(Topic ID: 217609)

First pin advice


By Whifflebat

12 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by ralphs007
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 12 months ago

I'm looking to get my first pin over the next year or so. After playing some tables locally and a bunch on Pinball Arcade, I think I'm starting to narrow my focus and would love some expert opinions.

- I'm looking to get something that is ready to go upon set up, so I think I want to get a NIB pin vs. an older, used table, unless it's a clean restore

- While I like many of the themes and presentation of the new Stern tables (Star Wars, Ghostbusters, GOTG, etc), I'm a little concerned with the negative feedback the SPIKE 2 system has been getting (i.e. repair difficulties, future availability of boards and components, etc.). Is this a valid concern?

- After playing some classic tables virtually on Pinball Arcade, I've come to really enjoy the gameplay of Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theater of Magic and Circus Voltaire. I understand there are rumors that Chicago Gaming Company will continue to manufacture remakes of classic tables potentially including these titles much like they did for Medieval Madness and Attack on Mars. What's everyone's opinions on these remakes and these titles in particular (TOTAN, TOM and CV) in regards to home use for a semi-casual enthusiast?

#2 12 months ago
Quoted from Whifflebat:

I'm looking to get something that is ready to go upon set up, so I think I want to get a NIB pin vs. an older, used table, unless it's a clean restore?

NIB is a good way to start, but many new machines may need adjustments or minor repairs (e.g. changing a switch or a bulb) too. An alternative to NIB would be to find a local pin, play it first and have a good discussion with the seller to ensure it doesn't have any major issues with it (if possible, bring someone who knows pins with you). Restorations typically call for a premium, well maintained HUO will be a good choice too

Quoted from Whifflebat:

While I like many of the themes and presentation of the new Stern tables (Star Wars, Ghostbusters, GOTG, etc), I'm a little concerned with the negative feedback the SPIKE 2 system has been getting (i.e. repair difficulties, future availability of boards and components, etc.). Is this a valid concern? ?

There's a lot of talk about Stern quality lately, and there's no solid conclusion as far as I can see on whether that's a future concern or not. Still, so far so good and the issues are resolvable. You could look into Spooky or JJP pins too but typically the condition is matters the most

Quoted from Whifflebat:

After playing some classic tables virtually on Pinball Arcade, I've come to really enjoy the gameplay of Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theater of Magic and Circus Voltaire. I understand there are rumors that Chicago Gaming Company will continue to manufacture remakes of classic tables potentially including these titles much like they did for Medieval Madness and Attack on Mars. What's everyone's opinions on these remakes and these titles in particular (TOTAN, TOM and CV) in regards to home use for a semi-casual enthusiast?

CGC remakes are great, I have MMR myself and have been very happy with the quality and the functionality. It is likely that the next CGC remake will be Monster Bash and not one of the pins you are looking for. You may be in for years of waiting before they can produce TOTAN, ToM or CV - play first at a local barcade and then decide if one of those pins is what you want. If so, look for a good used machine

Good luck, and welcome to the pinball fever madness. I wouldn't worry too much about maintenance or repairs, pinside will help and learning the basics is not rocket science

-1
#3 12 months ago

Ignore the top 10. Nostalgia drives the old game ratings. Get a new machine and don’t look back!

#4 12 months ago
Quoted from WyseGuy:

Ignore the top 10. Nostalgia drives the old game ratings. Get a new machine and don’t look back!

That's pretty bad/unfair advice since we all know "I just spent $9000 and want to feel good about it" drives the new game ratings.

Best advice is to IGNORE the ratings which are more or less useless.

Ignore the ratings, and don't look back!

#5 12 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

IGNORE the ratings which are more or less useless.

I'm not so sure how true this is either. Any pin in the top 50 should be deep enough in a home environment - especially for someone who is looking for their first machine.

#6 12 months ago
Quoted from Pahuffman:

Any pin in the top 50 should be deep enough in a home environment - especially for someone who is looking for their first machine.

Or the top 75...or 100...or the 50 that should be in the top 100 but aren't etc etc

#7 12 months ago

After taking a look at the list, this should be the cutoff point for a 1-game collection.

#8 12 months ago
Quoted from Whifflebat:

- I'm looking to get something that is ready to go upon set up, so I think I want to get a NIB pin vs. an older, used table, unless it's a clean restore

You're probably better off buying a used game that has been gone through, new games can have all kinds of unknown issues. They'll have a warranty so those issues will usually be fixed, but you still need to actually do the fixing.

Quoted from Whifflebat:

- While I like many of the themes and presentation of the new Stern tables (Star Wars, Ghostbusters, GOTG, etc), I'm a little concerned with the negative feedback the SPIKE 2 system has been getting (i.e. repair difficulties, future availability of boards and components, etc.). Is this a valid concern?

You can't really repair SPIKE boards, the only option is replacing. Since Stern is by far the biggest pinball manufacturer currently, and their games are quite popular, you're probably fairly safe as far as being able to find replacments goes (at least for a decade, who can say beyond that). As far as repairability and replacability goes though, you won't be able to beat a WPC or classic Bally/Stern game, all the boards are simpler and are available brand new, usually from multiple manufacturers, and are very well designed and reliable.

Quoted from Whifflebat:- After playing some classic tables virtually on Pinball Arcade, I've come to really enjoy the gameplay of Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theater of Magic and Circus Voltaire. I understand there are rumors that Chicago Gaming Company will continue to manufacture remakes of classic tables potentially including these titles much like they did for Medieval Madness and Attack on Mars. What's everyone's opinions on these remakes and these titles in particular (TOTAN, TOM and CV) in regards to home use for a semi-casual enthusiast?

Those titles seem to all be popular with newer collectors, but seem to often not have the staying power of other games for some people. But they're desirable, so you're sure to find a buyer if you do tire of them. While CGC could potentially remake them, they probably won't be their next release (probably Monster Bash), so you're looking at a multiple year wait to hopefully get one. Plus, CGC has the same issue as Stern does with their boards. They're not very repairable, are only made by them, and are semi-custom to each game. I'd be more worried about CGC board replacement in the future than Stern personally.

#9 12 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

That's pretty bad/unfair advice since we all know "I just spent $9000 and want to feel good about it" drives the new game ratings.
Best advice is to IGNORE the ratings which are more or less useless.
Ignore the ratings, and don't look back!

You’re right. This is better.

#10 12 months ago

If you've got good location pinball available near you, go play real pinball. Go to some shows and play a bunch of stuff. Figure out what you actually like. Everybody likes different things.

#11 12 months ago

Thanks all for the advice! I'll definitely seek out some live pinball and get a feel for what's out there. I'll keep tabs on what's coming out from the various manufacturers and see if anything strikes my interest. It's tough finding a good mix of theme, art, and gameplay, especially if I am going to only get one pin (though I've heard that once you have your first table, you are set down a dark path where they start to multiply...).

As for even NIB pins needing some minor adjustment or repairs, I'm not too put off by that. As you say, there are lots of resources out there to help with minor to moderate issues. I put together a MAME machine in the past few months, and that was a steep learning curve, but I managed to get through that

#12 12 months ago

Working on a pin is an entirely different beast than working on an arcade cab. Most you need to do on an arcade cab aside from soldering work on a pcb is to switch out micro switches and sticks, maybe a CPO. You take a look under a playfield of a pin and it is very daunting. Over time, you’ll get more comfortable, but it’s a ton of stuff to know about, especially on older pins.

I don’t think you can go wrong, as every pin is fun in some way. I started with DE’s then moved to B/W and now Stern. But they all have their own charm.

I wouldn’t chase a title though, I would just decide new vs older. These new pins have so much depth to them, it really is incredible. SWPREM made me a believer in that.

So many good choices, just take your time making the decision and have fun when you finally buy your first.

Always remember, 1 pin turns into 3 or 4 quickly...

#13 12 months ago

Obvious advice:

1. keep playing a lot of different pins.
2. Try out the game you want before you buy it.
3. I have bought 5 NIB and 4 used in the last 2.5yrs. If you want something that likely won't need much work (see #4), get a HUO slightly used game. It may be already dialed in and have some expensive mods and you will get it for less than a stock NIB machine.
4. It's pinball. It's going to need work.
5. You're not going to get "only one pin." I'm not being funny. Just go ahead and figure out what furniture/room you're going to sacrifice next because it's going to happen.

I have had no issues with my Stern games. I wouldn't worry about that. JJP games are fun and high quality. If you have limited space, but not budget maybe you want to consider one of those.

#14 12 months ago

Don’t do what I did. I bought a road show on eBay for 3600 that was advertised as restored. Went to pick it up that night and barley looked it over. Got it home and realized it needed a lot of work. Road show is a terrible first pin especially if it needs work. I rebuilt damn near everything on the pin spent about a grand getting it sorted and then sold it for 3750 with a color dmd.

#15 12 months ago

Buy a nib pin from someone with good feedback. Is my takeaway. Also don’t rush it. You’ll get burned.

#16 12 months ago

Not sure where you live, since your profile does not state that but pinside has a pinball map to find a location near you, see https://pinside.com/pinball/map/where-to-play

There are apps and other sites for that too, eg https://pinballmap.com/

#17 12 months ago

Tables?

Just kidding. Welcome to pinside. And hopefully future pin ownership. It's a great time to be getting into pinball -as far as new games go. Play a bunch, go to shows. You'll find something.

#18 12 months ago

Buy one in state you see and play

#19 12 months ago

Obviously, if you can play a pin before you make a decision that is better. If you can't find one to play, then try to find videos on You Tube of the pins you are interested in. Some vids are better than others. But if you find that video that you can watch and watch and watch some more, you may have found a good candidate to consider purchasing.

As another poster mentioned, Don't rush it.

#20 12 months ago

First pin advice: Make sure you make room for pins 2, 3, 4, 5,...

#21 12 months ago

Buy a game that you like. Don't worry if it's old, those thousands of dollars that you save will buy a lot of time with a technician if you can't fix it yourself.

#22 12 months ago

Get to know some local collectors and don’t spend too much time trying to buy the *perfect* shiny title. Most pins have their own little unique world of happiness to discover that you won’t see until you jump in. For example, i enjoy fixing and learning about how they work as much as playing them now.

#23 12 months ago

Head to London for an evening and play the variety of pins at Call the Office, or find a league night in the Toronto area. Bluffs Pinball has a great variety of pins to play. Play as many different pins as you can. All pins will have at least minor issues, but most are easy to troubleshoot and solve (you’ll find a lot of help here).

I love the newer Sterns, but there are dozens of 90s pins that are great bang for your buck. You need to figure out what you like.

#24 12 months ago
Quoted from ArcadiusMaximus:

First pin advice: Make sure you make room for pins 2, 3, 4, 5,...

Started with 1, now have 7. Planning at LEAST the next 2 in my head at any given time. Good luck with that

In all seriousness, play a ton and get the one you have the most fun with. I've seen a lot of people I know buy games (or just stuff) that they want to have for other people. 99% of the time, you're going to be the one playing and fixing these, so get the one YOU love! I would agree with the others that desirability doesn't equal fun for everyone. While TotAN is a desirable and pretty game, for my money, it isn't worth it. All things being equal price wise, would I buy it over my Space Shuttle if they cost the same? Sure. Would it want $6K+ tied up in it? Not a chance, personally anyway. I buy the games I like and have the most fun with. Cost is a big factor for me too, and I tend to prefer to spread my money out over multiple games with great bang for the buck and just pure fun. Play them all and buy the one you keep going back to!

#25 12 months ago

I agree with grantopia 100%. Totan is a great game, but you can probably find 2 really good games for the price of that one. Play as much as you can and find out what you like. Learning how the machine works and doing repairs can be just as fun as playing. This is just my opinion, but try and find a working Bally/Williams machine and start there. System 11 or Dmd is a great place to start. They typically hold their value if you want to move on to something else. Learn everything you can about that machine. Soldering, wiring schematics, boards, and mechs. Once you’re comfortable getting your hands dirty, then build your collection.

#26 12 months ago

Start on a system 11 pin. Always pretty damn fun.

#27 12 months ago
Quoted from Spagano314:

I agree with grantopia 100%. Totan is a great game, but you can probably find 2 really good games for the price of that one. Play as much as you can and find out what you like. Learning how the machine works and doing repairs can be just as fun as playing. This is just my opinion, but try and find a working Bally/Williams machine and start there. System 11 or Dmd is a great place to start. They typically hold their value if you want to move on to something else. Learn everything you can about that machine. Soldering, wiring schematics, boards, and mechs. Once you’re comfortable getting your hands dirty, then build your collection.

Quoted from Blackbeard:

Start on a system 11 pin. Always pretty damn fun.

Gotta third the system 11 recommendation. An amazing era of games that have really held up over time both in value and play.

#28 12 months ago
Quoted from ArcadiusMaximus:

First pin advice: Make sure you make room for pins 2, 3, 4, 5,...

Testify!!!!

#29 11 months ago
Quoted from zacaj:

You're probably better off buying a used game that has been gone through, new games can have all kinds of unknown issues. They'll have a warranty so those issues will usually be fixed, but you still need to actually do the fixing.

You can't really repair SPIKE boards, the only option is replacing. Since Stern is by far the biggest pinball manufacturer currently, and their games are quite popular, you're probably fairly safe as far as being able to find replacments goes (at least for a decade, who can say beyond that). As far as repairability and replacability goes though, you won't be able to beat a WPC or classic Bally/Stern game, all the boards are simpler and are available brand new, usually from multiple manufacturers, and are very well designed and reliable.

Those titles seem to all be popular with newer collectors, but seem to often not have the staying power of other games for some people. But they're desirable, so you're sure to find a buyer if you do tire of them. While CGC could potentially remake them, they probably won't be their next release (probably Monster Bash), so you're looking at a multiple year wait to hopefully get one. Plus, CGC has the same issue as Stern does with their boards. They're not very repairable, are only made by them, and are semi-custom to each game. I'd be more worried about CGC board replacement in the future than Stern personally.

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