(Topic ID: 251196)

Buying advice for first Dot (JD, Tommy, Getaway & more!)


By Sk0r

7 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 30 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 day ago by Mr_Tantrum
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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Topic poll

“Buying advice for first Dot (JD, Tommy, Getaway & more!)”

  • Tommy 6 votes
    16%
  • Judge Dredd 9 votes
    24%
  • Getaway 12 votes
    32%
  • Whirlwind 5 votes
    14%
  • Road Show 5 votes
    14%

(37 votes)

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#1 7 days ago

Hey everyone,

Yes, it's time for yet another buying advice thread, sorry!

After owning a Taxi for 5 years, I recently had to let it go. It was a bit tricky to part with it as it was a gift but we eventually ran out of space and sold it to a friend (yay I still get to play with my baby every once in a while!). 

The good thing is we now have pin space again and after years fantasizing on having another pin, I can finally get a different one and would love to hear your thoughts on my shortlist. 

My pinball background in case it can help you assess which pinball could be the best fit for me: Taxi remains my only "proper" pinball reference. I did play others - notably at Modern Pinball, NY - but rarely long enough to get good, definitive opinions. If it can help, on top of my head: WCS probably remains my best memory of a pin other than Taxi, it ended being the one I played the most at Modern Pinball. Loved Fun House too, but it's above my budget. On the other hand, I remember hating The Avengers (like most people I think) and didn't like Dr Who.

Main criteria:

- Single pinball collection so I'm looking for something that can keep me entertained for some time
- Upper flipper(s)!
- The more family-friendly both theme and fun-factor wise, the better. I'd like to be able to play with my 6yo kid.
- Good-looking (subjective, I know, I listed the machines I already dismissed at the end of this post)

Here's my current shortlist of pinballs in my price range (living outside the US), in order of preference:

- Tommy has always been high on my wanted list. I absolutely love the artwork, especially the playfield. The layout also fits what I'm looking for - upper flipper, orbits, two ramps, cool toys - supporting a very decent mission-based ruleset.

- JD: dig the artwork, dig all the ramps and flippers, don't mind the lack of bumpers. However I played it extensively on The Pinball Arcade and to my surprise it never clicked which echoes with the love/hate reputation it seems to have in the (many) threads I have already read. That being said, I know virtual pinball doesn't reflect the "feel" you get from playing an actual machine, so I'm not sure how much credit I should give to this impression. Plus it's a $1400 game AMIRITE.

- The Getaway: High Speed II - I have a soft spot for this one. Like the theme, Supercharger, shift gear but most of all its speed and flow. Contrary to Judge Dredd, this is one I love playing the most in Pinball Arcade. Downside is the ruleset that seems to be regularly pointed out as a mid-term weak spot, but considering I managed to stay entertained with a Taxi for so many years I may not grow tired of it as easily as people who've owned (or owns) deeper pins.

- I'm not excluding making a move on a Whirlwind I spotted nearby. It's the only pin of the list I actually checked on site. The guy is asking a bit too much for it in my opinion. There's room for negotiation but I'm a bit afraid I'll grow tired of it faster than a Dot even though WW is considered as one of the best and deepest System 11. I did get to play it for 15 minutes and enjoyed it a great deal though. The fact however remains that I can land a Dot for 300€ more.

- Road Show could also make the cut. More family-friendly, loaded with features but like Judge Dredd, opinions are a mixed bags.

Last one is The Shadow (with mandatory alternate translite). I intentionally left it out of the poll as I'm afraid it will get most votes but it's also on my shortlist. I'm just a bit afraid about it being less accessible for the little one.

In the same price range, I'm dismissing games like LW3, WWF Rumble, WCS, Baywatch and Pinball 2000s mainly due to cosmetics (don't like the artwork, basically). On the other hand, WH2O or Fish Tales would be top candidates but I doubt I can find one in my price range. 

Sorry for the long post and thanks for the reply

#3 6 days ago
Quoted from HighProtein:

JD is a great bang for buck.

Agreed. A little difficult to dial in, but chock full of stuff.

Being Whirlwind isn't a dot game, I'd rather have Earthshaker

#4 6 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

Agreed. A little difficult to dial in, but chock full of stuff.
Being Whirlwind isn't a dot game, I'd rather have Earthshaker

Earthshaker is one of the other System 11 I could see myself buying. They are hard to come by though and like WW, ES prices tend to be higher than other System 11s with only a few hundred euros separating them from the Dots I listed.

#5 6 days ago

I have several of the games you are looking at in my collection and have played them all (with Road Show currently on my short list of games to get next).

Whirlwind is my favorite game and probably last game I would ever sell. Anticdotally, I think alot of people consider it the best System 11 game, best non-DMD game, and arguably the best pinball machine. This is all subjective obviously but there is a reason it has the reputation it has.

JD is a wide body game, but it plays fast and has great flow once you set it up right. 9 modes and the overlooked "super game" feature, that while you might not play much, could be great for your kid as it starts you in multiball. The theme obviously not too family friendly.

I'm probably one of the few people that doesn't like the Getaway. It feels clunky to me and just never got its hooks in.

Road Show is a great and undervalued wide body game, but if you're not comfortable working on games it can be a bit of a maintenance nightmare to keep working 100%.

I wouldn't sleep on Baywatch. I felt the same until I played it and now I have a super nice example. Unique layout, tons of shots, 4 flippers and 4 ramps (one of which opens up...really a great game; plus the aftermarket code really polishes up the ruleset.

Play as many as you can then decide what you like best!

#6 6 days ago
Quoted from grantopia:

Road Show is a great and undervalued wide body game, but if you're not comfortable working on games it can be a bit of a maintenance nightmare to keep working 100%.

I don't mind doing some maintenance although I'm still a beginner in that regard. But even basic maintenance was something I loved doing on my Taxi and is something I'm looking forward to doing on my next machine as well.

Quoted from grantopia:

Whirlwind is my favorite game and probably last game I would ever sell. Anticdotally, I think alot of people consider it the best System 11 game, best non-DMD game, and arguably the best pinball machine. This is all subjective obviously but there is a reason it has the reputation it has.

... and actually maintenance is another reason why the Whirlwind I spotted interests me. The electronics is clean but the playfield needs a good cleaning, flippers need rebuilding... Nothing complicated but I like the idea of having a few stuff to do and feel like I somehow improved my pin. Also decors and main ramp are brand new.

What really bothers me with it are "cracks" on the upper playfield paint due to mylar removal. If Taxi taught me one thing, it's that one should not mess with playfield cosmetics unless he/she's a god at painting. I've attached pics if you guys want to have a look.

Quoted from grantopia:

I wouldn't sleep on Baywatch. I felt the same until I played it and now I have a super nice example. Unique layout, tons of shots, 4 flippers and 4 ramps (one of which opens up...really a great game; plus the aftermarket code really polishes up the ruleset.
Play as many as you can then decide what you like best!

I've read so many good things about Baywatch over the years... but the theme is going to be a non-negotiable dealbreaker!

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#7 6 days ago

Off of your list? Judge Dredd. It honestly looks the coolest out of what you have mentioned and is deep enough to keep you coming back.

Runner up goes to Whirlwind (which I personally prefer).

If you want something that is UGLY but fun and cheap, I would recommend looking into a Last Action Hero. Extremely fun (rippoff of Addams Family), lit topper, moving crane, 6 ball multiball, 2 captive balls, mode based play, gun-handle ball launcher. I've seen nice examples in the $2000-$2500 mark.

#8 6 days ago

I would never categorize Getaway as clunky, actually it's more of opposite of clunky. Shallow, yes but not at all clunky IMO.
I would go with JD from your list , but LA is great bang for buck with lots to do and is ton of fun. I would pick LA over JD all day, everyday.

#9 6 days ago
Quoted from V4Vendetta:

I would never categorize Getaway as clunky, actually it's more of opposite of clunky. Shallow, yes but not at all clunky IMO.
I would go with JD from your list , but LA is great bang for buck with lots to do and is ton of fun. I would pick LA over JD all day, everyday.

Maybe I have just never played one that was set up right. That upper flipper shot is always just a brick fest for me or lands in the pops. Aside from looping the outer orbits (if that counts) I've never felt the game has any real "flow" like people say, just my opinion and experience though. I'd take JD over LAH all day so I think the OP will find that it's all subjective anyway and you should just play as many games as you can until you find what you like. I love Baywatch and a lot of the Sega games actually, so I'm sure a lot of people think my taste sucks anyway ha!

#10 6 days ago

From your list I would get JD second choice would be Tommy.

#11 6 days ago

IMO Judge Dredd is the best game on your list. If you are looking for family friendly tho, may not fit that bill.
Shadow is amazing, but probably too difficult for a one pin family game. Kids may find it more frustrating than fun.
In your price range WCS94 would be my recommendation. Fun for the entire family.

-2
#12 6 days ago

You're sleeping on LW3, one of the best cost effective pins out there. I love mine. Of everything you have listed Dredd is probably the best bet , that or Getaway (another game I have and love)

#13 6 days ago
Quoted from OldSchoolBlood:

IMO Judge Dredd is the best game on your list. If you are looking for family friendly tho, may not fit that bill.

Unless this is your family.

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#14 6 days ago
Quoted from Sk0r:

Tommy has always been high on my wanted list. I absolutely love the artwork, especially the playfield. The layout also fits what I'm looking for - upper flipper, orbits, two ramps, cool toys - supporting a very decent mission-based ruleset.

Good choice. Hold in the start and extra ball buttons at the beginning of the game and enable the blinders for the whole game. For some reason, I tend to score higher and play longer games with the blinders enabled.

#15 6 days ago

Based on your criteria of for the family: Road Show is the best on your list IMO. All the rest are pretty difficult games that your family will not enjoy as much. Road Show is more foregiving than the rest and is the best bang for the buck pin on your list - beating JD too.

Considering the priority for the family, I would also recommend:
- World Cup Soccer 94
- No Good Gofers
- Shrek

#16 6 days ago
Quoted from T7:

Based on your criteria of for the family: Road Show is the best on your list IMO. All the rest are pretty difficult games that your family will not enjoy as much. Road Show is more foregiving than the rest and is the best bang for the buck pin on your list - beating JD too.
Considering the priority for the family, I would also recommend:
- World Cup Soccer 94
- No Good Gofers
- Shrek

Family-friendliness isn't my #1 criteria, unless the pin has a scary atmosphere like BSD or is too unforgiving like The Shadow or say a F-14 Tomcat, it should be acceptable.

Thanks for the other suggestions. For now I'm excluding WCS because of the poor artworks but I'm seeing many for sale and might reconsider based on the fact I loved it when I played - I need to check the WAF. NGG is a good option but rare to find and more expensive. Shrek is a no-go too because damn that thing is ugly (also more expensive).

Another pin I have seen one sale in my price range is Indianapolis 500 but I'm not that stoked about it. Not sure how it holds up against the pins I already mentioned.

Thanks for all the replies, they're all super useful!

#17 6 days ago

If the Shadow and I500 are in your price range, you should be easily be able to grab a Fish Tales, especially if you don't mind some cabinet fade. If that is really a top choice for you I would think it would be easier to find and cheaper than a Shadow and I500.

#18 6 days ago
Quoted from grantopia:

If the Shadow and I500 are in your price range, you should be easily be able to grab a Fish Tales, especially if you don't mind some cabinet fade. If that is really a top choice for you I would think it would be easier to find and cheaper than a Shadow and I500.

The Shadow and Fish Tales are usually more in the 2700ish price range while the others would go for less (two Tommy and JD in neat conditions have been listed at 2500€ for a few weeks, I'm confident these could be negotiated closer to 2200€). Then again, if Fish Tales really is significantly better, I could stretch my budget a bit or wait for a great opportunity. I probably won't make a move until October anyway, so I have time to screen the market.

#19 5 days ago

Fishtale is so much better than JD,tommy,LA, or any of the games you have listed except Shadow. I would rank shadow little higher than FT.

#20 5 days ago

Personal preference on what you like playing the most will be what it comes down to. Fish Tales is one of my least enjoyable games.

#21 5 days ago

Indianapolis 500 is awesome. If you can find one, I would highly recommend it. One thing you will learn in this hobby, don't buy a game based on theme alone. Also don't disregard a game based on theme as game play is king.

#22 5 days ago

Whirlwind is a fine game but it feels a bit dated if you are not a die hard fan of pinball from the late 80's/early 90's. (I am).

Unlike most people just posting the overall best pinball machines that you mentioned... I would strongly suggest Road Show. It does have a shaker motor that could be annoying or frightening to a 6 YR old but, you can always unplug it. It's a highly underrated game and is very deep for the home pinball owner. Is it the best game you listed? No, but that is not what is really important here. As far as gameplay, theme, and artwork, Road Show is essentially the sequel to Taxi.

The most important thing here is that YOU enjoy it. Try to play ANYTHING you decide on 10 times in a row somewhere before you set your decision in stone.

#23 5 days ago
Quoted from Sk0r:

The Shadow and Fish Tales are usually more in the 2700ish price range while the others would go for less (two Tommy and JD in neat conditions have been listed at 2500€ for a few weeks, I'm confident these could be negotiated closer to 2200€). Then again, if Fish Tales really is significantly better, I could stretch my budget a bit or wait for a great opportunity. I probably won't make a move until October anyway, so I have time to screen the market.

I don't know if FT is "better", I mentioned it because you said in your initial post it was your top choice along with white water. I actually am not a huge fan of FT, but if you like it and it's your top choice it seems like you have your answer.

#24 5 days ago
Quoted from grantopia:

I don't know if FT is "better", I mentioned it because you said in your initial post it was your top choice along with white water. I actually am not a huge fan of FT, but if you like it and it's your top choice it seems like you have your answer.

I think I didn't express myself correctly about Fish Tales and WH2O. What I meant was that they would be great possible choices based on what I read and my experience with them in The Pinball Arcade, not that they would automatically beat JD or Tommy for example. Actually, WH2O probably would, Fish Tales I'm not sure, it seems to revolve a lot around the boat ramps.

In any case, like many mentioned it, I guess the best way to make my mind is to actually go play these machines

#25 5 days ago

Get your kid hooked on watching Tales From The Crypt.Buy that pin.

#26 5 days ago
Quoted from Sk0r:

In any case, like many mentioned it, I guess the best way to make my mind is to actually go play these machines

Always. Only you can decide what you like playing the most.

#27 5 days ago

Fish Tale, Congo, Shadow, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Indy 500 would all be on my short list. I don't view any of them as more difficult then Taxi, so I think you'll be fine as far as that goes. My girls were five when we owned Dracula and they didn't not have any problems with being scared of the theme, so I also don't think that should be a major concern. I also wouldn't totally rule out some even newer games. I just noticed a few Metallica's listed, which seem to be a good value at this point. Basically just be opportunistic. If a deal pops up in your area be prepared to put money down.

#28 5 days ago

Getaway is an awesome pin. Fun to play and you can mod it out will all of my custom 3D & decal mods, PinSound orchestrations abound with new shaker experience, and the light show is great especially when adding things like mustangpaul leg lighting & Pinduino supercharger lighting with my custom programming, not to mention Malenko colorized PIN2DMD (or ColorDMD if that is your preference). Not to mention, new tunnel mods, perfect candidate for backlit speaker panel, and others making customized mods for the game. Also, one of the best owner's threads here on Pinside.
Getaway.jpg

#29 3 days ago

Went to see a Getaway today. Played it for 15 minutes, definitely liked it a lot. I couldn't make an offer and I think it will be gone in a matter of days, but at least now I know I can add Getaway to my definitive shortlist.

Next up, Tommy and JD!

#30 1 day ago
Quoted from Sk0r:

Went to see a Getaway today. Played it for 15 minutes, definitely liked it a lot. I couldn't make an offer and I think it will be gone in a matter of days, but at least now I know I can add Getaway to my definitive shortlist.
Next up, Tommy and JD!

Can't speak to the other pins, but the other thing about the Getaway is that the rule set is relatively simple to learn vs. many other pins (part of what makes it fun to play for me, and a great first pin). You progress through the gears to achieve/unlock various modes/bonuses, and to work towards Redline Mania where jackpot & super jackpots become available during 3 ball multiball. You also have another 3 ball multiball mode that unlocks jackpots by capturing three balls in the ball lock when progressing through the traffic light colors (achieved by hitting the 3 traffic lights of each color progressively - green then yellow then red, and then locking a ball by hitting the left loop and up the lowered ramp).

I know you list this as a criticism, but myself and countless others appreciate the ruleset as you can easily grasp what your objectives are and focus on actually enjoying play instead of trying to figure out things and having to perform decision making throughout the game. This leads to longer games, and makes it fun for other family members and guests who don't want to take the time to learn an in-depth rule set just to play the game and score fairly well. I'm not criticizing deeper rule games, as I think both styles are great and have their place, but for a single pin house with a wide range of age and interested in the game, I think a simple ruleset is beneficial. I can explain the primary objectives to people who have never played pinball in just a minute or two, and now they're not just blindly mashing on the flippers.

The only thing that could be remotely considered non-family friendly for this game (well, besides the fact you are leading the police on a high speed car chase) is one occasional quote you may hear one time out of a dozen games or so, "Damn, they're shooting at us". However, if you ever decide to upgrade to a PinSound on this game, I've modified the quote in most all of my orchestrations to remove the expletive. I'm not a prude, but we have younger kids who come over and also have friends from church who come over to play, so I prefer to not have any call-outs that could be considered questionable.

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