(Topic ID: 292366)

How do current new Stern titles compare to the "Golden WPC" era?

By sharkey1331

52 days ago


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  • 29 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 51 days ago by TheLaw
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 52 days ago

Hi folks!
Here's my question: For someone who's been away from Pinball for a bit, and my previous focus and go-to were the WPC pins (especially: TAF, TZ, FT, ST:TNG, DW, CTFBL, WH20) how do the current/new Stern games compare as far as playability, feel, quality, etc.? I like the last Bally/Wms stuff (MB, MM, SS, AFM, etc.) and appreciate their deeper rulesets, but I played the earlier WPC games much more, so that's what I know.

I've not had a chance to play many new Sterns lately- will try to find some and play some more. I have played Beatles- but as this is a suped up SeaWitch, I'm not sure this counts? (It's a nice machine don't get md wrong!) I have played Monopoly, and also The Simpsons Pinball Party. TSPP was especially fun. I cannot speak to maintenance/quality though, as I've only played on location when they were new.

So- hopefully this post won't kick off some kinda kooky holy war! I'm just way outta date, and trying to compare to what I know.

If you guys could suggest some pins I should try to find/play? Deadpool is perhaps the newest I've seen. Avengers Infinity QuestI think is still out/avail, but haven't seen any on location yet.

Thanks!

#2 52 days ago

You can see I have some nice Bally/Williams in my collection. The new Sterns are also great. I think they are very comparable to the older B/W. The Sterns are low maintenance and fun. I love my LZ, ST, LOTR and TSPP.

#3 52 days ago

You are in my neck of the woods (I’m in Crofton). Here is a thread with an overview of location pinball near you and what games are available. There are over 15 new Sterns, including the new Avengers in Mom’s in College Park within about an hour of you. Based off of what you have said you have played I am guessing the only localish place you have been is Crabtown. I’d recommend checking out MOM’s in College Park as they have excellent examples of the Williams games next to the newer Sterns including their last few releases. https://pinside.com/pinball/map/where-to-play/11547-mom-s-organic-market-college-park-md

Read through this. These are the local places with pictures I’ve been to within an hour of you.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/maryland-location-play-club#post-6247378

I have fallen off the deep end into the Hobby, and as far as I can tell, the new Sterns are just as fun, but very different than the old Williams games.
I have a Avengers AIQ in my basement (on a temporary trade) next to a ST:TNG, a Rick and Morty, a Black Knight, a Torpedo Alley, and an Earthshaker. I like all of them, and they all play different. AIQ in particular is much deeper and much slower (in my opinion) than most of the older Williams games. You can walk up to a High Speed 2, TAF, TZ, FT, ST:TNG and pretty much know what to do, but that is not the case with AIQ, which is build with the home market in mind. I absolutely recommend the newer Stern games. They are deeper and tons of fun. However, if I had to choose between a new Stern and a couple of Williams machines off your list, I would be hard pressed. I always recommend rotating through pins and trading them out from time to time.

10
#4 52 days ago

Stern machines don't hold a candle to the 90s BW when it comes to build quality (cabinet construction, playfield clear quality etc). You have to pay a premium to get the complicated toys/mechanisms that came standard with your purchase with a B/W/, Data East/Sega or Gottlieb with newer Sterns at the premium price point.

But....the code and small advancements (color changing inserts/GI, LCD screen) in tech in the newer Sterns feels like a big upgrade over the 90s B/W. Code is especially important in a home collection to give a game legs and make you want to play it over and over.

I will always love and respect the 90s B/W golden age, but after having owned or played most of them to death over the years, my interest in them has finally passed and I find myself gravitating to newer Sterns.

#5 52 days ago

Lots of subjectivity and opinion on the topic, but even though I’m not a huge fan of the themes Stern chooses, their games are absolutely dynamite to play. Deadpool, TMNT, TRON, Swords of Rage (and others) are all honestly tons of fun. I’m always happy to play them.

When you remove the rose tinted nostalgia glasses, it’s easy to see that Stern really is pumping out modern day classics.

#6 52 days ago

They're better*

*my opinion

#7 52 days ago

For me, it's all about the code.

I've played all of the top B/W DMD games and had some lower ones come and go from the home collection (JM, JD, RS, NBAFB). While the mechs and gizmos are great, after a while, I found myself getting to the wizard modes pretty frequently. Once I "beat" a game and have seen all it has to offer, it doesn't hold my interest enough to buy it. Sure, I'll throw a few quarters in one at an arcade, but they're not for me in the home environment.

All of the modern Sterns have super deep code, with some obatinable mini-wizard modes, and some really hard to get to full wizard modes. That sense of discovery is what keeps me coming back to the Sterns more and more. For example, I've had my X-Men Pro for almost a decade now, and still have never even sniffed Dark Phoenix. I'll get to it one of these days...

As always, YMMV.

Later,
EV

#8 52 days ago

They're better.

#9 52 days ago

I own both. In fact, I own several different eras of machines. And I don't think I can say one is "better" than another.

I can say they are different though. All of them feel different. The flippers, the pops, the action, even the nudging. Going from a modern game (Stern SAM) to a modern game (Stern SPIKE) feels very different as well.

What happens is that after playing them for a bit, you get used to how a game "feels". And something that is very similar ends up feeling the same. If you stripped off all the art, and all the playfield mechs, I could play and tell you which era it comes from just by feel alone (unless you're one of these mad scientists putting WPC flippers into old Bally games).

If you like the game itself, you adjust pretty quickly to how it feels. That is because most of pinball is based on fun.

So if I can use that scale (Fun), yes, modern games are just as much fun as the ones from the 90s. And the BEST part about that is that we get both now! You can have both in a collection, unlike the 90s when you couldn't have a modern Stern like you can now.

And overall my favorite is probably SAM games from Stern. I just love the way they play, and the rules were just awesome in a lot of them.

#10 52 days ago

I've since flipped in that when I started buying pins I preferred the Bally/Williams era, but now I like the new Sterns better.

#11 52 days ago

Better and more fun to play

#12 52 days ago

Wow. I expect you are going to get 100 different answers and maybe have a couple of thread ejects here.

I'll throw in my 2 cents...

1. Play whatever you like!
2. If someone definitely tells you one is better than other, follow with caution (because you may have different views!)
3. Evaluate each game on its own. Some "Golden WPC" games are better than some Sterns, some Sterns are better than "Golden WPC" games.

There are 4 things that I feel are, generally, factual

1. "Golden WPC" era games will have more stuff on the top (and bottom) of the playfield. More toys. More ramps. More habitrails. More subways. More drop targets. Again, in general
2. Stern games will have deeper rules.
3. Recent Sterns will have (small) LCD displays
4. You can do more electronic repairs yourself on "Golden WPC" era games.

Is #1 important to you? Is #2 important to you? #3, #4? That may help you decide.

#13 52 days ago

There are many fun Stern games, but this is how my collection will stay for the forseeable future.

6 pins Feb2021 (resized).jpg
#14 52 days ago

I love them both. Not every B/W game was a hit, and not every Stern game is a hit. But a game like TWD....not sure which B/W game can hold a candle to it. But when I play Shadow, there is more elegance and the feel of the game is more robust. It's hard to explain - but again - I love them both for different reasons.

#15 52 days ago

Awesome insight- please keep it coming! Truth be told, I'm considering buying a new Stern pin.

I've been considering deadpool: I was able to go to a place near me (Crabtowne in MD) tonight and sink a few dollars into the deadpool there. I love the look of the game, and I suppose it felt ok (played fast, flippers plenty of juice and great feel). Too loud in there to hear any music or callouts unfortunately. The shot just to the left of the "start battle" scoop (or whatever that thing is called) looked like it was supposed to shoot a fast u-turn, but the ball would never go all the way through even with a direct hit. Other shots felt nice and smooth (like that left ramp!), liked the mini-deadpool drop targets and capture, that was neat. Seemed a few other shots were not as smooth as they could be unless hit perfectly. Lots of drains down the center, especially if coming off the jets. I wonder if this one is perhaps not set up 100% or need of tune up? The rules don't seem as deep as I was expecting; I'm certainly not knocking the game (and I know I still have a lot to learn), but I feel like a game like TSPP is much deeper?

Maybe I need to try a different deadpool, where I can hear it also. I also want to try an Avengers Infinity Quest.

#16 52 days ago

New Sterns and JJP for that matter are superior in most ways but my only problem is the code is so deep I will never see half of it. At least on most of the bally/williams I can get to the wizard modes.

#17 52 days ago

My Sterns (‘04-present) have generally been more reliable than my 90’s DMDs. I was initially concerned about Spike, but I’m up to 3 Spike games now and they’re mostly great. What’s really cool is that instead of having fuses, they will just shut down that subsystem if a fault is detected. Once you remove the fault, they just start working again. Older Sterns (SAM and Whitestar) tend to have problems with optos, but those are easy to fix.

Better sound and displays are also a plus in the “new Stern” column. But I’ll buy any game that’s reasonably priced and fun to play. The last pin I bought was a $900 Jungle Queen, and I’m loving that.

#18 52 days ago

I like pins I can repair on site and quickly, so for that I give the nod to B/W.
It still chaps my ass that I had a Deadpool down for 1 month on route because whatever board wouldn't allow the "start button" to work and I would have to pay around $140 to replace while on warranty...

#19 52 days ago

I like them all, EM through spike and whatever system GNR uses.

#20 52 days ago

They are equal if setup correctly. Sooooo many pinheads just put the legs on their w/b and play. W/b (sttng being the exception) need to be setup extra hard, slings need to be hairpin, and the rules need to be extra hard. This makes them last forever.

So... Get both. Just learn to setup your older pins for lastability.

*Anyone is invited to come over to try finishing my Totan of they don't believe me. It's insanely difficult.

#21 52 days ago

I'm sort of surprised to see the responses here. Personally I prefer the average newer stern over the average WPC game.

New games tend to win out on rules and play a little faster. WPC tends to win out on toys.

There is a long raging discussion about reliability and durability between the two. Experience tells me that WPC games are easier to fix, but I haven't really spent much time under the hood with either of the stern pros I've owned. On low play games the problem is usually a wire coming off of a node board somewhere. Unless you have a crazy circuit repair set-up most stern boards are going to have to be replaced if they do blow up.

Stern has started putting ball guides directly on the playfield which has caused some clearcoat issues with games like Deadpool. Adding some washers underneath the ball guides protects the playfield pretty well though.

#22 51 days ago

I'm the opposite of most of you guys. I have been collecting for close to 20 years. I strongly prefer the WPc games. The rule depth is just right for my liking. On a rare occasion I can make it to the end of AFM or TZ and that feels great. They are tried and true classics. I buy the newer Sterns as well. But I generally flip them after a year or so. I reach a point where I can't get any further in the encyclopedia of rules. At that point the game feels tedious and I don't want to try and play another 25 minutes to reach that point of frustration again. I just stop caring and lose interest. The great thing is I can trade the new sterns for nice WPC classics easily enough.

Mike

#23 51 days ago

I'd guess older dudes like the older games, in general.

As for reliability and all that, let's circle back in 15 years or so and see how the newer Sterns are holding up to the games built 25 years ago.

Good point mentioned about the older games having more toys, yet newer games being deeper. I've walked away from more than one LOTR because I'm just tired of playing after 45 min. Deeper doesn't necessarily mean better.

Having said all that, I enjoy playing the newer games, the reason I dont have anything newer than MET is they're so damn expensive, and I can never replace my games for what I bought them for......

#24 51 days ago

I like them all but would take B/W games over later Stern for a number
of reasons. The main ones being quality of the cabinet and code.

#25 51 days ago

Same here - I want Stern games to feel like and play like BW but they just have a cheap feel to them (Sterns)

Quoted from nocreditdot:

I'm the opposite of most of you guys. I have been collecting for close to 20 years. I strongly prefer the WPc games. The rule depth is just right for my liking. On a rare occasion I can make it to the end of AFM or TZ and that feels great. They are tried and true classics. I buy the newer Sterns as well. But I generally flip them after a year or so. I reach a point where I can't get any further in the encyclopedia of rules. At that point the game feels tedious and I don't want to try and play another 25 minutes to reach that point of frustration again. I just stop caring and lose interest. The great thing is I can trade the new sterns for nice WPC classics easily enough.
Mike

#26 51 days ago

Consider a couple of the best game designers from Williams now work for Stern in a way there's a little Williams left in some Stern Pinball machines like Black Knight.

#27 51 days ago

I used to be a Bally Williams snob and still have many of those great games in my collection both at home and my arcade. But the depth and fun of many stern titles has me enjoying those even more lately. A number of people in my league ask for advice regarding buying a new machine and I’m steering most of them towards Stern Pros. With the price of games like Fish Tales getting close to decent HUO Stern Pros, I tell them they will have a deeper game with less work to keep them running. And less likely to get bored in small collection. I suggest you get out in your area too. I’m from Maryland and when I go back i have visited Moms market (college park), VUK (Bethesda) and Holy Friojoles (Baltimore). All have some excellent machines (presuming they are open now?

#28 51 days ago
Quoted from tampa12:

Consider a couple of the best game designers from Williams now work for Stern in a way there's a little Williams left in some Stern Pinball machines like Black Knight.

Actually...most of them did/do.

#29 51 days ago

Oh they are both just swell

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