(Topic ID: 1665)

Best Pinball Manufacturers for First Pin?

By moflo43

9 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 7 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 years ago by LorenZ
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


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    #1 9 years ago

    Well, considering that it's going to be a good year until I might be able to get a pinball machine (The job markets tough on 16 year olds. lol) I might as well start by finding which pinball manufacturers are the best choice for a first pinball machine. The factors I am considering for this title are:

    -Ability to find parts
    -Replay value
    - Maintenance/Quality

    To make this easier, I am concentrating on the later 1980's to the 1990's.

    Thanks for the help!

    #2 9 years ago

    Your first pin will always be memorable. It's also likely going to be a cheap one too.

    As for price, some of the best first timer pins will run from 800-1200 bucks. Maybe less if you can find the good deals hunting on craigslist or yard sales. Once you move to the newer "C" titles that use DCS sound (Judge Dredd, Demolition Man, etc), they start to get more expensive.

    Most machines in the late 80's and early 90's don't require any more maintenance than others. They started to get more complex around the mid 90's.

    Just learn to clean your machine, change rubbers, and change out bulbs when needed to avoid issues.

    Dot matrix display machines are nice, but there are a ton of killer pinball machines that use alpha-numeric displays and are far more inexpensive.

    As for manufacturer (Bally/Williams, Data East, or Premier), go with the game you like.

    Always try before you buy.

    If you can't find your dream machine near your area, download Visual Pinball and run the tables in PinMame (free program is found online).

    Lots of them to choose from. I've listed some below, but make sure to check out games listed in Pinside's Top 100 Bang for your Buck list. Check out the game's review pages for information, or if there is a particular game you want info on, people on this forum are happy to help.


    DMD machines <Bally/Williams>
    Bram Stoker's Dracula
    Dr. Who
    High Speed II: The Getaway
    Party Zone
    Terminator 2

    DMD machines <Data East/Sega>
    Jurassic Park
    Last Action Hero
    Lethal Weapon 3
    Mary Shelly's Frankenstein
    Rocky & Bullwinkle
    Starship Troopers
    Tales from the Crypt

    Alpha-numeric machines <Various>
    Back to the Future
    F-14 Tomcat
    High Speed
    Phantom of the Opera
    The Machine: Bride of Pinbot
    The Simpsons (Data East)

    #3 9 years ago

    Unless you're interested in pinball machine repair, I'd stay away from Gottlieb System 1 machines for my first pin. Sinbad was my first pin, and now that I have six, I'm still trying to iron out a couple of bugs on that guy.

    #4 9 years ago

    If you are going pre DMD Whirlwind is a wish choice. fun,fast, and can usually find on the cheaper end. Parts aren t hard to find. Here is my Whirlwind with leds, and I am in the process of painting the leg, lock bar and the side rails white. Good luck with the purchase. I agree with drbond all those he put down are all go choices.


    #5 9 years ago

    If you ever come across a 'Platmatic' pin from Spain do check it out,
    would be hard to find one with a bad playfield they clear coated way before all the others
    and most collectors couldn't even give them away - but you have to be brave.
    If you get yourself in a jam one night no one will help you on line

    #6 9 years ago

    Why not Stern? They're still around. You can get a newer machine for the price of some of the OVER priced 90's stuff. They have great late model games. Everyone carries all the parts. Then start with the older 90's, 80's stuff. I'm tellin' ya, if you get an old $800 machine, you'll be learning pin repair a lot quicker. Pinball machines are just like cars. The older the machine, the more wear and more stuff busts. The scarcer parts get. No mystery. I never see people searching the forums for more current model parts they can't find. It's always WPC this and Gottlieb system 80 that. Get the NEWEST machine you can afford, to start- or the least used.

    (Advice from a lazy person who doesn't like fixing all these things, but luckily married an EE).

    #7 9 years ago

    And what about a Nice system11.

    Great fun, money safe, and a good fiability


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