not taking into account repairs/maintenance.

    I'm not a barcade. Alcohol isn't subsidizing my pinball machines.

    I ran all my pins at 50¢ a play for too many years. I should have raised prices at least a few years sooner. I was sliding into oblivion and selling desirable games that I could have kept or at least kept longer.

    The turning point was when a local posted on RGP in response to someone's post that I sold Safe Cracker and Indiana Jones. They'd posted " that's it, I'm not going in there anymore". Surprise, they weren't coming in anyway or I'd be doing better.

    And I had a man stop in to play my early TZ. He suggested I make all games a quarter a play. Great, I would have to double my play to be in the same hell I was in, not figuring doubling maintenance. ( this same man about the same time he stopped in had filed bankruptcy because he lost his shirt in the payphone scam, gee, go figure ).

    I'll always be grateful to those two. They helped me decide. TZ man in particular. He was barely out the door when I was changing games to 75¢ play.

    That kept me alive during some really bad times.

    LTG : )

    #92 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    He suggested I make all games a quarter a play. Great, I would have to double my play to be in the same hell I was in, not figuring doubling maintenance. ( this same man about the same time he stopped in had filed bankruptcy because he lost his shirt in the payphone scam, gee, go figure ).
    LTG : )

    Yeah, gotta love it when people that have no clue about how to run a pinball business, and are unsuccessful running their own business, make those kinds of suggestions. Just like when I have someone come in and tell me I have the best greens in the area, but charging $15 for 9-holes is just too much. I should only charge $10 instead, I'd get a lot more business. Once I tell them what my maintenance budget is every year and they start doing the math, they get kind of quiet.

    #94 1 year ago
    Quoted from dcannan:

    Several months ago I was told of a new place to play pinball. It's what I believe is being called a barcade. They serve alcohol, the bar is visible but separate still trying to appeal to family's. They had a lot of videos and only a few pins, I was thrilled to find that they had a Medieval Madness, and I played it a lot. I just went back wanting to play MM. They now have a lot of the newer pins. The MM that I had played before for fifty cents is now a dollar a game as well is all of the newer games costing a dollar per game, with just a few being seventy five cents. I wonder how many parents will be handing out dollars to their children the way I gave quarters? Now that my kids have grown I could afford it, but admit I only played a few games of MM looked at the others and went home.

    When games were $0.50/Play you could buy a new one equivalent to a Premium Stern for about $3000-$3500. Now those are $7000 and up. $1/play hasn't even tracked with the increased cost of the machines. Plenty of parents give kids dollars for pinball, even ones that are like 4 or 5 years old and basically waste the dollar immediately.

    #95 1 year ago

    I love the X for X+1play deals. Makes me feel like I got a deal. My real favorite is a fixed reasonable price for 5 or so hours of free play on a well rounded collection.

    #96 1 year ago

    Unfortunately yes, but sometimes $2 still gets 5 credits in the bars and not in the barcades

    #97 1 year ago

    $1.00 per play is cheap good way to find out worth owning.

    Assuming well maintained.

    #98 1 year ago

    Come to Chicago.. Our taxes ( and wondering around the South Side) will kill you but our pinball is practically free!! I love going out!!

    Headquarters barcade downtown: all games free

    Replay in wicker park : all games free

    headquarters in logan square: 25 cents per play

    logan arcade: typically 50 cents per play, but wednesday nights free!!

    Were spoiled!

    #99 1 year ago

    I'd pay $1 to play a well maintained game any day. We're lucky to have a lot of non-location games to play around here, but I know what it's like to do a lot of playing on location. It's worth supporting!

    If it's a system 11 or similar it better play darn well to earn that dollar though haha!

    #100 1 year ago

    I don't mind paying a $1 for a well maintained newer pin, but that is hard to find around here, so driving 1h45min and paying $20 to play all day at the Pinball Palace in Brunswick, GA or $14 in Fernandina Beach, FL is Heaven.

    When on the road, I look forward to visiting VUK in Bethesda MD. New Stern/JJP/CC are .50 per play and classics are a quarter. I always show up hungry to support their beer and pizza sales.

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