(Topic ID: 224169)

EM A-list?


By n1teowl

10 months ago



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  • Latest reply 8 months ago by phil-lee
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    There are 133 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
    #51 10 months ago
    Quoted from drsfmd:

    I don't want to pick particular titles... I'd rather group them by years of what I prefer playing...
    late 50s- 1963-ish - Gottlieb
    1963- early 1970s - Bally
    1972-ish to end of EM era - Williams

    Totally agree with this idea...grouping all EMs together is the problem with trying to make A lists or whatever. Just looking at responses here will show you that people are generally gravitating towards an era or category when listing titles. And it reflects the current trend in collecting, like Tom says - Buckaroo was once considered the cat's ass, and multi players were generally shunned. Nowadays it's alot different....and years from now it'll probably be different yet.

    I also feel, and o-din touched on this, that I haven't played enough games on many titles to form an opinion. Until I get a game in my house, shopped out correctly for my tastes, and many games logged, can I get a solid opinion of that particular game.

    #52 10 months ago
    Quoted from lpeters82:

    I also "struck gold". Went to pickup a Ms. Pacman & Big Buck Hunter Pro (arcade) and they happened to have a non-working pinball machine in the way back.
    [quoted image]

    Lucky strike!

    #53 10 months ago
    Quoted from electricsquirrel:

    Any Add-A-Ball game!
    Eric

    Funny, I don't like add a balls and avoid buying them.

    Centigrade 37, Atlantis and Target Alpha are the MM, AFM and TZ of EMs.

    #54 10 months ago

    I think add a balls are cool, since replays are more or less useless in a home environment, but sometimes I feel like once you start raking in the extra balls, the game just becomes a grind.

    #56 10 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    sometimes I feel like once you start raking in the extra balls, the game just becomes a grind.

    Depends on the game. Some will make you groan when a ball gets added, leaving you with that will this never end feeling. Others you feel like your fighting like heck to earn one so you can keep things going.

    #57 10 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    replays are more or less useless in a home environment

    I don't see it that way at all. That's like saying having a game that was designed to make money is more or less useless in a home environment.

    For me the goal is to score as many specials and pass as many score thresh holds that I can in any given game and is more rewarding than scratching the new high score on the cabinet because obviously the game doesn't keep track of that.

    Older games when 5-10 specials at one time are even better as that knocker goes off in machine gun fashion. But to each his own I guess.

    #58 10 months ago

    This might be a dumb question, but was there any certain preferred pinball machine over others for those who would use them for gambling purposes?

    #59 10 months ago
    Quoted from Agent_Hero:

    This might be a dumb question, but was there any certain preferred pinball machine over others for those who would use them for gambling purposes?

    If I recall, William's went through a phase where they had what's called the "star" feature, and the replay counter could literally count up into the hundreds, and you could potentially win a couple hundred replays in a single sitting. Obviously, a player wouldn't ever want to play off all those games, so the establishment owner would pay off the replays and then reset it. William's older woodrails were definitely made for less "savory" environments, what with their dual impulse flippers that were suspiciously easy to play while holding a beer in one hand.

    #60 10 months ago
    Quoted from Agent_Hero:

    This might be a dumb question, but was there any certain preferred pinball machine over others for those who would use them for gambling purposes?

    They are all gambling machines.

    In my parlor it has been the two player Williams games with short flippers that fit the bill the best, but any game that in most cases will offer close scores between competitors works well.

    Back in the old days it was the games you could rack up the most credits on and sell them to the bartender or somebody else, and again this would be Williams which on some games 100s of credits could be won.

    Edit- see above post mentioning "star feature"

    #61 10 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    They are all gambling machines.

    Don't tell that to Roger Sharpe!

    #62 10 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    Don't tell that to Roger Sharpe!

    Who?

    #63 10 months ago

    Just joking. lol.

    Back to gambling, on a game like Pit Stop which is a two player game, there are both scores and laps counted, so I suppose you could wager on the outcome of both if you were so inclined.

    I had one in here called 21 by Williams which is a Blackjack themed game which keeps track of your blackjack score on two score reels beside the lighted score, so there were all kinds of different wagers that could be made. High score, getting black jack, beat the dealer, beat the next players hand, special, match, etc. So I suppose, as far as a flipper game is concerned, it could be called "the ultimate gambling machine".

    #64 10 months ago

    It's not easy to state what EM's are the best or most collectible or even if an accurate A-list exist.

    Bally, Williams and Gottlieb are most likely are at the top of the EM list of all the manufactures. It might be a good place to start since all three manufactures have so many great games to choose from and most of the time are separated by a fine line in game play etc.

    Hopefully you have a serious EM collectors close by in driving distance from your location. There you could learn about EM's from conversation and playing their collection, forming your own opinions and taste on what you like about EM games. Also perhaps there might be some pinball shows close by that have some restored EM's to check out. If your close by to New Jersey you are welcome to play my EM collection.

    #65 10 months ago
    Quoted from Vic_Camp:

    It's not easy to state what EM's are the best or most collectible or even if an accurate A-list exist.
    Bally, Williams and Gottlieb are most likely are at the top of the EM list of all the manufactures. It might be a good place to start since all three manufactures have so many great games to choose from and most of the time are separated by a fine line in game play etc.
    Hopefully you have a serious EM collectors close by in driving distance from your location. There you could learn about EM's from conversation and playing their collection, forming your own opinions and taste on what you like about EM games. Also perhaps there might be some pinball shows close by that have some restored EM's to check out. If your close by to New Jersey you are welcome to play my EM collection.

    Vic, you're the worst for picking an A-list!! LOL

    They are all on the A-list according to you...I kinda agree. :0)

    Sean

    #66 10 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Alright I'm throwing it out there....

    Collectable and expensive yes but Fireball sucks (and I own one right now). I MUCH prefer the large-flipper 1985 version, which is an actual playable machine rather than a skill shot and a ton of luck.

    Once in a blue moon you can get on a roll on Fireball but for the most part it's a luck box and all about the gimmicks rather than a fun, skill-based pinball experience.

    Thank you again, Levi! Gawd I am SICK of hearing about Fireball. A giant chunk of playfield devoted to a lame skillshot, and cross yer fingers and hope for the rest... FB2 is better by far, though not an em.

    Also... most wedgeheads are all the same... Go looking at the Williams reverse wedgies... go find machines designed by Steve Kordek or Ted Zale or suchlike...

    #67 10 months ago

    A couple of my personal favorites that I have not seen mentioned so far :
    wms Aztec
    wms Space Mission or Odyssey
    sonic Prospector
    wms Travel Time
    Bally Aladdins Castle
    sonic Faces
    gottlieb Jet Spin
    wms Pat Hand
    wms Dealers Choice

    #68 10 months ago

    EM's peaked in the 70's.Overall player ratings and market value are all you need.

    #69 10 months ago

    1950 Gottlieb knockout
    or any of the Harry Mabs machines

    I'm looking for one right now

    #70 10 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I think add a balls are cool, since replays are more or less useless in a home environment, but sometimes I feel like once you start raking in the extra balls, the game just becomes a grind.

    I felt this way about Team One. Terrible game and way too easy to play forever.

    But others, like Dimension or Pop-A-Card, just seem to thrive at home in add a ball.

    #71 10 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    any of the Harry maabs machines

    Mabs. I have to agree he is one of the all time great innovative designers.. I have his very last game and it is certainly one of the best.

    But how does such a rare game like Magic Clock become an A title?

    It just grows roots and never leaves, that's how.
    MC (resized).jpg

    #72 10 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    But others, like Dimension

    Good call on Dimension. I'd love to own one someday. Resetting the drops goes a long way in that game, plus the playfield art kicks ass.

    #73 10 months ago

    I saw the typo and fixed it

    But yes, we lost a great one when Harry passed...

    #74 10 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    I saw the typo and fixed it

    But yes, we lost a great one when Harry passed...

    When Williams hired him was when the company really started to take off.

    Between the two Harrys, the late 50s saw a huge boom in development and machines that were of the highest quality. Mabs might have retired in 1960, but at the same time Kordek joined the team keeping with the theme of hiring great people that had already left other companies for one reason or another. And that was their way of doing things until the very end. Get all the best people they could when they were available.

    #75 10 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    When Williams hired him was when the company really started to take off.
    Between the two Harrys, the late 50s saw a huge boom in development and machines that were of the highest quality. Mabs might have retired in 1960, but at the same time Kordek joined the team keeping with the theme of hiring great people that had already left other companies for one reason or another. And that was their way of doing things until the very end. Get all the best people they could when they were available.

    Sounds like Deeproot is following that exact method.

    #76 10 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Sounds like Deeproot is following that exact method.

    Perhaps. Except that Williams was already a company founded by the man that first brought electricity to pinball and had made many other innovations.

    #77 10 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Perhaps. Except that Williams was already a company founded by the man that first brought electricity to pinball and had made many other innovations.

    Yep.

    #78 10 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I felt this way about Team One. Terrible game and way too easy to play forever.

    I really like my Team One. Maybe I just stink, but I find it challenging.

    High on my list:

    Gottlieb- Target Alpha, C37, Cleopatra
    Williams- Grand Prix, Hot Tip
    Bally- Nip-It, Freedom

    #79 10 months ago

    There are many cool and fun games. I personally like playing any i can. But I only buy Gottlieb Wedgheads as they are my favorite all around EM. Eldorado, Buckaroo, Top Card, Abra ca dabra, C37, Atlanist are some of my top games.

    #80 10 months ago

    Another good set of EM lists can be found here:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/rank-your-ems

    I'm sure some advanced statistical analysis of all these lists could be used to generate a single distilled list that is of no use to anybody.

    These lists can be useful to see trends across collectors but, ultimately, you generate your own personal A-list based on research, playing (arcades, museums, shows, collectors, memories from youth,...), buying, and sometimes selling.

    #81 10 months ago

    Any EM that you thought enough to buy (for price, novelty, looks, or just closeness or youth in your career in pin) is the best EM. Work on it, restore it, sell it, learn from the process, and do it again. Factors like art, tides of like (as some say), production #, playability, condition usually in (some lasted better than others for various reasons) makes it all very subjective. Again, the one I have my head in, humping away at it to make it play the best I can, and learning from it, that makes the EM special and particularly interesting at a given time. Like children, you will have a fav or two, the posse will not pull all equally all the time.

    #82 10 months ago

    Here's something I've found with EM games.
    Williams games aren't as popular as Gottlieb games, but Williams games have more unique rules.
    Bally games are almost always the best with regards to layout, features and rules.

    Argue if you want.

    #83 10 months ago
    Quoted from tamoore:

    Williams games aren't as popular as Gottlieb games, but Williams games have more unique rules.
    Bally games are almost always the best with regards to layout, features and rules.

    I won't argue with the first of what you said, but as far as the second part, most of the more popular short flipper Bally games are multiplayers and going up against most of the 60s Williams multiplayers, the rules and features lead to very unbalanced scoring, where rarely will games with more than one player be close in score. Which is why Capersville is no longer here.

    #84 10 months ago

    As TA of PHoF has said, and is correct, single player games are pure and simple. You and machine, you get in a zone, a zen and playing them makes for a special relationship between a game and how it plays with the player. The player owns it for that moment in time, no matter if in a friends house, on location or in the spirit of thinking about beating it next time for a high score. Hold over features make multi player EMs from the WMS factory are unique and add strategy. However, 95% of all games played on a multiplayer machine are single. So, stick with the single players for the best bang for the buck, and maintainability. The multiplayer games came into fashion but it was never a realized benefit in the market, or at home for the enthusiast and true player/game owner. However, and there is always a caveat to all things, small percentage benefit at best, is in home game play at parties, and in tourneys the multiple player brings to the floor some interaction and participation which is needed. All charity events I host have 1/2 or more multiplayer EMs. They do serve a purpose, but they are not pure.

    #85 10 months ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    Hold over features make multi player EMs from the WMS factory are unique and add strategy. However, 95% of all games played on a multiplayer machine are single.

    This is what makes Pit Stop such a great, fun machine. It is as good whether there is one player or two. I'll play it just like I'll play one of my single players and it is more fun than many single player games that have come thru here, and is probably the best of the multiplayers that have.

    #86 10 months ago

    Kings & Queens
    Card Whiz
    Fire Queen

    #87 10 months ago

    At one point Williams made a two player game that was actually two complete single player games in one, but probably decided that was a bit much if they could make multiplayer games with a variety of features like drop targets and swinging targets and carryover features that were interesting enough to keep it close during competition and also make it worthy of being played by one player, which they went on to do.

    https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1782

    #88 10 months ago

    I'm guessing the drop targets reset on Joker Poker after each ball. Played the SS version at a show loved it. Didn't notice the reset.

    #89 10 months ago
    Quoted from Electrocute:

    I'm guessing the drop targets reset on Joker Poker after each ball.

    Yes, that was one of the downsides to having this game in the home. You knock them all down, get the extra ball and special, and that's pretty much it until the next ball where you do it again. In the arcade that never bothered me though as I liked chalking up free games.

    By the mid 70s all manufacturers were using pretty much the same formula on their multiplayers. Build up a bonus and collect that bonus. The differences were whether you could collect it during a ball and run it up again or just after the ball leaves play. Some had drop targets that would reset when completed, others did not. But basically every ball played was pretty much the same.

    #90 10 months ago

    Didn't think I'd like 2001 since the drop targets don't reset. Game seems faster when all the targets are down. Really fun game.

    #91 10 months ago
    Quoted from Electrocute:

    Didn't think I'd like 2001 since the drop targets don't reset. Game seems faster when all the targets are down. Really fun game.

    2001 and Dimension are neat games with all those drop targets and the short flippers, which is a combination I like. I think those might have been the only Gottlieb single players with that combination? On all the older Williams with short flippers and drops they can all be reset during the ball I believe and have some pretty slick rules to go along with them

    If you prefer the longer flippers on single player games then you gotta go with Gottlieb for the most part as that is what they were specializing in at the time and made way more of them than anybody else. Although Bally and Williams made a few neat ones, they were on a multiplayer kick and still sold a lot of them.

    #92 10 months ago

    Williams: Heat Wave, Teacher's Pet, Space Mission/Odyssey (multiplayer), Big Daddy, Oh Boy (2player)
    Gottlieb: World Fair, Fun Fair, Whirl-Wind
    Bally: Expressway, Balls a' Poppin/Circus (2player version of BaP)

    #93 10 months ago

    I think you can get a pretty good list of desireable games by selecting the Custom feature in the Top 100. Set the year to top out at 1977, set average calculation to crop the outliers, and set minimum number of reviews to 15 or 25. The first 20 or so games are pretty solid.

    #94 10 months ago

    caucasian2step has the most accurate written reviews here IMHO. His opinions match up with mine about 80-90% of the time.

    #95 10 months ago
    Quoted from jasonspoint28:

    I think you can get a pretty good list of desireable games by selecting the Custom feature in the Top 100. Set the year to top out at 1977, set average calculation to crop the outliers, and set minimum number of reviews to 15 or 25. The first 20 or so games are pretty solid.

    https://tinyurl.com/SimpleEMSort

    Yep, thanks! That does a quick top quality game search. About 75% of those are in hoard, and no surprise about 50% are GTB games. All those titles I've played and bought, or wish I had or am looking. However, and important, there are hard to find titles that don't get reviews that also are well worth hunting, and restoring. Mars Trek and Cherry Bell come to mind. None of those in the result are obviously woodies, and they are cheap now and some are worth buying and having for completeness/roundness of your collection. Most are super easy to maintain as well.

    4 weeks later
    #96 9 months ago
    Quoted from fireball2:

    caucasian2step has the most accurate written reviews here IMHO. His opinions match up with mine about 80-90% of the time.

    I'd love to discuss the 10% - 20% discrepancies AND WHY!

    Being wrong is the bestest. That is when you learn.

    #97 9 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    But others, like Dimension or Pop-A-Card, just seem to thrive at home in add a ball.

    You still have there high score on my Pop-A-Card

    2 weeks later
    #98 9 months ago

    Easy to answer... my A list EM game is the last EM I bought. So right now that would be Astro.

    #99 9 months ago

    As others have noted, the difficulty in ranking and recommending EMs is that their commonality is outweighed by their differences. For example, the sensibility of a fantastic woodrail is quite different than that of a wedgehead.

    Asking which EMs are the best is akin to asking which alcoholic beverage or which snack is best. The question is simply too generic. Categories are necessary so that games from different eras with divergent appeal are not deemed to compete with one another. I would go so far as to subcategorize by manufacturer (and perhaps by single vs. multi-player and/or flipper size) since each manufacturer bestows a unique "feel" to the fun factor.

    With that predicate, I consider the following titles (listed alphabetically) to be especially successful designs in both gameplay and art [* denotes 3 inch flipper game; # denotes multiplayer game; all others are 2 inch flipper games]:

    BALLY:

    Capersville#
    Cosmos#
    Dixieland
    Dogies#
    Expressway
    Fireball '72#
    Rocket III
    Skyrocket#
    Surfers

    GOTTLIEB

    Atlantis*
    Big Hit*
    Blue Note/Rock Star*
    Hit the Deck/Neptune*
    Joker Poker*#
    King of Diamonds
    Strange World*
    Surf Champ*#
    2001/Dimension
    Volley*

    MIDWAY

    Flying Turns#
    Race Way#

    WOODRAILS

    Chicago Coin Thing

    Gottlieb 1950 Bank-A-Ball
    Gottlieb Daisy May
    Gottlieb Grand Slam
    Gottlieb Harbor Lites
    Gottlieb Niagara
    Gottlieb Queen of Hearts
    Gottlieb Spot Bowler

    Williams Sea Wolf
    Williams 21

    There are so many great EM titles, especially among the wedgehead and woodrail categories. These are just a few that come to mind. I hate omitting so many wonderful titles from my list. However, I see those games on the lists of others who have posted.

    #100 9 months ago

    THING by Chicago Coin

    It features a guy who finds an object and then is shunned by everybody for the rest of his life

    When he dies, St Peter sends him to Hell because of it, and at the gates of Hell, Satan won't let him in cause he's afraid of it.

    Great game that's not a CCC theme (Cards, Clowns and Cowboys)
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