(Topic ID: 129697)

What are your favorite EM Manufacturers and why?


By PinballFever

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 119 posts
  • 31 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by o-din
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    There have been 23 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    son.jpeg
    Studebaker with UTAH Pinball.jpg
    th-1.jpeg
    Backglass.jpg
    Playfield2.jpg
    allhock3.jpg
    124656a_lg.jpg
    image-3.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-37-52_877 copy.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-37-39_807 copy.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-40-39_469.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-26-43_722 copy.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-45-00_761.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-45-38_960.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-25-43_841 copy.jpg
    2012-08-28_20-25-20_918 copy.jpg

    There are 119 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 4 years ago

    Which is your favorite EM manufacturer and why?

    Is it because you like to work on them? Play them? Gaze at them lovingly with pride as you polish them?

    For a long time my favorite was Gottlieb because they seemed more reliable and less prone to "break downs" than Williams when I was playing both at the local swimming pool as a juvenile.

    Now I also like United Mfg. I just think their backglasses and games are cool. United Mfg. was in business from 1942 to 1962 and manufactured as many as 15 machines a year after the war ended.

    I wish I knew more about the company but there doesn't seem to be anything on the web. Maybe if I research local newspapers for Chicago online or maybe someone IN the area would know?

    #2 4 years ago

    United was bought by Williams.

    #3 4 years ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    United was bought by Williams.

    Ah! I didn't know that.

    #4 4 years ago

    Every manufactures has its own charm in e.m., they where made in a time that competition was really competition.

    Most of the parts used in one brand wouldn't really fit in another, they all had there own style.

    Just look at the shooters, you can tell which brand it is just by looking at the shooter housing!

    Nowadays?....nah, not my cup of tea.

    So, I have not one brand I like, I like them all, one game better than another, but that has to do with personal taste.

    #5 4 years ago

    This is like asking which national brand of coffee people like. You are going to get a variety of answers. One would guess that 75% of the answers will be Gottlieb Wedgeheads.

    #6 4 years ago

    I think the majority of Em collectors favor Gottlieb. They made a ton of nice games. Tastes are subjective though. After 11 years I've found 1967 and older Williams games to be my favorite. I really like the art and gameplay. Bally made some neat stuff too but I rarely see any in my area for some reason.

    Of course then stuff like your United Utah can really be fun. Check out Pinside member 82Trooper's Baby Face. He has a couple videos on Youtube and that really is a neat old game. It's fun to find something lesser seen and not often discussed. Genco and Keeney made some neat ones. Exhibit Supply too. Just too much cool stuff to consider.

    #7 4 years ago

    I know this might seem strange to Gottlieb owners, but really, when you hit one pop bumper all three go off?? I like Williams EM's

    #8 4 years ago

    I really like Williams games from the late 60s and 70s, despite all the flack they take.

    Pointy people and psychedelic colors don't deter me. Christian Marche was definitely different than Roy Parker, but that doesn't mean the gameplay is bad. If anything, the simple style Marche used makes restoration a heck of a lot easier, which is aces in my book.

    A lot of their games allow you to collect the bonus during the ball instead of after the drain, which gives you something to keep shooting for instead of maxing the bonus out and then just waiting to lose.

    Lots of save gates, save posts, ball return kickers, etc. give you that sense you can get some protection going and then when you think you're "safe" you lose the ball anyway. It's nice having goals that give you a false sense of security.

    Pop bumper forests keep the ball nice and lively, and pop bumpers between the flippers are awesome for making desperate saves and "Oooh, ah!" moments when the ball defies gravity, looping around the bumper and right onto your flipper.

    A lot of Williams game have some type of random bonus award that can allow a novice player to beat an experienced one. That might be bad if you're super competitive, but if you want to get people interested in the game it's really a nice feature, since it helps those players feel like they have a fighting chance and aren't just going to get beaten over and over if they play with you.

    More drop targets would have been nice (Big Deal does have drop banks for what it's worth and several games have single drops), but not having them doesn't make Williams machines "not pinball" as some people claim.

    I like working on them. I really "get" Williams start-up process, and I can find problems easier than on a Gottlieb from the same era.

    I also tend to favor an underdog. If the majority only want Gottlieb wedgeheads, that's great because it leaves more Williams pointy people for me.

    #9 4 years ago

    Bowlers--United
    40s Flipperless--Bally
    50s Woodrails--Gottlieb
    60s Gottlieb
    70s EMs--Williams, Bally, Gottlieb all made some fun games, but the flippers on a Williams game from that era are second to none.

    #10 4 years ago

    There was an interesting thread comparing manufacturers a year or two ago comparing Pinball manufacturers to Chevy, Ford, Dodge, AMC, etc..

    You might want to go to a major show with a lot of em variety - think Allentown, TPF, Clay's, etc.. - and play different manufacturers from different eras to see what you like.

    Gottlieb for me because imho they knocked the ball out of the park in the 50's - 70's with their rulesets, artwork, and quality. Plus, parts are interchangeable from era to era and easy to come by. Someday if one comes up for sale local, I want to try out a pre-1967 Williams that made my top 10 list to see how it feels. It's been too many years and I don't remember - most of the games where I played were all Gottliebs.

    #11 4 years ago

    EM's is where Gottlieb really shined... The look and feel of a Gottlieb EM is second to none. Sure there are some great Bally and Williams EM titles. But as a generality, Gottlieb ruled that era.

    Once SS arrived, Williams and Bally left Gottlieb in the dust.

    #12 4 years ago

    Just looked at our "EM Top 100"... For what it's worth, 90% of the list (and 23 of the first 25) are Gottlieb.

    #13 4 years ago

    Find a game you like really well and get it. Don't get hung up on who made it.

    #14 4 years ago

    Each company has hits and misses, but I think of Gottlieb as the gold standard of EM's. I wish their SS's of the 80's and 90's had the same design elegance. Bally EM's are nice, but I never liked mushroom bumpers.

    #15 4 years ago

    I find that I like the Gottlieb EMs with full size flippers the most. They just to have a lot of drop targets.

    I like some of the Williams EMs, what I don't like about them is they seem to really love using roll over buttons on the playfield, which I just don't like that much.

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from hoov:

    There was an interesting thread comparing manufacturers a year or two ago comparing Pinball manufacturers to Chevy, Ford, Dodge, AMC, etc..
    You might want to go to a major show with a lot of em variety - think Allentown, TPF, Clay's, etc.. - and play different manufacturers from different eras to see what you like.
    Gottlieb for me because imho they knocked the ball out of the park in the 50's - 70's with their rulesets, artwork, and quality. Plus, parts are interchangeable from era to era and easy to come by. Someday if one comes up for sale local, I want to try out a pre-1967 Williams that made my top 10 list to see how it feels. It's been too many years and I don't remember - most of the games where I played were all Gottliebs.

    I find the car analogy to be a good point for these discussions. For many years (more so than pinball), I was an old car collector and saw the various owner cliques at the car shows. Always the Chevy vs. Ford vs. Mopar, etc. Most of the enthusiastic owners could lift the hood of the car and point out the factory correct work and/or "apologize" for the mods that had been put in over the years. Similarly, it was always fun to be friends with other collectors who owned different marques than you. While I was primarily a Chevy guy, I enjoyed driving and helping out on my friend's Fords. And, likewise, can appreciate how a well tuned, expertly restored example of a '67 Mustang is a more enjoyable vehicle than a "get-it-going" '67 Camaro...

    I have representation of several different manufacturers in my collection and find it difficult to choose a best among them. The largest number is Gottlieb and for the reasons mentioned above and by me previously, availability, the artwork, quality and ease of working on them, etc. might take a #1 position. But, as we all know, it's hard to seek out specific titles and when a person has a game for sale (that is working properly), you absolutely need to evaluate it on it's own merits. A well tuned example of some "C" title game is a more enjoyable game than a mediocre playing "A" title game.

    Williams - there are 4 in my collection, and each plays differently from one another and completely differently than other manufacturers.
    Jigsaw and Gusher, are just a year apart (1957 and 1958) and are so different in game play and design it's hard to believe it's the same company. Jigsaw was the first woodrail that I got and a wonderful example of a game that has various ways to win, great artwork, kickout, rollovers, a guarded gobble hole, light animation in the backglass, etc. Gusher was the first game with a disappearing bumper - neat effect, along with nice artwork and game play. I also have an Official Baseball, not officially a pinball game, but it is a woodrail/arcade game that is a lot of fun. Last, I have a Nags, which is a pinball, but plays like an arcade game, and although a fun novelty game for guests and non-pinheads, with the rotating platter of pop bumpers, it is one that wins replays primarily by luck, and not necessarily by pinball finesse.

    A manufacturer not mentioned by the OP is Genco. There are two in my collection and others in this forum have mentioned some of the Genco games in their collection. Admittedly rarer and harder to find, these are worthy of consideration, particularly if you can find one in restored or restorable condition. The '57 Show Boat is a great player - good card theme, lots of pop bumpers, carry over, one small gobble hole, multiple game awards, colorful art glass -it is very similar in play and activity to the Gottlieb games. The '52 Springtime is one of my most enjoyable games and incorporates a bagatelle into the backglass. Game play with the flippers and pops are to advance balls up an elevator in the backglass to load them onto a trough. Hitting a ball release rollover on the playfield releases balls as they are gathered in the trough to fall through 12 lanes. If you can light all 12 lanes, definitely achievable, but not often, you can get 20 games. Lighting less lanes awards less games, etc.

    I have one Midway - also not mentioned by the OP. Flying Turns is not your typical pinball play - it is more arcade like that you are trying to advance cars around a lap and you don't win by scoring points.

    I don't currently have a Chicago Coin or Bally machine

    #17 4 years ago
    Quoted from oldcarz:

    I don't currently have a Chicago Coin or Bally machine

    I can understand no CCoin pin,
    but not one Bally EM???

    #18 4 years ago

    Great answers and I agree with you all. I changed the topic title because the previous topic looked like I was looking to buy a game based on EM manufacturer suggestions.

    Are Williams games more buggy and prone to "break down"? I enjoyed playing both the Williams and Gottlieb games in the 60's as a juvenile at the local swimming pool but noticed the Williams games always seemed to have electrical problems where the Gottlieb games almost always worked except for the slight flipper malfunction.

    Are they all easy to troubleshoot and repair or are some more difficult?

    I agree that the Williams games were a lot of fun to play because of the longer flippers where Gottlieb had the shorter 2 inch flippers and the 3 inch Gottlieb flippers of the 70's make the game fast/fun to play.

    Each EM manufacturer is different and each Pinsider is unique in their taste. This is why collecting EM games is such a great hobby because they're all so different with their art, themes and gameplay.

    Keep them coming!

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    I can understand no CCoin pin,
    but not one Bally EM???

    Bally made EM's???

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinballprowess:

    Bally made EM's???

    Just teasin' buddy, are you trying to champion Bally EM's?

    Hey, if you feel it... you feel it.

    And besides, Bally EM's could probably use a shot in the arm.

    That 'Expressway' we were playing seemed like a good game.

    #21 4 years ago

    I like keeping Bally games on the low side. Makes them more affordable to me when I get all the ones I desire. All the Gottlieb talk makes the Gottlieb games I want to sell or trade more desirable.

    #22 4 years ago

    I have machines from the three major companies from 1950 all the way up to the mid 70s but taking a head count most are Williams from the mid 60s and prior. There are some more Gottliebs from the 50s that I would like to get some day and some 60s Ballys that also look pretty cool.

    I may be in the minority, but at this point there are no more 70s 3 inch flipper games from any of them that I will be looking for.

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from PinballFever:

    Are Williams games more buggy and prone to "break down"?

    Not at all! In fact I just plugged in two Williams 60s machines that had been stored for almost 20 years and there was nothing to fix. There isn't much difference inside to a Gottlieb and the flipper mechs are almost identical. I have had machines from all of them that need to be gone thru totally though.

    As the 70s arrived there were changes to all companies that involved more plastic pieces in major components but Gottlieb had superior cabinet construction all the way to the end and in the mid 70s came out with bulletproof flipper mechs.

    #24 4 years ago

    I think when solid state came in ~1978-82 Bally had the best pins (I love this early SS pins, my collection is always dominated by them), but I can't think of one Bally EM pin that I like enough to own. I am open to suggestions, perhaps I have missed a hidden gem in the Bally EM world.

    #25 4 years ago

    My favorites are the late Gottlieb EMs (right before System 1), and the later wedgeheads. I love the art, the gameplay, and perhaps oddly, most of all, the mechanical "cadence" played by the relays and other bits inside. They just always sounded more cool than Bally, Williams etc. to me. I'd bet there are a lot of people like me that could tell them apart blindfolded during a simple start button press, and probably how many players it supported it as well.

    I also love the font that the score reels had; it was bold, easily readable, and especially looked good when the scores started getting up there.

    Maybe I'll have one some day.

    Brad

    #26 4 years ago

    1) Gottlieb - Usually have the best Rulesets for Single and Multiplayers, challenging, great artwork, unique features with their Roto and Vari Targets, and very fun especially for the experienced players. Of course every company had their dudes, but this company had the highest consistency of putting out great games IMO

    2) Williams - Lots of Pointy People artwork, Ball Gates, pop up posts, unique features, and good fun in general for the whole family especially with their 70's Multiplayers and captivating the more experienced players with their 60's reversed Wedgeheads for a challenge with some titles comparable to the 60's Gottlieb Wedgeheads. Williams pointy people always put a smile on my face when I was a kid and screamed fun times ahead when I walked into an establishment that had pinball.

    3) Bally - Zipper Flippers and mushroom bumpers were unique, pop up posts and ball gates, games usually interesting and fun to play especially with their 70's Multiplayer EM's, but they also had a few single players from both the 60's and 70's that could be entertaining as well. You could find pointy people artwork from this company as well, which is usually a hit or miss with pinball artwork critics.

    4) Foreign pins -Sonic (Segasa)/Recel, etc - Of course I did not get to play a lot of these being a kid as they were not made for the USA market in general but you could find them here and there. They all had a uniqueness about their art/playfields/design, and rulesets that made them fun to play. From the few I have played, it seems that the Rulesets were as good as Williams machines, but not quite up to a Gottlieb standard. Generally they all played really fast because of the clear coated playfields and had good ball flow.

    5) Chicago Coin (CDI) - Great Ball/Shuffle Bowlers and Gun Games, but there sure was not anything special about their pinball machines as the word "Lackluster" comes to mind both for single and Multiplayers with very few exceptions. It's almost as though this company designed pinball machines as an after thought, except for maybe the artwork. It seemed to me that their Multiplayers were actually far more interesting to play then their Single Players too, go figure.

    Just my 2 cents,

    Ken

    #27 4 years ago

    I related the different EM pinball manufacturers to automobile manufacturers of the day:

    Gottlieb ==> General Motors
    Williams==> Ford
    Bally ==> Chrysler
    Chicago Coin ==> American Motors

    As cars went in that period I was a GM guy and a Gottlieb guy. I've moved on to a Ford as a daily driver but I'm still not much of a Williams EM guy.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

    Of course every company had their dudes

    dude.jpeg

    #29 4 years ago

    Is it just me, or do you find Bally / Williams schematics easier to follow.

    #30 4 years ago

    What's a schematic?

    #31 4 years ago

    For me i like working on GTB and WMS more than BLY.
    Ballys tend to confuse me for some reason
    CCoin pins were practically made of cardboard and very rinky dink.

    #32 4 years ago

    70s Williams guy here. I've always been a fan of their cabinet art. I like the play, the overall feel and the prices are pretty reasonable.

    #33 4 years ago

    This is good to know. I only have room for the three EMs in my collection atm but someday I'd like to get a Williams "Whoopee". I played it at the Illinois State Fair, very fun and challenging trying to get all 5 balls on the lit side.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from PinballFever:

    get a Williams "Whoopee"

    One of the few WMS 1960s pins that i have never ever seen in person.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from mg81:

    I think when solid state came in ~1978-82 Bally had the best pins (I love this early SS pins, my collection is always dominated by them), but I can't think of one Bally EM pin that I like enough to own. I am open to suggestions, perhaps I have missed a hidden gem in the Bally EM world.

    The Bally EM "gem" is Fireball.. And then I'd add Wizard! next to that list...

    #36 4 years ago

    As far as Ballys are concerned Star Jet is the highest on my want list. Where it will probably stay...

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from MikeO:

    I related the different EM pinball manufacturers to automobile manufacturers of the day:
    Gottlieb ==> General Motors
    Williams==> Ford
    Bally ==> Chrysler
    Chicago Coin ==> American Motors
    As cars went in that period I was a GM guy and a Gottlieb guy. I've moved on to a Ford as a daily driver but I'm still not much of a Williams EM guy.

    Great analogy. I think you nailed it.

    #38 4 years ago

    Except AMC was better than CC.

    #39 4 years ago

    maybe CCoin = Yugo??
    AMC = Keeney

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from MikeO:

    Gottlieb ==> General Motors

    To me it's more like BMW/Mercedes, just finicky to work on and needs that special know how to repair, especially the 70's Multiplayers.

    Ken

    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    maybe CCoin = Yugo??
    AMC = Keeney

    Yea with AMC being the better of the two.

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from mg81:

    perhaps I have missed a hidden gem in the Bally EM world.

    Lots of gems in the Bally EM world . But if you like the early SS Bally pins you'd probably like Hokus Pokus , It plays kind of like an early SS but is still an EM and has all the goodness that comes with being one .

    #43 4 years ago

    too many spinners and rabbits

    #44 4 years ago

    Spinners are one of my favorite things on EMs , love the sound the score reels make when you really nail the spinner . As for the rabbits they are badass evil rabits .

    #45 4 years ago

    overtime

    Go Dubs

    #46 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinwiztom:

    too many spinners and rabbits

    Much safer than a bunch of Gottlieb Ass-Clowns chasing you.................

    Ken

    #47 4 years ago

    I liked my AMCs.

    #48 4 years ago

    My first car was almost a Gremlin. Ended up with a Toyota Corona instead.

    #49 4 years ago

    I had a 76 Corona. 20R.

    #50 4 years ago

    Just like pinball, I have bounced around in the cars I have owned. There have been Fords, AMCs, Toyotas, Chrysler product and a few others, but only one Chevy. A 1962 Corvette. Kind of like where I'm at now.

    If Gottlieb = Chevrolet then these are my vintage Corvettes. I take them out on the weekend.

    DSCN3725.JPG

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 89.99
    $ 84.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 159.99
    Lighting - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    From: $ 99.99
    Cabinet - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 35.00
    Cabinet - Decals
    Pinball Haus
    $ 96.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 999.00
    Pinball Machine
    Mircoplayfields
    $ 12.00
    $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 35.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 199.99
    From: $ 15.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Meph's Mods
    $ 58.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lermods
    $ 159.99
    Lighting - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 14.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    $ 219.99
    $ 19.95
    From: $ 23.00
    Playfield - Plastics
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    From: $ 32.00
    Playfield - Other
    Pin Monk
    From: $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    From: $ 218.00
    Lighting - Backbox
    Lermods
    From: $ 5,799.00
    Pinball Machine
    Pinball Pro
    $ 25.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Flashinstinct
    There are 119 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside