(Topic ID: 111391)

Harry Williams' Classic Sterns


By mof

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 58 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by spideynhb
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic poll

“Which Harry Williams Classic Stern is your Favorite?”

  • Ali 7 votes
    11%
  • Big Game 21 votes
    34%
  • Cheetah 4 votes
    6%
  • Dracula 2 votes
    3%
  • Freefall 3 votes
    5%
  • Galaxy 19 votes
    31%
  • Hot Hand 2 votes
    3%
  • Split Second 4 votes
    6%
  • Wild Fyre 0 votes

(62 votes)

There are 58 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 5 years ago

Have you played any of these Harry Williams games?
Which ones are great?

1978, Wild Fyre, 2400 made
1979, Dracula, 3612 made
1979, Hot Hand, 4117 made
1980, Galaxy, 5150 made
1980, Ali, 2971 made
1980, Big Game, 2713 made
1980, Cheetah, 1223 made
1980, Flight 2000, 6301 made
1981, Freefall, 1300 made
1981, Split Second, ? made

I recently learned that these pins tend to have a lot of spinners and drops, and I'm a huge fan of both... I was delighted when I learned the great HW was behind these...

I'd love to hear your stories about any of these... The only two I've ever seen are Big Game, and F2K. I really liked Big Game for all the drops and the interesting rules, and I thought F2K is a horrible use of space.

thanks!
-mof

-1
#2 5 years ago

(For the poll, I didn't include Flight 2000, I had to pick one to axe from the list of 10, since the poll can hold 9, my apologies to all the F2K fans !)

I won't take away too much meaning from the poll results, as always -- the game people are most familiar with, tends to win... Just have fun with it.

I'm far more interested in reading your opinions.

-mof

#3 5 years ago

Back around 1978-79 I played galaxy and Dracula alot at the local arcade.
The odyssey arcade.
They also had stern nugent, meteor,
And a bunch of gottlieb/Bally/ and Williams pins.
What a great place that was.
It was always dark with shades over all the windows.
I always injoyed galaxy and meteor the most of all the early stern games they had there
I liked the drop targets and they had different layouts than most of the other games.
Good fun indeed.
From the list you gave I will go with galaxy.
Love the art. The layout is fun. Ripping the spinner on that game is always a blast.

#4 5 years ago
Quoted from mrgone:

Back around 1978-79 I played galaxy and Dracula alot at the local arcade.
The odyssey arcade.
They also had stern nugent, meteor,
And a bunch of gottlieb/Bally/ and Williams pins.
What a great place that was.
It was always dark with shades over all the windows.
I always injoyed galaxy and meteor the most of all the early stern games they had there
I liked the drop targets and they had different layouts than most of the other games.
Good fun indeed.
From the list you gave I will go with galaxy.
Love the art. The layout is fun. Ripping the spinner on that game is always a blast.

Cool story...!
-mof

#5 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

(For the poll, I didn't include Flight 2000, I had to pick one to axe from the list of 10, since the poll can hold 9, my apologies to all the F2K fans !)
-mof

That's OK, it's probably more Steve Kirk's design anyway. I have a project Freefall, which I've never played and I haven't put a lot of time in on Cheetah or Ali so I can't speak for those, but Hot Hand is a pretty unique game and I like it.

#6 5 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

That's OK, it's probably more Steve Kirk's design anyway. I have a project Freefall, which I've never played and I haven't put a lot of time in on Cheetah or Ali so I can't speak for those, but Hot Hand is a pretty unique game and I like it.

I look forward to hearing how the Freefall comes out -- it looks really neat!
-mof

#7 5 years ago

I have a Galaxy and I really like it. It would take a lot for me to part with it. I regret selling my Hot Hand and Wild Fyre.

Jason

#8 5 years ago

Out of the list you gave to choose from, these are great:

1980, Galaxy, 5150 made
1980, Ali, 2971 made
1980, Big Game, 2713 made
1980, Cheetah, 1223 made
1980, Flight 2000, 6301 made

-Dave (DOC)

#9 5 years ago

I have owned Dracula and Ali in the past, both were fun for older solid states. The rest I have never played.

#10 5 years ago

I sort of like F2K but then the game is basically shooting for multiball and then not much to do in my opinion after that. BG and Galaxy are fun. Not a HW game, but I really like Catacomb. Favorite of the classic Sterns I've played but there are many I've never even seen, much less played.

#11 5 years ago

I haven't played all those games, but I can tell you my Big Game is never leaving my house. I plan to fully restore it in the future.

#12 5 years ago

Does anyone have any cool stories about these Harry Williams Stern games? Any favorites?
-mof

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

I haven't played all those games, but I can tell you my Big Game is never leaving my house. I plan to fully restore it in the future.

Agreed. Mine will never leave the house either. Besides, my son forbids it. In fact I can't even entertain the idea.

Quoted from mof:

Does anyone have any cool stories about these Harry Williams Stern games? Any favorites?
-mof

The first machine I ever bought, Big Game rates pretty high for me. I have written about it multiple times on various threads. I will say this however, it makes the most out of its wide-body. There is simply no wasted space on this game. Fast and furious with drops(3x3=9) pops(3) and shots(too many to mention). I have owned this machine long enough now to experiment with many shots. I have discovered quite a few awesome backhanders. Love this game.
Would like a Flight 2000 someday. Would look great next to Big Game.
Just missed on a Galaxy recently. Would love to add that one and am on the prowl for one.
REALLY like Classic Sterns!

#14 5 years ago

I used to own Galaxy. It was a great game. Played well. Beautiful art. I don't miss it that much but it was a fun game.

#15 5 years ago

Here is you list as Dave has it...

1980, Galaxy, 5150 made
1980, Ali, 2971 made
1980, Big Game, 2713 made
1980, Cheetah, 1223 made
1980, Flight 2000, 6301 made

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

Here is you list as Dave has it...
1980, Galaxy, 5150 made
1980, Ali, 2971 made
1980, Big Game, 2713 made
1980, Cheetah, 1223 made
1980, Flight 2000, 6301 made

Ty -- how would you rank Freefall in the mix?
-mof

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

I haven't played all those games, but I can tell you my Big Game is never leaving my house. I plan to fully restore it in the future.

As with others, I havent played all of them but Big Game is very cool. I also like F2K.

Of the other Sterns of the era, I love Seawitch and Meteor. Cool games with lots of drops.

rd.

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from rotordave:

As with others, I havent played all of them but Big Game is very cool. I also like F2K.
Of the other Sterns of the era, I love Seawitch and Meteor. Cool games with lots of drops.
rd.

Seawitch looks super cool too. I need to play one of those.

#19 5 years ago

Bill and I are Classic Stern fanatics. I'd put Stars ahead of Freefall. Just finishing up a resto on Stars and it is a great game on par with Stingray. (Chimes sound soooo nice when they are rebuilt)

The list I own:
BIG GAME
F2K
CHEETAH
QUICKSILVER
ALI
SEAWITCH
STAR GAZER
STINGRAY
STARS
NINEBALL
GALAXY
METEOR

Owned but sold off: Dragonfist, Iron Maiden, Catacomb,Freefall

Dave (Doc)

#20 5 years ago

StarGazer
Seawitch
Meteor
Quicksilver
Cheetah
Big Game

You just cant go wrong with any of the classic Sterns..

#21 5 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

Owned but sold off: Dragonfist, Iron Maiden, Catacomb, Freefall
Dave (Doc)

Can I ask why you chose to sell each of those off?
-mof

#22 5 years ago

The current classic stern's in my line up. It is critical they are restored to perfection. Nothing less will do. I have done a ton of work to get my CS collection where it is. Anyone can do it but most people won't spend the time. They don't get it.

Stingray - Ground up restoration, Love this game. My plays off the charts. 3 year ribbon winner at TPF
Seawitch - NOS playfield, NOS backglass , completely restored - 1 ribbon
Nineball - NOS playfield, NOS backglass, completely restored - 2 ribbon's.
Quicksilver - Clear coated perfect playfield, NOS backglass, completely restored. - Best of show at TPF
Stargazer - Mint original. Doesn't get much nicer
Dragonfist - Ground up restoration - Everything piece completely restored
Catacomb - HUO - Beautiful original example
Flight 2000 - Absolutely beautiful original. Just picked this up in Houston
Galaxy - Beautiful original game. Love this game. - 1 ribbon
Gamatron - Whitewood - Steve Kirk's original
Gamatron Regular - Steve Kirk's original

I also now have the test Gamatron print playfield that I was able to obtain from a warehouse raid in Illinois.

Games I regret selling - Mint Big Game (Brian Bannon own's). I do respect it went to a perfect home.

I have had 4 Stargazer's which Brian Bannon own's one of my restorations. Rob Jone's owns another.

Sold a minty Cheetah, Split Second, Stars, Magic Also 1 Quicksilver that I cleared the playfield on for Dothedoo.

You do need to own them all and see which one's you like. Everyone has there opinion on them. I can say my favorite's. Quicksilver, Stargazer, Dragonfist, Nineball, Stingray. But dang they are all really good.

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from Classic_Stern:

The current classic stern's in my line up. It is critical they are restored to perfection. Nothing less will do. I have done a ton of work to get my CS collection where it is. Anyone can do it but most people won't spend the time. They don't get it.
Stingray - Ground up restoration, Love this game. My plays off the charts. 3 year ribbon winner at TPF
Seawitch - NOS playfield, NOS backglass , completely restored - 1 ribbon
Nineball - NOS playfield, NOS backglass, completely restored - 2 ribbon's.
Quicksilver - Clear coated perfect playfield, NOS backglass, completely restored. - Best of show at TPF
Stargazer - Mint original. Doesn't get much nicer
Dragonfist - Ground up restoration - Everything piece completely restored
Catacomb - HUO - Beautiful original example
Flight 2000 - Absolutely beautiful original. Just picked this up in Houston
Galaxy - Beautiful original game. Love this game. - 1 ribbon
Gamatron - Whitewood - Steve Kirk's original
Gamatron Regular - Steve Kirk's original
I also now have the test Gamatron print playfield that I was able to obtain from a warehouse raid in Illinois.
Games I regret selling - Mint Big Game (Brian Bannon own's). I do respect it went to a perfect home.
I have had 4 Stargazer's which Brian Bannon own's one of my restorations. Rob Jone's owns another.
Sold a minty Cheetah, Split Second, Stars, Magic Also 1 Quicksilver that I cleared the playfield on for Dothedoo.
You do need to own them all and see which one's you like. Everyone has there opinion on them. I can say my favorite's. Quicksilver, Stargazer, Dragonfist, Nineball, Stingray. But dang they are all really good.

That's awesome you have a bunch of fully restored ones. I plan to fully restore my Big Game too. Can't wait.

#24 5 years ago

Well since Bill has given the litany of his Sterns and all their beauty (and rightly so), I'll do so with mine to represent the East Coast:

Most of these Classic Sterns have been in my collection since I've started this madness. I have restored each one to look and play like new with emphasis on optimizing the the nuances of each one's gameplay (smooth as silk flipper feeds, spinners that spin forever, drop targets that are sweepable/no bricking, all metal buffed to a mirror shine, nos clearcoated playfields or touched up/ clear coated playfields, excellent cabinets, excellent condition backglasses) on all below:

Star Gazer
Quicksilver
Nine Ball
Seawitch
Stars
Galaxy (w/7 digit mod)
Cheetah
Big Game
Flight 2000

Waiting their turn patiently in the resto queue:
Meteor
Stingray

-Dave (Doc)

#25 5 years ago

All 3 where in HUO condition especially the Dragonfist and the Iron Maiden that I shopped out. The Catacomb was no slouch either.

I found Dragonfist to be a poor man's Star Gazer. Left me wanting to play my Star Gazer instead so bye-bye Dragonfist. Sold off to a collector that wanted an extremely nice copy of the game.
Iron Maiden was a spectacular looker. But left me cold gameplaywise. Felt like it was an unfinished game codewise. But not as unfinished as Split Second.
Sold off to a collector that could appreciate this HUO beauty more than I.
Catacomb? Great looker but damn, I couldn't stand the delay of game of that pretty but stupid bagatelle in the backglass after EVERY ball. They should have written the code to use it more of a last chance after ball 3 drained.
Traded it for a decent Bally Rolling Stones that I will be doing a full restore on.

Dave (Doc)

Quoted from mof:

Can I ask why you chose to sell each of those off?
-mof

#26 5 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

I couldn't stand the delay of game of that pretty but stupid bagatelle in the backglass after EVERY ball.
Dave (Doc)

I hear that... I would give anything to remove the bagatelle and just enjoy Catacomb.
-mof

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

(smooth as silk flipper feeds, spinners that spin forever, drop targets that are sweepable/no bricking, all metal buffed to a mirror shine, nos clearcoated playfields or touched up/ clear coated playfields, excellent cabinets, excellent condition backglasses)

How did you fix the bricking issue on your drop targets?

#28 5 years ago

What do you know cw, I just sent him a pm asking the very same thing. The only advice I have been given is to put in new springs. My pinball tech disputes this however and claims it won't make much if any difference. I need to do something soon though. It is annoying when one does not drop.

#29 5 years ago

I had a couple classic stern also, all have restored playfield, with complete mechanism rebuilt. They all play like a charm and very fun!

I had in my line up right now, F2K, Big Game, Iron Maiden, Quicksilver and Catacomb!

Catacomb is my favorites, you have to master the bagatelle if you really want to enjoy it! It's a part of the game play.

#30 5 years ago

Classic Stern drop targets are sweepable and drop like butter by design unlike their Bally counterpart.

If they are bricking, inspect the drop target for breaks or weakness in the stem where the spring attaches. If fractured or broken here, this will cause the drop target to bend back and not drop when hit.

Another thing to check is the rubber ring behind the drop target bank. If too thick or too close to the back of the targets, then the targets will hit the rubber and bounce back with no time to drop when hit.
This can be addressed multiple ways but I have found the best way is to make sure the right size rubber is there. If that is good then I check the gap between the face of the drop targets and the playfield wood in front of them. If there is a gap, you need to make it a millimeter of less. Do this by relocating the entire drop bank assembly. Take out the assembly, fill the holes with bamboo skewers and wood glue. Cut flush to bottom of playfield. Line up assembly to get that drop target to playfield wood gap close to "0" as you can. Mark the holes. Pilot drill then screw it down.

If still no joy, then I start moving the rubber ring backing posts behind the drops back a few millimeters doing the same bamboo skewer method above.

Also when replacing targets with new from PBR, be careful as they are not of the same height as original and sit lower when down. They do not sit flush when down as the originals do. THis can be addressed by putting some shimming material under the drop target lift bar.

Hope that helps!

Dave (Doc)
www.pinballdoctor.com

#31 5 years ago

I owned Hot Hand for about a year, and sold it to my neighbor. Frankly I hated it. The ball spends too much time up on the giant flipper at the top, and it ends up being safer to shoot the ball up there to spot cards than it is to go for the drop targets. The artwork is uninspired.

Big Game is the complete opposite: great art, great gameplay, skill and strategy count for a lot.

My only classic Stern at the moment is a Trident that I have queued up for restoration.

#32 5 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

Classic Stern drop targets are sweepable and drop like butter by design unlike their Bally counterpart.
If they are bricking, inspect the drop target for breaks or weakness in the stem where the spring attaches. If fractured or broken here, this will cause the drop target to bend back and not drop when hit.
Another thing to check is the rubber ring behind the drop target bank. If too thick or too close to the back of the targets, then the targets will hit the rubber and bounce back with no time to drop when hit.
This can be addressed multiple ways but I have found the best way is to make sure the right size rubber is there. If that is good then I check the gap between the face of the drop targets and the playfield wood in front of them. If there is a gap, you need to make it a millimeter of less. Do this by relocating the entire drop bank assembly. Take out the assembly, fill the holes with bamboo skewers and wood glue. Cut flush to bottom of playfield. Line up assembly to get that drop target to playfield wood gap close to "0" as you can. Mark the holes. Pilot drill then screw it down.
If still no joy, then I start moving the rubber ring backing posts behind the drops back a few millimeters doing the same bamboo skewer method above.
Also when replacing targets with new from PBR, be careful as they are not of the same height as original and sit lower when down. They do not sit flush when down as the originals do. THis can be addressed by putting some shimming material under the drop target lift bar.
Hope that helps!
Dave (Doc)
http://www.pinballdoctor.com

Thanks. I will put these to use.

#33 5 years ago

Hi DrDave

Can you tell me if the new drop from PBR are supposed to work as good as the original one?

thank's

#34 5 years ago

Out of the games listed I have Cheetah and Galaxy. Of those two Galaxy is my favorite. I was given the Cheetah and it is a fun game, I just like Galaxy better.

My son had a Hot hand. It is a basic game but having the Ace only on the center drop makes it harder than you think. It just wasn't a game he or I wanted and it was sold off.

#35 5 years ago
Quoted from Redketchup:

Can you tell me if the new drop from PBR are supposed to work as good as the original one?
thank's

Nope they brick like crazy. Much better to use the originals if you can. My Cheetah has all new PBR drops and they suck. A hard direct shot and they stay up. A nice gentle direct hit or one at an oblique angle and they are fine, but otherwise they don't always drop.

I bought new ones for my Star Gazer and I'm even considering not using them. On my Meteor I went the route of putting decals over the original drops and that works so much better.

#36 5 years ago

I concur. I clean up the original drops and use them whenever possible. The PBR ones look great but performance is not as good as the originals. Different plastic blend I'm thinking.

-Dave (Doc)

Quoted from schudel5:

Nope they brick like crazy. Much better to use the originals if you can. My Cheetah has all new PBR drops and they suck. A hard direct shot and they stay up. A nice gentle direct hit or one at an oblique angle and they are fine, but otherwise they don't always drop.
I bought new ones for my Star Gazer and I'm even considering not using them. On my Meteor I went the route of putting decals over the original drops and that works so much better.

#37 5 years ago

Thanks to DRDAVE for the information. Some valuable tips for sure!

#38 5 years ago

HI Dave. Long time. (last Sat )

Anybody want to buy a player's 1981 Stern Lightning, in decent shape?
Some flaws, but would clean up incredibly, and playing fine and correct now.
No playfield wear, presentable cab, Alltek CPU board.

Haven't thought of a price yet, honestly. Low - low mid 1Kplus range likely.
Not gouging, not giving away - and do not dislike the pin,
I just play Free Fall much, much more.

Pics available upon request.
PM me pls.
I do believe that once I dialogue begins, it should remain between buyer and seller, for better or worse.

Tks for reading--sorry so long.
Game located Boston area.
JEG-

#39 5 years ago

Another thing you can try before drilling your playfield is stretch the rubber ring so it's tighter on the target side and looser on the back side. This may thin the rubber just enough to allow the targets to fall without bricking.

#40 5 years ago
Quoted from ejg10532626:

I just play Free Fall much, much more.

You put Free Fall over Lightning? Can you say more about that comparison?

-mof

#41 5 years ago

I *REALLY* appreciate all the discussion about the early Stern games. There just aren't a million of them out there to play, and hearing other people's opinions really helps.
-mof

#42 5 years ago

Classic Sterns are unlike any other games imo. I tend to prefer the single-ball games over the multi-ball games, with my favorites being Star Gazer, Quicksilver, Stars, Seawitch, Galaxy, Ali, Big Game, Stingray, and Meteor. Just pure, straight-forward pinball on these tables.

#43 5 years ago

Restoring an F2K right now, and Wild Fyre was my first pin ever. I miss it. I've played several others and these classics are always welcome in my gameroom.

#44 5 years ago

Yeah, Ali is a great game. I don't think it's the best, but it is my favorite classic stern.

Nine ball, Seawitch, and Big Game are the top classic Sterns IMHO.

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from mof:

You put Free Fall over Lightning? Can you say more about that comparison?
-mof

As a matter of fact, I can, and I'm glad you asked.

Free Fall has one considerable flaw, the 5K spinner, which is always the logical shot to go for.
Aside from that, every area of the Free Fall playfield has a mini-ruleset - where Lightning has an extremely basic ruleset.
Free Fall bonus maxes at 15x times 36 points - and it is hard as hell to max out. Lightning can be maxed out much easier, and holds ball to ball on 3 balls. There is a secondary bonus feature on Free Fall also, that one does hold ball to ball, but the main one does not - best of both worlds there.
Free Fall has a double-rebound shot for the lock, which is a tough shot to make. Lightning - straight in the saucers.
Art - FreeFall far, far superior IMHO.
Free Fall has the traditional 3 pop bumpers - spread out nicely for good action and nice kill shots if you screw up. Lightning, no pops.
The FF left side 5 drop targ bank is a three way award area. Always adds multiplier on completion. Completion in order awards 50K and lights Special, which with settings adjusts can be another 100K scorer, and the extra ball is scored by knocking down targs 1,2,4, and 5 any order - leaving only 3 standing and that lights the arrow for 3 to score the EB.
Just a deeper pin.

I am very biased on this one...Free Fall is one of my favorite overall games.
Over the years I've had and let go Paragon, Centaur, Catacomb, and several other A classic titles - always kept Free Fall.
The entire Stern class of 1980 - Galaxy, Big Game, Ali, Seawitch, Quicksilver, Star Gazer - also all terrific titles.

#46 5 years ago

big game big game big game!!!

#47 5 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

I concur. I clean up the original drops and use them whenever possible. The PBR ones look great but performance is not as good as the originals. Different plastic blend I'm thinking.
-Dave (Doc)

Ok Thank's

I have a lot probleme with my F2K drop target. I will put back original one...

#48 5 years ago

My favorite is Galaxy. It took me about 5 years to get mine it is the exact machine me and my best child hood friend to this day played as little kids 30 yrs ago. It would be my last pin I would sell every time I play it I think of us at about 8 yrs old playing that machine.

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from TonyH:

My favorite is Galaxy. It took me about 5 years to get mine it is the exact machine me and my best child hood friend to this day played as little kids 30 yrs ago. It would be my last pin I would sell every time I play it I think of us at about 8 yrs old playing that machine.

That would be awesome to actually own the very machine you played years ago!!

#50 5 years ago
Quoted from ejg10532626:

As a matter of fact, I can, and I'm glad you asked.
Free Fall has one considerable flaw, the 5K spinner, which is always the logical shot to go for.
Aside from that, every area of the Free Fall playfield has a mini-ruleset - where Lightning has an extremely basic ruleset.
Free Fall bonus maxes at 15x times 36 points - and it is hard as hell to max out. Lightning can be maxed out much easier, and holds ball to ball on 3 balls. There is a secondary bonus feature on Free Fall also, that one does hold ball to ball, but the main one does not - best of both worlds there.
Free Fall has a double-rebound shot for the lock, which is a tough shot to make. Lightning - straight in the saucers.
Art - FreeFall far, far superior IMHO.
Free Fall has the traditional 3 pop bumpers - spread out nicely for good action and nice kill shots if you screw up. Lightning, no pops.
The FF left side 5 drop targ bank is a three way award area. Always adds multiplier on completion. Completion in order awards 50K and lights Special, which with settings adjusts can be another 100K scorer, and the extra ball is scored by knocking down targs 1,2,4, and 5 any order - leaving only 3 standing and that lights the arrow for 3 to score the EB.
Just a deeper pin.
I am very biased on this one...Free Fall is one of my favorite overall games.
Over the years I've had and let go Paragon, Centaur, Catacomb, and several other A classic titles - always kept Free Fall.
The entire Stern class of 1980 - Galaxy, Big Game, Ali, Seawitch, Quicksilver, Star Gazer - also all terrific titles.

Oh boy...I have never owned a Freefall and have taken other's opinion's and now I am thinking it is probably time I play one for myself. I might become as passionate as you are about the game. I can tell just by your post I need to give it SERIOUS consideration.

My buddy has one. Get it restored so I can play it!!!!!...

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