(Topic ID: 6744)

Home Pinball?


By chocky909

8 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 32 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by pinmike
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 8 years ago

    I couldn't get to sleep a few nights ago and swimming around my head was the idea that pinball should stop being made for public spaces and instead aimed as a luxury toy for home use.

    I was thinking that if someone would create a modern electronic solid state pinball table but scaled down to about a 900x500mm playfield with smaller balls and ramps it could be played on home tables then stored on it's side in a cupboard or on top of a wardrobe when not being used.

    Costs could be cut by not having extavagent playfield toys but keeping all the classic ramps, locks, drops, bumpers. I'm thinking that a detatchable LCD or OLED based back board could be used rather than a DMD and feature a deep ruleset for prolonged use and exploration rather than instant satisfaction. The table could be network connected for leaderboards, updated firmware and other online features.

    I'm thinking a cost of £1000 to £2000 (or whatever that is in dollars) would be something that people would be willing to play for an experience as good as the best late 90s tables but smaller in scale and easier to transport and store. The light and sound could be even more impressive now than ever with even better and cheaper lights, speakers, displays. With the right design team, these could be just as audially and visually exciting as the best of the past pinballs.

    I suppose I'm putting this idea out there to see what the major stumbling blocks are. I've read that Jersey Jack will be using existing Williams pinball parts which have been refined over the years and if you created a pinball table at a different scale like I am proposing I guess you would need to design and create every part from scratch which would be a big investment.

    Apart from whether there is sufficient market demand for this to be a worthwhile business venture I think that is the only problem I can see.

    I'd be interested to hear all your fine reasons why this is an impossible pipe dream even if I had the capital to start a home pinball company.

    #2 8 years ago

    Wow! Lay down the crack pipe! This was tried in the 70's with smaller home versions and they all sucked. Full size quarter munchers with all the bells and whistles are the only way to go. Pinball's future (if there is one) is the exact opposite. Give people what they can't get at home. That is why Dance Dance Revolution and giant racing games dominate.

    #3 8 years ago

    How DARE you! I gave up crack WEEKS ago!

    Can you tell me more about these 70s home pinball tables though and why they sucked exactly because that would be very interesting to me.

    In reply, you can't get pinball at home which is my main point. You can't get pinball anywhere these days unless you are lucky enough to know someone with one or be close to a pub with one. Arcades have died and I don't think they're coming back so unless new pinball makes the transition to home units it will die completely. If most existing tables are in private hands now doesn't that tell you something about where the demand is?

    My idea btw is to make home tables that DON'T suck and have all the bells and whistles you speak of. Just in a more manageable format.

    #4 8 years ago

    By making it half scale, you change the physics (go play a family guy with the mini playfield). I think there are ways of greatly reducing the cost of pinball (P-Roc elminates a lot of wiring). Just like anything, prices come down as they depreciate (just like cars), so just be patient and wait a couple years.

    #5 8 years ago

    I'd love to do some experiments to see if you can keep the same feel of larger tables on a smaller scale. Again, I think just because some smaller tables in the past were rubbish doesn't necessarily mean that it is unworkable. Perhaps playing with the density of the ball and the strength of the bumpers, different rubbers and slope would find something pleasingly similar to the great tables of the past.

    Cost isn't my main issue here, it's size and weight. Not too many people where I livehave the room to have a full size table in their home. Something the size of a TV or suitcase that is designed to be packed away when not in use - perhaps in a custom case. It could have optional legs if you wanted to have it out permanently.

    Maybe many of you have realtively big houses with room for a pinball table or two. I'm living in the UK in a small South London flat and I'm currently looking to buy my first table but I'll have to keep it at my Aunt's house at the other end of the country where I'll visit it once or twice a year or so. This is why this idea has been floating around my mind. I'm not saying it's viable but I'd like to hear good reasons why it isn't - for someone willing to invest.

    Ignoring whether it's a good idea or not, I want to know (theoretically) how you could go about constructing a mini pinball? Would you have to redesign all the playfield components from scratch and would this make the whole idea financially ridiculous?

    #6 8 years ago

    Seems kinda backward. I want pinball in my home to have the actual arcade experience here.

    #7 8 years ago

    New poster here, hello! Space is a huge issue in this hobby, to the point where most people that really get into it need a dedicated room/space. For it.

    I agree that the small tables don't really scale right... They play too fast. I would suggest that if you want something in a really small form factor, you're better off going with a Visual Pinball/Pinmame type setup. Still a huge compromise IMO, but gives the dual benefit of multiple tables and compact size.

    #8 8 years ago
    Quoted from chocky909:

    Can you tell me more about these 70s home pinball tables though and why they sucked exactly because that would be very interesting to me.

    There are some pics of a home model fireball and some info about the 70's
    home model in this thread.http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/1972-fireball-gameplay-your-thoughts

    #9 8 years ago

    Well I am disappointed. I thought there would be more enthusiasm from other people that don't have the space for a full size pinball. I really can't see why this couldn't be done properly just because of bad examples in the past. I'm sure that experimenting with ball size and density would be easy enough - the key being scaling EVERY part of the table.

    Quoted from Johnny:

    Seems kinda backward. I want pinball in my home to have the actual arcade experience here.

    Me too. I just don't think the size is vital. Maybe we should reconsider what the 'arcade experience' is? I've never f'rinstance wanted a stand up arcade cabinet because I just don't see the point when I can recreate that perfectly using a monitor and proper arcade controller.

    #10 8 years ago

    Yeah, but I can hear it now.

    "hey look! Mine is bigger than yours!"

    #11 8 years ago
    Quoted from chocky909:

    I just don't see the point when I can recreate that perfectly using a monitor and proper arcade controller.

    You are missing the point chocky...
    Having a dedicated standing cabinet or even a Vewlix for that matter, is just soooo much better than sitting on the couch in front of a huge T.V., in utter comfort. I know it sounds weird, but I prefer to play shoulder to shoulder with my fellow human being on a dedicated semi-cramped arcade cab.
    It is what I grew up with, what I know. Call me old-fashioned, but you really think twice about trash-talking on a stranger with such a close proximity!
    That is why I love pinball... It is a very physical experience, machines are heavy, body english is a must to get the machine to do your bidding. Taking away any part of that formula, is sacrilege...
    Pin2K walked a fine line with it's smaller design; thankfully the inventiveness of the interactive play kept it afloat. I think JJP will be able to blend the "new and the old" pinball ideal into the next decade and hopefully bring something that even the hardcore crowd will say "Daaaamn, that is just awesome! How did we ever live without _____?!?"

    #12 8 years ago

    I've got just one word ......... Zizzle.

    #13 8 years ago

    That exactly what I would want to do with my miniature pinball! "I can't believe we thought pinball tables had to be the size of a horse and weigh the same as a grand piano!"

    And let's not compare arcade cabinets to pinball because even though I'm not saying that stand up cabinets have no place, the difference between playing an emulation of a coin op at home and playing an emulation of a pinball table is massive.

    That's what I want to bring to more people - the experience of playing pinball with real objects, the joy of watching genuine physics in play, the mechanical sensory experience. I'm not saying that home units should replace full size units but there is a gap in the market for people who can pay for and would like a pinball table but cannot sacrifice the permanant room that one takes up or literally can't fit one up their tiny stairway, like me.

    It's ridiculous though I think, to say that any change to the full size table setup is sacrilege. All you need to do is distill the essence of what makes pinball work. That is what I would demand in a set top pinball table. The same satisfactory sensation and feeling of control. Is everyone imagining a smaller home version would be light and plasticky with a cheap and nasty edge to it because I'm certainly not?

    Anyway, I'm really keen to hear about the logistics of constructing a scaled down pinball table though assuming that the ball would be a different size to most existing tables all the mechanisms would need to be different wouldn't they?

    Check out this video

    That looks like about the playfield size I was imagining and that ball moves around at a decent pace, improved perhaps by being a little denser and bigger maybe. Now, imagine that table was designed by one of the best and tricked out with all the lights, booming sound effects and mechanical response magic of your average late 90's pinball table and distilled into just the playfield and a display. I would love that. Wouldn't anyone else?

    #14 8 years ago

    Look at this gem!

    amazon.com link »

    Seems like they've tried to mass market pinball to the mainstream with lower cost machines a good number of times. I think machines like these might turn off a potential fan more than encourage them to explore the hobby. To get new people into the pinball I think they need the full experience - full size, quality toys, bells and whistles galore. My suggestion - drag a friend kicking and screaming to the nearest pinball machine you can find an make them play!

    #15 8 years ago
    Quoted from chocky909:

    my head was the idea that pinball should stop being made for public spaces and instead aimed as a luxury toy for home use.

    This bit is happening already as Stern have different models, some aimed at home and collectors and others at the gaming industry.

    I would be more in favour of an affordable option that could be put on site to try and expand the industry.

    #16 8 years ago

    I've seen pinball machines that were the size and shape of a coffee table, but I haven't had a chance to really play one. The playfield was roughly as wide as a standard playfield, but not as long-- think the pinball half of Baby Pac-Man. Something like this could be good for people that want to have a pinball machine that they could hide in plain sight (put a top piece over the playfield glass, and it would look just like a regular coffee table).

    Has anyone played one of these 'sit-down' pins before?

    #17 8 years ago

    Pinball takes up less room than you think. You can store a bunch of stuff under the cabinet(some guy used to sleep under his) as well as stack stuff on top of the top glass. When you aren't playing that is. Just buy your one favorite pin and it will fit in your little flat.

    #18 8 years ago

    Have you ever been to the UK? There is no room in my flat unless I throw away all my furniture. I've considered building a shed in the tiny back garden but then I'd need to hire a crane to lift the pinball table over the house. The STTNG pinball I'm considering buying for my Aunt's house won't even fit through my doorways.

    #19 8 years ago

    that mini pinball isn't bad, but the physics are definitely different (but maybe not bad). It seems faster paced because of how gravity is affecting it. Looks like he's using a pachinko ball too, easily obtainable. It IS an interesting idea for people with less space available, maybe there's a market for it.

    I would think if anything maybe the cabinet just needs to be less deep (say 8" thick instead of 18-24"), use switchmode power instead of linear (save room and weight), fold down the backbox and store the pinball away when your not using it (or store multiple ones, and unfold the one you want to play).

    #20 8 years ago
    Quoted from Finrod:

    like a regular coffee table).
    Has anyone played one of these 'sit-down' pins before?

    I played one called Night Moves a fair bit. It is fun for a few games but doen't compare well with the full sized table in my opinion. Not much of a chance for flow, toys etc.

    #21 8 years ago

    Not saying it's for everyone, but I had built a mini-Hyperpin:


    It used a 28" Widescreen LCD and a 19" 4:3 LCD. Using real pinball legs, it gave a good pinball experience with about 3/4 the actual space. The variety and space saving was awesome. It cost about $1700 to build.

    #22 8 years ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    I've got just one word ......... Zizzle.

    He is right check out the site below. These machines are a lot smaller and is the closest thing to real pinball. I would never put one in my house but maybe it would work for you.

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.pinball/browse_thread/thread/931a817a07dbf3e0/596dd332df9a66ed?lnk=gst&q=butterflygirl24#596dd332df9a66ed

    #23 8 years ago

    Have you ever been to the UK? There is no room in my flat unless I throw away all my furniture. I've considered building a shed in the tiny back garden but then I'd need to hire a crane to lift the pinball table over the house. The STTNG pinball I'm considering buying for my Aunt's house won't even fit through my doorways.

    Yeah, I've been to the UK, stayed in a few hostels and small flats. THe widebody ST-TNG might be a problem getting through those skinny doors you have over there. I hope you live on the ground floor. But if you could cram a pin through the doorway, I would dump the furniture.

    #24 8 years ago
    Quoted from chocky909:

    The STTNG pinball I'm considering buying for my Aunt's house won't even fit through my doorways.

    Does STTNG have a wider cabinet than usual? Thought all backboxes were the same size. I might not buy the STTNG I'm looking at if I can't fit it in my house.

    #25 8 years ago
    Quoted from Rascal_H:

    Does STTNG have a wider cabinet than usual? Thought all backboxes were the same size.

    The backbox is the same on a widebody as it is on a non-widebody. The overall footprint remains the same. It's just the main cabinet / playfield that is wider.

    #26 8 years ago

    I agree with those who have posted about a zizzle....what you are asking for is a smaller, cheaper pin...right?

    #27 8 years ago

    You have my sympathy chocky. We all need more space for our stuff. Some more than others. Im guessing that many of the residences in England were built before pinball was invented. Not trying to slam here. The very fact that the homes are still in use is testament to the quality put into them. But, that doesnt really help though. Maybe if you found a couple more pinheads close by you could rent a flat together and keep all your machines in one place. It would be your own private arcade. Its a nice thought at least.

    #28 8 years ago

    How about getting an old affordable bus or moving van and gut it out for regular pinball? You'd have to work out the heat and lighting, but at least you'd be playing real pinball. Just a thought.
    I'm not saying your mini pin isn't real or just a toy it's good that you have new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    #29 8 years ago

    this gets the wowwwwwwwwwwwww

    #30 8 years ago

    Best catchphrase on Pinside.

    #31 8 years ago

    The Zizzle is a big step in the right direction towards what I am imagining. I'm thinking it would be need to be the same quality as the best full size pinball tables though and with a much more intricate gameplay and scoreboard graphics. The physics on that look pretty cool for the playfield size.

    #32 8 years ago
    Quoted from chocky909:

    The Zizzle is a big step in the right direction towards what I am imagining. I'm thinking it would be need to be the same quality as the best full size pinball tables though and with a much more intricate gameplay and scoreboard graphics. The physics on that look pretty cool for the playfield siz

    I had the marvel one and it was fun to play LEDS and solenoids for the flippers.

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