(Topic ID: 286332)

First E.M. Recommendations Tell Me What You Like!

By SantaEatsCheese

3 years ago


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    There are 116 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 3 years ago

    As I get further and further into the hobby I am finding I really like variety, am enjoying older games, have moved back from the 90s into the 80s, and am seriously considering a E.M. next time I switch things up. The advice I got asking about early Solid States was fantastic, and I picked up a Black Knight late last year which I have honestly been having more fun on than my Twilight Zone.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/early-solid-state-recommendations/page/2#post-5916025

    I would have to move something first, but am waffling between rotating in a System 11 (had them before and love them) or E.M. through the basement next. Unfortunately, I have not had a ton of exposure to them and the top 100 on pinside for these is next to useless with not that many ratings for things. I have only played a handful, and can say that I thought Freedom 1776 was neat, but absolutely hate the Old Chicago pin I have at the local barcade. I have access to Argosy and Grand Prix somewhat nearby, so those are off the list.

    The only E.M. I have ever really considered was a Royal Flush that came up near me.

    I am open to suggestions, but this would be the list of features:

    Score reels. I like the mechanical aspect of them and would prefer a game with reels verses he older style of scoring bulbs.
    Could be 1 or 4 players, don’t really care as it is usually just me.
    Big fan of art, but open to theme. I seem to like card themes and dislike westerns.
    I like spinners, and I would prefer something with specific targets to hit in a specific order.
    I would be ½ in this for the sound. Prefer something with chimes.

    Options pop up all the time on craigslist, pinside, and facebook near me. I think it will ultimately come up to timing when I am ready to move things and what is in good condition, but wanted to watch a few videos on thing. What would you guys recommend?

    #2 3 years ago

    drop targets , that reset

    #3 3 years ago

    Williams Grand Prix for me!

    #4 3 years ago

    I was going to say Grand Prix as well, but if you like a sports theme where you compete for goals rather than score look into Olympic Hockey. It's a blast playing head to head and you end up cheering with each goal.

    It doesn't have spinners or drop targets, but it's definitely a blast to play with another player.

    -Paul

    #5 3 years ago

    If you never worked on an EM I would start w/a single player. These come to mind:
    Hearts and Spades
    Lucky Hand
    Ship Ahoy
    Out of those 3 I really like Lucky Hand but all fun and AAB.
    Since you have already played EM’s then you know the difference in game play comparison to Electronic...much slower. I found EM’s much easier to work on but that’s what I started with a long time ago.
    Lots to read on repair on line for education and familiarization. I’m sure others will chime in. Enjoy.

    #6 3 years ago
    Quoted from luch:

    drop targets , that reset

    I do like drop targets when they reset especially when it’s a certain sequence that you knock down so Gottlieb's Jacks Open fits that for me. It’s also a poker themed game like Royal Flush but Jacks Open is a single player game.

    Great EM game with drop target resetting “logic” that keeps the game fresh though all 3 or 5 balls. Also the backglass has been remade and a new playfield is on Wade Krause list to do, so a nice opportunity to have basically new EM game from 1977 if you wanted to.

    #7 3 years ago

    Something a lot of people don't realize is that there's as much variety in styles within the realm of EM's as there is in pinball from 1982 to today.

    Pre-war games can have absolutely ingenious engineering and it's all based on the plunge.
    Flipperless games are charming and nudging is an essential component.
    50's and 6o's games have quick ball times and really challenging goals. The sound they make is like nothing else.
    70's games offer great features but also have the best artwork and the chimes (Gottliebs especially) are pure music.

    Based on your list of likes, maybe focus on the mid to late 70's (which, luckily, are the easiest to find). I'd recommend Card Whiz/Royal Flush, Grand Prix, Aztec, Freedom, Mars Trek or Super Spin/Jet Spin, but I urge you to explore the full depth of EM history.

    #8 3 years ago

    Royal flush is a good starter. Just make sure it’s working 100%. I own a card whiz (the 2 player) and it’s one of my faves

    #9 3 years ago

    A few that I’ve owned & enjoyed are quick draw, jacks open, and abra ca dabra. Gottlieb wedge heads are very fun!

    #10 3 years ago

    I'll second Jacks Open. Strategy on the plunge, plus a shooters game to keep moving up through the hands. Resetting drops to boot! It gets a lot of play here.
    Jim

    #11 3 years ago

    Some of the EMs have fun animations in the back glasses- I would look for a cool game with animations.

    #12 3 years ago
    Quoted from homegameroom:

    Some of the EMs have fun animations in the back glasses- I would look for a cool game with animations.

    Such as?

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Of everything I have seen so far, I think Ships Ahoy looks the coolest.

    I'm leaning towards Gotteliebs from the 70s so far. I really dig the sound on these. Royal Flush and Card Whiz are in second.

    #13 3 years ago

    Gotlieb single players from the 1970’s for me. Have a Bank Shot and love it. The 1960’s GTB’s have great sounds. Ditto on single player over multiple player if it needs work .

    #14 3 years ago

    Olympic Hockey, Jive Time, The 30's, Miss Annabelle, 300/Top Score, Trail Drive, Super Soccer, Buckaroo...

    The PHOF is selling their Hawaiian Isle on Craigslist.

    Correction: Gottlieb Paradise

    #15 3 years ago

    So many to consider...

    If you were limited to one, I would look at one of the great Gottlieb wedgeheads. These are single player machines and thus have very interesting and complex rules to complete. Jack's open, Centigrade 37, El Dorado etc. have quite a lot going on to maintain interest.

    For multiplayer.. Royal Flush and Grand prix would always come to mind for sure.. amazing games.

    60s WMS reverse wedgeheads are really interesting as well. Old bally's like 4million BC, Capersville come to mind as well.

    50s-60s Gottliebs have a finish on the internal mechs collectors call phosphor bronze. My GiGi has this.. I think it's pretty awesome.. (the game too)

    Flippered woodrails can round out a collection on that end of the era as well. Still very interesting and fun to play... one of the fairy tales.. or humpty dumpty.. where the flipper craze began ..

    Ugh.. the EM era is just so expansive... but the games really are gems. Can be set up to play quite fast and very playable in our modern era... the quick ball drains translate to high replayability.

    #16 3 years ago

    Check out Drop a card (or Pop a card, the AAB version) that's another fun card themed game with drops.
    Can't go wrong with Target Alpha or Solar city

    Cowpoke has cool backglass animation, but you don't want western.
    I'd stay away from anything with goble holes, seems to bum a lot of people out.
    B

    #17 3 years ago

    1970 Flip a Card is a shooters game and a lot of fun to play. The Spin Unit feature is really cool too. Go for points and try to get all 13 cards lit to light the Specials.

    It’s a single player Gottlieb with beautiful chimes and it won’t break your pinball budget if you can find one.

    #18 3 years ago

    You can’t go wrong with a nice playing Gottlieb Wedghead.. I like the mid-late 70’s games..

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    #19 3 years ago

    I've always been a big fan of 70s Bally EMs, especially those designed by Greg Kmiec. Games like Bow and Arrow, Night Rider, Wizard, Captain Fantastic. Beautiful artwork and great gameplay that usually have fun drop targets and great spinners.

    #20 3 years ago

    Pinball Arcade has some of these games if you want to give them a try virtually before buying - Jacks Open, Centigrade 37.

    Personal preference, I prefer Royal Flush dramatically more than Capt Fantastic. The only part I like about Capt Fantastic is trying to get the lit extra ball - it's the right inline (but you can't alley pass it), so the best play is playing the ball off the bottom of the upper flipper.

    You might look at the IPDB list for EMs - https://www.ipdb.org/lists.cgi?puid=40945&browser=1611359162&list=top300

    I have and enjoy a Blast Off (AAB of Apollo) - https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=320

    One place that is semi-local to see a lot of EMs is Silverball Museum in Ashbury Park, NJ. They used to (and looks like they still do) have a pretty decent selection of EMs.

    #21 3 years ago

    Anything listed by everyone above would be good IMO, and I would add Jungle Queen/Princess to the pool. My suggestion is to find a theme that you like and go for it. Even if it isnt an ideal theme, dont underestimate the fun you could have it. I purchased my first EM, Williams OXO, and it was purely based on price. It was cheap and mostly worked, so I went for it. Turns out, playing tic-tac-toe with a pinball machine is really fun!

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from SpyroFTW:

    Anything listed by everyone above would be good IMO, and I would add Jungle Queen/Princess to the pool. My suggestion is to find a theme that you like and go for it. Even if it isnt an ideal theme, dont underestimate the fun you could have it. I purchased my first EM, Williams OXO, and it was purely based on price. It was cheap and mostly worked, so I went for it. Turns out, playing tic-tac-toe with a pinball machine is really fun!

    I forgot about OXO - that’s a fantastic game.

    YouTube is another great way to see them in action. Most of the games mentioned have multiple videos.

    #23 3 years ago

    I would recommend Jacks Open. It’s a card themed game with drop targets. You knock down targets to complete different hands. The targets reset each time for the next hand. Lots of fun to complete the hands.

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    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from Sea_Wolf:

    1970 Flip a Card is a shooters game and a lot of fun to play. The Spin Unit feature is really cool too. Go for points and try to get all 13 cards lit to light the Specials.
    It’s a single player Gottlieb with beautiful chimes and it won’t break your pinball budget if you can find one.

    Ill 2nd flip a card as a great game. The variety of shots and the random card spinner makes it very exciting. I moved recently and the first game I set up was Flip a Card..2nd was Mars Trek.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from SantaEatsCheese:

    The only E.M. I have ever really considered was a Royal Flush that came up near me.

    Consider:

    Jacks Open: resetting targets with the most interesting drop target rules I can think of)

    Surf Champ: build up the hole bonus, fun drops that reset only after completing a specific sequence, fun little spinner

    Trade Winds: great linear progression

    Little Joe: honestly, probably the most unique ruleset in EM pinball

    #26 3 years ago

    EMs had designers too.
    Steve Kordek at Williams is my all-time fave so most of my keeper EMs are his:
    Teacher's Pet
    Heat Wave (reverse wedgehead)
    Space Mission
    Grand Prix
    Skill Pool
    Palooka if you can find one!

    Ted Zale at Bally was also the man:
    Expressway
    4 mill bc
    Nip it!

    Not a big wedgehead fan, but World Fair was almost a keeper, and I do like Subway.

    #27 3 years ago
    Quoted from Silverstreak02:

    I would recommend Jacks Open. It’s a card themed game with drop targets. You knock down targets to complete different hands. The targets reset each time for the next hand. Lots of fun to complete the hands. [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    I’ll blow your mind.
    I have had a Lucky Hand on route for the last 11 months and it has made $14(!!!) dollars on route.
    I consider it one of the best wedgeheads ever made but it doesn’t translate to the general audience. My Williams Liberty Bell has made much more than that in a shorter time-frame in a less popular location.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from SteamVette:

    You can’t go wrong with a nice playing Gottlieb Wedghead.. I like the mid-late 70’s games..
    [quoted image]

    Jesus H Christ
    That’s wedgehead heaven pinball my friend!

    #29 3 years ago

    My first and only EM was a Centigrade 37. It was ok for about the first month then I was bored with it. I only have room for 4 or 5 pins. I like EMs but would need a bigger collection to own more. I did recently purchase a Fireball but don’t have it in the game room yet. I’m hoping the 4 player multi ball, spinning disk, zipper flippers will keep my attention a little longer then the first EM I purchased.

    #30 3 years ago

    Some games that I haven't seen mentioned so far but are worth looking at:

    Sonic games: Prospector, Super Straight, Mars Trek, Faces, Cherry Bell, Butterfly. There are others, but these all offer a challenge while having unique and interesting layouts/rules. They play similar to Williams EMs of the 70s while generally having better features IMO

    2 inch flipper games (some with zipper flippers): 2001/Dimension, Target Pool, Nip-It. These are very different from modern games but all have a one-more-game feeling.

    Middle pop games: Spanish Eyes, Fan-tas-tic. The layout on these is just so challenging.

    #31 3 years ago

    For the people that say EMs are slow I would suggest 1974 Wms Super-Flite or its 4 player cousin Strato-Flite. Its been in my house since 1978 and will not be leaving. In my collection its the easiest game to understand but probably the hardest to win a replay and definitely fast.

    #32 3 years ago

    Single, 2 and 4 player EMs from the '70s are a lot of fun and popular enough that if you have issues, there's plenty of folks on the forums to offer sage advice. Now, I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but different EM brands have got different sounds and tones and feel, and myself (and likely many others) enjoy different brands of EMs, but may tend to lean towards the soft familiar dings, sounds and feel of the Gottlieb EMs...but that statement isn't to discredit any of the other EM companies out there.

    Single player Gottlieb wedgeheads that I would consider would be: El Dorado, Abracadabra, Centegrade 37. All three of these games have a very different playfield setups with variation in the location of the drop targets, stand-ups to rollovers and pop bumper(s)....and the Centigrade even has some cool bagatelle lanes there on the right (makes me also think of another worthy wedgehead recommendation, Atlantis). At least for me, these are some wedgeheads that I find to have a big "fun factor" that brings me back to play more and more. Not to knock on Ship Ahoy, but aside from that center spinner, that is essentially a "rollover game," meaning there are no drop targets to hit. While that can be fun, I might lightly sway you towards games that have a combination of many things to include: drop targets, stand ups, rollovers and pop bumpers. That combination will give you the best initial feel for what is available in a EM machine. From there you can branch into cool rollover games, for example Hit the Deck (another great Gottlieb wedgehead).

    Within that same general era, some 2 /and/ 4 player games that I would give consideration to based on overall fun, at least from my perspective, would be: Gottlieb's Big Brave / Big Indian and Surfer / Surf Champ. Both of these games, (maybe just a bit more so the Surfer/Surf Champ), in my opinion, have got a lot of really great ball flow and all of the multiple playfield attributes as mentioned above in the wedgeheads, also the Surf game has a spinner.
    Now, if you're looking for a game that can be a bit more challenging, and dare I say brutal, Aztec (a Williams EM, also with a very sweet spinner) is another good game to consider...it'll have you hooked and cussing in no time! Haha

    EMs are a ton of fun! When you have a game with a fun setup, the pinball action can actually be quite fast, challenging and rewarding. Not to mention they look super cool! I like both old and new games, but as soon as I step up to an EM, I find myself hitting start again sometimes even more than the newer games. Not to mention, when you're having guests over who do not know much about pinball, some of the newer games, while they can look pretty glamorous, can also be rather intimidating, and thus those guests will sometimes tend to shy away from some of your prettier newer games. Its interesting. Over the years, I have noticed when people come by who are not savvy in pinball, I find them stepping up to more often and having the most fun on the EMs. Overall, I find they stay at those games longer and I see more smiles and people saying how much fun they had playing pinball....and it's always good to have fun with pinball!!!!

    #33 3 years ago

    Soooo many choices here, it'd be best to break them down by era.
    My top two are Bally Fireball and Wms Aztec for the later EMs.

    Variety is the spice of life and that goes double for pinball machines!

    #34 3 years ago

    Loving all these options guys. Out of everything I've seen so far I am leaning towards "Ship Ahoy" or "Buccaneer"... by alot.

    Looking at these, I don't really understand what the difference is.

    I'm still wide open but can anyone recommend a game similar to Ship Ahoy or Buccaneer? I like the idea of trying to hunt down all the numbers.

    #35 3 years ago

    Golden Arrow would be a great "number hunter". Terrific Gottlieb Wedgehead with outstanding artwork. Wide open playfield with two oversized spinners up at the top.

    Not a fan of Ship Ahoy/Buccaneer as it is difficult to get the ball back up to the top of the playfield.

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from SantaEatsCheese:

    Loving all these options guys. Out of everything I've seen so far I am leaning towards "Ship Ahoy" or "Buccaneer"... by alot.
    Looking at these, I don't really understand what the difference is.
    I'm still wide open but can anyone recommend a game similar to Ship Ahoy or Buccaneer? I like the idea of trying to hunt down all the numbers.

    Buccaneer is the replay version and Ship Ahoy is the add a ball

    #37 3 years ago
    Quoted from trilogybeer:

    Buccaneer is the replay version and Ship Ahoy is the add a ball

    Okay... I have to ask a really stupid question. Does replay version mean you get a certain score and then get a free game and add a ball mean you get a certain score and win an extra ball?

    #38 3 years ago

    Of the EMs mentioned so far I really miss my Buccaneer, Jacks Open, Flip-a-Card, Capersville and Jet Spin. And Dealer's Choice. That's when you really know a game is good - you sold it and wonder why you did and wish you still had it. I owned a ton more duds than that that I don't miss one damn bit. But Fast Draw is my favorite, I'll be buried in its cabinet with the head sticking up outta the ground as a headstone.

    #39 3 years ago
    Quoted from SantaEatsCheese:

    Okay... I have to ask a really stupid question. Does replay version mean you get a certain score and then get a free game and add a ball mean you get a certain score and win an extra ball?

    Yes, My understanding is that a free game or replay had a monetary value which made the game illegal in some states. Adding a ball was not considered something of monetary value. On certain add a ball games extra balls can be earned other ways other than just reaching a certain score. Some replay and add a ball games are very similar others had changes that make them very different games. For example Ice Show (add a ball)is very high up on my wanted list but I have no interest in Ice Revue because of the differences between the 2.

    #40 3 years ago

    My first EM was Abra Ca Dabra and I love it! Good looker and player with a nice set of rules. It's addicting to play.

    #41 3 years ago
    Quoted from SantaEatsCheese:

    Such as?
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Of everything I have seen so far, I think Ships Ahoy looks the coolest.
    I'm leaning towards Gotteliebs from the 70s so far. I really dig the sound on these. Royal Flush and Card Whiz are in second.

    Ship Ahoy sounds great but ultimately devolves into shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner.

    Late 60s to 77 is the sweet range and play strategies vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    Best thing to do is try a few out to find what style suits you. We currently have Night Rider, Melody, CC Moon Shot, Hearts and Spades, Bazaar and Olympic Hockey.

    These are the ones that survived the sampling of over 50 pins in the last 3 years.

    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Ship Ahoy sounds great but ultimately devolves into shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner, shoot the spinner.

    But it is a VERY sweet spinner to nail, feels good every time.

    #43 3 years ago
    Quoted from frenchmarky:

    But it is a VERY sweet spinner to nail, feels good every time.

    It's a pretty pin and sounds sweet but grows old fast. I had a genuine home owned unit that was gorgeous.

    The backglass has some awkward art compared to the playfield which is great.

    Resized_16114253681754025738756315570384_287665473279139 (resized).jpegResized_16114253681754025738756315570384_287665473279139 (resized).jpeg
    #44 3 years ago

    On buccaneer/ship ahoy, once you notice how off the proportions are on the main dude on the backglass, you can't unsee it.look at the bottom half of his body, then the top....just wtf.
    I couldn't own that game just because of that
    B

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    It's a pretty pin and sounds sweet but grows old fast. I had a genuine home owned unit that was gorgeous.
    The backglass has some awkward art compared to the playfield which is great.

    Mine was super super clean too, and a Centigrade 37 that was like new, they were made in that year or two when EMs were coming to an end and everybody wanted solid state so they got very little use.

    #46 3 years ago

    Atlantis. Drop targets and targets ....chase lights to advance through #’s 1-9.

    #47 3 years ago

    Oh and a word of advice? Gottlieb 4 player are very finicky to keep reliable. A number of changes over the years and the player unit is wicked fussy.

    The single and 2 player games far more reliable though the short relay contacts are more picky compared the long contacts everyone else used.

    #48 3 years ago

    Two words: Spinners Targets

    #49 3 years ago

    I’ve got all EMs and I’ve moved to almost all multi-players because my wife and I like to compete. I really don’t think I’ve had that much more maintenance or issues with multiplayers than with my single players (maybe I’m just used to it), and, unlike most, I actually prefer the one-ball rulesets (I feel like every ball is like ball 5 on the single players, I know I’m in the minority on this).

    I used to focus mainly on Gottliebs, and I have and especially recommend Target Alpha, Royal Flush, Jet Spin, and Cleopatra EM. But I’ve branched out in my interests and especially look at Williams now. I recommend Hot Tip EM (my very favorite) and Grand Prix (what a great spinner pin!). I also recommend Bally Nip-It, and I’ve even discovered I like some Chicago Coin pins, Juke Box and (technically Stern) Rawhide. These are all pins in my collection.

    There’s such a wide variety of EMs that it’s hard to recommend just one, and we all have different tastes. Many that I’ve recommended here have already been listed by others. Welcome to the under-appreciated world of EMs!

    #50 3 years ago
    Quoted from wolverinetuner:

    I really don’t think I’ve had that much more maintenance or issues with multiplayers than with my single players

    Me either. Multiplayers do have more circuits and mech units (and some more complex than in a single player) but as long as you go thru the entire game from the start by checking all switch gaps, cleaning/lubing all dirty moving parts etc. versus simply fixing non-working things until it is playable, they are very reliable. Along with a little cleaning/lubing maintenance once in a while but in home use that won't need to be done very often.

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