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!