(Topic ID: 104704)

Data East Simpsons... Q:what the newb should look for. A. a Stern TSPP

By weaselfest

6 years ago

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  • 31 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by weaselfest
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 6 years ago

This will be my first and likely only machine I will purchase, how do I determine if the machine has been restored to the levels a seller may claim? Are there obvious differences between modern replacement displays and the originals that can be identified by the uninitiated? Same question for power supplies and flipper guts.
I'm bringing a set of photos off IPBD to use for comparison, and like to hope I can identify amateurish solder job but that's assuming I get a look at the underside of the machine, which I haven't a clue how to access myself.
If anyone can take the time to give an abbreviated course in how to open the machine up and access the underside of the playfield it would be much appreciated and help empower me to make an educated purchase.

#2 6 years ago

I think you're being excessive looking for things like amateur soldering, but that's just my opinion.

When I get a machine I just assume I'm going to have to:

1) Re-pin the GI connector
2) Re-flow solder joints on any light boards
3) Rebuild flippers/replace some coil sleeves

I've had a DE Simpsons before, in fact it was one of my first machines, and I can tell you what I would look for in that game specifically:

1) Broken plastics (this is a really destructive game. The ball bounces off the drops and frequently lands on plastics)
2) Burnt GI connector (or more importantly, just the boards in general)
3) Broken nuclear tower covers
3) Wear around the upper right moe part of the playfield and by the kickback

Truthfully though, these things are deal breakers by any means. If the game works, and it's in your price range, just buy it. Eventually, like all machines, it will break and you will have to learn how to fix it anyway.

Might I ask why you are picking DE Simpsons as a machine? I personally couldn't stand the thing, and I love the Simpsons.

#3 6 years ago

appreciate the hierarchy of problems, that was the type of info I was looking for. (still looking a tutorial on how to access the underside of the playfield, if someone can point me to a link)
I've got a pretty good Simpsons collection going in the basement and like the look of the DE machine, have played it and didn't think it was going to get boring any too soon for a player of my caliber.
Plus I can't justify the money that a nice TSPP would cost.
Was the game play what soured you on the machine, the scarcity of parts for DE, or some other factors?

#4 6 years ago

Not sure if anyone has written a tutorial (probably exists) but at least let me get you inside the machine.

Power OFF!
Put the key in the lock on the coin door on the front of the game, unlock door. Confirm they have the key ahead of time- No Key? Search the forum for what to do. Or bring the universal key set (Drill and a selection of sharp bits-guts of the lock are brass)
Open door. Inside the door frame, upper right area, is a spring loaded lever. Pull it and it and it unlatches the lock bar (where your hands rest when playing).
Lift off the lock bar, it may take a bit of fiddling, but you should not need tools. Put lock bar somewhere safe.
Stand in front of game, place palms on glass and pull towards yourself- glass should start to slide out. When close to 1/2 out, move hands to edges of glass, hold tight and continue to slide out. It's heavy and awkward. Place the glass somewhere safe, leaning against something solid. Cushion the floor where the glass rests- NEVER put that glass edge directly on concrete.
Get all the balls out - reach inside and find the lever that puts the balls into the shooter lane. Move it by hand, and as the balls appear, remove them, and store safely.
All balls out, put fingers of one hand under the apron and lift gently. It's heavy. When the edge is up above the cabinet, grab the front of the playfield with the other hand. You may have to hold that spring loaded lever out while starting to lift - I can't remember.
Lift the playfield to about 60 degrees, hold up w/ left hand. Reach inside cabinet on right side and swing prop stick up. Put tip of prop into countersink in underside of play field to hold up playfield. Be sure all is stable before letting go.
If you have the headroom, you can ignore the prop; carefully pull the playfield towards you about 6 inches or so, and swing the playfield all the way up until the playfield is resting against the top of the backbox. Make sure it is stable- pull the playfield a little further out if the playfield is too 'straight up and down' so that it is leaning securely back against the top of the backbox.

Reassembly is the reverse. You may have to hold the spring loaded lever to get the playfield all the way down, and i know you must hold the spring loaded lever to re-insert the lock bar. Put the balls back in!

It's a good game, considered by some to be too simple for serious players long term in a small collection. I suck at playing so i can't beat it consistently, and I have 18 games set up right now. I also own a TSSP (across the aisle from the DE Simpsons). Still like the DE version and play it regularly.

Let us know how the whole "I'm only going to have one" thing works out. It never has for the rest of us.

Good luck!

Don C.

#5 6 years ago

No comparing the two, its like apples and oranges, I have a DE Simpsons and while I do like it, it gets boring, Sterns tspp is known for having the most rules in a pinball machine while the data east there's not much there, if your only going to buy one game you might want to save for the Stern

#6 6 years ago

Might be good to find a local collector willing to go over a few things with you - like how to open a machine, etc. - and give you some tips on what to look for that are common to all pins. It's a machine, and it will need maintenance and repair at some point so getting to know someone who could assist is not a bad thing either.

Do some homework on values so you don't end up overpaying - and remember the word 'restored' is often over-used and abused in this hobby.

#7 6 years ago

The DE Simpsons machine is like the Simpsons machine for someone who isn't a Simpsons fan.

It's got audio from season 1. That's it. If you want to hear "thank you come again" and "eat my shorts" for a thousand bucks, go for it.

But it's a destructive game. The more you play any machine the more it breaks down, but with DE Simpsons you shoot 3 drop targets to light locks. I found that it constantly bounced around off of those and hit plastics and destroyed them, and then the ball would get stuck, and Id have to take the glass off and get it out.

It sucked. I bought an F14 tomcat at the same time as the simpsons, and F14 got played hundreds of times for every 1 time I played the Simpsons, and it's no deeper game, nor more expensive.

If you want it just because it looks cool, you won't be disappointed. But that's the only way you'll enjoy it.

#8 6 years ago

Why would this be your one and only pin? I don't think many here would support DE simpsons as their one pin. Wondering your reasons for stating such.

#9 6 years ago

Thank you so much Don. Super helpful with minimal snark.......how do you do it?
Let me amend the "one and only" comment somewhat. I doubt I would ever own more than one machine at a time It is a simple matter of square footage and priorities. I won't park outside for a pinball machine, I won't compromise the performance of my home theater by having machines in my sight line, I won't get rid of the popcorn machine for another pin. That being said, I wouldn't rule out trading up for a TSPP or outright opting for some other title that fits with some of the other decor. (Star Wars, Star Trek, or one of the old school sci fi or music themed EMs) I have two friends in town with older Gottlieb EMs and I had them show me what little they know about their machines. But they are pretty hands off and have shared who they have working on their machines. Other than lamps, they don't seem to have to spend a lot maintaining their machines, although their kids are gone and they don't the see use the had 15 years ago.
CRLUSH, you have reminded me to remember the lessons learned with previous vehicle purchases.......don't settle for your second choice, spend the extra money now, it will just cost you more the longer you wait. Not sure if that is as true with pinball machines as it turned out to be about Toyota pickups, but I have to keep that in mind.
I've been researching this as much as the internet and 4 hours at the Las Vegas Pinball Museum has allowed. Have missed out on two off craigslist, sold before I could make time for a 3 or 5 hour drive one way. The only other local machine I have seen come up is listed for $2200 and had more cabinet damage then I was willing to accept. Playfield and cabinet condition are worth a premium. $1700 seems to be the median for a machine in what appears to be halfway decent condition with some shop time in its recent history.
This machine will be for visual effect as much as playing, it isn't going to see tournament levels of play and I personally like the cabinet better than the stern machine. (or so I will keep telling myself until I own one). My Simpsons collection isn't the biggest, but I like to think I have a very nice selection of items from day 1, including some unopened bubble bath containers, all the Lego mini figures and house, the nuclear power lava lamp, virtually all the Burger King promos, all seasons available on DVD in the character cases and my prized framed Hollywood "Kwik E Mart" 7-11 posters. The entrance to the basement has a flush mount, back lit Simpsons movie poster. Do I need to go on why I am relatively confident that I will not be quickly trading this machine off?
I'm making the pilgrimage to the Expo and Pinball Life shows this year, so more education and research awaits (drinking beer and playing pinball, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it). I've heard from the owner that the DE Simpsons advertised to be at the Explosion may be sold before the show, so some damn fool beside me is interested in this title.
Thanks to all that have shared their insight. You guys take these games way more seriously than I.
Don't be afraid to say hi if we cross paths in Huntley or at the Westin on Friday and take further pity on this misanthrope under achiever.

Post edited by weaselfest: mispelled "if"

#10 6 years ago

That's good info and why I asked. If you want to point to your collection and say "look I even have a Simpsons pinball machine", get the DE for the price point. If you want a pinball for your Simpsons collection that's also regarded as one of the best pins out there and one with great replay value, get TSPP.

#11 6 years ago

Yeah, and Im not trying to be snarky, and I apologize if I came off that way! I just want to be as blunt as possible about it (as I wish someone would have been with me before I bought mine).

#12 6 years ago

I spent my snark money on pinball parts. Seriously, if you find a DE Simpsons at a fair price, buy it, enjoy it and maybe someday trade for some other game.

The wife and I are also Simpsons collectors. When I told her years ago that another Simpsons pin was coming, without hesitation she said "we are going to get one from the factory, right?"

So we got our TSPP as a NIB: never in a box. Right off the end of the line and into my truck. Can't do that anymore. A great pinball day!

Don C.

#13 6 years ago

I picked one up a few months ago and have been restoring it. Personally, I prefer it to TSPP as I'm much more a fan of the earlier Simpsons seasons, before they graduated to computer graphics. Big plus is a mirrored backglass for the DE version. Check the entrance to the ramp carefully, you're likely to find cracks on the left side, or worse a big missing section of plastic. The original's nuclear tower bumper caps are better looking but cheaply made like absolute crap, you'll probably have to replace them with Stern red caps for $49 a set of three (from Marco) plus $1.25 each for the decals (from PBR).

#14 6 years ago

I like my DE Simpsons. I play it as much as my DMD games.

I must say, my Twilight Zone is the first machine I purchased. I said the same thing...this will be my ONLY one!!! Within 10 months, a 2nd machine showed up. That was 2008. I USED to be able to park in my garage. Not since early 2012 have I been able to. I now have 38, which 4 are on loan at this time since I don't have room for them. It is hard letting go once you get some.

Once you get hooked, it will be hard not to get at least one more. You'll find a way to squeeze in a 2nd one in the garage.

#15 6 years ago

I just got a TSPP about two weeks ago and I just had to give you my two cents.
Save your money and get Sterns TSSP. You will not regret it for one minute. It's not cheap but it is by far the better machine for many reasons.
I had played both the DE and Stern versions a decent amount in both public and private settings and while I liked both of them for nostalgia'a sake the DE game always left me feeling like it was missing the soul of the show. Now that I have had TSPP at home for a couple weeks I am convinced that any true fan of the show or fan of pinball.
And you mentioned Star Wars as a theme you like. I do too but I traded my nice Data East Star Wars for my Simpsons Pinball Party and I don't regret it for a minute. TSPP is just that much better. It will grow with your skill level and even if you get to pinball wizard status you will still find it satisfying.
Rant over. Do whatever makes you happy and whatever you can afford. Keep asking questions and be patient.

Seriously though...... You really won't regret getting the Stern one. It's a much better option for an only pin.
Cheers and good luck!

#16 6 years ago

Oh, I would look in the backbox at the boards for any burns on the power supply (top left board) and the PPB board (bottom left board). And look at the MPU (top right board) for any battery acid damage under the battery pack and look over the rest of the MPU if there are any burns.

Pretty much not much to worry about under the playfield when you go look at a machine to buy.
You don't really want to hang out a long time at someone's house.

Look at all the rubbers on top side of the playfield. If they are very dirty, the machine was not cleaned. You can even see under many of the plastics to tell if the whole machine may have been cleaned or not.

How much is the seller asking?

#17 6 years ago
Quoted from weaselfest:

I won't get rid of the popcorn machine for another pin.

Microwaves can make popcorn too, and they take up a lot less space.

#18 6 years ago

just kidding, but for me there is as large or larger difference between kettle popped popcorn with coconut oil and Flavocal and microwave substitutes as there is between the two Simpsons pins. Once again, see previous statement about priorities.
Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I suspect the average number of pinball machines owned by an American family is less than 1, and from what I am hearing, 1 might be all I can afford to invest more time and $$$ into to keep running reliably. Note to self: Another reason to keep in mind parts and accessories availability and overall game popularity.
Good info PM40. For some reason I thought most of the electronics were under the playfield, not behind the back glass. DOH!...... as far as asking price, original list was $2300, seller offered $2100 for cash deal. Does that still seem high for this title?
Claims new PS, new display, playfield LEDs, flippers rebuilt a year ago cosmetics 9/10. Has been listed since January of this year that I know of. No real close up photos to determine more.
The one that might be at the Explosion was listed at $2500 on the owners website, restoration work was in process. Playfield closeups showed a somewhat worn, but not entirely trashed surface. Wire tunnels were noticeably chipped/rusty. But these were as obtained photos. Cabinet didn't look horribly gouged. No info on age of display, LED upgrades, PS rebuild/replace. So lots of unknowns.
My biggest fear is overpaying for a machine so it will be impossible to get a decent return if I decide to upgrade.
It seems the aftermarket industry embraces TSPP, while the DE machines don't see much love. Is that a valid observation? That part that is killing me is that I really like a lot of the DE themes: Tommy, Star Wars, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Batman, GnR, MNF, Star Trek, TMNT.
I'm drawn to train wrecks, aren't I?
The part that kills me is that I had as much fun playing Snow Queen as I did any of the modern machines at the PB HOF in Vegas this July and it's a title for sale locally ($800). Should I just turn in my man card now? ( I also discovered why AFM is so popular. With god as my witness, if money was no object, that would be my machine, even over TSPP.)

Post edited by weaselfest: mispelled "Is"

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from weaselfest:

as far as asking price, original list was $2300, seller offered $2100 for cash deal. Does that still seem high for this title?
Claims new PS, new display, playfield LEDs, flippers rebuilt a year ago cosmetics 9/10. Has been listed since January of this year that I know of. No real close up photos to determine more.

My biggest fear is overpaying for a machine

Since it has been for sale since January that should tell you something about the price. If it were truly a 9/10 machine it would maybe bring $1500-$1700 maybe a little more if you found someone desperate for one.

With that much work supposedly done though I would bet good money it isn't close to 9/10. Why do you think there aren't any close up photos? These games took a beating on route. LEDs aren't a selling point either, they are so much a matter of personal taste as far as what looks good and cheap enough that it is something you should do yourself if you really want to and should never pay extra for.

2 weeks later
#20 6 years ago

after a whirlwind trip to Chicago and playing dozens of machines for over 9 hours and talking to other machine owners and vendors, the feedback I had received is pretty much reinforced. You guys gave great advice. The Hemisphere's machine at Pinball life was in very good condition in comparison to the original machine I had planned on purchasing. That being said, there were still some pretty worn spots on the playfield, a broken plastic by Moe, cabinet was scraped up, but not too severely. New decals on all the knockdown targets, crisp flippers, not excessive in LED customizing, good display, near perfect ramps and wire tunnels, played well. Owner sold it for the asking price, $2400.
The "other" machine had a very nice cabinet and backglass, new PS, new display, no burns on any other boards behind backglass, underside of playfield was clean no denying it. Plastics were in tough shape. many broken and taped or glued back together, almost all had been overtightened at some point, breaking off or spidering the mounting hole. several places where repro plastics had the overlay decals beginning to peel up. Playfield was pretty good, but showing some signs of beginning to show the grain of the wood beginning to lift. (Is this "planking"?) you could tell it was effecting ball travel a little. You could see that the original finish on the wire tunnels had chipped off, one had been distorted at some point. Both repainted with spray paint with no prep as far as I could tell, no sanding down the blistered portions or trying to build up multiple coats in the bare areas to even out the finish. ( I may not know much about pinball yet, but I've built enough models and award winning pinewood derby cars to know how to spray paint and apply decals, and this guy or his tech ain't skilled) Against my better judgement, I offer $1900. He refuses, says he doesn't need the money, anybody that would sell one of these for less than $2000 was leaving money on the table. I wish him the best and head for home, disappointing the family who were expecting dad to be coming home with a toy in the trunk, but much better for the experience.
I discovered what Jakenjoi and Josia previously shared: the game is self destructive in its design and could get repetitive quickly as I became a better player.
So it's back to drawing board, so to speak. Need to take a road trip to the Twin Cities and check out the two units the Minnesota PB Warehouse have unless a TSPP materializes locally, or wait for Kurt at Hemispheres to get caught up with his inventory and pre-sales. He seem to be doing it right. Comes at a price, is the only problem.

#21 6 years ago

ok, so which one of you are going to sell me your TSPP?
Looking for one, just seem to be missing out on them by weeks. Good information!

#22 6 years ago

That guy did you a favor for not taking $1,900. Keep your eyes open one will surface for a fair price.

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from weaselfest:

I've heard from the owner that the DE Simpsons advertised to be at the Explosion may be sold before the show, so some damn fool beside me is interested in this title.

Yep, that fool is me! (but I didn't pick up the machine until after the show so all that wanted to, could have a chance to play it.)

Quoted from weaselfest:

or wait for Kurt at Hemispheres to get caught up with his inventory and pre-sales. He seem to be doing it right. Comes at a price, is the only problem.

Kurt's a great guy and does excellent work. He always wants to ensure that you're happy beyond the initial purchase. I'm a repeat customer of his and am very happy with my purchases. On a different note, I bought Kurt's Simpsons because his was in better condition than my other DE Simpson's. Very shortly, I plan to place my 1st machine for sale as I don't need two of the same title.

#24 6 years ago

A big thank you to all that pushed me towards TSPP. This was the one listed "with extras" in the Pinside "for sale" forum. At least a $1000 more than buying it NIB back in 2003, but my time machine keeps blowing fuses, and the tech is pretty hard to get a hold of, so this will have to do.


#25 6 years ago

Hell yea man. I have owned both and after a couple of months I couldn't wait to get rid of the DE Simpsons. Still enjoy my TSPP every time I play it.

In a small or one pin collection DE Simpsons just doesn't hold up. Real fun at first but just gets old fast. If I had unlimited room I would have kept it to sit next to TSPP but not as an only pin. TSPP will keep you entertained for years and even improve your pinball skills.

#26 6 years ago

Looks good, Mark! Your homework assignment is to research the history of the "Lyman" that's written on the play field near the apron.

#27 6 years ago

That wall can have at least two more Pins on it lol

#28 6 years ago

bring them over phillymadison. It's the only way my budget can afford a 2nd let alone a third.
Seriously, I think the way the first machine has gone over, I could get away with it.
"It's almost as cool as the PS3......let me get back to you if I can beat your high score." 16 year old (going on 21 in his mind).
PS: Dad's pathetic high score is around 39M after 10 games or so.

#29 6 years ago

Congrats on your new pin! TSPP really is a lot of fun. Enjoy!

#30 6 years ago

You got the right game. congrats

#31 6 years ago
Quoted from BradKreisler:

Looks good, Mark! Your homework assignment is to research the history of the "Lyman" that's written on the play field near the apron.

ask and ye shall receive. blessed be the cheesemakers.

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