Warning, this is a rambling, musing post with some direction.
Looking to add a 5th and final pin to my collection, mostly because I keep coming back to wanting an IMDN. I'm a metal head, wouldn't say I'm a fan of Maiden, but certainly have half a dozen songs of theirs on my master Spotify playlist, and will from time to time rock their albums back to back. So theme is pretty damn good for me, and should be a natural winner. I was close to ordering, as I've ordered every other pin sight-unplayed (which I enjoy doing, as you get immediately intimate with it and learn to love it with patience and time) but decided this time, and this time alone, I'd try before I buy.
So I made the long trip to the big city last night to try some routed games, not something I typically do since I'm so rural and it's hours of driving. I enjoyed Maiden, wasn't blown away (I'm sure my expectations were too high, and it didn't feel quite dialed in) but would absolutely enjoy having it in my collection, sitting alongside MBr, JP2, BKSOR and Mandalorian (all premiums). The big reason I decided to play first is because I have this rule where in a small pin collection, I only want one pin per designer so that I maintain strong variety, so two Elwin pins was breaking my master rule... but I just couldn't put away the thought of IMDN. I really needed to ensure that it didn't feel similar to JP2, but I must say, it kind of did. It's quicker, flowier, but much of it feels very similar; the satisfying precision ramp shots, brutal outlanes, etc. Hmm... still on the fence. I think if it were dialed in, I might not be on the fence any longer. The two main issues I dealt with: the shooter loop often not completely off of the manual plunge and the ball draining down an outlane, after the ball came up through the inlane. I couldn't even post swap, and definitely couldn't cradle two balls and post swap one, without the balls draining down the outlane. I had to laugh out loud when I did the latter, and both balls immediately drained down both outlanes!
However, Maiden aside, I had some other goals in the trip, and that was trying a bunch of pins that I've never played before. What was surprising was that I walked away immensely enjoying/not-enjoying pins that I didn't anticipate at all.
Positive surprises: Ghostbusters blew me away, more than any. I know there's a lot of hate for GB, and the major reason I even sought it out to give it a try was because I watched a SDTM video the other day where they both highly praised the pin. My god... what a blast, and I'm kinda tempted to buy that over IMDN. I also had zero interest in TWD, as I've never watched the TV show (and theme is very important to me) but man-o-man was that an absolute joy to shoot. Not sure I'd really want the theme in my house, but I could probably get past it. My third surprise/not-surprise was AIQ, hate the theme, absolutely loved the shots - pretty much as expected. I wouldn't say the next two were surprising, as I've played virtual versions and enjoyed them, but super satisfying to play the real thing: Getaway: HS2 and Scared Stiff... simple, simple games that were an absolute blast.
Negative surprises: Hated, absolutely hated Deadpool. Some of the shots are fun/satisfying, but the theme... the music, the callouts, everything just made my ears bleed; so much that I strongly considered walking away mid-game, but I put enough quarters in for three games and I don't walk away from things. I'm not a superhero fan at all, and I'd say I am at a point where I negatively get turned off by superhero themes (honestly, I think it was due to SO many Marvel movies forever, that I completely got burnt out on them). But if I were to choose and love any superhero, it would be Deadpool; at least he's witty and callous. So the theme should have been ok/fine, but I would never, ever, put this in my house and I'll likely never play it again. I'll admit though, I enjoyed the pin more and more as I played, especially as I got that ninja multiball thing off the katana shots; that's a very fun shot. So it's not a shot problem, even though I'm not in love with the layout as a whole, but the theme... ugh. I really dodged a bullet here, as I would have easily ordered this sight-unplayed due to the love it gets. Next up was TMNT... kind of hated everything about it; the music, callouts, shots, etc. This was a strong contender as a "free pin" I were ever to win a raffle from Project Pinball Charity. Another bullet dodged. And I freakin love the TMNT... I had them put on my custom arcade cabinet even. It wasn't a difficulty thing either, as my favorite all-time pin, by a fair margin, is BKSOR.
Interesting surprises: Well, not really a surprise, as they look interesting as all-hell in videos, but finally got to play some JJP games. What... a difference. They feel SO different than anything else I've ever played, and I'm still deciding if I actually like that difference or not. They play so much slower, feel so damn magical, but something also felt absolutely missing from them, and not sure what. WOZ and WW were the two I played, and think I liked WOZ better just because it was my first wide body experience, and the lights and theme were just so well done. WW seemed a bit too easy/boring. I'm not sure if I'd want either in my house, but I kind of do, just to explore this bizarre pin.
Toughest pin to avoid: The Mandalorian. It was there. I have a premium on order. Would rather wait to play it sight-unplayed like normal. I guess not playing pins before I buy is the same as how I didn't find out the sex of my children before birth... just like the immersion of the surprise and saying "this is mine" and making the best of it, learning and growing with it. That, and playing pins in home is SO much different than playing a routed pin on-site, to where it damn near taints the experience for me (other than the luck of avoiding DP and TMNT).
So with all this written, how crazy am I to be considering GB over IMDN, either being a premium? I know it's subjective, my opinion only, don't buy based on other's opinions, blah blah blah. But I like insight from others, and take/leave it where I need. I'm thinking, maybe, I should go totally different and get a WOZ, or even pay out the ass for a POTC. It would certainly provide that variety I'm looking for. I'll probably just do the right thing and wait until some new pins come out, maybe the next JJP or if Elwin does Godzilla. I don't need to be in a rush to fill in the 5th hole. But man... GB has really got my attention, WOZ my interest quite piqued, POTC screaming to just do it and Maiden will always be pushing at the gates, wanting to get in. Never had such a difficult and unclear choice when choosing a pin.
If I go Maiden, then the choice is between buying a NIB from this next run or a dialed-in HUO pin. Does anyone know if this Maiden run happening right now is considered vaulted, and/or if there are any fixes/changes?