Personally, I started with Evel Knievel, and I thought it was perfect. It's an old Bally solid state game (also available in EM, but stay away from that for now). Any old Bally will work. Mata Hari, Eight Ball, Harlem Globetrotters.
The reason I recommend them is because a game with some miles on them like these can be bought fairly cheaply (under $1000, and a real beater for a lot less). They are a perfect place to learn how to fix them, and you will NEED to fix it. Most parts can be bought, including full replacement boards.
Don't worry all that much about cosmetics, you will have years to get fussy. What you want is the full play experience. So find a friend in the hobby that can look at it with you. Or check around here for someone that might be willing to help you find one.
There are some great people in this hobby, but there are also some shysters. Some people will be happy to help you out, and others just want to rip you off. Just keep your radar up. You will be able to tell the difference pretty quick. The good guys, really are great guys to know. The people I've met in this hobby are what make it so great. The pinball is awesome, but having a bunch of friends over for a night of fun are the best part.