(Topic ID: 311375)

Getting back into the hobby and have some concerns...

By VisitorQ

3 months ago


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  • 40 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by VisitorQ
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    #1 3 months ago

    I have not been into pinball collecting now for many years and to give you a time frame, Wizard of OZ was still pre-order. So. I guess 2012 or there about.

    Jumping back in I am looking to ultimately add at least 3 games to my collection. Having games like AFM, MM and TZ in the past I am looking at newer titles with LCD displays. My concern is I am hearing that JJP has a lot of PF issues because they use a subpar PF company to produce their PFs. Is this true and how big of a concern is this? I would really like to own a pinball machine from JJP but I am very concerned about quality control. In general what should I be looking for when buying one of these games and what issues have people seen with their games? Are these issues limited to one basic title or is it with all titles from this company?

    Beyond JJP, what about some of the other newer companies like Spooky Pinball etc... Anything I should be looking out for when purchasing a newer game from some of these "newer" companies?

    Just looking for a refresher course on what to expect other than higher prices since I have been into the hobby.

    Thanks

    #2 3 months ago

    Read the reviews of games after the FOMO has worn off. Everyone's opinions change once the next shiny thing is released.

    #3 3 months ago

    My concern is not what game has the best game play or the newest toy, my concern is quality control as a whole. I am not asking for advice on what games to buy, I am asking about these new companies as a whole. The quality of their product and if they stand behind what they make.

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    #4 3 months ago

    If you want a jjp, just buy a used one where you can inspect it beforehand.

    #5 3 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    If you want a jjp, just buy a used one where you can inspect it beforehand.

    I think this goes for most manufactures if quality is priority number 1. Buying used will allow you to visually inspect each title you are considering and make the decision you are comfortable with. If you insist on buying NIB then keep in mind you might not see a game for some time with the current backlog and quality might change, for better or worse, from machines being built at the moment vs months from now. You really never know what you are going to receive when it's NIB which is why a good distributer is important.

    #6 3 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    If you want a jjp, just buy a used one where you can inspect it beforehand.

    This is your answer above!! ^^^^

    #7 3 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    If you want a jjp, just buy a used one where you can inspect it beforehand.

    So is that the key, don't buy NIB JJP games?

    I am just wondering because I had a friend who bought a Wonka CE that had PF pooling around one of the posts and was told that JJP was not willing to make it right. To me, that does not seem like very good practice when you are spending that sorta coin on something that is marketed as "collector's edition". I mean you think it would be perfect!

    Also... This is not a post to rip on Jack or anyone else. I am just trying to get a feel or an idea on what to expect from some of these companies I have not dealt with in the past.

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    So is that the key, don't buy NIB JJP games?
    I am just wondering because I had a friend who had a Wonka CE that had PF pooling around one of the posts and was told that JJP was not willing to make it right. To me, that does not seem like very good practice when you are spending that sorta coin on something that is market as "collector's edition". I mean you think it would be perfect!
    Also... This is not a post to rip on Jack or anyone else. I am just trying to get a feel or an idea on what to expect from some of these companies I have not dealt with in the past.

    It's a crapshoot if you want perfection DO NOT take the chance of NIB buy used ... simple

    #9 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    So is that the key, don't buy NIB JJP games?
    I am just wondering because I had a friend who had a Wonka CE that had PF pooling around one of the posts and was told that JJP was not willing to make it right. To me, that does not seem like very good practice when you are spending that sorta coin on something that is market as "collector's edition". I mean you think it would be perfect!
    Also... This is not a post to rip on Jack or anyone else. I am just trying to get a feel or an idea on what to expect from some of these companies I have not dealt with in the past.

    People around here call it the playfield lottery. Most companies have had playfield issues at some point. I had a pirates that had pooling and chipping - Jack took care of me. I've heard they no longer provide playfields though

    #10 3 months ago

    Ugh. You would think at this point pinball would be moving forward and not backwards with issues like this.

    I know it's still a steel ball rolling around on a wood table but a lot of these issues that concern me seem like factory defects rather than wear from normal play.

    #11 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    Ugh. You would think at this point pinball would be moving forward and not backwards with issues like this.
    I know it's still a steel ball rolling around on a wood table but a lot of these issues that concern me seem like factory defects rather than wear from normal play.

    At the end of the day it's a toy not something that's going to be sitting next to the declaration of independence lol

    #12 3 months ago

    JJP and Stern also keep raising prices in this environment.
    You may be able to find a newer game in great condition local below NIB+ tax/ship if you are patient.

    #13 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    Ugh. You would think at this point pinball would be moving forward and not backwards with issues like this.
    I know it's still a steel ball rolling around on a wood table but a lot of these issues that concern me seem like factory defects rather than wear from normal play.

    If you’re the type of person who looks at the glass as half empty instead of half full, you are in for a rough ride with NIB. There are so many factors that go into the process of producing a pinball machine. Educate yourself and hopefully you are handy with, or enjoy fixing/tinkering with things.

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    #14 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    Ugh. You would think at this point pinball would be moving forward and not backwards with issues like this.
    I know it's still a steel ball rolling around on a wood table but a lot of these issues that concern me seem like factory defects rather than wear from normal play.

    Rough times since you been gone.
    PF have gone thru a shitty period out of nowhere. Both Stern & JJP had pooling clear around posts and worse than that.
    JJP also changed leadership or some shit and no longer backs their product.
    Stern newest machine, Rush, has a scoop that gets blown out immediate and has a "protector" made out of tinfoil that gets deformed in half a day of play.
    And for all that, the prices have skyrocketed and people can't pay/companies can't make machines fast enough.

    Maybe you should take another break? Take me with you!

    #15 3 months ago

    Agreed that there are issues with NIB - on the other hand, new pins are a lot of fun to play, generally with deep software and many of the out-of-box issues get address by the manufacturers along the way (and software upgrades too). As expensive as they are, with the size of the runs more perfection and polish would make them even more expensive and unaffordable.

    Old pins were made to make money on route and the list of know issues on them is very long (e.g. lack of fuses between the transformer on Williams System 3-11 pins = fire) Playfield pooling is frustrating and hard to fix, as well as the other issues mentioned. However, often the manufacturer is making some of these issues right. For example, Stern replaced the easy to break Herman plastic breaking on Munsters for free with a bracket protector.

    Buy used (and pay more most likely), put a NIB order in and wait and take your chance on playfield issues, go play on location if you are not sure, but don't avoid these new pins because the value might drop due to playfield chipping, dimples, scope wear, etc.

    Perhaps a just as good of a question as initial quality is how does the manufacture continue support after the sale?

    In that case I would rate them as such (my personal opinion only):
    Top three:

    American, Spooky and Stern
    Edit: Left out CGC - also pretty good customer service I understand
    Good start - Pinball Brothers with Aliens (not much history and some initial quality issues but very responsive so far)

    Not as Good - JJP (lost of LTG was not good IMO).

    I do not have any personal experience with Dutch Pinball, Haggas, Metamorphic so I can not comment on them, perhaps someone else can.

    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from PinballTilt:

    People around here call it the playfield lottery. Most companies have had playfield issues at some point. I had a pirates that had pooling and chipping - Jack took care of me. I've heard they no longer provide playfields though

    He will have no playfield issues if he buys a new CGC remake, a new AP pin, or a new Spooky pin. It's just JJP and Stern that are hit and miss lately.

    #17 3 months ago
    Quoted from Indusguys:

    If you’re the type of person who looks at the glass as half empty instead of half full, you are in for a rough ride with NIB. There are so many factors that go into the process of producing a pinball machine. Educate yourself and hopefully you are handy with, or enjoy fixing/tinkering with things.

    I've owned pinball machines in the past, I know how to solder but I am not going to pull a PF and re-clear it.

    You may be missing the point.

    #18 3 months ago

    My experience helping set up some NIB pinball machines is that you need to do your research if you aren't one of the lucky few to get one of the first ones produced. The owners' club typically has key posts of known issues to watch out for regarding inspecting your machine out of the box for anything that may damage the playfield. If you were one of those lucky few, then I guess get in there and start doing your own QC and report back to Pinside your findings.

    Doesn't really help in the situation that you are delivered a subpar playfield though.

    #19 3 months ago

    Pinside is a great community and has many experienced members that offer advice.

    Questions like yours are often answered with opinion and anecdotal evidence. Then, strong arguments follow.

    The companies do not release the numbers for us to objectively assess the true incidence of playfield quality issues.

    #20 3 months ago

    What in the world else would you or anyone buy sight unseen, without the opportunity to inspect it before purchase? A car, house, boat, diamond ring? Same thing with a NIB pinball. If you are concerned about quality (you should be at today's prices) don't buy NIB. Make sure whoever you buy a game from lets you look it over and play it before the money crosses the palm. Otherwise, you get what you get. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

    #21 3 months ago

    I'd go with CGC and American...both companies make quality pins.

    #22 3 months ago
    Quoted from indypinhead:

    I'd go with CGC and American...both companies make quality pins.

    CGC mostly offers games I have had in the past, I will look more into American's titles.

    Probably going to buy a used JJP game at some point as well as a Rick and Morty. Those are kinda what I have my heart set on currently but it just sucks that buying a JJP NIB seems like a risk. I was hoping the information was incorrect but it seems like it is true.

    #23 3 months ago

    You asked for opinions on whether it's a big deal. In my opinion, it's not. Live life on the edge and buy a NIB. Enjoy life. Enjoy pinball. If you get pooling around one post, it won't ruin your life. It's like saying you're going to never leave your home because something slightly uncomfortable may happen to you.

    #24 3 months ago

    There are a number of threads documenting JJPs descent into customer service hell and terrible product QC.

    If you decide to go NIB and it all goes to hell, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    #25 3 months ago
    Quoted from NPO:

    There are a number of threads documenting JJPs descent into customer service hell and terrible product QC.
    If you decide to go NIB and it all goes to hell, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    Is it all their games a crossed the board or one particular title? Did the quality decline after a certain title or has it always been this way?

    #26 3 months ago

    Just my own experience. I bought a JJP nib in January. I had two quality issues. JJP resolved both promptly by sending me new parts in two days with few questions asked. And one of them was a $300 part.

    #27 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    Is it all their games a crossed the board or one particular title? Did the quality decline after a certain title or has it always been this way?

    JJP has had several playfield issues with several games. Some early Dialed In's, early Pirates, early Wonka's and yup early GNR's had playfield issues. If you buy a GNR LE made around May - June 2021 or later you will be fine, widespread playfield issues stopped then. Early Dialed In's had their playfield issues resolved fairly early in with protectors installed at the scoops from the factory. Some early Pirates and early Wonka's had chipping / pooling at the posts. Not all early builds of those runs were affected.

    I'll say this I've bought every JJP pin NIB (have 4 of them today) and to this day will say they make the best pinball machines out there. I won't defend their playfield issues and the way they handled complaints from customers, it's not right. However, I have no concern buying a JJP pin 6+ months after release. There's always early build headaches regardless of the manufacturer that at these prices make buying early not worth it IMO. Both the July 2021 build GNR LE and October 2021 build Wonka LE I bought are excellent but again those were made 6+ months after initial release.

    One thing to keep in mind is that there's a group of people on Pinside that will never say anything good about JJP. That's been going on since the WOZ days and hasn't changed. Why? Who knows, my theory is that some of them still cannot stand that a new pinball company came out of nowhere and started producing pinball machines that looked vastly superior to Stern's at the time.

    Personally I've had nothing but a great customer service experience with JJP. I had a cosmetic issue with one game, JJP customer service replied within 24 hours and I had a new replacement lockdown bar (original had some scratches out of the box) to my door within 48 hours. On my Pirates I had a couple scratches on one of the powder coated legs and had a new replacement leg within days. Years ago I stupidly wasn't watching how close my WOZ topper was to my basement ceiling when moving the game and broke it, contacted JJP customer service and they sent me a new one for under $100 (this was years after I bought it). The JJP haters won't tell you stories like.

    #28 3 months ago

    I have one Stern and one CGC remake. I'd have no reservations recommending either as NIB. I realize CGC makes games you have already owned, but don't be afraid to buy a recent Stern. For all of the reported NIB issues, you don't see many Pinside listed expensive used Sterns mention "ghosting inserts" or "pooled playfield post locations" or "cracked cab joints" that could affect re-sale value. I have wondered why that is the case with widely reported on Pinside manufacturing issues. If anything, it sounds like Stern makes good with playfield or part replacement?

    #29 3 months ago

    All the new in box stories I have listened to for about three years have been positive in every case.

    I know that issues arise and when they did everyone Was made whole to their satisfaction. As I was told. I would assume my own data is about 100 games though. Bought new in box and also in many cases dealer delivered.

    The only damage I see now more consistently is in transit damage from fork lifts. Which I have seen twice in two years.

    Two cents.

    #30 3 months ago

    I have 3 jjp including gnr with a ton of plays on each and all are perfect play fields, and zero issues ever. I also have a couple sterns about 5-7 years old, and still perfect with the exception of dimples on pf, and both have never had any serious issues. My advice is to wait on any new release for about 6 months and let them iron out any new design flaws first. I’d feel comfortable buying nib from either company after the game has been out at least 6 months.

    #31 3 months ago

    Look at it this way....

    You've been out of the hobby for a decade. There have been 50+ titles released by Stern, JJP, Spooky, CGC & AP since 2012.

    Just think of all the games you need to catch up on that will be new & exciting to you, while being old news to others. And all will have complete code. And probably blinged out by previous owners. And you can inspect firsthand yourself, then pick & choose what you want to buy.

    Don'y jump right into the NIB rat race. You're in a great position to purchase plenty of used titles that others will be willing to let go.

    #32 3 months ago
    Quoted from VisitorQ:

    Is it all their games a crossed the board or one particular title? Did the quality decline after a certain title or has it always been this way?

    I didn’t hear about any issues with Dialed In. Mine is perfect.

    #33 3 months ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    I didn’t hear about any issues with Dialed In. Mine is perfect.

    I remember some bitching about the "clearcoat chipping" at the SIM hole but certainly don't remember hearing or seeing any widespread issues on that game.

    #34 3 months ago

    Both sim card and scoop had clear coat issues at the beginning; didn't come with protectors. That's when JJP tried their own shitty knock off "Cliffys" that were junk, and finally I think they were able to to contract Cliffy.

    Edit: mind you I've never even taken the time to add Cliffys and mine isn't a help of sawdust or anything

    #35 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    That's when JJP tried their own shitty knock off "Cliffys" that were junk,

    "Jerseys"

    #36 3 months ago

    The only thing you should be concerned about is your wallet.

    #37 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Both sim card and scoop had clear coat issues at the beginning; didn't come with protectors. That's when JJP tried their own shitty knock off "Cliffys" that were junk, and finally I think they were able to to contract Cliffy.
    Edit: mind you I've never even taken the time to add Cliffys and mine isn't a help of sawdust or anything

    Good memory! At this point we need a wiki that covers every JJP game, each version, and the time spans of various issues lol. It's too much to keep track of at this point.

    #38 3 months ago

    Might want to take a look at Multimorphic's P3 system, they have a really good warranty and customer support and just released their first licensed game:
    https://www.multimorphic.com/

    #39 3 months ago
    Quoted from KozMckPinball:

    If anything, it sounds like Stern makes good with playfield or part replacement?

    If you have a problem with a nib Stern playfield they’ll ship you a new one free, and sometimes its populated. This depends on which distributor you bought the pin from. If you have a problem with a nib JJP pin, they will charge you for a replacement and it won’t be populated.

    #40 3 months ago

    Well at least there are a couple of good comments about JJP in this thread.

    I know these are all companies that are trying to make a buck and I get that but good customer service goes a long way IMO. Just want to get a feel for what I am up against jumping back in with all these newer companies. I guess in the past when I owned BW games, there was no support from the manufacturer but at that point, all those games have been around for years. You more or less knew what you were getting into. I have only bought one NIB game before I got out of the hobby the first time which was a Stern game. It had lock down bar damage but it was an easy fix and Stern did take care of me. Honestly... I am not so much concerned with stuff like that as I am with the quality of the PF which is not as easy to fix.

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