(Topic ID: 221440)

Best games to own for competitive players?


By MrFancy

9 months ago



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  • 49 posts
  • 29 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by o-din
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 9 months ago

    I recently started playing in a league, and am thinking about buying a pin for the purpose of improving my skills and keeping them sharp for competitive play. Obviously I'd want to avoid games that are too easy, don't have very many shots, or have very unusual gameplay. But beyond that, do you think there are some games or types of games that would be better than others to own for this reason?

    #2 9 months ago

    Almost any short flipper EM game from the 60s will be the best for competitive play and honing your skills.

    #3 9 months ago

    Far Out/Out of Sight, to play well, requires the most ball control skill usage of any machine I've ever played

    #4 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Almost any short flipper EM game from the 60s will be the best for competitive play and honing your skills.

    Cool... I would not have thought of that, makes sense though.

    #5 9 months ago

    Fireball

    #6 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    ...thinking about buying a pin for the purpose of improving my skills and keeping them sharp for competitive play.

    Games of a similar era to what your league uses. Jack*Bot is good for practicing dead bounces, each eye saucer feeds to a flipper and there is a center post. Solid State era lots of Ballys with flippers good for tap passing like
    Lost World Star Trek Nitro Ground Shaker KISS <--(also has an important skill shot).

    #7 9 months ago

    TWD

    #8 9 months ago

    you on a certain budget?

    #9 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Cool... I would not have thought of that, makes sense though.

    Yeah, I've seen plenty of people whining about Ghostbusters with it's three inch flippers and inch and a half flipper gap. lol.

    Obviously they've never played one with two inch flippers and a five inch gap.

    15
    #11 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    Cool... I would not have thought of that, makes sense though.

    Honestly it doesn’t. Most of those 60s games are luck boxes with few actual control opportunities that will not help you hone your skills at all. Odin generally gives advice for his own amusement rather than actual help so I’d consider other options that actually make sense.

    If you want a short flipper game get one with inlanes and lots of targets like 2001 or Target Pool. Games like this will actually help you get better at all eras of game.

    #12 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Yeah, I've seen plenty of people whining about Ghostbusters with it's three inch flippers and inch and a half flipper gap. lol.
    Obviously they've never played one with two inch flippers and a five inch gap.

    Ghostbusters was my first pin and I can honestly say that the machine has made me a better player in the flipper skills area. I love the gap and it's amazingly fun keeping that ball alive.

    #13 9 months ago

    Iron Man, Guardians

    Paragon forces one to learn how to nudge

    #14 9 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Most of those 60s games are luck boxes with few actual control opportunities that will not help you hone your skills at all.

    I guess if you've got no skills to begin with, that might be the case.

    #15 9 months ago

    IMHO nothing helps with control more than randomness and ball speed. I've owned around 70 pins now, of those I'd recommend Pinbot because if it's set up average-to-mean you are fighting for control almost constantly. There are probably a ton of 70's & 80's pins similarly beneficial (Space Shuttle also comes to mind)...anything that isn't ramp-to-flipper, etc.

    ACDC Pro took things to the next level for me. The ramps are easy to hit but every other shot gives up control. The blazing speed and chaos from stand-up targets (as opposed to drop targets on Prem/LE which absorb much of the energy) made the gameplay on other pins feel much slower and easier to process. A near full series of backhandable shots helped with accuracy and taking the time to strategize.

    Just playing anything daily helps but I'd say those two stand way above the rest I've owned in terms of making me become a far better player overall and developing skills I didn't really have previously. Also I just picked up a Rob Zombie and have playing that almost exclusively. Last night I walked over to my GOT Pro, which is a pretty fast game. But after all that time on RZ it felt like everything was in slow motion. I'm interested to see if RZ is one of those take-me-to-the-next-level sort of games just because it forces you to focus...take your eye off the ball for a half second and it's gone.

    #16 9 months ago

    Hard games like the Walking Dead, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Iron Man, Flash Gordon, Total Nuclear Annihilation.
    Also an EM with lots of drop targets will help because you see them in tournaments but not on location very often.

    #17 9 months ago

    Setup of a "tourney practice" game is almost more important than the title.
    Set up a modern era game, install hard settings, tight tilt, really tight! Open the outlanes, jack up the back,extra balls off, no restart, then play till you can consistently have good/decent games.
    Then get a different title (or trade), start over, do it again.
    Good games to start IMO- TZ, TWD, IM, IMDN,
    Also, change from Stern to B/W to get the flipper feel difference, that way you can adjust your play to the flippers more easily. And learn to love trying to crush ALL games, not just ones you like.

    #18 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    I recently started playing in a league, and am thinking about buying a pin for the purpose of improving my skills and keeping them sharp for competitive play. Obviously I'd want to avoid games that are too easy, don't have very many shots, or have very unusual gameplay. But beyond that, do you think there are some games or types of games that would be better than others to own for this reason?

    Generally speaking, EMs are few and far between the few hundred pins in my Pinball circle. Most people own one or two compared to the 10 other games in their collections. For league, you are possibly better off with a late 80s system 11. They are a good mix of skill and complexity and most of them are fairly difficult to master. Rollergames, Pinbot, Whirlwind, Earthshaker are all good choices and don’t cost a fortune yet.

    #19 9 months ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    Generally speaking, EMs are few and far between the few hundred pins in my Pinball circle. Most people own one or two compared to the 10 other games in their collections. For league, you are possibly better off with a late 80s system 11. They are a good mix of skill and complexity and most of them are fairly difficult to master. Rollergames, Pinbot, Whirlwind, Earthshaker are all good choices and don’t cost a fortune yet.

    and then you go to pinburgh and lose a lot... :/

    #20 9 months ago

    A perfect 4 game collection for a competitive player:

    One EM
    One early SS
    One late SS or early DMD
    One modern DMD

    As far as which ones. See which ones are shown the most on pinballvideos.com. This is almost only tournament footage of games.

    #22 9 months ago

    If you're looking for a SINGLE game to improve your overall skill,

    *Spoiler Alert*
    There isn't one, or we'd all own one.

    There's no point picking a game because the rule set is hard, or complicated - as that will only help you IF that particular game is selected AND the settings are the same as what you're used to.

    There's no point in picking an EM game with mini flippers - as they don't come up in competition very often and have little chance during play to hone particular skills such as live catches, loop passes, shooting from a cradle, etc. etc.

    There's no point in setting whatever machine you do get mega hard through the rules - as that doesn't teach you anything. It just makes it harder to get to features - ultimately making the game become a grind.

    There's no point in setting the machine as steep and fast as you can - as that's not the way the majority of machines are set up in competition. It also only helps you learn certain skills, which in some cases are actually easier with a steep machine (catches and cradling for example).

    There's no point in setting the tilt mega tight - as you don't learn how to nudge being too worried about tilting. In fact, Keith Elwin has stated time and time again that the best way to learn about nudging is to remove the tilt initially. See how the movements you make to the machine cause the ball to react, see how you can save the ball by nudging, sliding, banging ,whatever without worrying about tilting. Only then introduce the tilt and start tightening it and seeing how much movement you can get away with before causing a warning, or a tilt.

    Not being in the position to rotate games constantly, the best ways I have found of improving is by:
    a) playing as many different games, at as many different locations, as possible. It gives you exposure to all kinds of standards and set-ups of machines.
    b) even if you only have a single game there are still ways of changing the set-up so that it plays completely differently and requires you to improve in different areas.
    i)By making the game fast and steep, ball control is less of an issue as opposed to reactions.
    ii)By making the game shallower there is more side to side action bringing nudging to save from the outlanes more likely. It also makes it harder to cradle balls.
    iii)Adjust the angles of the flippers. You will not always encounter machines set up perfectly so need to be able to adjust to different scenarios.
    c)When playing a game, don't just focus on getting the best score. You're trying to improve your skills, not set a GC. In the past I've even covered up the DMD and just focussed on ball skills. SCORE IS IRRELEVANT IN PRACTISE.
    d)Try different things - even if they're not worth points or progress the game. SCORE IS IRRELEVANT IN PRACTISE.

    e.g. You own, or have access to, AcDc.
    Try alternating ramps - helps you improve making shots from a moving ball over and over again.
    Shoot into the pop bumpers and see how quickly you can get the ball cradled - helps you improve live catches, dead bounces
    Hit the left loop and then loop pass as the ball returns
    Practice post passing
    Shoot for the TNT drop targets, by bouncing them of the side drops/standups.
    Shoot the Thunderstruck drop targets - you'll get a fast return you'll need to deal with. You'll also learn to try and just graze the edge of the target, which generally produces a slower/safer return.
    Play completely 'on the fly', no trapping whatsoever - it's surprising how often being able to make a shot instantly is both safer, and more desirable than trying to trap up.
    In MB try and trap all balls, and then separate them so you can shoot 1 ball while keeping control of the other.

    The list of things you can do to improve on just a single table is massive.

    I'm not going to knock, or highlight, anybody above for their opinions, but frankly, some of them are not going to help you improve as quickly you'd think. A lot of the tables mentioned can only really provide limited exposure to the range of skills required.

    If you can have more than 1 machine, I agree, that having machines from a range of eras would be preferable, but focus on eras you are likely to meet in tournaments - if that's your main aim.

    Finally - whatever machine you choose - it has to be a machine you enjoy playing. You won't be as dedicated in practising if the machine isn't enjoyable to play.

    #23 9 months ago

    Some good advice in the post above. ^^^^^

    Quoted from zacaj:

    and then you go to pinburgh and lose a lot... :/

    Yeah, but he's playing in a league, not Pinburgh. Pay attention.

    #24 9 months ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    Yeah, but he's playing in a league, not Pinburgh. Pay attention.

    Everyone goes to pinburgh eventually

    #25 9 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    Everyone goes to pinburgh eventually

    Nope. Only 7 players of 32 in my league consistantly attend Pinburgh and it's been around for longer than you've been a member of Pinside.

    #26 9 months ago

    no 1 game will be the answer.

    I would say you need a proper 4 game lineup to be able to practice.

    1 EM (Pick something good with a variety of shots and full size flippers because most games you will play on will be full size flippers)
    1 Classic Bally class of 81. I would say EBD because it is the tops of pure pinball for scoring purposes
    1 90s DMD. I would say Jackbot. It is one of the best, if not the best for standard 2 flipper layout with variable ball speed and great risk v reward with 2 main scoring strats that are well balance.
    1 newer Stern because that is what you are going to see alot of. Lots of Sternaments. I personally would pick something you like but would say games like SW/GOT are good for math/think on your feet play style. TWD is good for lots to do. Maiden is good for 4 flipper and you will want practice on a more than 2 flipper game.

    #27 9 months ago

    Here is an interesting tip that I didn’t think about until I started owning machines. I played in league for several years before buying my first machine. I’m my mind I thought that if I bought a machine that I would regularly play in league, that it would somehow make me better at that particular machine. What actually happened was that my knowledge of the ruleset got much better, but the differences in flipper angle, pitch, speed, and so many other things actually made me worse when it came time to play in league. Long story short. If you want to get better, play brutal games and focus on flipper techniques and nudging. TWD, BSD, and TS will all make you a better player. If you can play those machines consistently well, you can apply your techniques to just about anything. Em’s are too slow and will generally not appear in many leagues/tournament. Yes, I know em’s can be setup to be fast, but by comparison to let’s say Got, it’s not even close. Sure there might be one or 2 machines on the floor, but the majority of leagues/tournaments will feature several Stern machines with Bally’s/William’s surrounding them. The best way to improve is to play a lot of different machines as often as you can. Watch videos and read to learn rule sets. Play with people better than you to learn tricks and strategies. Everyone plays different. That’s the beauty of Pinball.

    #28 9 months ago
    Quoted from Spagano314:

    Yes, I know em’s can be setup to be fast, but by comparison to let’s say Got, it’s not even close

    There are definitely EMs as fast as GoT

    #29 9 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    There are definitely EMs as fast as GoT

    Yeah and Got is a game you can easily grab and control

    #30 9 months ago

    I'd suggest getting a Gottlieb EM from the 70s, an early solid state from Bally/Stern, a late 80s or 90s Williams/Bally, and a modern Stern. Data East/Sega games can offer a lot of bang for the buck. Buy spreading the budget around the era you get great variety in speed and rules, and variety is key to a collection. It's nice to have a widebody in the collection since the feel is very different.

    #31 9 months ago

    I think the game that helps me the most is Wheel of Fortune. I personally find that it's the most challenging DMD era game as it forces you to slow up your play-style and play in control and also has very short ball times. It also helps you with your nudging and flipper techniques due to the unconventional bottom layout. -really good at teaching you when to flip and not flip and really on bounces. It's a bit of a mix between a modern game and an EM. The game also punishes you if you aren't accurate as you need to hit the correct contestant stand-up to lock in the reward.-if you hit the wrong one you can miss out on valuable awards (EB, Trip MB) and you get no second chance as you need to spin the wheel again. I also recommend changing your mb start to "Easy" instead of the default "extra easy" and it makes you have to aim for all of the green stand-up targets spread out over the playfield.

    #32 9 months ago
    Quoted from TreyBo69:

    I'd suggest getting a Gottlieb EM from the 70s

    Interesting as I'd suggest getting a Williams EM from the 60s.

    #33 9 months ago
    Quoted from MikeS:

    I think the game that helps me the most is Wheel of Fortune. I personally find that it's the most challenging DMD era game as it forces you to slow up your play-style and play in control and also has very short ball times. It also helps you with your nudging and flipper techniques due to the unconventional bottom layout. -really good at teaching you when to flip and not flip and really on bounces. It's a bit of a mix between a modern game and an EM. The game also punishes you if you aren't accurate as you need to hit the correct contestant stand-up to lock in the reward.-if you hit the wrong one you can miss out on valuable awards (EB, Trip MB) and you get no second chance as you need to spin the wheel again. I also recommend changing your mb start to "Easy" instead of the default "extra easy" and it makes you have to aim for all of the green stand-up targets spread out over the playfield, .

    Imagine if this layout was themed, breaking bad, I bet it would be universally loved. Theme and it's unique nature killed it. I believe you can only do one at a time.

    #34 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Interesting as I'd suggest getting a Williams EM from the 60s.

    Odin, I'd suggest throwing yourself off a bridge from the 30's.

    #35 9 months ago

    Op. Get a Stars, Flash, Pinbot/High Speed and a World Poker Tour. Cheapest way to achieve your goals.

    #36 9 months ago

    Just play on a variety of games. Play as often as you can. Watch videos. Read rule sets. And just plain practice, practice, practice.

    #37 9 months ago

    Haven’t played any tournaments only friends but to me AFM is like a workout especially strobe MB

    #38 9 months ago

    My recommendation is to install pinmame/VPX on your PC & buy a X-Arcade controller. That way you can practically try them all to get a feel for what you're into & a complete understanding of the rules. WARNING: does require some decent computer skills to really dial it in. If you really want ONE physical table per what you described it definitely would have to be AC/DC.

    #39 9 months ago
    Quoted from Frippertron:

    Odin, I'd suggest throwing yourself off a bridge from the 30's.

    No thanks. But I'd be willing to sell you one from the 1870s.

    #40 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    No thanks. But I'd be willing to sell you one from the 1870s.

    I love you! You always make me laugh. I don't do facebook or any of that stuff, Pinside is my social interaction, but after hearing all this banter, maybe I should.

    #41 9 months ago
    Quoted from Frippertron:

    I don't do facebook or any of that stuff, Pinside is my social interaction

    Same here. The reason I'm on here so much is at least I get a response.

    You don't know how many times I've waited for that bottle of Jack to talk back to me.

    #42 9 months ago

    Wow, lots of good tips here, thanks all (except O-din ). Several people mentioned IM- I was seriously considering buying one of those recently, but decided not to, mainly because it has way fewer shots than most games. Also, every shot in the game is pretty hard... which is cool, I love games like that, but it seems like it would also be good to practice being able to nail less difficult shots more consistently. I think it's a good point to get a game like that though where the rules make it impossible to keep the ball under control, as opposed to just a challenging game. With some games, the ball is hard to control because the shots are difficult and you miss them a lot, but if you own the game you'll eventually learn to hit them. Better to go with a game that forces you to take dangerous shots.

    #43 9 months ago

    The two pins that have upped my overall skill level are pro versions of TWD and Avengers. With TWD I removed the outlane posts completely and increased the pitch. With Avengers, I removed the tilt bobber so I can practice nudging a little bit more liberally.

    #44 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    thanks all (except O-din ).

    39be9af09a2f87169e97ce6462063ad99cb6298af1d9897a28621cdfa5b215bf (resized).jpg
    #45 9 months ago

    Play games you hate. It'll make you a better player. When I was first starting out in finding competitive pinball, I had serious trouble with slower games, and I'd tend to scissor a lot on >2 flipper designs. I bought a Paragon, which was the worst combination. Now I love that game, I'm a much better player, and it baptized me by fire.

    Once I got to playing a bit, I wanted to focus on ball control and improve my flipper skills. I snagged a Pin*Bot (as someone mentioned above) because it has brutal outlanes (set to conservative, no inlane rubber) and you have to play in control and slow the play down (live/drop catch, bounce pass, etc) to have consistent success, but the field is a little open so it gives you time to react and learn. As you get better, keep upping that incline.

    Other than that - I'd recommend learning how to work on and repair games. Sometimes it helps knowing how a table mechanically works to translate over to playing it. Helps you remember what machines/manufacturers/eras it's best to employ specific tactics on (ie - tap pass on a Bally pre Williams merger, or holding a flipper in to give an EM kicker a little extra kick)

    #46 9 months ago

    I ended up getting a DH. Definitely fits the bill as far as a game that doesn't let you keep the ball under control, really happy with it so far.

    #47 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    I ended up getting a DH. Definitely fits the bill as far as a game that doesn't let you keep the ball under control, really happy with it so far.

    Nice...plus those goddamn Ousler outlanes. Not the easiest ramps to hit either.

    #48 9 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Nice...plus those goddamn Ousler outlanes. Not the easiest ramps to hit either.

    They sure aren't! I was having such a hard time with them I thought the previous owner had probably jacked up the back legs too much. But I just checked and the incline is less than 6 degrees...

    #49 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrFancy:

    I ended up getting a DH.

    See, I was right all along.

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