(Topic ID: 55170)

"Best" machines at budget price points?


By drsfmd

6 years ago



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  • 79 posts
  • 47 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by Switch
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#1 6 years ago

I searched the archives, but I didn't come up with much...

Coming from the worlds of antique cars and shotguns, I'm well aware that there's no free lunch, and you get what you pay for.

I'm trying to ease the wife into the idea of getting a premium machine at some point in the not distant future (I'd really like an Addams Family). I've got plenty of space to fill in the man cave (I could fit another dozen or more pins in with the 3 I have now, and not break a sweat or need to rearrange anything. The machines I have now are EM's... one I inherited, the other two were CL finds that I picked up cheap.

On my quest to get a premium machine, I need to make a stopover, at something moderately more expensive than what I have now. I'm looking for machines that are reliable, and fun (again, I know that you get what you pay for)... so what do YOU think is the "best" machine in the under-$1000 category? $1000-$1500?

#2 6 years ago

Its hard to go wrong starting in the "bang for your buck" category (one of the tabs under top 100). It doesn't help with SS and EM machines though.
Plan on adding a little to the realistic price of most machines also.

#3 6 years ago

You can find some decent games in that range. WCS, Stargate, NBAFB come to mind. Most System 11 games should be in that range as well.

#4 6 years ago

WCS is great for the price. I'd also throw in WWFRR...although that game is now starting to get its proper love.

#5 6 years ago

Almost all the "budget" pins are moving up. I'm sure threads about good budget pins helps that price increase

At one time, BSD, TS, DW, JD, GE and WCS were all budget pins, but they're all moving into the high $1ks or low $2ks now.

#6 6 years ago

When I have a goal for an expensive pinball I want. I start savings fund for that machine. And don't buy any thing till I reach that $$ goal .

#7 6 years ago

In the 1000-1500 range I vote for Last Action Hero

#8 6 years ago

Hands down the two best values in pinball today are William's System 11 machines and Data East machines. I know most pinball guys would agree it is hard to beat a System 11 machine when it comes to a great bang for your money but for some reason there are a bunch of people in the hobby with no love for Data East machines so most are still at bargain prices for what they are.

I don't buy into the hype - when it comes to pinball machines have to be DMD or newer Sterns to be a ton of fun to play. And when I can buy 3 or 4 Data East machines or 2 or 3 great System 11 machines for what a machine like SS, AF, LOTR, etc will cost you. So why would I buy one machine when I can have several for the same amount of money.

And if you compare something like a MM to several System 11 machines you can own 6 to 10 System 11's for the price of a beat MM these days.

#9 6 years ago
Quoted from herbertbsharp:

In the 1000-1500 range I vote for Last Action Hero

I love LAH. So much going on and one of the top 5 best multiballs in pinball history, it'll definitely be in my collection for awhile.

#10 6 years ago

Thanks guys. I had already seen the top 100 list-- I haven't played most of those, and I guess I'm looking for a personal recommendation-- what's YOUR favorites in those categories?

Quoted from RobKnapp:

When I have a goal for an expensive pinball I want. I start savings fund for that machine. And don't buy any thing till I reach that $$ goal .

The money isn't the issue-- it's easing her into the idea that I'll be doing this and not selling one of the antique cars to fund it

#11 6 years ago
Quoted from drsfmd:

Thanks guys. I had already seen the top 100 list-- I haven't played most of those, and I guess I'm looking for a personal recommendation-- what's YOUR favorites in those categories?

The money isn't the issue-- it's easing her into the idea that I'll be doing this and not selling one of the antique cars to fund it

Go to shows, people's houses, etc. and play a wide variety of machines to see what you like. The bang for the buck list on Pinside is pretty good, but the only way you know if you will like it is if you play it. Also, theme can be a deal breaker for a lot of machines.

If you are looking for games with deep rulesets-
Under 1k- Baywatch
Under 2k- World Poker Tour

Again, both polarizing themes but also why the typically sell for less....

#12 6 years ago

Possible alternate route:
My mom wanted a TAF. We went to the local retail store where they of course had high retail prices. She saw other machines cheaper, but that's the one she wanted. Then she found one elsewhere at 2/3rds of the retail price and thought it was a "deal" at around $6K shipped. (Granted, it is gorgeous and flawless, and I heard multiple times "If I'm getting one, I'm getting a NICE one.") Since then, she's bought RFM, MSF, PM, and Flintstones. Her reasoning for be able to buy them so easily is that "well, they're a lot cheaper than TAF." If she had started with the cheaper ones, I doubt that she would have worked her way up to paying that much more for TAF being just 1 machine when she could see what else she could get for the same money. Maybe if you start with the more/most expensive one you want, then the rest don't seem as bad. Your mileage may vary of course. Good luck to you either way!

#13 6 years ago
Quoted from drsfmd:

Thanks guys. I had already seen the top 100 list-- I haven't played most of those, and I guess I'm looking for a personal recommendation-- what's YOUR favorites in those categories?

Love WCS so much that it's one of the few machines I've bought twice. Another was WWFRR.

I'll also throw Popeye into the mix. Most folks HATE this machine, but my wife and I got one for her mom a couple years ago, so it was at our house for a few weeks. We both really liked it. Tons of depth in that machine as well, good humor, and if you can ignore the upper playfield greatly blocks your view of the pop bumpers, a lot of fun to play.

And I agree wholeheartedly on the DE points...if it doesn't say BW on it, you will save yourself a LOT of cash.

Post edited by RDReynolds

#14 6 years ago

Just got a wwfrr and baywatch this week and both have been a plast so far. The shaker on Wwf is awesome! Still looking for a WCS but can't find a decent one cheap now.

#15 6 years ago

wpt for sure

#16 6 years ago

Consider Taxi, Earthshaker, Cyclone. Great affordable Williams games.

#17 6 years ago

Hey,

I'll chime in on this. I'm not trying to boast, but I think I have a pretty reasonable collection. If nothing else, based upon how people talk about games, I have some games that other people regard reasonably highly, games that fall into the higher end of the price range.

Now that I have those more expensive games, the cheaper ones that still hold up are Terminator 2, Pin*Bot, and Flash. Pin*Bot would put you somewhere in the middle of your price range, depending on the market, and T2 would probably toe a bit higher. Flash is on the lower end, but if you wanted an immaculate one, I'm guessing they're out there and someone would charge $1,500 for it. Of all of them, PinBot holds up REALLY well for its age. T2 is an awesome "hit the ball around" game, and that's exactly why I have it (I don't have to explain rules to guests; we can just play). Of the two, I personally prefer PinBot, but either is good.

Other options I'd throw in there are High Speed and F-14 Tomcat; both of those are designed by Steve Ritchie and play pretty fast. I'd take either in a heartbeat.

Those would be my personal picks. I'm not sure if Bride of PinBot still falls into that price range, but I'd put that in there as well. Just my two cents.

Luke

#18 6 years ago
Quoted from lukerp:

Pin*Bot, and Flash

I own both of those, as well. They get about as much play as my more expensive machines, so yeah, I'd say they're great bang for the buck. Both pretty easy to work on, I find those system 11's to be workhorses!

#19 6 years ago

I think it all depends on your personal tastes: EM, early SS, or a modern DMD pin. What do you think a pin needs to drive your excitement? It has to have a "Oh, so close!" and a "one more game" factor. (Thanks, Xerico for letting me borrow this phrase!)

#20 6 years ago

Sorcerer, Pinbot, Taxi, even High Speed are not crazy priced for what you get. It really comes down to condition with games in this era. If you don't care about minor PF wear here and there, you can get any of these great titles for under 1K.

#21 6 years ago
Quoted from blondetall:

Possible alternate route:
My mom wanted a TAF. We went to the local retail store where they of course had high retail prices. She saw other machines cheaper, but that's the one she wanted. Then she found one elsewhere at 2/3rds of the retail price and thought it was a "deal" at around $6K shipped. (Granted, it is gorgeous and flawless, and I heard multiple times "If I'm getting one, I'm getting a NICE one.") Since then, she's bought RFM, MSF, PM, and Flintstones. Her reasoning for be able to buy them so easily is that "well, they're a lot cheaper than TAF." If she had started with the cheaper ones, I doubt that she would have worked her way up to paying that much more for TAF being just 1 machine when she could see what else she could get for the same money. Maybe if you start with the more/most expensive one you want, then the rest don't seem as bad. Your mileage may vary of course. Good luck to you either way!

I think Mom should watch this Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert. Entertaining and it'll cure her of that in 20 minutes flat. I'm not using tinyurl or equiv because I want to make it clear it's actually TED as opposed to some malware link.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_researches_happiness.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

#22 6 years ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

When I can buy 3 or 4 Data East machines or 2 or 3 great System 11 machines for what a machine like SS, AF, LOTR, etc will cost you, why would I buy one machine when I can have several for the same amount of money?

For many collectors, space is a much bigger concern than money. Your logic assumes that a person has an unlimited amount of room to devote to the hobby. Since most people are dealing with a finite amount of space, the whole "buy 3 for the price of 1" argument is only applicable while a person is initially building their collection. Once they run out of room, it's all about quality, not quantity. That's why a lot of collectors start off with games like TMNT, and eventually work their way up to MM.

I do agree, however, that Data East games are under appreciated by many, and offer a tremendous bang for the buck. I enjoy games like Tommy, LAH and TFTC just as much, if not more than a lot of the B/W stuff from that same era.

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from swf127:

I think Mom should watch this Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert. Entertaining and it'll cure her of that in 20 minutes flat. I'm not using tinyurl or equiv because I want to make it clear it's actually TED as opposed to some malware link.
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_researches_happiness.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

I can't see the video here at work, but the "bad decisions" title makes me not want to watch it anyway. Living in a pinball desert, we've got to take what we can get and/or ship it in and pay higher prices either way, and it's not like she didn't do her research. Besides, she's got everything paid off and has money to burn, so I'm not going to try to "cure her" of what makes her happy. Especially when I get her leftovers sent to my house for free.

I will second the DE comments as great bank for the buck. I love my DE and Sega, and they have given me much less issues than the Bally games we have.

#24 6 years ago
Quoted from blondetall:

I can't see the video here at work, but the "bad decisions" title makes me not want to watch it anyway.

Actually, it's a really good and entertaining talk and not meant as a slam. It talks about how people make purchasing decisions and how the "well it's a lot cheaper than TAF" thought process works. It's really brilliant and I think it's something everyone can benefit from watching. If it came off as me slamming Mom, it wasn't my intent. It's something almost all of us do at one time or another and all should be wary of.

And I'm sure picking up her cast off machines doesn't hurt.

Cheers!

#25 6 years ago

Unsure about prices in the US. What I would recommend based on local prices:

+1 to Tommy, WPT, WCS, F14...
Add Stargate, Shadow, Dr Who.
Flintstones is great with children around.

And keep in mind that some games from the 80's are pure gems - Medusa for example.

#26 6 years ago

1000-1500 FT, JM, or HS

Under a 1000 Medusa

#27 6 years ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

If you are looking for games with deep rulesets-
Under 1k- Baywatch
Under 2k- World Poker Tour
Again, both polarizing themes but also why the typically sell for less....

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Baywatch IS actually pretty awesome.

#28 6 years ago
Quoted from Rabscuttle:

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Baywatch IS actually pretty awesome.

Yup!, I have one and I agree

#29 6 years ago

As others have said - take a look at Pinbot

#30 6 years ago
Quoted from jlm33:

+1 to Tommy, WPT, WCS, F14...
Add Stargate, Shadow, Dr Who.
Flintstones is great with children around.

I don't think TS can be categorized as a budget machine anymore. All the other games you listed can still be found for well under $2K, while TS is $2,500+ all day long.

#31 6 years ago

its been mentioned above in places, you really need to just try out and play alot of games and find one you or both of you like to play- dose not do much good buying games others happen to like unless your in the selling end.....

if you find a few games you really like- great, you can focus on finding one in better condition instead of looking for that one particular title.......

your in good postion- haveing lots of room, if you buy one you like great- and later if you find somethng eles you really like, you can get it too.

#32 6 years ago

Don't overlook the Gottliebs! There is more to that brand than just Stargate. There are bargains to be had in the Sys80's and System 3's still.

Black Hole alone is an amazing game for around $1k and will take you to school in both gameplay and repair skills. My best bang for the buck is without a doubt Volcano, around $500 for a fast fun multiball widebody.

#33 6 years ago

I keep hoping someone will say Haunted House. Great game but always seems to be crazy expensive relative to other pins of the era.

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from Voltherd:

Don't overlook the Gottliebs! There is more to that brand than just Stargate. There are bargains to be had in the Sys80's and System 3's still.

Sys80s, in general, I shy away from, though I would probably buy a HH or Black Hole for the right price.

Wipeout and Class of 1812 and are both Gottliebs I'd enjoy owning one day though and both cheap to obtain for the most part!

#35 6 years ago

pretty much all of my pins were in the 1200-1500 range when I bought them and I would say that my favorites are Stargate and MSF with TFTC and Freddy close behind X-files is better than a lot of people think but is still at the bottom of my dmd collection.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from swf127:

I keep hoping someone will say Haunted House. Great game but always seems to be crazy expensive relative to other pins of the era.

3 Playfields, 8 flippers, & enough wires to wrap around the globe 10 times will do that to a game. Needless to say, it was a crazy expensive game for them to make as well, which is why its the only production pin in existence that uses that much wood.

#37 6 years ago
Quoted from robx46:

3 Playfields, 8 flippers, & enough wires to wrap around the globe 10 times will do that to a game. Needless to say, it was a crazy expensive game for them to make as well, which is why its the only production pin in existence that uses that much wood.

I saw a mint one a few years ago and it played as well as it looked. Every one I've seen since hasn't been as nice and has had a higher asking price. DOH!

#38 6 years ago
Quoted from robx46:

3 Playfields, 8 flippers, & enough wires to wrap around the globe 10 times will do that to a game. Needless to say, it was a crazy expensive game for them to make as well, which is why its the only production pin in existence that uses that much wood.

HH is defitely a winner, but I recommend either having some technician skills or knowing a local technician before buying one. There are known issues with grounding, the VUK, and the orange capacitor if I remember correctly. All fixable.

#39 6 years ago

I bought a Jurassic Park a few months ago, first DE pin having concentrated on old Gottliebs and newer WMS & Capcom for a long time. JP get a huge bunch of play, just as much as the MB I bought about the same time. Terrific game, more so at the price.

#40 6 years ago

I like leathel weapon 3, not sure what price at your area. But a fantasic pin.

#41 6 years ago

Pinbot is the one to go. Also look at Data East and Gottlieb machines, they are mostly undervalued.

#42 6 years ago

My suggestion is save up some money and keep your eyes open. I could name 10 games that I think are great for those prices, and I guarantee especially on here where so many people seem to have the 'gotta have it now' mentality that they would tell you I'm full of it and you can never get them that cheap. I've bought four DMD within the last nine months for under $1000 apiece.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and when something that interests you pops up for a decent price, nab it. If you find you don't love it, you can always flip it for about what you paid for it (if you do what I said and wait for a good deal), and be one step closer to your TAF goal.

The one game that I personally do like that you will regularly find in that price range is F-14, by the way... even if you're overpaying for it, you can get it under $1500.

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from NinJaBooT:

1000-1500 FT, JM, or HS
Under a 1000 Medusa

I'd say you are a bit low on FT and JM... most of the ones I have seen have been 2+ recenlty. (at least good condition ones) Never paid attention to HS prices though.

#44 6 years ago

FT, HS, Taxi, PB I too would add JM but they just do not go for <1500 any longer.

plus a lot of titles in this range if going with Gottlieb titles.

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from RDReynolds:

I'll also throw Popeye into the mix. Most folks HATE this machine, but my wife and I got one for her mom a couple years ago, so it was at our house for a few weeks. We both really liked it. Tons of depth in that machine as well, good humor, and if you can ignore the upper playfield greatly blocks your view of the pop bumpers, a lot of fun to play.

I agree with RD, I love my Popeye, but I'm probably selling very soon and I'm letting mine go for under $1,500.00

#46 6 years ago

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Baywatch IS actually pretty awesome.

I agree. I usually play mine at least one game a day. Great budget pin (was 2nd pin I added to collection) and is rock solid with fun and operation. Spectacular interactive video modes! I only had one thing that annoyed me. The beach hut ramp was too dark. I added an led bulb up in that cave to light things up and it turned out great! I also added a few (5) Baywatch Match Box cars to the PF for fun, easily reversible. Look how bright the Beach Hut ramp is now!

Again great fun budget machine and I like watching kids smile so much when playing it

IMG192.jpg

#47 6 years ago
Quoted from goatdan:

I guarantee especially on here where so many people seem to have the 'gotta have it now' mentality that they would tell you I'm full of it and you can never get them that cheap. I've bought four DMD within the last nine months for under $1000 apiece.

You aren't being fair, Dan. You run the MGC, everyone knows who you are and you have so many connections in this hobby it's ridiculous. If this were fishing, you'd be using dynamite and the rest of us noobs would be using a bare hook.

#48 6 years ago

Another nod to High Speed. It's wicked fast and loads of fun, and an unrestored HS can still be found at a great price.

#49 6 years ago

I don't recall seeing this suggestion as of yet but another fantastic pin that is under rated and pretty reasonable, fast as hell flow and designed by the great Steve Ritchie:

No Fear

Great simple playing machine, fast and furious, jamming music, cool video mode, great multi balls and a Bone Head tormenting you through all of this. Check one out.

#50 6 years ago
Quoted from davewtf:

You aren't being fair, Dan. You run the MGC, everyone knows who you are and you have so many connections in this hobby it's ridiculous. If this were fishing, you'd be using dynamite and the rest of us noobs would be using a bare hook.

Says the guy with MM and AFM.

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