I bought my fist pin, a Getway, about six months ago, and if you search through my postings you will see that I've had my share of challenges. I have learned an incredible amount about this device, and have a few things to offer the community. Overall, however, I've never regretted my decision to buy this one, but next.time I think I will pay a little more on a newer pin so that I don't spend so much time working on it (don't get me wrong, it is quite rewarding seeing the results of you efforts, but it can be a time drain).
1. Download the manual and familiarize yourself with the features of gameplay and electronics before you buy the game.
2. Actually play the game to get a feel of how it responds and how everything works.
3. Slide the glass off and manually roll the ball over all the switches and toys
4. Enter the test mode and run through the switch matrix test, perform a supercharger test paying attention to the optos and magnets, and run a supercharger speed test, and the light on top of the back cabinet.
5. Run through the light tests to make sure all lights are functioning. You may not just have a burned out bulb, but could have a deeper issue.
6. Run through the DMD test as these can be expensive and a malfunctioning DMD is quite distracting.
5. Lift and look at the underside of the playfield to see how dirty it may be and any hack repairs.
6. Open the back glass and inspect all circuit boards, especially the MPU for acid damage caused by leaky batteries.
If any of the above raise concerns then reduce your offering accordingly or walk away if there is mor wrong than you can handle. If you do buy the pin, then here are a few words of advice:
1. Transport it correctly. Fold down the backbox with some protection between it and the pin glass when folded, strap it down, and take the legs off. Get plenty of friends to help you move or at least a nice dolly.
2. Be honest with yourself in that you are not done spending money. Personal mods, repairs, new balls, rubbers, glass (if yours has scratches), etc. While it may not be a money pit, pinball is not necessarily a cheap hobby.
3. This forum is your friend and a valuable resource for ideas and resolutions to just about anything you might face with your pin.
4. Take care of your game and do it right. Research and purchase the right products to clean it, wax it, and keep it in good overall working order.
5. Have fun and don't have buyers remorse. You will play your pin like crazy when you first get it then go through a lull. For me, this is when I took the time to learn the rules and worked on achieving the challenges of the table. After six months I still find myself playing a couple of times a week, and sometimes maybe an hour at a time or until I achieve my goal for that session. Pinball is great entertainment and a great escape at times.
6. Contribute to the forum. In addition to the pin itself, I've gotten tons of enjoyment spending time here with others that share my interest with the game, both in the Getaway thread and beyond.
7. Finally, with all of the above stated, this is your pin so personalize it however you want. Don't concern yourself with what others think as long as you like it. If you plan on keeping it forever then pimp it out if you want. If you like it pure, then keep it like the day it came out of the box, or do something I between. Even if you decide to sell it at some point you shouldn't have a problem finding a buyer if it is well kept.