Quoted from Bugsy:
*I apologize for the long rant here but this is something I've had on my mind for a while.*
I actually think this whole "theme" issue in pinball is a bit overplayed myself. There are so many great classic games out there that people love, which at first glance don't seem to have great themes. For example, Taxi. Think about this day in age if JJP or Stern planned a reveal of Taxi (which is this theoretical example was never made) and they announced the game like this: "Ok, so for our next game, we came up with a game based on...*dramatic pause*...driving.....*suspense building*.....a taxi!!! How cool is that, huh folks?! You act as the driver and you have to pick up 5 different passengers: Pinbot, Putin (for current relevance instead of Gorbi), Dracula, Santa, and Lola (insert current celebrity who they just couldn't get the rights to). How about that people, pretty awesome huh?"
If something like that were to happen today, people would be calling for Jack or Gary's head. Fires would rage and people would claim it was the end for that company, and possibly all of pinball. "WHAT!? Who cares about driving a taxi!? I drive my car every day to and from work, and I'm stuck in traffic in my car enough as it is. I want to play pinball, not drive a stupid yellow car around. And who came up with those stupid random characters to pick up? Whoever agreed to that should be fired!" However, Taxi is a great game according to many people. It has great sound, great shots, good art, and is just an overall fun game to play. If you think in similar terms to a lot of other system 11 games, this type of logic works for many of those games.
High Speed reveal: "Get this folks, you are trying to drive and escape from the cops after you......run a red light!! What do you think!? Sounds awesome doesn't it?!"
Diner: "Ok everyone, in this game you are a.....server.....at a diner.....and have to serve food to customers!?! AMAZING huh?!"
Pick one of your favorite games that is a non-licensed theme and "dumb it down" to it's bare minimum. Think if that game were released today and what kind of reaction people would have.
On the other hand, think about any game in particular that is considered a dud. It's usually considered a bad game because of bad flow, or bad shots, or dull artwork, bad rules, etc. I feel like most non-licensed themes are appealing because of the creativity behind them, and DI certainly fits that creative definition in my opinion. It has amazing artwork, great gameplay and shot making (yes I've played it), great light show, awesome display animations in the LCD, etc. It's a winner in my book.
The games you mentioned are super cheap. Nobody would be buying 'Taxi' for 8 or 9k.