(Topic ID: 52867)

EM : Show us your EM Pinball Machines!

By Rat_Tomago

6 years ago

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#3031 5 years ago

Surf Side - 1967

A bit dirty to start with

Melamine + alcohol cleans it up nicely

Quite an attractive machine. Fun as 1-player but SUPERB as 2-player... you can steal the multipliers.

New roto decals (thanks to Lee of Pinball Rescue!). Also every lamp socket replaced... backbox too. Nice and bright for decades to come. *whew*

Someone left an anonymous, appropriately-themed token of appreciation...

*GASP* what madness is this?!??!

Aha! Cabaret lighting! (colors since adjusted to the traditional red/yellow)

Rumor has it that Gottlieb stopped installing these because operators weren't replacing the bulbs. Too time consuming? Bah! Every one of mine gets 'em back!

Tired of those boring cards which look like laundromat instructions? Me too. A friend made a nice replacement.

Gotta love the matching font and original style.

Alas, this game is over...

Surf Side is an excellent looking and playing game with wildcard opportunity for a free ball and some seriously crazy last-minute turnabouts in 2-player mode. Wonderful flow between upper and lower areas. Constant motion.

It's a keeper. Grab one if you can...

#3035 5 years ago
Quoted from heatwave:

Thanks for posting. Very cool looking game - never had a chance to play one but it looks fun. I really like the idea of adding the 'cabaret' lighting! Have it on my KOD and Sing Along but not on Quick Draw - maybe I'll add it at some point.

Installing the cabaret lighting around the top rail helps the upper area come alive. I do this upgrade on all my EM's. The default Gottlieb red/yellow sleeves work because Surf Side makes heavy use of blue/yellow/red primary colors. For other EM's with an abundance of cool green/purple/secondary colors it would be better to consider using color sleeves which match those instead.

I use Cointaker LED's in the pops, backbox, ball count window, and under the inserts... but no one has ever noticed. I'm very meticulous about LED selection and have pretty much settled upon a 'standard' which preserves the original look. I'll post the LED recipe in a different EM thread when I have an opportunity to photograph the results.

In the meantime... carry on, EM'sters.

#3036 5 years ago

OK as promised... pics with cabaret lighting installed. Now I'll stop hogging the thread. Next!




#3041 5 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

I swear I'm becoming more and more addicted to these EMs. I'm just going to sell off all my DMD's!

Same here. I've noticed at pinball shows that my attention constantly drifts away from 90's DMD's back to the earlier SS/EM eras. It has everything to do with the replayability of risk/reward mechanisms. EM's give you less up front, but often make better long-term companions. DMD's are the opposite. Everything in your face within the first 90 seconds. Like the difference between a Kubrick and Michael Bay film.

As arcades evolved, so did the need to compete for foot traffic amid all the noise. Eventually, an attention-span threshold was crossed in '92 with Addams Family. SHOW-TIME! Great game, but also the beginning of the end.

I'm happy to see the success of WOZ because it proves that modern games can deliver the kind of longer-term aesthetic joys that EM's once did. Yes, the LCD screen is a bit overdone, but overall WOZ is a welcome return to classic design. That's why it still draws long lines at pinball shows. Just a pleasure to take it all in.

3 weeks later
#3074 5 years ago

I agree LED's aren't quite evolved enough for doing a total bulb replacement which looks 100%. But when mixed with incandescents the result is a significant improvement over using plain bulbs alone.

All of my EM's are fitted with stealthy LED's, but no one has ever known. Here is my recipe:

Use plain type 47 bulbs in all places where the eye has a direct view of the naked bulb filament (GI, under plastics, etc).

In pop bumpers, use Cointaker warm white premium super.

Under inserts, use Cointaker warm white frosted premium.

For backglass illumination, use Cointaker warm white frosted.

While I'm sure there are other companies with suitable products (which I eventually intend to try)... I have not found a more ideal recipe for EM games with that warm lighted look. Advantages are reduced power, more consistent lighting, improved color fidelity, and resistance to vibration/breakage. Yet the eye is fooled because all GI bulbs are filaments and thus the assumption is made that the rest are also the same.


2 months later
#3293 5 years ago

I own a Flipper Fair. It's a keeper. Cross Town and Subway have the same layout, but Flipper Fair is the best.

#3295 5 years ago

Wow very nice condition and backbox rainbow looks good (not melted). BTW, PBR carries the red deco domed 1-point caps if you want the original color scheme.

I noticed some folks double-rubber the 2" flippers. What is the upside of doing this?

#3314 5 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Are you sure red is the original color scheme? All the pictures on IPBD show blue? But there are red rings underneath so maybe everyone is copying IPBD which is wrong?
I didn't know the rainbows melted. Mine has some cracks at the very bottom but otherwise pretty good for over 50 years.

It's hard to know for sure. Most of the photos I see on IPDB of the 1-point deco caps are white...


...my machine has been in my family since the mid-70's and had the original caps on it the whole time (swirly plastic and all). The 1-point caps were red. I searched online but found no consistent answer.

In most Gottliebs, the playfield ring under the pops are either an identical or complementary color. For example, the Flipper Fair clones (Subway and Cross Town) use white caps. But in those cases the PF underneath is white, and white is also a dominant color on the PF.

Since Flipper Fair leans more towards primary colors, has red rings, and the originals on my game were red... I used red.

I do think it looks better that way, but you know, biased childhood memories and all...

#3315 5 years ago

Lots of coordinating red elements... posts, Gottlieb logo, outfits, etc.


#3322 4 years ago

I'll post a better photo later this week. For Flipper Fair I ordered two red Deco Domed 1 Point (http://www.pbresource.com/pfbumper.htm about 1/3 of the way down the page).

I wouldn't be surprised if there are other differences to be found on IPDB. Many of the games are old and have been replaced with different parts. Since all photos are contributions I guess whoever gets there first sets the standard.

Oh well... even if there is a standard, I don't always follow it verbatim. I do whatever looks best in the spirit of the game. Like installing "cabaret lighting" under the top ball arch or replacing those laundromat-looking instruction cards with more attractive versions. Basically whatever would pass as something the original designers would do, given the time and motivation.

#3326 4 years ago

No. It's the other one with "1 point" only... no "when lit" (because it's always lit).

#3337 4 years ago

The better pics w/red caps...



#3355 4 years ago

Hit The Dick has an obscenely funny backglass.

1 month later
#3541 4 years ago

Let me know what you have and I can help by purchasing a few...

#3543 4 years ago

True... it can be hard to let go in the beginning. Of the three machines I had since I was six, I have only kept one. The only way I knew letting go of them was the right decision was by playing (and YouTubing) as many as I could to compare them against the rest. I've also gone through every machine via IPDB back to 1952. Now I know everything that is out there and that I'm not missing out.

Also, both games went to good homes which makes me happy.

1 week later
#3568 4 years ago

Stock Car has that same nothing-going-on feel to it and not coincidentally also has one of those flipper clock wheels in the middle.


1 week later
#3590 4 years ago

Most. Hilariously. Suggestive. Backglass. Ever.

#3613 4 years ago
Quoted from greenechidna:

That's an echidna.
Green Echidna was a proposed name for a business selling spikey coastal plants we were setting up a while back
We get echidnas in our garden and they are amazing. One of two egg laying mammals (monotremes) and appears on the Australian 5 cent coin.
No FZ reference here but I will offer up Yo Mama as the top track on SY and favorite album being Hot Rats.

echidna.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

Ever see any wombats? Cute 'lil burrowers.

#3615 4 years ago

I didn't know they got THIS big...


#3625 4 years ago

Nice collection down yonder, greenechidna!

(I'd buy a Gottlieb wedgehead "Wombat" game if y'all had made one in the 60s/70s...)

2 weeks later
#3774 4 years ago
Quoted from FrankJ:

Keep teasing! That's one from my childhood that I've not been able to find.
Here's a "cheat tip". When you have 10x lit on either outlane, tilt it just as the last 100 of the scored value scores. The relay won't release and you'll keep the 100x lit.

*gasp* super sneaky!!!

3 weeks later
#4001 4 years ago
Quoted from kovalski3:

Yesterday's pick.
(Joker Poker EM)

*gasp* niiiice one

#4020 4 years ago

Layout looks more forgiving on Square Head w/gobble holes instead of HUGE drains.

Both have cute artwork but I bet Square Head is the better player.

#4025 4 years ago

I would hope Square Head is more fun to play, because Egg Head was ridiculously punishing with those huge side drains and rebounds everywhere. It's hard enough to luck out with a tic-tac-toe on the way down... forget getting the ball back up to the top row.

Both games would benefit from some kind of skill shot which would bagatelle the ball back to the top again. Once the ball is down in the lower area it stays there... and not for long.

I think both games are more about the art than the gameplay, but if I had to choose one it would be Square Head.

#4031 4 years ago

Tape off the clear areas (reel windows, etc), triple thick, and then touch up the flaky areas with frost gloss paint. Red areas should be easy since they are uniform color. Works well.


2 weeks later
#4151 4 years ago

I ship on legs too, but with the head detached, blanketed, and strapped to the cabinet. I guess this will be OK if they blanket it well.

#4196 4 years ago

Love the middle-pop games and Safari is one of the better ones. Nice find.

#4237 4 years ago


*cough* pardon... very happy for you. Let me know if you get tired of either one.

#4242 4 years ago

One option is to have the playfield professionally touched-up and auto cleared. Looks dazzling and will restore the surface to flat again.

#4250 4 years ago

Nice looking 2001 so far! I suggest doing the "cabaret lights" mod under the top arch (drilling out the arch and playfield holes & installing four sockets). Helps brighten up the area & still looks original because many Gottliebs already have it.

Dirt & Rat... I know you guys are anti-clear... but every game in my stable gets the dip. I think it looks astounding, plays fast, protects touch-ups, levels the entire play surface, and prevents further wear. It may not add value for folks who prefer original condition... but the next generation will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Just saying... 2 sides to every coin.

1 week later
#4298 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Re-jigged my wedge line up to go AAB, replay, AAB, replay. These 4 are all great players. Ice Revue is the hardest!

It is? I clicked up 7 replays on Friday's visit to the PHOF and another 7 on Saturday.

Cool game... a new discovery for me. I wonder how differently it plays vs. the AAB version Ice Show with the three outlanes. Looks like an intense nudger.

Great score on that Flipper Fair! I also own one and was entertaining the idea of selling it... yikes! What was I thinking?!?

#4300 4 years ago

9085 is my best... so close! Gotta plunge all the lanes perfectly and get some juggle shots up the middle. 1-pop-2-pop-3-pop love it when that happens.

Definitely grows on you & despite the flipper gap has a surprising range of strategies to keep the game alive. I also owned a Doozie and both are maddeningly difficult to roll... but fun!

#4307 4 years ago

Ooooo Sittin' Pretty... haven't tried that one yet but love the classic look of it.

1 week later
#4405 4 years ago

Has anyone rolled Surf Side? Dunno if it is even possible without cheating. Best I ever did was 5800 and that was an AMAZING game with several extra balls!

#4417 4 years ago

Or, if no repros are available, you can strip your playfield and mail it to a restorer to be touched up and cleared. All my EM's get "the dip".

Pros: Colors are brilliant, surface plays smooth like glass, and the artwork will be preserved for another generation (or two).

Cons: Time-consuming, higher cost, glossy finish is attractive but doesn't look original, doesn't play quite the same as before (may have to re-level the game and/or adjust coils/EOS to compensate for higher ball speed and spin).

Overall, nothing beats a "pristine original", but those are few and far between... and 40+ years of aging tends to create sunken inserts regardless of care. So it's a trade off no matter what angle you are shooting (or plunging) for.

#4424 4 years ago

I suppose it would be possible if you were playing 2-player... and the other person used their turns to run up the multipliers for you... and you got a lot of extra balls... and you repeatedly nailed the 5 for the 100x bonus... and hit a ton of bullseye targets... and otherwise had a phenomenal game.

Then yes, it might be doable. :p

1 week later
#4502 4 years ago

Multiplayers are underrated, seriously. I like 2-players a lot. Have yet to find a better one than Surf Side in terms of rules and opportunities for crazy last-second turnabouts.

Top Score is getting a lot of love here. Now rebuilding a Snow Derby which also looks fun. And if anyone has a Joker Poker EM they'd like to part with... lemme know. :p

#4522 4 years ago

If you like Surfers also have a look at Cosmos and Rocket III (though I'm on the hunt for a Dixieland).

#4560 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

My Slick Chick didn't last very long. It went the way of Buckaroo and KoD....

Yep... same here on all three, along with El Dorado and Atlantis and Jacks Open and Bank-A-Ball and Big Hit and Hit The Deck and Centigrade 37 and Top Card and... *gasp* so many "A listers"!

I LOVE the classic artwork. Has to be some of the best ever made, really. Buckaroo makes me smile just looking at it. But my main interest is in the geometry. What I can/can't do with those flippers and a little body english. What arcs and paths does the ball take to mesmerize and frustrate me? For me, that's the core of pinball. If it ain't there, it ain't there... but of course everyone's "there" isn't the same.

Which is why everything on IPDB is rated 7.something. :p

#4596 4 years ago
Quoted from presqueisle:

And I'll say, 'Good day to you sir'.

(peeks at presqueisle1's collection)

Yes, we shall have to agree to disagree.

I'd have kept the 4 Million BC and Wizard! but hey... that's why we have a liquid marketplace.

#4599 4 years ago

"C'mon Charlie.... let's get out of here... if Rat Tomago wants a Bally Zipper-Flipper, he'll get one..."

#4608 4 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

Nice machines frg! That's quite the collection you have going!

(and you might recognize that KOD when it arrives...)

#4633 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Is this a match made in heaven? ! CA as well.
If I wasn't out of space, this would be tempting. Can't be many around.
ebay.com link » 1950 Williams Dreamy Pinball Machine

Yep wanna try that one. Love the art and weird layout.

2 weeks later
#4734 4 years ago

Does he also create doors for mid-60's Bally single players? I assume he has his own sheet metal brake and cutting blade so he could probably make them in any size.

1 month later
#4909 4 years ago
Quoted from Xerico:

A Heat Wave is hitting Texas.

Good choice. We may have a second soon...

#4964 4 years ago
Quoted from frg:

Being so happy with the KoD - again thanks Nic! I decided to setup my second (and last) import from the US.
Using a voltage converter everything worked instantly absolutely seamsless... Mars Trek - maybe not only Sonics best player but also best looking machine.

Glad it got there safe and sound!

I acquired that KOD as part of a trade. It was the first (and thus far only) one leaving my stable which hadn't received "the treatment" (clear coat, stealth LED, total rebuild, etc.). Which made me a little nervous because even though it was an award-winning game in good condition... *I* hadn't put my hands on it. Nevertheless it looked clean, played well, and was obviously serviced recently so I'm glad it worked out.

Next trip to Stuttgart I'm coming by for a visit!

BTW, I saw a Mars Trek at ReplayFX last weekend. Fun, fast game and great artwork.

2 months later
#5175 4 years ago
Quoted from pinwiztom:

Old school tutorial on 4 Roses can be found on Youtube conducted by
the old pro Sam Harvey.
» YouTube video

We were wondering who that was... we LOVE this video! Has been making the rounds at the Makerspace. So freaking funny with the subtle cursing, "turbo launch" plunging, and the final "THANK YOU VERY MUCH." haha love the unique folks in this hobby.

I have enough wedgeheads and reverse-wedgeheads to make a wavy row of seven. Will set it up and take photos like that after the restorations.

#5195 4 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Yeah, just find one w/o maintenance issues.
Last time I was there it was tough... hell a couple were missing the rubber tips on the shooter....

Really? I went this January and May... most running in better condition than a lot of collectors/other shows I've been to.

2 weeks later
1 month later
#5400 3 years ago

Flipper Fair/Subway (AAB) share the same layout as Cross Town (replay)... but Flipper Fair was designed first in 1961 during the "AAB golden age" which had no replay equivalents. This layout was originally designed to be an AAB game only. That's why the flippers are so far apart because the primary challenge (and fun) of this game is to keep earning more balls than you drain with those risky center shots.

I'm generally not an AAB person because most of them play and look like inferior adaptations. But this layout? Gotta be AAB. Just doesn't work without it... too punishing.

If I owned a Cross Town and was limited to five balls, I'd want a narrower gap or a center post. Five balls with no extras to earn = quick death.

#5406 3 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

If you owned a "Cross Town", your would soon get used to the bounces and angles and the wide flipper gap. You learn to adjust to the game as it is. It really isn't bad once you get used to it.

...actually I own a Flipper Fair.

3 months later
#5904 3 years ago

Pay heed, thread lurkers! Once you get hooked on Bally EM's... there is no cure. Except to acquire more.

Very clean game! Cutest alligators of all time... just love the artwork.

LET IT BE KNOWN due to this acquisition we must now create a Bally EM Zone at TPF next year! I should have Old Chicago, Expressway, Grand Tour, and Skyrocket ready by then. And, yes, the Freedom prototype will have to return or else people will come knocking on my door at 2am demanding satisfaction.

If I manage to score a Bow & Arrow... well... that'd be great too.

#5976 3 years ago

I visited the PHOF dozens of times over the past two years. Tim looked like he was running out of patience... but he still had plans to build a second facility and double or even triple the footprint. But it seems unlikely now. Failing a successor, the games will likely be spread to the four winds via auctions and sales. He has far more in storage than the 200-ish on the floor. Far, far more.

(a thunderstorm of flapping vulture wings emerges...)

I hope he will find a successor and bring PHOF into a new age. Vegas needs pinball!

#5984 3 years ago

Last time we spoke about it, he told me "hundreds" were ready to go. Just needed a place to put them.

#6020 3 years ago

Nice! But how is the translucency/opacity?

#6073 3 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Great looking pin, but ditch the LED's in the playfield!

Dorado has a warm color scheme. You'll get more colors to pop if you use regular filament bulbs in GI locations and warm white LED's under the inserts, pops, and backglass. But everyone likes what they like... so if an all-cool white lighting scheme is your thing, rock on. Nice work on the game.

1 week later
#6115 3 years ago

Did someone pull out the nails? They stop the ball from doing that.

#6117 3 years ago

Sounds like the pinball equivalent of blue balls. :p

1 week later
#6159 3 years ago

4MBC is pretty similar to Fireball tho. Maybe diversify since space is an issue?

Cosmos? Wiggler? Dixieland? Heat Wave?

4 weeks later
#6301 3 years ago

Majorettes is fun. First played it at Arcade Expo in Banning. Clay also has one at the VFW. Shame they didn't make more of them... it's a good one. Nice find!

#6322 3 years ago

Oh yeah... gotta have one of those eventually. It'll be a stunner.

1 week later
#6438 3 years ago
Quoted from pinwiztom:

Always thought that WMS Riverboat and GTB King of Diamonds
reminded me of each other, (artwize) at least the main characters on the BG.
And which game do you think is the better player?

For beginners/casual players it's gotta be KOD. They are drawn to the backbox animation and the vertical roto-target... obvious and fun explanation of what to do. Agreed it is a bit simplistic for experienced players.

I haven't played River Boat. I see the long-term challenge represented here, but the geometry looks a little bleh. Doesn't look like the game gets interesting until the lower half which presents you with a lone swinging target and four side drains. Aside from the difficulty factor, it doesn't look like there is much to aim for? Jury is out for me until I can play it...

#6453 3 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

Nick you need to play a well set up Riverboat when you get a chance.

Oh totally. My impressions of River Boat are only speculation based upon the way the geometry looks. Won't know for sure until I play a good, dialed-in one in person.

One thing which doesn't grab me is "completion for completion's sake". A crap-ton of Gottlieb's were designed to "play for specials"... KOD included. But if you look at the actual trajectories of what is happening, it's not all that novel. But the gee-whiz animations and "gotta get 'em all" feeling hooks newbies pretty hard. Until they cease to be newbies once they beat it.

I look at flow, shot variety, risk/reward, and chance factor when evaluating games. A mediocre game with hard goals may be fun to beat the first time, but subsequent games tend not to hold my attention. It's the same with video games (or, really, any challenge). The journey is more important than the goal.

Anyway... blah blah blah... gonna bring more fancy beer when I come a-knockin' at Odin's casa again...

#6457 3 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I thought mine was set up decent when he was here. Hard to play them all I guess...

When did it enter your stable? I don't remember seeing it there last time.

1 week later
#6542 3 years ago

Man this is fast becoming the "Show us your mad EM restoration skills" thread! Nice work everyone.

Stashy... at first glance I thought the apron "credit when lit" was a creative touch of your own. But I see this must be standard on some of the exports. Regardless it's a nice touch.

Have you ever considered adding cabaret lights under the top arch? I do that to all my pins & my pal added it to his King Pin as well. Will share photos soon...

#6589 3 years ago
Quoted from Spider3582:

Just finished with my Pro Football. Cleaned all steppers and score reels. Rebuilt the AS stepper, all new playfield posts and rubbers. Made playfield plastics protecters from lexan, rebuilt the flippers with everything associated with the flippers new. Stripped, cleaned, and waxed playfield, sealed area in front of flippers with polyurethane ( with help from Boilerman thank you). Sealed backglass,. Cleaned and gapped points. Game plays great. Credit wheel adds two games when start button is pushed. No big deal on that but I will look into it. I did clean the credit unit. This is not as good as alot of Pinsiders. Some of the work done on this site amazes me, but I'm happy and learn with each one. I have 5 this is my 3rd rebuild. Now I'm looking for another. I bought this at Pinfest so it's my 3 month transformation.

It's addictive, isn't it? EM's are just super satisfying to rebuild by hand... very Zen process. I also have a Pro-Football and would suggest using orange dot coils on the lowest two flippers if they need a little pep. On most games I find the default coils work fine after a full shop-out, but on this one the orange dots made it feel "just right".

One other tweak that might be worth consideration is double-lighting that center star rollover. I always install a second lamp socket on the other side of the switch blade to eliminate shadows. For the final touch I use frosted red LED's which makes the filament invisible between the cracks... but bulbs are also fine if you are a purist.

Have you tried aligning the flippers so that the top two and bottom two meet evenly (like a single unbroken line)? I've tried it both ways and the ball tends to roll more smoothly when they are aligned. It also makes hitting those vari-targets a bit easier instead of hoping for a glancing rebound.

As far as future tweaks go, I haven't tried this yet, but I have a similar game (2001) which also has an upper pair of slings. By default, they're just a little weak. Resistance is 4.8 ohms. I remove 24 feet of wire to drop the resistance to around 4.2. Not a huge difference, but enough to make the game a lot more fun and feels more balanced. I'm thinking Pro-Football might benefit from this tweak as well. Pretty sure the coils are the same... I might try removing 12 feet first if so.

#6655 3 years ago
Quoted from pinwiztom:

wishing I had my skyrocket out of storage last night.

I have some footage of Skyrocket here (was my first FB Livecast on the 4th). Feel free to skip to the Skyrocket section at 13:00 or just let it roll for a tour of the status quo & my current workshop. Freedom prototype is in there too. I'll leave the link active for a few days...


#6714 3 years ago

*waves from dock* seeya!

Love that game. Best 2-player evar! Can anything dethrone it? I'm about out of alternatives...

1 week later
#6726 3 years ago

Just did some homework on the middle-pop games. Excluding the 1950's woodrails and Safari which has a dead middle-pop (and thus shouldn't really count)... Norm Clark appears to have designed every one of them. Magic City is cool. Great artwork too!

2 weeks later
#6841 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Interested in what brand soft white you are pleased with. I've tried the "retro" whites from Nifty and I couldn't get past the greenish color shift. I'm straight back to incandescents.

Still haven't found a better overall "best of both worlds" approach than using incandescent 47's in GI locations and warm white frosted LED's everywhere else. Posted my findings here... https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/stealth-led-a-recommended-recipe-for-ems

Done right, LED's + EM's are very worthy. Also recommend using red frosted LED's under star rollovers & double-lamping them.

#6845 3 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

I've been thinking strongly about popping some red LEDs under the 7 inserts during/in my Sky Jump restoration so the inserts are more of a red than a lighter red. I saw some evidence at Pinfest that it worked well on a different title of machine. Not sure what I want to do yet.
Of course, they would be alongside of every other bulb being incandescent.

In my experiments I've found that matching color-on-color isn't always desirable. Depending upon the strength of the LED, red LED + red insert can look too *intense red* compared to surrounding inserts. Or it might be just fine... just have to try it.

In general I've had more luck matching red and blue LED's color-on-color with inserts than with any other colors. Orange, green, and yellow inserts in particular have looked terrible with matched-color LED's. I usually go with the default warm white frosted for those.

Just gotta try them all and see what works best with the overall look.

#6847 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Great write-up. Thank you. For what it's worth, here's my review of the Nifty's vs Incandescents:
...complete with pictures.
Speaking of which, I know photographing bulbs are tough, but I would love to see shots of yours if you're willing.

It is difficult to get realistic photographs of LED bulbs, but these are respectable (captured with a nice DSLR at Texas Pinball Festival this year). The yellow insert on Top Score is lit with a warm white LED. Yellow-on-yellow looked awful. You could easily tell it was an LED... didn't look consistent with the rest of the lighting.

All of the below shots have LED's everywhere except for playfield GI locations.


Using bulbs in the GI locations is the trick. Your eye sees filaments and assumes the rest are the same. I'm not morally opposed to using LED's in GI locations... just haven't found one yet which looks pretty enough.

1 week later
#6906 3 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

That See Saw art is awesome! Never knew it was bumper car themed.

Hilarious art package... "girl can't drive" theme w/guys panicking, running out of the way, etc.

1 week later
#6990 3 years ago

Wow that's the nicest Trade Winds glass I've ever seen. I'll be visiting the PPM late September/early October. Think some of these will be on the floor by then?

Good decision keeping Skyrocket. It has climbed into my personal top 5. Love the light show and variety of shots. No idea why this wasn't a bigger seller... it's great!

#7002 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

That's a cool cab stencil! I've played this but have never seen the side of it. Ha-ha!

Yeah same here... first good look at the side art and appreciating how much it conveys with only the minimum amount of work. Classic!

1 week later
#7040 3 years ago

My best EM's are multiplayers. Fireball, Old Chicago, Paradise, Out Of Sight, Skyrocket, Top Score, Freedom prototype, Snow Derby... geez... most on my want list are multiplayers too.

Don't like 'em? Send 'em to me please.

#7068 3 years ago

Very nice. It's a keeper. If airbrush/touchup/clear coat is in your area of expertise, I say go for it. It'll last a lot longer and play wonderfully for another generation. Also no need to wax... Novus 2 occasionally and you're golden.

#7099 3 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

I have only one System 1 game; hands down the best one; "Joker Poker". "Solar Ride" is better than "Dragon" I think. Isn't "Dragon" the only System 1 game without drop targets?

OK now we have an opportunity to rank System 1 games... what's yours?

#1 Joker Poker
#2 Cleopatra
#3 Genie
#4 Sinbad

Not sure about these yet...
Close Encounters
Charlies Angles
Count Down
Pinball Pool
Incredible Hulk
Buck Rogers
Roller Disco

Don't really like these...
Solar Ride
Astroid Annie
and the Aliens

1 week later
#7160 3 years ago

Agreed. It's all about fun anyway. And hey... technology evolves, tastes change, you never know. We might eventually develop reactive warm whites which shift colors or subtly flash when points are scored. There is a such thing as "better than original". Hard target to hit, but it exists.

1 week later
#7219 3 years ago

I found this chromed arch at the Pacific Pinball Museum. It kinda grew on me during the visit... image (resized).jpeg

2 weeks later
#7285 3 years ago

Gah! Super nice score! Both great games. Hoping a Fan-Tas-Tic will pop up near me soon...

#7313 3 years ago
Quoted from Metalmanmiles:

Pro football 1973 Gottlieb, my first machine and I got her last week! Works great for the price of 300!

Congrats! Great price. Pro-Football is different from most EM's... more of a target-shooting game than a pin. It polarizes more people than any other in my collection. People either love it or hate it... but if they love it... they love it A LOT.

Definitely a guy-game.

#7318 3 years ago

... and then the reverse-wedgeheads came along...

1 month later
#7458 3 years ago
Quoted from embryonjohn:

Having mega fun with 20 drops, 2 inch flippers and yellow dot coils from Steve Young's Pinball Resource. I did feel the need to add two GI lights under the top arch. Can't keep my hands off this 2001. Drop 'em all and she lights up like a Wurlitzer juke. I've never seen so many crazy ball routes with the upper slings. 137,900 plays and it one of my best playing decks. They really made a great pin back in 1971

Aha & congrats! 2001 is my favorite wedgehead. The flow is outstanding top to bottom. Agreed the top area is a little dark without adding extra lights under the arch (I call them cabaret lights). Did you drill out the playfield and plates to install extra lamp sockets like the older Gottliebs? Or did you use a different method?

Yellow dot flipper coils are VERY powerful! Post a video if you can. Never seen one with the yellows on it. Might be a 'lil scary.

One thing I recommend is to remove 18 feet of wire from each of the upper sling coils, and 18 feet from each of the pop bumper coils. It will make the top area a little more lively. Then solder that 36 feet to each of the top kickout coils. This will lessen the strength of the kickouts which is important because they launch the ball way too hard by default. I've seen a handful of gouged playfields because of this...

2002 (resized).jpg

#7459 3 years ago

Forgot to mention... another fun tweak is to add a laydown lamp socket to the middle kickout (wire it up to the red special light). All five kickouts will illuminate when you complete the set.

3 weeks later
#7597 3 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'm glad all my machines came with ample flipper power from the factory.

Same here... except Expressway (needs Bally 1000's) and the two lowest flippers on Pro-Football (orange dots).

#7604 3 years ago

Count me in as a new member of the Cleopatra EM club.

#7606 3 years ago
Quoted from Shiny_balls:

From Lebanon, Missouri?
I emailed her but too late....Grrrr

*blush* yes... that was the one. I was the first one to call. Drove the 1000-mile round trip and won enough cash at the Hard Rock Casino on the way back to pay for the return trip (and lunch). Thank you Willy Wonka.

Pics are here (toys link):


Price was $900. Will need a new door frame, coin entry, some flaking in the backglass but very minor. Also note the center plastic is broken at the edges.

Says he got like 31 emails... yeow! Glad he honored the deal we made because it was a long trip!

#7610 3 years ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Don't be fooled into thinking he honored a deal. The response I got was that they had a bid if $900 and were looking for more. You lucked out that no one bid more.
Have fun. Neat to have one of the EM versions of the System 1 games.

Actually once I arrived he did tell me he had another offer of $1200 roll in. *whew* glad that didn't enter into subsequent negotiations.

Very happy to have this one! My favorite Gottlieb System 1's are Genie, Sinbad, Joker Poker, and Cleopatra. Of these, all but Genie had EM versions, and the EM versions of Sinbad and Joker Poker suffered a few compromises like no resetting drop targets nor advanced multiplier scoring which dramatically cuts down the fun factor. BUT... not so with Cleopatra! It was the first System 1 and the SS/EM gameplay is identical between both versions.

Regarding collectibility, I think the valuation of System 1 EM's is backwards. True, Gottlieb produced twice as many EM Cleo's as Joker Poker/Sinbad, but all things considered it is Cleopatra and not the other two which is the one to get since it doesn't lack any features!

I believe both versions are DC rectified.

2 weeks later
#7661 2 years ago

Agreed... FAC has the better artwork. But Trix gives you a free ball for hitting all the targets which is a nice reward for all of the effort.

Love the asymmetrical layout! Only issue I had was poor scoring rules. I couldn't use FAC for tournaments because every target is 50 points and since specials don't count, the only real winning points strategy is to loop it to the top lanes over and over and ignore everything else.

#7667 2 years ago

Majorettes won me over at Arcade Expo (Banning) last year. It's really good. Wasn't surprised to learn it was from the "AAB golden age" (pre-1965). Designed from the start to be AAB, and only AAB (not a replay adaptation)... and it shows. Perfect balance of risk/reward.

(of course, there are a few good adaptations lurking out there too... just gotta look for 'em)

3 weeks later
#7777 2 years ago

Looks incredible! Oklahoma has one of the strangest layouts of that era. Shoot a video if you can... would love to see it in action!

#7792 2 years ago

NICE looking Skyrocket!!! Was that the one in NY on eBay for like $900-ish?

#7794 2 years ago

YW! Glad it turned out so well. You are lucky! Skyrocket has the best lightshow of any EM, is a great player, and is quite uncommon.

Please let me know if you tire of it.

#7824 2 years ago

How often does the ball land in the kickout hole? That flipper gap is huuuuge!

#7853 2 years ago

The prettiest middle-pop of them all!

#7865 2 years ago

Electro's on a hot streak lately... go get 'em!

#7869 2 years ago

Wow very nice basement find... glass looks perfect! Long-term though, the SS version offers more thrills despite the clack-clack of the score reels. Not that that's any consolation if you've just gotta have the EM.

#7873 2 years ago
Quoted from heatwave:

Glass was VERY nice. I've heard that about the SS version, but I do really prefer EM games (of all kinds).

Oh same here, definitely. EM all the way except Joker Poker and Sinbad. The SS extends the fun-factor quite a bit and it's not a total tradeoff since they have real chime boxes. Still feels enough like an EM to me. EM hybrid, maybe?

#7893 2 years ago

Two years ago I'd have thought you crazy for trading away such a hallowed Gottlieb rarity... but after playing yours and studying the geometry and gameplay I have to agree. Big Daddy is a winner. Given the choice, I'd make the same trade.

What makes Big Daddy work, and I mean BRILLIANTLY so, is the amount of flow and shot opportunities in what otherwise looks like just another rollover game.

A crap-ton of Gottlieb games imprison the ball once it falls below the lanes. Not so here. The pop bumper at the top can mess with your initial plunge but also gives you an opportunity to carom-shot it back to the top. Genius!

I just hate it when a game forces you to hit the ball "up the lanes" in order to win. Lanes aren't fun to shoot. Too narrow, too easy to deflect the ball down the drain, and every time it happens it just feels like a lucky break. More flow, less bagatelle please.

Big Daddy also has two kickouts and a drop target. Just a fantastic balance of elements. I think I need to play it again soon...

#7917 2 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

It sucks when the gameplay is nowhere as good as the artwork.

Yep. For me, the gameplay is the game. Has to be there.

1 week later
#8006 2 years ago

LOL El Toro... the eternal scapegoat. It's hardly THAT bad. I'd rather have it than Roller Coaster or Stock Car or Aquarius or geez... a lot of 'em. Like the look of it too.

Crazy list. Orbit better than Volley? 4 Million BC worse than Pop-A-Card? We need a few thousand more votes, methinks. :p :p :p

3 weeks later
2 weeks later
#8434 2 years ago

Flip-A-Card has an awesome asymmetrical shot layout. I really wish the rules were better unfortunately, because I had to sell mine for that reason (basically useless for tournaments). Every shot in the entire game except the top lanes is worth the same 50 points, lit or not. So if you aren't playing for specials, the only winning strategy is to repeatedly loop the ball to the top lanes, over and over.

Methinks I will acquire one in the future and hack the rules. BTW yours looks very nice! Well done.

#8462 2 years ago

Sorry... didn't mean to dog on it. It's really more of a question of whether you play for specials or for points/high scores. I lean toward the latter and points are what tourneys use (though I guess they could use specials too?). But in general I do like the game... yours looks quite nice.

#8486 2 years ago
Quoted from boilerman:

here is the dimension i got from pinsider "Marp84" a little while back, with the help of my buddy Cliff.
After good cleaning and a few minor touchups it turned out to be real nice original.
now to set it up next to the 2001 and see which one is the better player. the loser gets SOLD

Do the top kickout holes launch the ball into the pop bumpers? Every 2001 I've encountered did that, and was subsequently wearing down the playfield with repeated hits.

I've modded a couple of 2001's successfully by removing 18 feet of wire from each of the upper slings, 18 feet from each of the pops, and attaching 36 feet to each of the kickout coils at the top. It gives the top area a little more action and softens the kickouts. Felt just right on both machines.

#8566 2 years ago

Fire Queen for the theme, but long term I think Hokus would edge it out as the better player. Really dislike the artwork though.

1 week later
#8726 2 years ago
Quoted from Vic_Camp:

I am scheduled to go look at an Eye of the Tiger tomorrow. I would be great to hear everyone's opinions about this games playability, looks, value, etc.

Artwork is awesome, and if you're going EM it's also the preferable version thanks to fewer reels/weight/size to deal with.

That said, the SS-hybrid also features real chimes as well as resetting drops and 2x/3x/4x/5x multipliers which add more fun to the game. Enough, in my opinion, to just barely edge out the EM versions... despite how much I love those score reels.

(same for Joker Poker, though for Cleo it's EM all the way)

#8755 2 years ago
Quoted from hoov:

If I buy a pin for $500 and put 40 hrs. Into a shop job (average) I charge $700 for the pin if I sell. If you sell it to the next guy for $500 he doesn't have to spend 40 hrs on it. Time = money.

Have to sell outside of Pinside & fixers like us to get anything for work done.

#8756 2 years ago
Quoted from Pinplayer1967:

No...... its not. You cant add labor to the value of a pinball game. A game with a value of $700 is still $700 even after someone spent time tinkering with it.

Disagree, but it depends upon whether you can talk someone into giving their work away and what exactly was done.

If I rebuild a game to my standards, it's going to double in price, at minimum.

#8771 2 years ago

I closed all of my Craigslist tabs for the tour... hard to do, man. Hard to do.

#8819 2 years ago

If I had to pick only one company... Bally it would be.

#8836 2 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

Well...The game was finally picked up by STI today. It is my pleasure to announce that the game I am getting is.....
Made in Bally's factory in Jan of 1969 I give you......Cosmos!
This game is coming all the way from Quebec, Canada and will sit in customs for a short while until being sent to my house. My guess it that it will get here sometime Mid-May. It is absolutely gorgeous and I have my friend and fellow pinsider Xerico Pinball aka (Marcus) to thanks tremendously for passing on the lead to me. Here are the pictures of the actual game I am getting. (Yes they are lifted from pinball owners web site) Marcus had a video of the actual machine being played but it was one of those videos that expire after a certain amount of days. I did see the video and was just in awe of this games condition. I am extremely happy and overly excited in anticipation of finally getting this game! I will take new pictures of this game when it arrives.

Nice score, Rat. We play when I get back.

Quoted from Gerry:

Here my mechanical back multi player

Expo snuck up on me. Initially ignored it due to the huge outlanes and seemingly empty playfield... but then I discovered how each lane is like a "power up" and can change the whole game. Another winner from Norm Clark!

#8863 2 years ago

Wow the black cab theme looks great!

#8871 2 years ago
Quoted from Gerry:

Newest addition today. Happy Happy !!!

Orin had one... it hooked me. Fun game & nice score!

#8875 2 years ago
Quoted from Gerry:

Me too...
I put some time in on it last night, i didn't quite figure out the rule set at my friends house where i got it from...
But i understand it now.. VERY challenging !
Every time you plunge it is a different skill shot, 6 choices, pretty cool...
for sure a one more game type of thing going one here

Yep and combined with the speed of Bally games makes it even better. Targets change in a split second!

1 week later
#8918 2 years ago
Quoted from Barkz:

Picked up a few projects!

Ranchoooooo! And a Far Out/Out of Sight. And a... "Pinball"?

#9004 2 years ago
Quoted from Gerry:

Allentown rescue....

I think Chuck (ckcsm) was eyeing that one... lucky to have snagged it first!

Quoted from Gerry:

See Saw is getting there

Got to play that for the first time at Allentown. Fun! I think I want one now.

Quoted from Electrocute:

Luther's vendetta. A custom pinball machine made from a Dodge City. Pretty cool!

I played that at ReplayFX in 2015. It was well-executed and played nicely. The same team also rethemed another one which turned out well... can't recall at the moment.

1 week later
#9076 2 years ago
Quoted from brandsilence:

Williams chime boxes definitely don't sound as musical/clear as Gottlieb ones, even in "new" condition. That said, they don't sound too bad at all after a good rebuild and cleaning. I swapped the disgusting single-chime box on Spanish Eyes for a 3-bar Gottlieb on Spanish Eyes and it sounds magical

Our challenge machine, perchance?

#9112 2 years ago

A-Go-Go is fun... but damn... quite the beast to rebuild! 60 lamp sockets in the backbox alone.

2 weeks later
#9176 2 years ago

Similar coincidence... a friend had just finished a game of Playball. When he entered the room I asked, "How'd you do? 7630 points?"



#9187 2 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Turns out A Go Go is another super fun Norm Clark game. Might have introduced pinball to abstract art in the 60s too. I like it here.

Nice score! A-Go-Go is blisteringly fast and a good multiplayer. Also the first appearance of Norm's roulette wheel in a pinball machine. But wow... a real beast to restore! I recently completed a commissioned restoration for a friend-of-a-friend (it was his childhood game). Over 100+ hours easily but got best runner-up restoration at TPF.

agogo2 (resized).jpg

agogo3 (resized).jpg

agogo4 (resized).jpg

agogo (resized).jpg

#9238 2 years ago

Good quality warm white frosteds look great and don't flicker.

#9240 2 years ago

Comet Twin 2835 warm white frosted and 1SMD warm white frosted non-ghosting.

The 2835 is cheaper, but it ghosts... so I typically put them in the backbox in locations which are always lit.

Everywhere else, I use the 1SMD (ball count, game over, tilt, match, inserts, pops).

I leave 47's under plastics, lane guides, and hole kickouts... they are easier on the eyes in direct view.

I also recommend the red frosted version of the 1SMD non-ghosting for red star rollovers. Looks very very nice.

#9242 2 years ago

I'm not sure. Was curious to try it and compare with the others.

#9256 2 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Pretty decent, as usual. I would like to attend the Texas show. Sounds like it's HUGE

It has grown enormously over the years and is easily in the top three best shows nationally. Maybe top two! I'll be modest and not say #1... through several think so.

The variety and number of games is unmatched due to the fact that it is a BYOG event and thus no one knows what will be there from year to year.

2 weeks later
#9333 2 years ago
Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

Sell Nip-It, worth it to fit another Gottlieb in the line up, and no I do not want to buy it.

Awwww gotta have at least one from Bally in there.

#9336 2 years ago
Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

OK, but it would have to be an Old Chicago, Mati Hari, or Evel Knievel EM.

You sure get a helluva lot of game and artwork with OC. Damn fine game.

3 weeks later
#9469 2 years ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Love the Art! Somehow all the women were beautiful, endowed, and anxious!
Where are we now?

Never more than a fantasy... but an eternally compelling one!

3 weeks later
#9549 2 years ago

Be sure to tug every solder joint on that Flipper Fair. The '61 Gottliebs seem to have more than their usual share of cold joints.

#9561 2 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

I had a North Star but I tarded it off because my playfield had a horrible lacquer on the playfield that had tinted the whole game very dark.

Never go full Northtard.

1 week later
#9612 2 years ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

My second highest score!
Has some LED for backbox lighting (regular blinking incandescent for title) and bright LED for score reels which are terribly dark with normal 44 bulbs.

I'm always impressed by the improvement LED's can make over score reels. Even after replacing the sockets the light from regular bulbs sometimes isn't enough.

#9622 2 years ago
Quoted from mbaumle:

Those quirky Ted Zale games are great. They're such a refreshing change from the ho-hum predictable designs from William's or Gottlieb. Only problem is, that Zale's designs were either outrageously creative, or terribly "samey."

(regarding Williams games... Norm Clark definitely not included on the ho-hum predictable scale!)

#9637 2 years ago

I kinda like Skylab though. And the key to enjoying Jubilee/Darling is playing multiplayer!

#9642 2 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Terrible game. Decent looking though, especially for a Williams of that era. What's worse than "Ro Go" though?

Sweet Hearts

#9645 2 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Really? Love that game. It's tough to beat, but a lot of fun. "Ro Go" is totally uninspiring to me. I'd take "Darling" over it any day.

Just picking on the Gottlieb Guys a bit.

Sweet Hearts is the #1 EM on the IPDB rankings... which is nuts to me. I see mostly bagatelle and drains with a tiny play area at the bottom. Not much to do but "hit it up the lanes" by chance. If you win, no points, but you get to do it again! Bwah?!?

Would take Darling over Ro-Go too!

#9648 2 years ago

We do not count bingo warlocks who can magnetically alter the path with their minds.

#9652 2 years ago

4 Roses is cool but violent nudging is necessary to save the ball from those tiny outlanes! I took the tilt off... helped!

#9659 2 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

It is called an anti cheat device for a reason, and being able to cheat at pinball takes all the fun out of it IMO.

I hear ya, but 4 Roses is awfully chancey... to the point where if you can't give it a strong nudge, the game is playing you instead of the other way around.

#9662 2 years ago

LOL no worries... save the drama for a new daytime soap: Tilts Of Our Lives.

4 Roses wasn't getting played by anyone because it was constantly tilting. Love the artwork but gameplay-wise it felt quite different from anything else on the floor... almost like a slot-machine due to the difficulty.

Ultimately this too-chancey nature and lack of point bonus for running the red/yellow advances to the top caused it to leave the collection. Would rather get 500 points than a special for working so hard to reach the finish line. Insult to injury!

Could have installed a 500-pt relay to do the job, but in the end the geometry proved to be a bit too drainey for me.

*shrug* but hey, at least I re-installed the tilt before it left... :p

#9664 2 years ago

I'm not too fond of games with wildly inconsistent scoring regardless of skill level. Generally the pros should be able to distinguish themselves most of the time except for the occasional breakout game.

Wasn't happening that way on 4 Roses. Too many 300-400 scores for the pros, and 600-900 for beginners. Is this a pinball or a slot machine?

#9671 2 years ago
Quoted from DCRand:

I have only had the machine for about a month, and with all the "make it easier" modifications have just this past week got the machine playing like originally designed. But finding that scores vary wildly and haven't "won" a free game since. Will keep it for a while and see how I like it long term.

Hate to say it, but some games do tend to play themselves more than others. It takes time to discover whether the geometry is at fault or simply a temporary string of bad luck.

This is why I sold Flash Gordon... every other game might as well have popped open the coin door and punched me in the stomach regardless of what I did. Too chancey for me.

#9693 2 years ago

Haven't had a local pickup in a while, but this one was worth it!

IMG_3519 (resized).JPG

1 week later
#9749 2 years ago

Middle-pop club, represent! <3 Spanish Eyes.

#9756 2 years ago

I caved... again. But this classic has Norm Clark's whimsical inventiveness written all over it.

IMG_3647 (resized).JPG