(Topic ID: 195588)

Does it makes sense to specialize collection in a certain generation?


By volcanolotus

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by dsmoke1986
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    #1 2 years ago

    I'm thinking about becoming a pinball owner, but looking for advice from some people with more experience.

    I'm looking at solid state machines, mostly from last century, and debating whether it makes sense to pick a certain generation and focus on the games within it rather than just buying my absolute favorites regardless. I know that there ARE benefits to specializing - overlap in parts, similar schematics, etc. - but what I don't know is how big of a difference it makes in the real world.

    I guess what I'm asking is, is Whitestar vs System 3 vs WPC more like, say, PC vs Mac in terms of hardware, or is it more like Ford vs Subaru vs Lotus? How often (and in what ways) are the board/part overlaps beneficial? And how close does it have to be for knowledge transfer/material overlap to benefit - are WPC-S pretty much the same as WPC-95? What about those two compared to System 11, or the later DE boards that borrowed a lot from System 11?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    #2 2 years ago

    Play them. Collect what YOU like. You may or may not want to specialize in one era, manufacturer, etc.

    LTG : )

    #3 2 years ago

    It makes no sense at all.

    Pick what you like and then research what other era's games you might want and go to town. I have 6 different decades of flipper games and prior to 5 years ago I had never lifted the hood on any of them. But now can repair any that come my way.

    #4 2 years ago

    There is a benefit to having multiple games of the same generation and manufacturer. When something breaks and you're not sure what the source of the issue is, it's very handy to be able to swap boards between machines as a method of eliminating or zeroing in on the root cause.

    #5 2 years ago

    while there are benifits, it is not how you local arcade looked
    a DE next to a BW , a game from 1992 next to a game from 1998
    a pinball next to an arcade game

    variety is the spice if life

    #6 2 years ago

    Absolutely, from a maintenance perspective, having games that are all similar in terms of HW is a tremendous benefit (assuming you are doing your own repairs). Boards and other parts can be swapped between games, either to keep one game going at the expense of another, or as part of the diagnosis process. Additionally, over time, you will acquire deep expertise in the quirks of a specific generation of games since that is what you are concentrating on.

    Personally, I like the early Bally and Stern SS games, as the boards between these two manufacturers are largely compatible (some differences in the MPU, but nothing that can't be adapted), and that minimizes the stock of parts and boards I have to keep around. That doesn't mean I'm not tempted to own a Williams or a Gottlieb (I do own a project Black Hole, and would like to find a Solar Fire someday), but by buying mostly Bally and Stern, I've reduced my costs a lot, and also learned_ a lot!

    #7 2 years ago

    I love diversity in a collection. But there is some value to owning only one boardset of games, as parts are usually completely interchangeable between them. Hence why i'm shooting for a complete collection of Gen 2 zaccarias. That, and the gen 2's are the most fun.

    #8 2 years ago
    Quoted from volcanolotus:

    I'm thinking about becoming a pinball owner, but looking for advice from some people with more experience.
    I'm looking at solid state machines, mostly from last century, and debating whether it makes sense to pick a certain generation and focus on the games within it rather than just buying my absolute favorites regardless. I know that there ARE benefits to specializing - overlap in parts, similar schematics, etc. - but what I don't know is how big of a difference it makes in the real world.
    I guess what I'm asking is, is Whitestar vs System 3 vs WPC more like, say, PC vs Mac in terms of hardware, or is it more like Ford vs Subaru vs Lotus? How often (and in what ways) are the board/part overlaps beneficial? And how close does it have to be for knowledge transfer/material overlap to benefit - are WPC-S pretty much the same as WPC-95? What about those two compared to System 11, or the later DE boards that borrowed a lot from System 11?
    Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    It is a benefit if you are going to have a large collection. At one time I had a complete "set" of early SS Williams pins. I had all the system 6 and all the system 7 games, as well as the system 9s (all 3). The ability to swap boards and parts between games is helpful in getting games running, or if you have multiple games at a show and something breaks down...you have spares to get them back up and running again. I didn't start out collecting just that system to begin with...it was more I wanted 1 Williams game from every year in the 80's (because that's what I grew up playing in the arcades)...but after the first couple I was hooked and couldn't stop! (You know what they say about can't have just 1!) Anyway I say that if you are going to have a large collection it is beneficial to have multiples of a specific system. On the other hand...as someone mentioned before variety is the spice of life! I have since traded a few games off to add some DMDs and even sold some to get first NIB for hubby for his birthday (2013 MET). but our collection is still early Williams SS heavy and that isn't going to change much except for I will get some that I have in storage awaiting restore finished and back in the lineup...They still hold the same appeal that they did originally. Still love them but also enjoy the variety that we currently have in our collection.

    Phoebe

    #9 2 years ago

    I think you are going about this backwards. Pick out a pin that you will enjoy. Pinball is about fun. You can learn about maintenance as you play it, mod it and repair it. Then keep your eyes open and just see what you are attracted to for your second pin. You don't need a master plan to have fun.

    You don't list your location, but if there is a pinball show near you that's a great way to try a lot of pins in a day or two. Welcome to the hobby!

    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from Butterflygirl24:

    It is a benefit if you are going to have a large collection. ...
    Phoebe

    What Phoebe said.

    When I started I didn't care. After I got up around 15/20 games I started getting realizing the repair aspect was getting crazy so I started dumping games were the different board-sets (especially sound boards) were not swappable. You also get the repair expertise for the common issues memorized. For a while I had the cookie cutter classic Bally/Williams 90's pins. Great games and 2 spare driver boards covered most of them. But then I missed the variety. So then you get stupid and realize you love just about everything.

    When you are at stage 4 of the disease all common sense is out the window. As well as a lot of furniture.

    #11 2 years ago
    Quoted from Taxman:

    What Phoebe said.
    But then I missed the variety. So then you get stupid and realize you love just about everything.
    When you are at stage 4 of the disease all common sense is out the window. As well as a lot of furniture.

    Ahhh come on Shrek man!!! Don't go telling everyone that we're past stage 5....in the hobby/disease!! I wasn't going to mention that all my furniture is in storage or gone...and I have pins in every room!! LOL!! And yeah I have branched out I have Williams, Bally, old and new Stern along with Gottlieb, and Zac. but I still prefer working on the old SS Williams...

    Phoebe

    #12 2 years ago

    Buy what you like and you'll always be happy.

    #13 2 years ago

    One more big difference a new collector has versus us old timers. Part Availability.

    In the past when something broke you could get it because it was a "stock" part. Still in production so who cared.

    Then when the games got older and the companies thinned out you had "New Old Stock". Not you had to wonder if it would be available. And even if the plastic was getting brittle from storage (I went through a few ToM trunks)

    Then it was $rare$ or cheap repro because you have nothing else.

    Now, with 3-D printing, scanning, re-licensing . . . things are available. Heck, even circuit boards and be computer designed and delivered to your door.

    Quoted from Butterflygirl24:

    ... all my furniture is in storage or gone...and I have pins in every room . . .

    Yes, I went from game room to spare bedroom, living room, 2 storage places and now I put them in The Sanctum so at least they are getting used.

    Quoted from Butterflygirl24:

    ... I have Williams, Bally, old and new Stern along with Gottlieb, and Zac. but I still prefer working on the old SS Williams... Phoebe

    I have most, not Zac though. I finally picked up a PM a few years back. About 15 years ago I had the choice between ToM and PM. I went with ToM because I was afraid I would not get PM parts if I needed them. Now when PM came around again I was not afraid I could get anything if really needed.

    #14 2 years ago
    Quoted from volcanolotus:

    I'm looking at solid state machines, mostly from last century

    Geez I feel old.

    #15 2 years ago

    Heck, I AM old.

    #16 2 years ago

    I knew I was getting old when all the the DJs started sounding like a bunch of braying jackasses.

    #17 2 years ago

    Before you worry about the advantages of having the same games figure out if 1) they are fun for you and not the internet commandos 2) if fixing them is fun because if you don't like to fix, owning the same generation doesn't matter at all. I know many people who have boards to swap but IMHO that is dumb (and I have lots of boards that I have never used)

    I have lots of system 6 and 7 stuff right now but don't have any of those pins. I love them and will in the future but my collection went away from that right now.

    #18 2 years ago

    How old if I might ask. Maybe you'll make me feel young again.

    #19 2 years ago

    Just jump in and have fun. I personally went with a variety, but have started a love for system 11's as I take over my house with pins. It's all about space and money. But it is such a fun disease to be part of. Enjoy

    #20 2 years ago

    Short answer: No. It doesn't make sense to collect games from a certain generation.

    Long Answer: Even games that are from different generations all share very similar components. Rubber rings, switches, transistors, fuses, and such are all pretty standard across the board.

    Longer Answer: Once you dive into collecting and playing, finding games from a certain generation becomes irrelevant. You begin to develop a taste for things you know you'll like, and eventually your house is filled with games, your bank account is sad, your significant other grows weary, and yet despite all this, you'll be shooting "Hey, I'm interested in your game. Is it still available?" messages to every good deal you see on craigslist.

    #21 2 years ago
    Quoted from DennisDodel:

    How old if I might ask. Maybe you'll make me feel young again.

    66, but I feel great!

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    It makes no sense at all.
    Pick what you like and then research what other era's games you might want and go to town. I have 6 different decades of flipper games and prior to 5 years ago I had never lifted the hood on any of them. But now can repair any that come my way.

    This. I only have a 4 decade span, but the rest is exactly my story.

    #23 2 years ago

    My short time experience is in 18 months I have wound up with 5 pins. They are all the same brand and same family of circuit boards. The pins are all 35 years old and things are always happening that I am learning how to fix.

    Electronics troubleshooting has never been my top skill (but I'm learning) so it has been nice to be able to swap out circuit boards to help isolate the issue at had.

    Nuts and bolts and screws will be the same across any mechanical item. Either you know how to use a screwdriver, or you don't.

    If you are strong with electronics trouble shooting and repair techniques, then mix it up. However, if electronics is not your strong suit, I suggest staying one brand and one system for awhile while you are starting out.

    #24 2 years ago
    Quoted from txstargazer3:

    66, but I feel great!

    A year older than me you old geezer.

    #25 2 years ago

    When I started, I thought I had to have all of the top ten games. I've had many of them, but later realized how much theme and design mattered to me. With games being scarce in public it's tough to get to play many of the older titles. My advice is to go to some pinball shows and just play the games. You'll soon realize what types of games you gravitate to and which games have the "just one more game" feeling for you.

    #26 2 years ago

    Having games that share a platform is great, for troubleshooting.

    Having nearby friends in the hobby on the same platform can still give you that advantage - without locking you into the platform. So, go make some friends, do some social networking.. and focus on collecting what you enjoy playing vs collecting a platform.

    #27 2 years ago

    Lots of people saying "collect what you enjoy" and ignore the platform. Collecting pins that you enjoy is never bad advice, but I'd say that ignoring the platform is sensible advice ONLY for folk that don't have the skills or inclination to doing their own repairs. The best way for a novice to develop pinball repair Skillz is to work for a while on one platform. It may be classic Stern/Bally, it may be Williams System 7, or whatever, but if you have more than one machine of a specific HW generation, you will_ learn some pretty advanced techniques for maintaining/repairing that HW. If a hot soldering-iron is not your thrill, then by all means, don't even think about the HW and go for the titles that thrill you. Otherwise, focusing on a specific platform will have two advantages: One, you will get pretty good at repairing your own games; Two, you'll discover some "sleeper" titles buried down amongst the more popular titles, games that you'd never played before, but turn out to be pretty damned amazing!

    #28 2 years ago

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Quoted from txstargazer3:

    I think you are going about this backwards. Pick out a pin that you will enjoy...You don't need a master plan to have fun.
    You don't list your location, but if there is a pinball show near you that's a great way to try a lot of pins in a day or two. Welcome to the hobby!

    Just to be clear, I wasn't planning on getting pins that I don't enjoy. I'm not a "collector" in that anything I'd bring into the house would have to be one that gives me that "one more game" feeling, and there are a few dozen of those. For me, I don't expect ever to have a large collection, mostly due to space constraints, so it's unlikely I'll own ALL my favorites. It's more about how to pick out the handful I might want to get - do I try to rank them all subjectively? Just wait until a good deal pops up locally on one I like? Or does it make sense to use some objective measure to narrow down?

    As far as not needing a master plan to have fun...well, I'm a planner, so that's part of the fun for me It's also practical; these would be in a basement, and I've had intermittent back issues, so I'd really prefer to pick out the favorites and carry them one time. It's also a matter of purchasing order - if I plan to get, say, 4 pins, and 2 of them share a generation, is it worth maybe driving a few hundred extra miles or paying a bit more to get the 2 comparable ones first and learn on them?

    And it would be a learning process for me. I put together a custom arcade stick once, so I've soldered before, but nothing nearly on the scale of what a pinball machine seems like it would be. I am interested in learning, but anything that will make the process easier is definitely something I'd consider

    I'm in Rochester, NY and did go to ReplayFX this year. I plan to hit that next year again, and hopefully Ann Arbor and Pintastic NE too - I want to try more 80s pins as I find myself gravitating more towards pre-DMD solid states. (I've learned not to rely on Internet opinion too much for anything - I've played 9 of the current top 10 here and while I enjoyed most of them well enough, none are ones I'd personally want to own. Good for my wallet for sure!)

    Quoted from mbaumle:

    Even games that are from different generations all share very similar components. Rubber rings, switches, transistors, fuses, and such are all pretty standard across the board.

    This is the main thing I wanted to know - thanks!

    #29 2 years ago

    I agree with most everything stated- your getting a lot of advice from some pretty experienced people. As someone with 5 machines spanning 4 manufacturers and two eras I will say that wrapping your head around one manufacturers way of doing thingd and finally feelin like you know the game inside and out- and then switching generations is a humbling experience- you will be doing a lot of learning. To be honest- although I may act like it sucks to not know whats wrong and have no idea how to fix it- its super fun to learn how these work so zero regrets.

    Buy what you like and either you will end up enjoying fixing it or you wll not. Just FYI. If you find you enjoy fixing games- your screwed. Many more will be in your future.

    #30 2 years ago

    Definitely don't overplan, and I would advise against buying multiple pins off the bat, start with one that you really like and go from there...I think a little variety is good in manufacturer, time period and designers; especially in a smaller collection.

    Also, you'll probably want pins that have different types of layouts and gameplay; and that takes time to recognize and appreciate; so take your time and enjoy.

    #31 2 years ago

    I will add, that when I started collecting, I was looking at modern Sterns all the way; my first pin purchase was a D/E DMD; but as time has progressed, I have gravitated towards the 90's B/W's; they are just the best feeling to me; and I appreciate the simpler modes of play on them compared to modern pins; it's all in the evolution of me as a pinball player and owner.

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