Quoted from LTG:
Games get what I call a personality. You could have five identical games in a row, and players will gravitate to one of them. Just seems to play better.
This could not be more true. Especially for older games. Last year at PAGG, there were three TZ's. I played each of them, but played only one for more than an hour, it seemed. The other two just weren't "right". Sure, one was super nice and clean, but the flippers weren't quite as strong. The other one just seemed devoid of life. But that third one....wow. Everything acted and reacted as you'd expect and the game just had a great flow to it. After being on Pinside long enough to learn who's machine it was, I'm happy to report that it was a fellow Pinsider's TZ. I even managed to put up a great score on there as well, without getting LITZ. Heck, it's what made me resolute in my decision to buy a TZ, at some point(which came sooner than expected).
As for TAF, I do have two local arcades that each have one(one's I've tried to buy from the owner multiple times). One plays great but has the bookcase taped open. Yes, taped, with packing tape. It also has a chunk of the playfield missing, namely the tab that has the right side chair-hole screw-to-Cousin It target area. I still have no clue how that must've happened. The other TAF has major playfield wear, the upper right flipper doesn't work, has massive magnet burn, and Thing's magnet doesn't work. Both of these TAF's make me feel sad for them. It's mainly why I wanted to buy them, to "rescue" them and restore them.
But, for the sake of the argument, let's say they both worked 100%. Both of these locations are more than a few miles away in directions I don't normally travel. You have to factor in gas, time to get there and back, screaming kids, filthy lockdown bars/flipper buttons, the risk of whether or not the game will even be up and running when you get there, and the lack of the ability to play in just your t-shirt and boxers.
For me, it's a no brainer. When it comes to my favorite titles, I'd rather own them. I can play them whenever I want, keep them as clean as I want, share them with friends and family(without forcing them to go to an arcade), and I can still tweak their "personalities" a little bit and make them more to my liking.
Also, I keep them on coin-op instead of free play so I can keep track of the amount of "money" that goes into it from me and anyone else who plays them. That way, I'll know when I "break even", as it were, on each machine(when the 'recent earnings' stat matches what I paid for the pin).