(Topic ID: 66139)

How did you decide what to buy first?


By genex

7 years ago



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#1 7 years ago

OK so I have been addicted to playing pinball for a bit now and am thinking to buy a machine (or two?!). Anyhow, how did you all make your decisions? Some of these things can get pretty expensive for a regular guy like me so I keep feeling like I need to play as many machines as I can, as often as I can, to find out which ones I really like and have good re-play value.

So far I've considered these things:
- do i like the machine overall (very general)
- is the theme something I would like to have in my house (or photography studio)
- re-playability factor - would this game get old/boring quickly if I had access to play it ALL THE TIME
- cost
- maintenance (i am not a handy guy, so this scares me somewhat)

Right now I have a few machines on my 'wish list' here, but I keep thinking back to Iron Man, b/c that's a really fun pin that I enjoy playing. I also like Fish Tales, Whirlwind and Radical a lot. There are the usual suspects too like Attack from Mars, Medieval, Theatre of Magic, etc. that are just too pricey so I am not considering those (and they are on route everywhere around here luckily)

What other things did you all consider before you got your first machine and were you happy with that decision? Any other tips for a new/potential buyer?

#2 7 years ago

One of my first machines was X-files. I am a huge fan of the show, I got to love the pinball machine right?? Wrong, the machine is really bad. Never buy a machine because of theme alone unless you have played it a bunch and know you will like it. Figure out what type of games you prefer. Do you like stop & go (TZ), or more speed / flow games (JM)? Play as many games as possible and see what ones grab you. Just because a machine sells for big money does not mean it is the best choice. Some of the best games are still very reasonable JM, Congo, BSD, Indy500, Fishtales etc.

#3 7 years ago

You're doing it right, play a ton of different games and see what you like. Also remember, you don't have to own it forever, make sure you don't overpay too much and you should be able to get pretty much what you put into it back, while having got a bunch of enjoyment out of it.

You're getting tied into the community well enough now that you should be able to get people to help you out with troubleshooting any problems, I'd be happy to help if I can.

#4 7 years ago

TZ was a favorite of mine back in college. That's why I picked it as my first machine. That was four years ago, and I still love it!

#5 7 years ago

for me, TZ and TAF were the 2 games that got me addicted to pinball. So there were only 4 games I wanted. TAF, TZ, ES and FH. Figured I get those 4 and that's all I wanted. Well look how that turned out. Now I have 22 games, and Don't even own any of the original 4 I first wanted. Tho, I still like all 4 of those games and would like them back in the collection.

#6 7 years ago

Fell in love with a Doctor Who fan. Then a casual bid on an eBay auction... Bingo.

#7 7 years ago

I "lucked" into finding a pin on ebay back in ~2003. Overpaid for a non-working pin (Gottlieb Torch - 1979). Spent way too much to get it up and running. Once running, realized it wasn't that much fun. However, by then I was infected with finding my next pin...(which was Sorcerer).

#8 7 years ago

Genex,
PM me. I'll put together a good tutorial for you to help you do this effeciently. After testing it on you, I'll post it here so others can benefit.
-mof

#9 7 years ago

One of the great things about this hobby is being able to network with so many other guys through league, shows, forum groups, etc. Because of that, it doesn't matter what game you buy first. If you don't like it, there will always be someone else in the hobby who will buy it from you or trade with you. The games you buy don't have to be a lifetime investment. Buy a game, play it, if you want to experience something else, sell it, and so on. I've owned over 50 games in the last eight years, but my gameroom only has room for five! Some titles I've owned more than once, some titles I will never own again.

Find something of fair value, and if you don't like it, sell or trade it for fair value.

You mention being afraid of maintenance. This hobby has a wealth of resources, and most of it is free! You also have a ton of guys in Nor Cal who would be happy to help you out or talk you through any maintenance issues.

Good luck on your first purchase!

#10 7 years ago

My buddy and I were going to Galaxy World in the early-to-mid '90s and playing fabulous pins. We had no idea that Galaxy was one of the few test locations used by B/W back then, so over a few years we enjoyed playing pilot run games like Safecracker (and collecting the antique-finished coins), SS (with all the cool parts eliminated from regular production games), AFM, TOTAN, ToM, CFTBL, etcetera, without ever knowing how brand spanking new and special the machines we were playing were.

Then around November 1994 I decide it would be great to have a game in my home and I search until I find a couple local distributors (American Vending and Atlas Distributing) that sold pins. That's when I find out how new the pins we were playing were and how much they cost new. (I don't know of anybody besides vending operators who were buying games NIB back then.) So I decided on either Indiana Jones or Creature, since they would be cheaper used than new but not on any route long enough to get too much wear. I bought CFTBL in December 1993 from Atlas for $1895 and it showed a build date on it from March '93 so it was less than two years old.

A year later I knew what everyone else here comes to know: one pin is not enough. So I bought Indiana Jones and TZ from Atlas the same day, paying $1200 for TZ and $1400 for Indy. Once again, they had not been on routes long enough to get too much wear and didn't even have any lock bar holes in the cabinets. My buddy also acquired Indy and Twilight about the same time from a different source. Then we each started looking for our personal favorites. (Safecracker + JM + WH2O + EATPM + TOTAN for him.) (SS + MB + Whodunnit + ToM for me.) Then between '96 and '99 pinball manufacturers started dropping like flies. The guys who had purchased MM NIB in 1997 were looking like geniuses when top games started getting scarce and prices of games coming off routes stayed high (since with Stern the only pin manufacturer left there weren't many new games coming out for operators to trade older games in on.)

Sorry. Got carried away with my story.

How did I decide what to buy first? We didn't even consider NIB money back then, so I looked for the machines I liked best that were only a couple years old and maybe coming off routes and being traded in for the first time, and then bought them used from a distributor.

#11 7 years ago

There was an operator in here then and I got tired of dealing with him. KISS and Pinball Pool came out, I asked for both. He would only put in one. I told him fine, he put in one and I'd buy the other. He asked which I'd buy and I said KISS. So of course he delivered a KISS, which I knew he'd do. So I bought the Gottlieb Pinball Pool and the rest is history.

LTG : )

#12 7 years ago

I'm a meteorologist. Whirlwind was a no brainer. Still have it 14 years later.

#13 7 years ago

Cast a wide net and have some tolerance to buy something you are willing to play/buy until the perfect game. Games make good tradebait, often more so than money.

#14 7 years ago

I didn't get my favorite game first: I just got a game I knew I'd really like that wouldn't cost too much.

Once I had it, I was able to figure out how to knock out my favorite list.

#15 7 years ago

You can't go wrong with Whirlwind, great pin for the price. Good luck with your first purchase

#16 7 years ago

I played a bunch of pinball back in the great arcade days. I got to play a TAF almost daily while I was in college(back when it was a new game). A couple years ago, I decided I wanted a TAF to add to my vid collection for a nice, more well rounded home arcade. Well, after looking for a loooooong time, I joined Pinside. That turned me on to PAGG and CAX. I had been out of video games and pinball for so long, I had forgotten about all the great games I used to play back in the day!! One game I forgot almost completely about was TZ. Played it at PAGG and it all came rushing back to me. So, I sat down and decided I wanted 3 pins for sure TAF, TZ, and FH. Those were my absolute favorite pins. My grail pins, if you will.

How I was going to get them was another story. I couldn't really afford the average going rate for a TZ(about $5000+ out here in CA for a nice player), but I also couldn't afford to get a TAF either(about $4000+, same condition). So, I figured I'd start with a FH since they were still on the cheap side(and kinda still are, but that's quickly changing), and put off TAF and TZ for later when I could save up more money. I started looking for ways to buy other pins, fix them up, then resell them to make a little profit to help fund my future Pat Lawlor amusement devices. I toyed with getting a WH2O that needed some help(at a pretty screaming deal, too), but ultimately passed on it since it wasn't a title I'd ever played and was not familiar with it at all.

After a while, during my usual CL perusals, I came across an ad for a TZ. It was local and cheap. I hadn't planned on buying a TZ first. This was directly against my "plan". But, since it was one of my three grail pins, and WELL below what they usually go for here in California. I called on it. Long story short(too late, I know), I ended up buying it the next day and I even talked him down an extra hundred dollars!

Moral of the story: Decide which pins you have to have. Consider playability, nostalgia, and price. Start saving money in a special account just for that kind of purchase. After deciding, have the pins you truly want in mind all the time, ready to buy at a moment's notice. The way collectors and flippers are these days with CL and apps that notify them the instant something shows up, it's a race to get there with the money first(if it's a good deal).

#17 7 years ago

I spent a half decade @ CP Pinball damn near every month & noticed out of 50-75 games there I always played TSPP, FGY & LOTR non stop

So I bought em

It's been almost 2 years since I brought my grails home & I still play the shit out of em.

#18 7 years ago

Went to Kevin mchugh's when he had store in Clifton nj around 2001. He had a roller games, tz, afm, and some others I can't remember. I talked to the tech there who was working on a game. Cant remember his name but he left kevin's and went to work for betson. He explained to me the depth of tz and the toys it had. He said I would like it much more than the South Park (love the show and movie) I was searching for. I was hesitant due to the fact that a friend had tz also but I ended up buying it anyway. That was just the beginning. Now I'm up to 18 but decided that is enough. So the hunt is over for me. Kind of regret not getting the afm. I bought one later on but from automated services. Kevin's was much nicer. Didn't matter in the end since it went through a professional restoration.

#19 7 years ago

In December 1996 my five year old wrote a letter to Santa:

"Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would like Bugs Bunnys pinball machine. The real one. My Dad and I love pinball and I would share. Mom says I have been a good girl and you can trust her I think she was on your list a long time ago.

Love,
Your friend Jennifer"

We were living in upstate New York at the time. I couldn't remember where (or when) we had played BB but called every operator I could find in the phone book. No luck. One day on my way to see an operator, I stopped at a little convenience store to get a drink. Inside was a Bugs and another machine. I took the card taped to the machine and after some begging and assurances I would take the machine as-is, no warranty. I bought the machine from Jackson Amusements on December 19th and he delivered it two or three days later. Santa was a hero on Christmas morning.

Pinbot came the day before New Year's and TNG, Strikes and Spares and Creature followed in the next six months. Then in August 1997, I ordered my first new in box machine, Medieval Madness. Over the next year I found a number of classic EM titles in the largest pinball warehouse I've ever seen (PA Gameroom Warehouse) along with a beautiful High Speed and a Flying Aces (one of two known to exist). Picked up everything else after we moved to Colorado in fall 1998.

At one point I thought I would finish the basement as a little pinball museum, as it was my goal to have a good example of a game from every major pinball era from Baffle Ball and Bally Hoo to Pinball 2000. That never happened (I have the games, but half were never set up or played).

Ten years later we decided to actually finish the basement as an actual game room. Realustically about 1/2 the current games will have to go (and making room for STLE to replace TNG, Tron to replace Haunted House and Earthshaker bumping Elvira). I'll probably only keep 4-6 EM machines and focus on the games the family actually like to play.

There are a few games I knew I had to have - Pinbot, Creature (for the drive in theme), a completely restored 1978 Bally Playboy (the game that got me really hooked on pinball in college), a restored Eight Ball Deluxe (the game Jen played at one of Herb Silver's Fabulous Fantasies shows and made it to the women's finals. "25 year old to her girlfriend: I can't believe your getting smoked by an eight-year old kid." And a NIB Monopoly. I love the game Monopoly, so that was a perfect fit.

Beyond those, I bought pins that we thought were fun, really enjoyed or games that were in really nice condition for games you don't usually see that way. NGG for the humor, Safe Cracker for the novelty, RFM because it was really cool.

Your first pin had to mean something to you for some reason. After that, it's the thrill of the find and the fun factor of the game that take over before you get to the holy grail - your very own new, in box pin. You will never forget taking it out of te box, setting it up, playing it for the first time and then just admiring it!

#20 7 years ago
Quoted from jfh:

In December 1996 my five year old wrote a letter to Santa:
"Dear Santa,
For Christmas I would like Bugs Bunnys pinball machine. The real one. My Dad and I love pinball and I would share. Mom says I have been a good girl and you can trust her I think she was on your list a long time ago.
Love,
Your friend Jennifer"
We were living in upstate New York at the time. I couldn't remember where (or when) we had played BB but called every operator I could find in the phone book. No luck. One day on my way to see an operator, I stopped at a little convenience store to get a drink. Inside was a Bugs and another machine. I took the card taped to the machine and after some begging and assurances I would take the machine as-is, no warranty. I bought the machine from Jackson Amusements on December 19th and he delivered it two or three days later. Santa was a hero on Christmas morning.
Pinbot came the day before New Year's and TNG, Strikes and Spares and Creature followed in the next six months. Then in August 1997, I ordered my first new in box machine, Medieval Madness. Over the next year I found a number of classic EM titles in the largest pinball warehouse I've ever seen (PA Gameroom Warehouse) along with a beautiful High Speed and a Flying Aces (one of two known to exist). Picked up everything else after we moved to Colorado in fall 1998.
At one point I thought I would finish the basement as a little pinball museum, as it was my goal to have a good example of a game from every major pinball era from Baffle Ball and Bally Hoo to Pinball 2000. That never happened (I have the games, but half were never set up or played).
Ten years later we decided to actually finish the basement as an actual game room. Realustically about 1/2 the current games will have to go (and making room for STLE to replace TNG, Tron to replace Haunted House and Earthshaker bumping Elvira). I'll probably only keep 4-6 EM machines and focus on the games the family actually like to play.
There are a few games I knew I had to have - Pinbot, Creature (for the drive in theme), a completely restored 1978 Bally Playboy (the game that got me really hooked on pinball in college), a restored Eight Ball Deluxe (the game Jen played at one of Herb Silver's Fabulous Fantasies shows and made it to the women's finals. "25 year old to her girlfriend: I can't believe your getting smoked by an eight-year old kid." And a NIB Monopoly. I love the game Monopoly, so that was a perfect fit.
Beyond those, I bought pins that we thought were fun, really enjoyed or games that were in really nice condition for games you don't usually see that way. NGG for the humor, Safe Cracker for the novelty, RFM because it was really cool.
Your first pin had to mean something to you for some reason. After that, it's the thrill of the find and the fun factor of the game that take over before you get to the holy grail - your very own new, in box pin. You will never forget taking it out of te box, setting it up, playing it for the first time and then just admiring it!

Thanks for writing that. I didn't latch on to pinball till just this year, so it makes me a bit sad that there isn't any nostalgia in it for me.

#21 7 years ago
Quoted from genex:

I keep feeling like I need to play as many machines as I can, as often as I can, to find out which ones I really like

Not close to the real thing but Pinball arcade on PS3 is pretty handy for test driving some classic tables.
My first pin was F-14 Tomcat. It was sitting in the garage at an estate sale. Seeing a pin in a private setting flashed me back to my childhood at my grandparents' place in Denver. Used to love visiting, as they had a surf themed EM in the basement. Played the hell out of that thing, was literaly fascinated by it. Would play with the coin door open and back panel off just to see all the cool EM happenings inside. Remember telling myself, when I grow up, I'm gonna have pinball in MY house. So ya, when I saw F-14 sitting there, it all came back, bought it and have been hooked all over again ever since.
Pinball rules!

#22 7 years ago

My first machine was a Gottlieb Deadly Weapon and I got it because it was cheap, close, and allowed me to check "owning a pinball machine" off my bucket list. It was a fun game and if I had the room to have a large collection I'd probably still have it. Sold it to make room for a pinbot.

#23 7 years ago
Quoted from Dommer:

Sold it to make room for a pinbot.

Can't go wrong there. Love me some Pin*Bot.
My daughter found mine for me. She told me she saw a pinball machine in an open garage door when we were driving by and I made a mental note. About a week later was driving by and caught a glimpse of a pin in there with a distincive red topper. Said what the hell, did a turn around and went over. Was a couple Harleys in driveway and a few bikers hanging out, introduced myself and looked her over. Asked if he wanted to get rid of it and his wife piped in with a "hell yes" (Gotta love that) He got this from his dad who had it in the house the whole time he was growing up. Pretty nice shape considering he had no idea the backbox even opened. Bit of corrossion on board, but cleaned up real nice after I snipped the old battery holder off.
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#24 7 years ago

I bought my first Pin back in in January 2009 as a birthday present to myself. It was a Williams 1972 "Super Star" EM game that was working about 75% and that I remembered playing back in my high school days. A mater of fact the last time I even played a pinball machine before this purchase was back in 1975 during high school!! So, unlike most of you, I had never even touched any sort of SS pin and my only pinball experience was the old EMs of the 70's.

I was living in Los Angeles at the time taking care of my fiancee's house while she was away. I was bored and stumbled across Pinmame which spurred my interest in purchasing a real pin. So I decided to find a cheap EM that I could fix up and figured it would be a fun project.

Started watching ebay and craigslist and found the Super Star for $150.00. Played it on the Pinmame and realized that I had played this pin for real back in my youth. It was simple but fun and I really liked the pop ups at the outlanes and between the flippers. I got it home and discovered that it must have been a home for a family of rodents for quite some time. Cleaned it all up, installed new rubbers and bulbs, and section by section got everything working!

And, like everyone else, I now was hooked!!! My second pin came 2 months later. A Bally Star Trek. It was the first time I ever played a SS pin!! And this was 2009!

Soon after this the pins went into a 4 year storage as I had to move back to Hawaii. Fast forward to May 2013. I got my pins shipped to me here in Hawaii. So good to be able to play them once again and of course the bug bites me again!! Put a WTB Broken Pinball ad on craigslist. Didn't expect much as Hawaii is the "Black Hole" of pinballs. But to my surprise a gentleman calls me that he has a Data East Back to the Future. I go to check it out and he ends up just giving it to me!! Needed new MPU and display boards and a good cleaning and shop job. So I now have the newest game I have ever played with this BTTF. Believe it or not I still have never played a DMD Pin or anything newer than this 1990 BTTF!!

Sorry for the long story but I just wanted to share this unusual purchasing strategy! I wish I had the opportunity to have the chance to actually play a game before I purchase it as most of you do. And I would really love to have a chance to play some of the great new pins I keep reading about here on Pinside. I do play them on Pinmame but, as you all know, it's just not the same as the real thing!

So if anyone wants to bring me a working pin here to Hawaii I will trade you for a free 2 weeks stay at my vacation property I own here. Go to www.halemalu.com to check it out. This is definitely another unusual pinball acquisition strategy that I hope will work out so that I can build my collection!

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/trade-your-pin-for-2-weeks-free-stay-in-hawaii

Thanks!

#25 7 years ago
Quoted from ryanwanger:

Thanks for writing that. I didn't latch on to pinball till just this year, so it makes me a bit sad that there isn't any nostalgia in it for me.

Ryan,
You get to create your own nostalgia with your journey!

#26 7 years ago
Quoted from genex:

So far I've considered these things:
- do i like the machine overall (very general)
- is the theme something I would like to have in my house (or photography studio)
- re-playability factor - would this game get old/boring quickly if I had access to play it ALL THE TIME
- cost
- maintenance (i am not a handy guy, so this scares me somewhat)

I took 7 months to find the game that I decided on TFTC. While I could not find locally and had to go out of state and pay about $500 extra for shipping I still knew this was my first game I wanted. So in regards to your criteria here is my breakdown. I enjoy the theme and TV show and remember this game in the past when in high school. I think the hand drawn artwork is great. I love ramps in games and this game has two of the best. I set a limit on price for first game especially knowing I don't have room for a big collection at this point in time and also not a maintenance guru on these games especially so that helped as well. As far as fun I find TFTC a friendly game (meaning not big ball drains, etc. but of course you will have your bad days) and still very challenging. As far as the boring factor with having one game, everything has it moments but I still enjoy it till this day and always think about the second one which may be a harder choice then deciding the first one. Will you play it everyday in the beginning, yes. Will it sit at times, yes. But in the end you always have to play whenever you want and if ever decide to sell can probably break even in exchange for another one. I do recommend LEDs which seem to bring the game to life even with it being 20 years old. And no the crackling of the Cryptkeeper does not bug me. Its a pinball machine and suppose to make noise. I debated and tried to hold out for a new game that I would like being made today but in the end the 90's era is just what I enjoy the most and brings back the most memories.

#27 7 years ago

I bought the the closet, cheapest pins I could find. A Bally Playboy and Eight Ball, they fell into my lap. I grew up playing newer pins and figured I would not like pre-ramp pins. So I got the first two working well, learned a lot but kept looking for "newer" pins with ramps, multi-ball, DMD, etc.

Guess what, I got a bunch of the newer pins, which I like, but I found myself really loving Eight Ball, I still have it. In fact I keep buying the early Bally SS pins more and more.

Until you have pins around and can play them all of the time I think it is really hard to know what you like. What I like playing when I go to an arcade and what I like in my home are different. A very challenging pin that just beats me up is not that much fun if I am paying per game, but that is just the type I love to have in my home.

#28 7 years ago

A machine would come up, I would buy it. Another would come up, I would buy it. This hasn't stopped exactly yet.

#29 7 years ago

I wanted an ij when I first got into the hobby, as that was the game I remember playing the most growing up. But they seemed hard to come by and the prices were high. So I went with something very local and for less money - ended up with a wcs. It worked out well, wcs is a very fun game, it was a game from the same time period from my arcade youth, I learned a lot working on the game and 2 years later I ended up buying an ij anyway. Win, win!

#30 7 years ago

Play as many you can and find your favorite style. Long ball time ? Fast pace ? 3 flippers ? Fan layout ?

If not looking to work a lot on it at first buy a Huo already dialed from a fellow pinsider or get a NIB. But don't lie to yourself, you will get your hands dirty and have to open it. Even if it's just for maintenance. Like many allready said this site is the perfect place to learn.

We were all just like you. Just looking to play at the begining and not an operator side job. To be honest I am personaly very far from the top of the hill, this is a long journey but i'm learning a lot and loving it.

To be honest It came to the point that I love modding as much as playing

To me, the theme is important for your first purchase. Try to find the total package. Your style, theme you like and dialed in version. You don't want to put the best machine out there in your house if you don't like the theme. Your first pin needs to be a machine you can't wait to get back home to play. You play it in your mind while at work or rethink how was your last games. Threat yourself for the first

#31 7 years ago

I made a list of a few games that I liked. Then I scoured craigslist and E-bay and found they were all in Pennsylvania, not Southern California. But I did search GnR one day, and it came up available in Garden Grove. The guy had listed his phone #, and I called him. No, he was no longer in GG, he was now in Fullerton. Five minutes from here. So I came on over and played it. He also had a Shadow in real nice shape, so I made him a package offer. The next day I was playing pinball in my home.

#32 7 years ago

Thanks everyone this is really great info - it's an exciting but slightly nerve wracking process. Very helpful knowledge and stories!

#33 7 years ago

It seems that you can get FT a lot cheaper in the states than AUS so I would go with that for the cheap and cheerful option. It's without doubt one of my favourites. I have had 2 and only ditched the first one to upgrade to one in better condition.

#34 7 years ago

Just buy the closest one first, you will buy all the rest too eventually

#35 7 years ago
Quoted from ryanwanger:

Thanks for writing that. I didn't latch on to pinball till just this year, so it makes me a bit sad that there isn't any nostalgia in it for me.

There is my friend. Just be sure you realize it when you see it.

First game you ever got. First game you ever played on your own game. First repair. First part order. First time posting on Pinside. First time going to a show.

Exciting times and lots of memories. You have the whole wide world of pinball rolling out in front of you.

LTG : )

#36 7 years ago

Doing my research from this site and thought TS was the best bang for buck at $1400

#37 7 years ago

Recurring theme appears to be "family" = something played by/with son, daughter, wife. Same here. Bought a classic EB as first. Brought back memories for sure plus it is a game anyone stepping into the game room can play (understand) = great casual party game, not just for the pinball crowd. With its universal "success", no resistance to adding others!

#38 7 years ago

doesn´t matter the first...the problem is to stop in the last...

#39 7 years ago

First pins I ever remember playing were T2, SF2, and TAF. So those were the ones I bought first. Got T2 first at an auction, mostly worked but needed some love. Next was SF2, a BIN on eBay, was supposed to be working all they way but it needed some love too. Finally a year later TAF, off route and needed work but that was the only way I could afford it.

Fast forward 6 or 8 years, I've been through hundreds of pins and none of the originals are around although I do still enjoy them on the off chance I run across one.

#40 7 years ago

I paid $500 for my very first pin. A beat F-14 Tomcat. Spent 3 months fixing it up (had to learn everything on my own).

Learned a ton about how to fix a pin on that POS.

My second pin was a NIB LOTR.....lol.

#41 7 years ago

I admittedly got my wife well-involved in getting my first pin. I only really have room for one, and it was basically going to be a piece of furniture seen by guests and family alike. So it couldn't be an old beater of a machine and just sit there being ugly. Whatever condition I bought it in, it was my obligation to to make it beautiful. The amount of work needed to be put into a machine was a pretty big factor considering how little free time I have these days.

In deciding my first pin, I first ran through ipdb filtering things based on gameplay features I liked. I liked pop bumper action. My wife loved multi-ball. Themes were pretty flexible, though we preferred something either with a classic license or some great 80's or 90's flair. Rating and price were always in the back of my mind as I looked online. I would look up youtube videos of gameplay not necessarily to see how a game plays, but how it sounds. The sound and music were actually a big issue with us. I didn't like games with cartoony sounds because I felt it a bit childish for my taste (Dr. Dude was sadly eliminated). My wife hates music that plays repeatedly, so Guns & Roses had to go.

Finally I had narrowed things down to a decent list of stuff I could afford at the time. Some of the games in the running were DE Star Wars, Last Action Hero, BSD, D&D, Black Knight 2000, and High Speed. I dragged her to the Texas Pinball Festival to do some "test driving". Good thing we did, because we scratched off a few more off out list. She's a star wars nerd, and DE star wars was scratched off for not having the classic music. I didn't particularly care for the playfield artwork of BSD. Black Knight 2000 I wished had more stuff to aim for. At the end of the night the games we liked best regardless of price were Williams Indiana Jones and Twilight Zone with TZ having a slight edge due to the magna flippers.

We sat down and talked, and she told me that she'd rather I get a good condition machine we both loved the first time even if I had to do some hardcore saving. A few months of very frugal living and I had the cash to plunk down for my TZ. Keeping her involved was a really great decision because she could provide objective feedback to my fever-clouded senses. Not only that, but she likes to play with me due to her her tastes in gameplay features directly influencing the choice in game.

#42 7 years ago
Quoted from JoJoBear:

I admittedly got my wife well-involved in getting my first pin. I only really have room for one, and it was basically going to be a piece of furniture seen by guests and family alike. So it couldn't be an old beater of a machine and just sit there being ugly. Whatever condition I bought it in, it was my obligation to to make it beautiful. The amount of work needed to be put into a machine was a pretty big factor considering how little free time I have these days.
In deciding my first pin, I first ran through ipdb filtering things based on gameplay features I liked. I liked pop bumper action. My wife loved multi-ball. Themes were pretty flexible, though we preferred something either with a classic license or some great 80's or 90's flair. Rating and price were always in the back of my mind as I looked online. I would look up youtube videos of gameplay not necessarily to see how a game plays, but how it sounds. The sound and music were actually a big issue with us. I didn't like games with cartoony sounds because I felt it a bit childish for my taste (Dr. Dude was sadly eliminated). My wife hates music that plays repeatedly, so Guns & Roses had to go.
Finally I had narrowed things down to a decent list of stuff I could afford at the time. Some of the games in the running were DE Star Wars, Last Action Hero, BSD, D&D, Black Knight 2000, and High Speed. I dragged her to the Texas Pinball Festival to do some "test driving". Good thing we did, because we scratched off a few more off out list. She's a Star Wars nerd, and DE Star Wars was scratched off for not having the classic music. I didn't particularly care for the playfield artwork of BSD. Black Knight 2000 I wished had more stuff to aim for. At the end of the night the games we liked best regardless of price were Williams Indiana Jones and Twilight Zone with TZ having a slight edge due to the magna flippers.
We sat down and talked, and she told me that she'd rather I get a good condition machine we both loved the first time even if I had to do some hardcore saving. A few months of very frugal living and I had the cash to plunk down for my TZ. Keeping her involved was a really great decision because she could provide objective feedback to my fever-clouded senses. Not only that, but she likes to play with me due to her her tastes in gameplay features directly influencing the choice in game.

I debated about TZ being my my first and only pin as well. Think it will be my 2nd. Still like GNR and want as well maybe next. Oh well guess we shall see.

#43 7 years ago
Quoted from JoJoBear:

In deciding my first pin (...)

Seems a very logical and good way to go. Decide what features you are looking for, which pins fit the bill, and should be tested on location or during an expo.

What I did to choose my first pin was not as clever. I had a list of two pins (Black hole and Banzai Run) I loved playing at the arcade some decades ago. I started looking for these two and these two only. Even worse, I started looking with Xmas dangerously close. Needless to say, prices were high for BR. Could not find a BH nearby. After 6 months, I decided I needed a pin and found a Spectrum in very good condition. A rare pin with very unusual features I would not have considered otherwise. Still in my collection. Later on, I found one of my holy grails, Banzai Run, and realized it was not as good as I imagined. Sold it after 10 months.

#44 7 years ago
Quoted from GListOverflow:

Just buy the closest one first, you will buy all the rest too eventually

That's what I did. Found a package deal on CL this August for Gottlieb's Jumping Jack and Dragon for $700 total close to home, and the guy helped me get them home. Winner! Got me in the game, and gave me an EM and SS to learn how to work on. Of course, pin fever took over, and I have bought 3 more since then. LOL Seriously considering buying my first NIB Metallica Pro now. I had always dreamed of having my own pinball machine at home, but I never dreamed I would have 5. They are not premium/highly collectible machines, but I love them!

#45 7 years ago

I will keep this short.
First pin was a Christmas present from my parents.
It was Christmas of 1976 and my dad surprised the family with a Nip-It.
I was 12 at the time and had not really even discovered pinball.
Fast forward to the mid 90's. I play an Addams Family at a hotel in Orlando while my wife is in a business conference.
I am hooked, and a few short years later find one totally shopped out for $1700.
Still have it with no plans to sell.
(Oh yea, this also starts the run of over 100 machines coming through my house).

#46 7 years ago
Quoted from genex:

- maintenance (i am not a handy guy, so this scares me somewhat)

oh you will be!

honestly, it's half the fun. i spend about as much time modding and maintaining as i do playing. but it's not because things are constantly breaking down, it's because i'm constantly seeing little things here and there where a slight tweak can make my baby just about perfect....

anyway, welcome to the hobby and good luck!

#47 7 years ago

Played pinball, Galaga, Asteroids, etc as a teen.
Local Stern retailer had a new ACDC premium, so it was our first machine. Still the best.
People should know that little things are always breaking, so either become a handyman or find a tech.
We've heavily modded all our machines which is half the fun. Our black Spidey has those buildings and train on the sides, pretty nice mod.
all in all, it's worth it because we have tons of kids here all the time. Keeps them in sight

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