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(Topic ID: 176347)

Ideas for how to help boost location pinball?


By Whysnow

3 years ago



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  • 134 posts
  • 64 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Circus_Animal
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    #101 3 years ago

    people offer lessons/cold cuts/shasta on Craigslist from time to time. Keep your eyes open.

    #102 3 years ago

    Just wanted to share experience form last night.

    I hosted a r/madison and local pinballer free play night last night as a way to give back to the community at the end of the year (obviously cant afford to do it all the time, but this was an experiment).

    I hit up the local reddit a bunch to announce.
    I hit up the local forums
    I kit up our FB page.

    It was billed as a casual and fun night of pinball. We have 9 games at the location. We used 3 of them for an IFPA tourney but kept it casual (or at least more casual; still a few headphone wearing hardcores came which is cool to as my idea is to find a way for more people to get along together and see there are all types into pinball. Worth note that I spent alot of time just watching people and could tell for sure that the casuals are not entralled with with the typical competitive stuff and it was a turn off to them).

    All games were on free play. We used Big Indian and ran a blindfolded team competition for fun. (1 person blindfolded and other tells them when to flip; then swap and add the scores together; able to repair with as many people as you wanted) Team thing was a big success and people really seemed to like it.

    We had 24 total people out to play. 12 of them were completely new faces from Reddit and FB followers. They seems to have lots of fun and like the less stress of this sort of fun/free play night.

    It makes me think that it may be worth while doing the occasional pay $10 get a pint and get to play for free for 3 hours sort of night. Advertise heavily and try to get lots of people in the door to play. It may be a fun experiment. I am realizing that to bring in new people I need to get the more competitive (myself included at times) to switch gears somehow to return to the more open/inviting guys they were when I first met them. Noobs like meeting other pinheads and like learning how to play in these social environments. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something but also need to find their own niche in pinball if they are going to stick around.

    Last night was a fun experiment and I met some new potential pinheads which makes me smile! Just wanted to share.

    #103 3 years ago
    Quoted from sparechange1974:

    This would work well with a really good instructor/player, fairly small class size, games on free play and some one on one time so that the instructor can see how each individual could improve. Maybe throw in a lunch and charge a flat fee.

    If you have Shasta soda I'm in.

    #104 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I hosted a r/madison and local pinballer free play night last night as a way to give back to the community at the end of the year (obviously cant afford to do it all the time, but this was an experiment).

    Just talking this through...

    Any business can give away free samples, and people are happy to accept, but the challenge is how to convert those people to paying customers.

    If the Pretzel franchise was giving away free pretzels, there would be a lineup out the door. But how many pretzels would they sell the day after that?

    Sometimes this can be seen as a negative, because the actual product has been devalued, and people don't want to pay "retail" for it again.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    It makes me think that it may be worth while doing the occasional pay $10 get a pint and get to play for free for 3 hours sort of night.

    I'm sure this will be a success, but the question is what happens the day after it?

    These aren't meant to be negative questions, I know you are trying things, I'm just talking it out.

    This almost falls back to a question that business owners need to ask themselves:

    Is there a need in the market for your product?

    If you have to give it away, this almost sounds like the question is answered.

    #105 3 years ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    but the challenge is how to convert those people to paying customers.

    exactly, but also keep in mind that this is not a 'business' in the traditional sense. This is still just pinball, not my livelyhood, and about spreading the love of the silverball. Sure I cant give it away for free, but I also dont have to pay me bills (it never would) off it. What little money comes in the coin slot helps pay down loans on already purchased games. Those hopefully turn into more and better games over time.

    The real 'wins' are new people figuring out pinball is fun.

    If someone is doing this for a business then I think the ocassional free play opportunity is good and if anything the hope is that regular players appreciate this and in return they will come to your location to drop in more coins in the future.

    Quoted from frolic:

    I'm sure this will be a success, but the question is what happens the day after it?
    These aren't meant to be negative questions, I know you are trying things, I'm just talking it out.

    I agree, just talking it out. IME from last night, there were 14 completely new people that came in the door, bought beer/food (a great thing for the location that hopefully makes them appreciate us more), and they played pinball. Those new people may never come back, but I have a feeling at least 2 will be back again for sure. 4 more will likely come check it out. Sure, they came because it was free. What brings them back is hopefully the community and the experience. Granted I could tell not all experiences were positive; some people were very turned off by the ultra competitve headphone stuff. I tried to talk to those people and welcome them in. I tried to give them a positive experience.

    In the pure question of what will this do for coin drop. I am positive that thsi month the coin drop will be less. Regulars did not come play other days and then came out last night to get their free fix. Casuals may only come this once. I also have a good feeling that the regulars will opt to support us rather than the guy in the next town when thinking about where to drop quarters and get a beer next week. At the same time I have a feeling aome casuals will be back.

    I know 100% that 14 new to pinball people would not have gotten the opportunity without last night and that is a win in my book. I also learned alot from just watching and observing last night. That is part of the fun for me. Trying to figure out what makes people tick and how to get them in the door and coming back for the silverball.

    #106 3 years ago
    Quoted from BrewinBombers:

    davjoszie is right, they're different groups. A lot of people don't like losing to him.
    Here's an idea; Take a page from the bowling ally manual: allow groups of 4-8 to get a games on free-play for a 30 mins or an hour. Throw in a bucket of beer and charge appropriately. Obviously this takes a single machine out of rotation for the rest of the players around, but it could be a unique experience that allows a group of non-regulars introduce pinball as a possibility into their 'night out' plans.

    This is kind of a cool idea. It would be interesting to have 'pod' like things with table & chairs, 2 or 3 games from different eras or thematically similar or whatever, that you rent for a time period. The hard part would be balancing the pods well enough that there weren't just a few that everyone wanted to use. With bowling, every 'lane' is essentially the same.

    #107 3 years ago

    Have you thought about a novice league or tournament? For people that have never been in a league or tournament. Might be worth looking into. Pin a go go has a novice division at the pin golf tournament every year. My 1st tournament was that. It was fun.

    #108 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    It makes me think that it may be worth while doing the occasional pay $10 get a pint and get to play for free for 3 hours sort of night. Advertise heavily and try to get lots of people in the door to play. It may be a fun experiment. I am realizing that to bring in new people I need to get the more competitive (myself included at times) to switch gears somehow to return to the more open/inviting guys they were when I first met them. Noobs like meeting other pinheads and like learning how to play in these social environments. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something but also need to find their own niche in pinball if they are going to stick around.
    Last night was a fun experiment and I met some new potential pinheads which makes me smile! Just wanted to share.

    For me, at least, this is how you'd get me to stop by. I'm not into the competitive side of pinball in the least. Hell, I hardly play to begin with. I do, however, love to hang out with pinball buddies, drink beer and talk about anything pinball. I'd be more than happy to give you the $10 for a free beer, knowing it's helping you keep the games in public.

    #109 3 years ago

    So I didn't even think about Reddit, but sure enough there is an r/Tucson section. There is a recurring "what is there to do in town" thread that gets redone every month. I think I'm going to start working on a "Pinball is fun" event night. Maybe once a month where I will be there several hours to answer questions, see if the bar will give do a simple special for players, and just see how it goes. No tournament of any kind. If some players want to get into that part of things, I'm sure they will find out what to do.

    Quoted from cosmicjim:

    Huntsville Alabama's pinball scene is pretty much propped up by the owners of the locations you mentioned. The venues are unbeatable so they get amazing foot traffic. I doubt they are even making good income from them. To me it just seems like a hobby that allows them to raise money for new machines. I've been seriously considering opening up something in downtown. I own an empty storefront on the same block as a brewery that's opening up next year.

    Psh, raising money for new machines is pretty much line one of my mission statement for my hobby pinball route LLC.

    #110 3 years ago

    I have found r/madison to be great for spreading the word of pinball.

    Tends to be like minded and the right age bracket, at least in madison.

    #111 3 years ago
    Quoted from TimeBandit:

    I really think the whole mindset of pinball being based around competition just has to go. Just drop it and see what happens. Kids put plenty of money into coin op, to get tickets and crappy prizes, not to beat or be beaten by their friends. The busiest locations I see are people drinking beer after work and playing to relax.
    You are never going to be able to encourage people to compete. Competitive people are competitive by nature, and most of the population actually find them painful. Expanding your leagues is not the answer. Increasing the leisure aspect is where it's at. To do that? I don't know, but drinks and music usually seem to be involved.

    I agree that the rationale behind competitive pinball does on face value seem absurd particularly given the overall userbase in Australia compared to our European and North American counterparts, but keep in mind that open public pinball meets (whether competitive or not) are one of the few remaining avenues we have here in Australia to expand the existing userbase beyond its limited clique group since neither of our domestic forums are genuinely interested in expanding the userbase and encouraging new members to participate.

    What I would like to see here in Australia is a reduction in the number of private residence selective invite only competitive meets with the same attendees and whose organisers make zero effort in allowing new players to enter subsequently being refused IFPA endorsement. These types of meets essentially do nothing in terms of growing the pinball hobby in Australia and it is actually ridiculous to grant approval to what is in essence a private meet rather than an open competition/league IFPA endorsement.

    Competitive pinball does have a place in the overall pinball hobby structure in Australia but the competitions themselves have to be held for openly virtuous and not private self serving motives.

    Open pinball competitions held at public locations with the ability for anyone to sign up and play on the night is the best short term outcome for growing location pinball at least in Australia in my view. This can be enhanced by advertising these comps on impartial online websites such as pinside or posted to a facebook feed and have word of mouth encourage new people to enter the hobby.

    Longer term outcomes for growth require far more complex and coordinated solutions which would involve change at a manufacturer level both in terms of price points, choice of themes and strategic targeted marketing at what seems to be in pinball an increasingly ignored youth demographic.

    #112 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinsanity:

    I agree that the rationale behind competitive pinball does on face value seem absurd particularly given the overall userbase in Australia compared to our European and North American counterparts, but keep in mind that open public pinball meets (whether competitive or not) are one of the few remaining avenues we have here in Australia to expand the existing userbase beyond its limited clique group since neither of our domestic forums are genuinely interested in expanding the userbase and encouraging new members to participate.
    What I would like to see here in Australia is a reduction in the number of private residence selective invite only competitive meets with the same attendees and whose organisers make zero effort in allowing new players to enter subsequently being refused IFPA endorsement. These types of meets essentially do nothing in terms growing the pinball hobby in Australia and it is actually ridiculous to grant what is in essence a private meet rather than an open competition/league IFPA endorsement.
    Competitive pinball does have a place in the overall pinball hobby structure in Australia but the competitions themselves have to be held for openly virtuous and not private self serving motives.
    Open pinball competitions held at public locations with the ability for anyone to sign up and play on the night is the best short term outcome for growing location pinball at least in Australia in my view. This can be enhanced by advertising these comps on impartial online websites such as pinside or posted to a facebook feed and have word of mouth encourage new people to enter the hobby.
    Longer term outcomes for growth require far more complex and coordinated solutions which would involve change at a manufacturer level both in terms of price points, choice of themes and strategic targeted marketing at what seems to be in pinball an increasingly ignored youth demographic.

    Yeah, what he said^^^. AND...pick a good location.

    3 months later
    #113 3 years ago

    Ive been thinking about this more and more lately; routing my games (and picking up a few more of them to boot). There are a TON of bars/pizza joints around here and NONE of them have arcades/pinballs/jukeboxes anymore. I love the suggestions you guys have about drumming up business. But, id like a little input on how to get my foot in the door. Do i just approach the managers and ask if they'd be interested?

    Basically, im tired of my job and would like something to look forward to in the evenings. I realize its not going to pay my mortgage but i need something to look forward to at the end of the day and id love to go check-in on my games, do repairs, organize events, etc.

    #114 3 years ago
    Quoted from lurch:

    Do i just approach the managers and ask if they'd be interested?

    Well if you don't, what do you think will happen ?

    LTG : )

    #115 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Well if you don't, what do you think will happen ?
    LTG : )

    LOL, i guess i meant what do i need to know before approaching them? Things i should be thinking about? Obviously i should be thinking about what percent i want to split to make it worth my while. Do i need to make a guarantee of how often theyll be checked?

    #116 3 years ago
    Quoted from lurch:

    what do i need to know before approaching them?

    Hello ( what ever the person's name is - if you don't know it, find out ) my name is Lurch, here is my card.

    Have you ever considered a pinball machine or two, to compliment your business ? Interest in pinball is growing, and this could really benefit your business and customers.

    Wait for reply. First person that talks loses.

    Then say "I can make that happen".

    As far as need to know. Do your homework first on zoning ordinances, licenses, and your own insurance. Have your crap together when you approach them.

    LTG : )

    #117 3 years ago

    Uggg..... zoning, thats something i didnt think about. I saw the insurance recommendation earlier in this post, ill ask my neighbor who is a state farm agent what he thinks would be appropriate.

    Yeah, i was thinking it could be sold as a draw to bring customers in and keep them for a while. But i like your straight forward approach.

    Thank you very much!

    #118 3 years ago

    I pester pizza shop guys all the time, "Hey man, I could shove a pinball machine over there between the wall and the Pepsi cooler. You wouldn't mind if I sent my people over here to play pinball? They're fat like me, probably eat you out of house and home." Flirt a little, get 'em to laugh. Ya don't dance if ya don't ask.

    #119 3 years ago
    Quoted from lurch:

    Do i just approach the managers and ask if they'd be interested?

    That's how I started my arcade company.

    In fact I landed my first account before I even started the business. Began speaking to the manager of a local pizza buffet that I frequented, told him I was interested in starting a new business, worked out some terms, and the rest is history.

    #120 3 years ago

    Just saw this thread. I've been to a few of the Madison monthlies though it's been a while now. For me the biggest turn off (and one of the reasons I haven't come back) is the barrier to doing well. I show up and have to play a game I've probably never touched, or played very little. That means I have no idea how to score well, and end up doing amazingly bad because I don't know what to do. One of the times I came Sean helped me out on TAF after I mentioned I didn't like the machine cause I can't ever build points. I then actually had a good game on it after he gave a few hints. Another reason is I'm on the west side, and Saturday sucks for a day for me (though I totally understand why you have one on Saturday).

    That being said, I still go out to schwoeglers when I have a chance to help support you guys. The variety of pins available in our area is awesome. Thanks to you guys for the hard work.

    #121 3 years ago
    Quoted from BrewNinja:

    Just saw this thread. I've been to a few of the Madison monthlies though it's been a while now. For me the biggest turn off (and one of the reasons I haven't come back) is the barrier to doing well. I show up and have to play a game I've probably never touched, or played very little. That means I have no idea how to score well, and end up doing amazingly bad because I don't know what to do. One of the times I came Sean helped me out on TAF after I mentioned I didn't like the machine cause I can't ever build points. I then actually had a good game on it after he gave a few hints.

    Well, there's only one way to get better at games you don't know, and not playing them isn't it!

    #122 3 years ago

    This is an awesome thread and I'm sad I have missed it until now. We are always trying new things and while lots of operators would disagree with our social approach it has been huge for us. We advertise on Facebook. We typically spend around 500-800 per month advertising our specific events and promotions we run. We give a ton of games away but thats easy with PayRange. I can set a schedule or create a code good for whatever I want and roll with it.
    GIVE AWAY FREE GAMES seems like a counter productive plan but the plan is simple. If I give a code away on Facebook with 3400 followers, I will get maybe 30-40 people coming in that day to take advantage of 2 FREE GAMES but those 2 FREE GAMES turns into them staying an hour or 2 and I made 10-16 bucks on the 2 free. Sure, a couple people come in, play 2 free games and leave but its worth the gamble. I also always give kids free games whenever I am there. I also approve Andrew (My Cleaning guy) permission to give kids some games or anyone playing when he's there. GIVE BACK TO YOUR CUSTOMER!
    One thing that has seriously increased revenue has been the Super League. We advertise, we promote on Facebook. I push it constantly and it leads to more quarters or mobile payments. Even if its 30 players, it 30X5 games and they never just play 5 games! I also kick in FREE PIZZA and $25 for every 4 players to promote this is more casual than competitive. Every group has the same amount of money to fight for.
    Another thing I do being in a bowling alley is at the beginning of the bowling season, I give the bowling manager a code to include for their welcome packet and its good for 5 FREE GAMES. It was a major success! That one I made it 5 FREE GAMES Wirth a funded account meaning they had to fund the account to retrieve the 5 free because I was worried about giving away 5 FREE GAMES to 2500 bowlers.
    PayRange- I know I beat this like a dead horse but It has been the biggest increase in my business hands down. If you see what I have done to increase business, its all about promotions with social media. Im not at my location everyday. I mean Im there several times a week but I can't be there everyday adjusting prices on games. I can schedule this up on Sunday for the week, schedule on Facebook so everything is done and I can focus on my day job.
    While Pinball has been thriving in our city and our location has been great, I can also say it has made me rethink what a good game is. I no longer look at the top 100 or even what I personally think is a good game. I have been proven wrong so many times, it hurts ha! Listen to your customers. You can do this with surveys or simply looking at the cash box! South Park has been a success and literally paid for itself 9 times over in a few years. It has funded new in box Sterns and honestly a great beginner machine for newbies. Don't get stuck on what YOU think is a great game!
    Passion- I have had heath issues since I started this ordeal and one thing that suffered the month of December was my games condition. I have tried really hard to keep up on things and I think I'm back to where I was before my Stroke. One thing I have learned from all my heath scares is to enjoy life more. I was so burned out of pinball and I was frustrated with constant issues, pressure of growing Tournaments and Leagues that I forgot to enjoy myself and my love of Pinball. I'll never be a great player because I'm the guy who plays a game and will see something wrong or a piece of dirt or a ball trail and become obsessed. I gotta keep Andrew on his toes!
    Summer is approaching and my normal weekly income will drop as the bowlers take the summer off. We also break our Leagues in the summer as well. Its nice in Minnesota in the summer and we too wanna be outside enjoying it! I am going to start a promotion with 30 games for 20 bucks with a free East Side Pinball draw string backpack, continue my social media, do a weekly $10, all games on FREE PLAY for the evening, and do some casual meet ups. We aren't even calling them tournaments.
    If anyone is ever looking for input or advice, reach out. I love chatting!

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    #123 3 years ago

    Pretty interesting topic. Big thing one needs to consider is who do they want to cater to. That will help drive your decisions.

    In the early to mid 90s when I was a teen, my family owned a big baseball card/comic store/arcade. For the arcade, we had about 5000 sq feet with 28 pool tables, about a hundred games, snack bar, etc. At the beginning, we had a wide spectrum of people coming in but after a while we noticed that it became teens and hardcore pool players. As part of this, we saw revenues going down. Teens did not spend money and caused issues while the hardcore pool players focused on shooting pool, gambling, and not spending money. We were not getting families (who spend money) and our reputation started taking a hit.

    So, we shifted focus. We switched from quarters to tokens (best thing we ever did) and shifted focus from trying to be hip (I was a teen, so that was important to me) to becoming more family friendly. Because of our size, we setup an area for the hardcore pool players away from others and limited the tournaments for the high end to certain occasions. We started doing tournaments that brought in more people such as coed (guy and his girlfriend) or dad/kid. Catering to different groups at different times helped us to expand our base.

    Now that I am about to hit 40, I enjoy going to places to play pinball and arcades but will not go to a tournament because it does not appeal to me and frankly, some of the people turn me off. Some of the places are nice, others are a little sketchy. It is hard when you do not own your own location, but if you can put your games into places that are nicer that will help bring in more people. It is an investment, but work with your location owner to do some food/drink promos. As mentioned above, unlimited play with a beer can help get people in for both pinball and food. Depending upon the locality, if you can allow kids in that is great, but overwhelmingly, make it an environment where people feel comfortable bringing their wife/girlfriend/daughter with them. That doubles your audience right there. If you do a league or something for the hardcores, pick a night. But, do other goofy promotions (Coed tournament for example) another night. That way, you are appealing to a variety of folks.

    People laugh about Dave and Buster's but you never go in there and they are never not busy. You will also notice that it is groups of people, not single dudes. That is a key to help expand the base. I know that because it is an inviting area, I have no problem taking my nine year daughter there. Last time we were there, we dropped over a hundred, and my daughter asks when she can go back.

    #124 3 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    Well, there's only one way to get better at games you don't know, and not playing them isn't it!

    True, but that's a 25 minute drive to that side of town. Making time to do a monthly is bad enough (I have a lot going on all the time). I was just explaining why I don't come anymore. It's not fun always being at the bottom just because I don't know what to do for a decent score. I'm also semi introverted, so going to a meet up and not knowing anyone is tough. Not making excuses, just mentioning what my situation is. I'm sure there are others like me.

    #125 3 years ago
    Quoted from BrewNinja:

    True, but that's a 25 minute drive to that side of town. Making time to do a monthly is bad enough (I have a lot going on all the time). I was just explaining why I don't come anymore. It's not fun always being at the bottom just because I don't know what to do for a decent score. I'm also semi introverted, so going to a meet up and not knowing anyone is tough. Not making excuses, just mentioning what my situation is. I'm sure there are others like me.

    What are some ways that a location could cater to players like you?

    #126 3 years ago

    I always thought pinball would do well in the food truck strategy. A mobile trailer with a generator taken to the 'hot spots' around the city seems like a way to bring new interest to the permanent locations. Would also think event circuit could be a good place to attract players, while they wait for or take breaks from events.

    #127 3 years ago

    I hosted an event for coworkers the other day at a well known D.C. Pinball friendly place. All of them had fun, but all of them explained they thought you were Just supposed to bash the ball around and not drain, but didn't understand strategy or how to use the flippers for catches and such.

    I played a game projected on the tv screen in front of everybody (the place has a camera on .. Avatar, I think) and suddenly the light bulb went off. IMO quarters were a huge detriment to the "next game" - every time they had to stop and grab quarters, make change, event just put them in the game, they were this close to stopping. Those cards they use at Dave And Busters are genius because you don't really know how much you have on there. Somehow we gotta get credit cards in the mix.

    Alternately, free play for an hour works REALLY well. There's a place near Tampa we go to that's $10 for all you can play. Kids become pinball fans there because they have time to learn. I've seen it happen with our friends' kids (my son doesn't count since we have 4 games at home)

    Last thing - somebody mentioned comic con. I played Ghostbusters at a comic con a couple years ago, which started this whole mess. Put a themed game somewhere unexpected, like a comic book shop or record store. It will be a hassle but you will catch your most likely audience there, and they may come check out your other locations.

    #128 3 years ago

    Free play for an hour is a great idea, and would probably be an excellent thing to do before a tournament, or offer some kind of return discount if it's at a barcade or whatever (one good one I've seen is a stamped card offering half off a beer on a different day). Maintaining a social media account (or two or three - besides Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good options) is also vital and any machine in the wild should have your social media accounts on it.

    -1
    #129 3 years ago

    Here’s a new angle to look at how to boost pinball on location: take out the stuff that makes the games annoying and make them challenging again.

    I grew up playing pinball that was hard on the player: no tilt warnings, no ball saves, no pity multiball on ball 3, certainly no endless ball saves on every ball and multiball and a lot of random ball movement (not every shot was spoonfed to the flippers). Stuff you had to build up would on some games reset on every ball, so you had to start over. Games were designed to have short ball times (good for operators), but still offered a challenge and were fun to play.

    Personally I never liked the pity multiball everyone could get on ball 3 on most Data East and Sega games, although Williams used it too on occasion. I feel it takes away the challenge of getting to multiball and as such it takes away part of the fun. There was also the pity extra ball if you had a few short balls, which is different as it extends your game, but doesn’t spoil or award any features. So those remained a challenge. I also stayed away from games with repetitive voice calls like LW3 and others.

    Gary Stern has said on multiple occasions he wants an average player to see everything the game has to offer on his first game. I say that is killing pinball on location. If there’s no challenge left, why play again? So the game got the first quarter because the theme seemed interesting. It lost the rest of the quarters because the game turned out to be boring or no challenge at all.

    So in order to boost pinball on location it would be interesting to see whether games will be more fun / earn better when the operator adjusted the game so that ballsave times are set to a reasonable time, mutiball ballsave time is set to a minimum or zero, the pity multiball on ball 3 is eliminated so achieving multiball is challenging again, maybe even reset certain features on each ball instead of carry them over. When players have more fun playing the game, they’re likely to spend more money on it playing it.

    Sure, some games have their limits in to what the operator can adjust. Then maybe such a game isn’t the best game to operate? If the goal is to boost pinball play on location, one should look at how a game is most fun to play and very often that is not by operating it on the factory settings. It will take some game knowledge from the operator, but I'm confident it will pay off for both the operator as for pinball on location.

    #130 3 years ago

    An observation and a couple thoughts:

    Last week I visited a nearby bowling alley as the map showed that they had a Junkyard that my son and I were interested in playing. I was there on a Thursday I believe and the place was packed. It looked like a scene from a movie with every lane full. All the tables behind the lanes were full, the bar was fairly busy too. It was charming in a Norman Rockwell sort of way. I ordered a Coors and found the small game area central to the alley. It had the Junkyard, an LE Avengers, Chexx B.H. and a couple of arcades.

    The entire time I was there, me and my family were the only ones that entered the game area to play. It was sort of surprising that there were these two fairly nice machines (they both looked and played great) and a full facility and nobody was playing.

    I've been frequenting the local craft brewers and enjoying the fad of food trucks and local beer and at a few of these places they have nice assortment of pins. The pins at the breweries are usually pretty busy. One of them up north was doing Free Play Tuesdays and that got me and my family to make the drive up numerous times. (they have since stopped as they had League on Wednesdays and they Free Play was leaving machines in a bit of dis-repair for the following night)

    Seeing the lonely pins at the alley made me wonder if the pin renaissance seen at the breweries and the barcades might be somewhat isolated to that unique sub-culture and the renaissance isn't really permeating 'middle America'.

    Vinyl records basically died out too (I fondly remember going to the mall and flipping through albums - I'll never forget that smell) and now vinyl has made a nice boutique niche for itself but it will never occupy an entire retail shop at a mall.

    Might pinball follow a similar trajectory?

    As a dad of teens now, I love introducing my kids' friends to pinball. Some that have come over for sleep-overs have never seen a pinball and most have never played one. (they've all been to Dave and Busters type places however)

    In one of those video interviews the Jersey Jack owner mentioned "redemption pinball" - maybe that is what will break into Chucky Cheese and D&B? (our local CC has one lonely poorly maintained pin that I've never seen anyone touch (including myself!))

    I'd like to see more location activity but I wonder if a saturation point is nearby?

    #131 3 years ago
    Quoted from unigroove:

    Gary Stern has said on multiple occasions he wants an average player to see everything the game has to offer on his first game.

    Wasn't that Eugene Jarvis input from the Avatar days ?

    Quoted from Duvall:

    Seeing the lonely pins at the alley made me wonder if the pin renaissance seen at the breweries and the barcades might be somewhat isolated to that unique sub-culture and the renaissance isn't really permeating 'middle America'.

    Bingo. This has been going on in various parts of the country the last eight years or so. Never seems to last more than a few years and the barcades need something new and different to keep drink sales up.

    LTG : )

    #132 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Wasn't that Eugene Jarvis input from the Avatar days ?

    I recall Gary telling me that Eugene strongly advised against showing the Iron Monger on Iron Man as it should surprise the player. Gary decided to have it raised during attract mode as a "teaser".

    #133 3 years ago
    Quoted from unigroove:

    I recall Gary telling me that Eugene strongly advised against showing the Iron Monger on Iron Man as it should surprise the player. Gary decided to have it raised during attract mode as a "teaser".

    Having an IM on location for over 4 years, I can say that having Monger up in attract mode is a definite draw and a good decision. Kids see Monger and put in quarters thinking they are going to bash him, only to have him disappear when they start the game.

    #134 3 years ago
    Quoted from stangbat:

    Having an IM on location for over 4 years, I can say that having Monger up in attract mode is a definite draw and a good decision. Kids see Monger and put in quarters thinking they are going to bash him, only to have him disappear when they start the game.

    Quoted from unigroove:

    So the game got the first quarter because the theme seemed interesting. It lost the rest of the quarters because the game turned out to be boring or no challenge at all.

    ...or because the player didn't get what they thought they were paying for.

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