Difficulty of various Sterns

(Topic ID: 226198)

Difficulty of various Sterns


By Kozzi

5 months ago



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  • Latest reply 5 months ago by Only_Pinball
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#1 5 months ago

I've just been introduced to pinball via a friend and I'm hooked.

As such I'm looking into getting my first machine and have decided to get a new machine to avoid possible technical hangups. Likely a Stern.

The thing is, I'm pretty terrible at pinball. Love it, but terrible. And as such, when I read reviews/experiences of the machine, I find a lot of the focus isn't relevant to where my skills currently are. ie - I get excited when I activate a mission or multi ball and my goal is to complete it, let alone a second. So when people talk about machines getting stale from the mission structure or point maximisation, I find that I'm not there yet and it really doesn't matter to me.

So I've realised that my two main purchase points are Theme & Difficulty.

But I'm finding it hard to find information on how forgiving / unforgiving a machine is for a newer player like me.

Would you folks mind letting me know how you'd rate them from a difficulty standpoint? Not so much for completing missions or hitting Wizard mode, but more if its easy to drain, shots down the middle that feel punishing, that kind of thing.

The Sterns that I can get in Australia are: Deadpool, Iron Maiden, AC/DC Vault, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Batman 66, Ghostbusters & Metallica.

I don't mind the idea of some shots being hard to time correctly, but I think I'd prefer one that is a bit more forgiving to learn the ropes on.

Thanks!

#2 5 months ago

hmm, after reading your post i would go with Guardians or Metallica. great layouts that shoot well. Lots to do but easy mulitball (bash groot / bash sparky) with some more difficult mulitballs to get to

Metallica is not really mode driven where Guardians is.

Id play the games youre interested in a bunch and see what you like. Make sure whatever game you get to make sure it has the newest code, as Guardians has come along way from launch code wise. if your distro has sat on the games for awhile it will have old code installed.

you can adjust ball save timers on games and make certain objectives easier to accomplish in the settings as well as close up the outlanes, etc and then adjust as you get better. or set it up nasty and get better

#3 5 months ago

I think AC/DC is pretty forgiving. The ramps are pretty easy to hit. Also, like jack danger likes to say, all shots can be hit from both flippers, some forward some backhanded. So that's pretty cool to learn with. Playfield is meh, but the songs are great if you like AC/DC. I own one so maybe partial.

Ghostbusters I find super fun (some people don't,) but the wide flipper gap might get frustrating. The Right PKE shot is hard, and I think really hard on the premium. The other shots I find pretty fine, but tight (left orbit is tight if I remember correctly)

Iron Maiden seems a little advanced to me. Some shots are tough (for me). Hard for me to get the left ramp through the pops. Theme is meh for me, music is just like background noise. all songs sound the same to me.

Deadpool is probably a hard pass as some of the shots are clunky (not some I guess, but for me). Katana shot was really tough to get, but i've only put about 10 games on it, and I suck. It's still on early code, as well.

Starwars is pretty awesome, but sometimes I have trouble figuring out what is going on. Just so many colored lights everywhere, lol. Very fun to play, and if you like star wars, theme cannot be beat.

Batman 66 seems to break down alot, atleast at the arcade I go to, and the phone thing is just weird. Just not a fan of it. but I played it on early code, and just abandoned it. Can't go back. I heard the code really improved.

Guardians is great. Theme is amazing, and the color LCD is really fun. The voice actors are pretty aweful at times though. I find the shots forgiving, although the rocket shot is tough, but still really cool.

Everyone loves metalica on this board, but haven't played in a while, so don't remember the shots that well.

Besides AC/DC which I own, I would want in order:
Guardians
Starwars
IM
Ghostbusters
Deadpool
Batman

#4 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

As such I'm looking into getting my first machine and have decided to get a new machine to avoid possible technical hangups.

I did the same thing last year for similar reasons. I chose a machine (Aerosmith pro) that didn't have any complicated mechanical devices and is really easy to maintain/clean as well as it being a fun game to play. I know this isn't answering your question but if you're not too tech/electrical savvy like me, this is might be something to keep in mind when buying your first machine as well. Definitely try before you buy as well.

The guys at AMD are awesome if you're using them. Good Luck

#5 5 months ago

Spider Man would probably work for you

#6 5 months ago
Quoted from Bruce_Pickle:

I did the same thing last year for similar reasons. I chose a machine (Aerosmith pro) that didn't have any complicated mechanical devices and is really easy to maintain/clean as well as it being a fun game to play. I know this isn't answering your question but if you're not too tech/electrical savvy like me, this is might be something to keep in mind when buying your first machine as well. Definitely try before you buy as well.
The guys at AMD are awesome if you're using them. Good Luck

A really good point that I didn't think of. Thanks for that.

And yes, I was impressed with AMD when I called them yesterday. So I'm glad we have a distributor who seems proper trustworthy and customer-focussed. It reassures a lot of concerns when laying down so much money.

As for earlier comments. Thanks for the quick, and thorough, thoughts guys. I didn't realise you could adjust some of the game rules to help out or make things harder in the future. Really helpful to know too.

#7 5 months ago

It's important to know you won't be bad at pinball forever. With a handful of exceptions out of the literal hundreds of players I know, people get mediocre within a few years of moderately serious play. Some faster, some slower, but everyone improves. A few even become pretty great in under a year. Lucky, lucky bastards they.

Deadpool and Guardians are the easiest games on your list. Full stop. Deadpool more so than Guardians. The shots are very forgiving and seldom punish you with a drain or an out of control ball for bricking a shot. And while neither are bad games, I feel they're weaker than many games on your list. For a home game, especially if you only intend to buy one, you're really looking for replay value. Iron Maiden and AC/DC will shine there. Maiden especially since there are so many ways to play it. Star Wars fits into this category as well, but that's in my opinion a much more difficult game. They also each offer modes that force you to shoot at nearly everything on the playfield and multiple tournament viable strategies of varying difficulty. AC/DC offers a very classic layout which is similar to a number of other games and your skills will translate readily to them. This is less true of Maiden. Metallica would be my third choice. Again a very classic layout similar to Attack From Mars and Medieval Madness, but it's not as mode driven as AC/DC or Maiden so it might get stale a bit sooner than the others. It is super fun to shoot though and maybe a bit easier than AC/DC or Maiden so you might want to consider it as well.

#8 5 months ago

If you could get Aerosmith I’d probably recommend that. Otherwise Guardians or Metallica.

#9 5 months ago

You can set the machine code to easy or extra easy and 4 ball play on Sterns, and move the outlane posts to the easiest position. This way you can adjust the game as your skills improve.

Still wouldn’t recommend Ghostbusters. It’s frustrating for even experienced players.

#10 5 months ago

AC/DC.... You can’t go wrong.

#11 5 months ago

You didn't mention Spiderman but that's good one. Also Star Trek, but with what you mentioned Met, guests seem to love that game.

#12 5 months ago

ST SM GOTG or Met. In that order.

And you won’t suck for ever. The more you play the less you suck.

#13 5 months ago

Metallica is a fantastic, forgiving pin and great value for a first pin, especially if you enjoy the music. Aerosmith is not far behind, but is a bit harder, I feel. Guardians is a pretty easy pin to play too, but the rules are more complex and mode based. Both MET and AS are quite easy to follow. I think Star Trek is also a fantastic new pin for a new player. Easy to understand, and fairly forgiving shots. Amazingly smooth shooter too, just feels fantastic shooting ST. Ghostbusters and AC/DC are much more difficult, in my opinion. Most find GB difficult, but AC/DC really varies from person to person. For me, AC/DC is too fast and unforgiving. Star Wars is very fast and pretty hard. Batman 66 isn't a bad choice for a starter. It's fairly wide open and easy to shoot, but with pretty deep code and lots of modes now. I would say MET or AS if you like their music, or Star Trek or Batman 66, whichever theme you like better. Batman has more variety than ST. Good luck!

#14 5 months ago

Thanks everyone for your comprehensive thoughts.

It has been very helpful. I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band. I'm glad it seems like the kind of game that can grow with me as I move from terrible to just bad

Thanks again.

#15 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band

I agree with @jester523 on his assessment for all the games. I would just add that Star Wars along with other mode based games could be "difficult" to wrap your head around for beginner players. Steve Richie games "force" you to become a better player as the shots are not forgiving. If you miss some shots, chances for a drain ball is likely.

Iron Maiden is similar as Metallica that it has long ball times and easy for beginners. Given that the playfield provides more shots with the upper playfield using the extra flippers would have it be rated higher than Metallica.

I ended up buying Metallica for my first NIB Pinball machine this month. From your list I have played all but Batman 66. Metallica has been around and has been proven to be a great game. Why? It is because it is very appealing and easy to play for beginners. The shots are forgiving.

It is rather challenging to get to Wizard Mode for the players who want to "beat" the game. Learning how to stack the modes together to get past CIU and deciding to play for End of the Line gives Metallica pinball endless amounts of playtime without it being "stale".

If you play Metallica by executing Sparky, Snake, tomestone, hammer hits... then I can see the game being repeatable and a "drag"...

Either way, any game you get you'll have a blast. You will be able to learn flipper skills to use on any machine and nudging is an art form of its own.

Have fun!!!

#16 5 months ago

after a year or more of playing you will see that your taste will change and your skill will change also. You might end up liking modes, or flow, or deep rules or challenging shots. I own or have owned all of the games in your list. all great choices. metallica and acdc are great because of shots and ease of achieving multiballs. I will say that there are a couple key things to learn to enjoy any game. ball control and learning the rules. rule sets are deep. dont try to understand it all at first.

happy flipping

#17 5 months ago

Of the modern sterns I've owned, Spiderman and Lord of the Rings probably had the most forgiving shots and longest ball times.

Sopranos and Ripley's were fine enough.

TWD Pro was brutal, Kiss Pro was challenging, and I found Met Pro to be a little less forgiving than others in this thread.

#18 5 months ago

It sounds like you want a Metallica, great choice, but please consider Star Trek as well. The ST layout shoots like butter and will get you used to "flow" play like no other. It has tons of things to do but is straight forward and easy to wrap your head around. Watch Bowen Kerins tutorial on YouTube under Papa pinball. Best of luck to you, you can't go wrong with either game.

#19 5 months ago

As others have mentioned, Star Trek would probably be my first choice for someone in your shoes. It is easy and fun to shoot, has relatively safe shots, and has plenty to do. It is easy for beginners to make something cool happen (Vengeance multiball, choice of modes to start in, etc), but with lots of depth to grow into. Spider-Man and AC/DC are both similar in this regard, with slightly less forgiving shots.

Metallica is another great machine, and since you said you are a fan of the band, it could be the obvious choice. It is less forgiving than the others I mentioned, but isn't overly brutal. Again it has some very easy to understand and achievable excitement (Sparky!), with MANY layers of depth to uncover as you get better. There is tons to do, with many ways to approach the game. Every shot is meaningful, building towards something. Great layout, awesome art, and amazing code. If you enjoy the music, that's the icing on the cake.

The others you mentioned are also great games. I love Batman, but it's really a game where you need to love the theme to get excited by it. It does have a fun and safe shooting playfield with TONS of depth. I would say it is not quite as beginner friendly as there is a little more required to get to the exciting stuff and it isn't quite as easy to understand. Great game once you get to know it though.

Star Wars is an amazing game, but it is unfortunately not very beginner friendly. It has a punishing layout and is not very intuitive. Once you figure out what to do it is awesome, but it is definitely lacking that beginner friendly layer. If you stick with it though, it is one of the most rewarding experiences in pinball if you are a fan of the theme.

Deadpool is a little early to tell yet. I like what I see and enjoyed the one quick game I've been able to play on it. It seems beginner friendly with easy to understand goals and an easy multiball. Beautiful machine with lots of humor and unique shots. I worry there may not be enough depth to keep the better players satisfied long term, but that isn't a huge concern. What is there looks very fun.

Iron Maiden is a great, unique layout with tons to do, but for some reason I am not attracted to owning one. I enjoy playing it though! Probably not super beginner friendly.

GOTG is a great game. I do not have enough time on it yet, but I have found it to be fairly difficult and unforgiving playfield (might have just been me or the machine being set-up difficult though). The multiballs are easy and intuitive to get into though, and it starts you in a mode of your choice (like ST), so it is easy to see something cool right away. Lots of depth to play through as you get better.

Ghostbusters is terrible. OK...that's just my opinion, but barring that, it is a very difficult and punishing game. Not beginner friendly at all. This would be my last possible choice for many reasons.

#20 5 months ago

ST was my second game. Good game but it did get a bit old after a while after playing it a lot. It got to a point where it seemed like a lot of work to feel like you accomplished something.

SW is a fun game but I wouldn't get it unless you can find one cheap. It can be a punishing game where you drain on plunges 3 or 4 times in a row. I still enjoy playing it and the shot multiplier feature is great.

GB looks great and fun for a while but the awful mechanics of the game make it frustrating. Not many games I have no desire to play at all but GB is one of those.

I have not played GOTG much but not really impressed with it. Just seems like a lot of things thrown together. Guess I played early code or just don't know the rules.

Iron Maiden looks pretty cool but have not played it. I just don't think I can take the music in the home environment. I haven't played Deadpool either but not really impressed with that one.

Metallica is the best Stern game imo. It has great art, great dots, balanced scoring, and great code. Pro is great and relatively cheap since so many are out there. Some say it gets repetitive which is somewhat true if you don't really know the rules. There are not really modes so you are constantly working on different things and playing out things as they come up. Getting to a CIU mode is not that hard and you feel amazing where you get that 2x multiplier and cash out a great bonus. Downside is that it does not have the new LCD display. Colordmd fixes that but adds a little cost.

Best thing is to play any of these games as often as you can. No need to rush into buying anything. Figure out some rules and see what you like or don't like. My tastes have changed a whole lot since I started getting into pinball. Some games I thought I loved but after getting some decent playtime, I don't like them as much. Some games I never thought I would like are now sitting in my gameroom. All new games are exciting and fun. The games you want to buy are the games you still enjoy playing long after that newness wears off.

#21 5 months ago
Quoted from Frippertron:

consider Star Trek as well. The ST layout shoots like butter and will get you used to "flow" play like no other.

I agree with this 100%. ST is an awesome choice for your requirements. Seriously consider this as an option.

#22 5 months ago

Star trek....guardians of the galaxy..

#23 5 months ago

+1 for star trek

#24 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

Thanks everyone for your comprehensive thoughts.
It has been very helpful. I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band.

With that tidbit, I say it's a no brainer for you. MetPro should be your first game. Get it while it is still being manufactured. After you get a better feel for what you like and dislike, you will be ready to decide your game #2.

#25 5 months ago

Thanks for the suggestions of Star Trek.

Unfortunately I didn't have it on my list as it isn't available from my local distributor. However, I definitely know I have another machine to try and find in public to play!

#26 5 months ago
Quoted from jester523:

Batman 66 seems to break down alot, atleast at the arcade I go to, and the phone thing is just weird. Just not a fan of it. but I played it on early code, and just abandoned it. Can't go back.

That sounds like a personal problem. You probably shouldn't involve a new Pinsider in your personal problems.

#27 5 months ago

I'd suggest considering pin options beyond just new pins. IMHO, there are better used pin options from Stern to meet your wants than new at this time. For example look at Stern's POTC. It has one of the top two toys in pinball imo, plus a feature-heavy playfield with an easier and longer game time experience. But with some deep, fairly interesting and challenging quality code. LOTR is another great option as mentioned. GOT is another great easier Stern game option as well. CGC and JJP also offer some easier longer playing pin options that meet your wants.

I think CGC can easily be an even better option than Stern with MMr, AFMr and MBr (soon) offering. MMr's reputation is well earned imo as a top pinball machine experience... and it's an easier game to play. Maybe JJP with The Hobbit or Dialed In appeals to you; both are easier games with longer playing times and appreciative fans.

Many great pin options out there fwiw, and something for everyone.

Cheers

#28 5 months ago

I know where you are coming from, but I really don't think you'll be happy buying the easiest pin. I like easy games when I'm feeding quarters, but Remember, you'll have this in your home to play over and over on freeplay. If it is too easy you may tire of it too early, unless you are also buying for kids in your home where they'll have more fun with an easy game. You want to challenge yourself. I say go with the theme and layout you like best. That will get you the most satisfaction.

#29 5 months ago

Star Trek would be a fantastic choice.

#30 5 months ago

You mentioned theme is important to you but you didn't give any indication which of themes you like of the games you mentioned. Maybe you can rack stack the themes.

Many of the games you mentioned are equally easy. Some are just plain frustrating to play, especially for a beginner.

I wouldn't limit yourself to buying new from the distributor. Any modern stern will be reliable unless it has been routed and has 10s of thousands of plays on it. Even then, these games are very reliable. This being said, even brand new games will need some tweaks from time to time. Mostly switch adjustments and such. So be prepared for that.

Without knowing your theme preferances, I would look at:

Spiderman Vault (the original SM is from 2007 - all shots accessible and fun for a beginner)
Star Trek Premium (very shiny - all shots accessible and fun for a beginner)
Star Wars Pro (Pro is easier than premium/LE IMO - if you are a Star Wars fan, I would go this way despite the nay-sayers)
Metallica (a bit complicated to score and dangerous shots are needed to start the most accessible multiball)
Aerosmith (very approachable rules, great toy - drawback is it has a couple of tight shots)

I have Ghostbusters and absolutely love it but would not recommend this one as your first and only game.

#31 5 months ago

For a newbie I would recommend AFM remake non Stern

#32 5 months ago

My recommendations: GOTG, Groot and Orb multiball both achievable for a beginner. Metallica seems to be well liked by many inexperienced players and since you like the music it sounds ideal for you.
The attack from mars remake suggestion is also seriously worth considering.
Avoid ghostbusters and Star Wars.

#33 5 months ago

BBH relatively new, easy to clean, work on, play and it is just a blast to play for a starter pin or to have for multiplayer mayhem.
You may pick one up for a bargain too! Buy an arcade shoot em up BBH

image-31 (resized).jpg
#34 5 months ago

1. Metallica

2. ACDc Luci

3. Iron Maiden

Metallica is amazing. ACDC has the best music and is a rush to play. Maiden is most forgiving and includes a hi-res color display.

If you can afford it I’d recommend the Medieval Madness remake over all of these.

#35 5 months ago

Star Trek!

Your local Distributor stinks. Get it!

#36 5 months ago

Star trek!

#37 5 months ago

I’d suggest Medieval Madness Remake. Great for all skill levels, timeless theme, and some of the best toys in pinball.

#38 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

The Sterns that I can get in Australia are: Deadpool, Iron Maiden, AC/DC Vault, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Batman 66, Ghostbusters & Metallica.

Out of your list is there a particular theme you enjoy? I see your a fan of Metallica but is there any of these other themes that you/the family enjoy?

#39 5 months ago

Can't go wrong with
Met
Imdn
St
All great and user friendly.

#40 5 months ago

Stay away from Ghostbusters!!

#41 5 months ago
Quoted from Charliew65:

Stay away from Ghostbusters!!

i thought it was "stay away from the clock"...

#42 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

Thanks everyone for your comprehensive thoughts.
It has been very helpful. I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band. I'm glad it seems like the kind of game that can grow with me as I move from terrible to just bad
Thanks again.

Get the premium....

#43 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band. I'm glad it seems like the kind of game that can grow with me as I move from terrible to just bad

Metallica is your answer. I wasn’t really a fan of the band, but the game is just awesome. And my favorite part is that the game can be simplified for newer players, because the rules in it are exquisite.

It’s a simple bash game. Hit Sparky a bunch of times, and it rewards you with a multiball. Once you master that, history the grave markers (drops) a bunch of times to start a multiball there. Good, simple, easy to understand fun times.

Then once you can do those consistently, you go towards Snake multiball. It needs shots to light the snake, and then a snake shot for each letter. The whole game is a bash toy, and it’s a blast. You can play it like this as your skills improve.

Occasionally you will start other stuff accidentally. Like Double Scoring, fuel, or lady justice. As you farther improve you will start working to get them. This is where the game starts feeling less like a bash game, and more like a shooter. Sure, you will still get other bash stuff, like coffin, but the game is getting more subtle. You’re still bashing, but you are bashing with specific purposes.

And then, Crank It Up strolls into town. I wouldn’t quite call it a mini-wizard mode, but it sort of is. This is where you are trying to reach objectives in single ball play. And because it takes more to collect jackpots here, the pressure is on. These are modes with double objectives. You need to get your shots to all 4 main areas to light the collect, and you also have to make shots to build up the jackpot. Eventually you will have huge risk reward in these modes as you don’t want to leave without doubling the collect, but that requires slightly out of control shots to do. Collecting a huge doubled jackpot at the scoop is a thrill.

Other games have staged rulesets. But this one is easy to explain along the way from simple to pull your hair out frustration. If I was just starting out again, it’s the game I’d want to pick because it would grow with me.

#44 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

Thanks everyone for your comprehensive thoughts.
It has been very helpful. I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band. I'm glad it seems like the kind of game that can grow with me as I move from terrible to just bad
Thanks again.

I'd say guardians fits your criteria better. I had Metallica for 3 years (also fan of the band and my first NIB, but I don't feel like I ever want it again) and played guardians very extensively (and still want one). Guardians is much more forgiving and because it's mode based you get the idea of getting somewhere. While metallica felt like every game was the same (bash sparky and hopefully get to 1 or 2 crank it ups). I also hated that the drop targets reset if you loose the ball. Take a risky shot, loose the ball and get punished twice

#45 5 months ago

I think ACDC Premium is the better choice here. Great music, excellent code, the best lighting in pinball, fun and fast. Also one of the best for multiplayers games.
Metallica is a good choice too.

#46 5 months ago
Quoted from Kozzi:

I have the suspicion Metallica may be where I end up as I am a fan of the band. I'm glad it seems like the kind of game that can grow with me as I move from terrible to just bad

Thanks again.

Don't leave us hanging! Did you get a game yet?

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