(Topic ID: 329200)

Is Pinball Making A Come Back in Popularity

By Jase1979

27 days ago


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    There are 112 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 27 days ago

    What does everyone think about Pinball's current popularity? Is pinball making a comeback in popularity? There have been a good number of major trade marked pinball machine released in recent years, this this a sign that pinballs popularity is increasing?

    I have noticed there is a large following online but I have not noticed an increase of pinball machines in everyday life.

    The 1990's is my favioute era and memories of pinball but I do think we could be at the start of a new era of popularity in Pinball.

    #2 27 days ago

    Hard to say with todays prices.

    19
    #3 27 days ago

    Yes. Steadily increasing for the past 15 years. Driven a lot by home collectors now which is why you don’t notice it much. But many of us are everywhere, unnoticed, lurking, having the time of our lives in our basements, while all the normies don’t know what they’re missing.

    #4 27 days ago

    Is it getting me popular or are buyers just getting more gullible? I'm not sure.

    #5 27 days ago

    Many times when my friends are over and they have brought their teen or 20-something child over, many of them have never seen a pinball and a lot of them have never even heard of pinball. Kind of puts this whole hobby in perspective.

    #6 27 days ago

    Most definitely.

    More and more pinball places are opening up all around the country with a whole new pricing structure for playing. Instead of having to dump endless dollars or quarters into the machines non stop, you simply pay an entrance fee and everything is set to free play. Play as much as you want for 1 flat fee.

    You go into these places and many of them are loaded with families and kids. And they are just amazed and totally blown away by all the new technology. The LED screens and backglasses and all the bright LED lights all over the playfield. They're amazed! So it's definitely growing in popularity.

    More people are also going to pinball shows too. Which is another awesome way to expose new people to the hobby and show them that they can actually purchase machines and shows them the prices for them.

    That's my honest opinion anyway.

    #7 27 days ago

    yes, but in a way that may not be statistically significant in the long run. The market is for home buyers and wealthy collectors now, not routers. There are pinball/arcade bars opening up all over the country, but I don't think the machines really pay for themselves, mostly a way to make a bar stand out. At the places I play here in SoCal, the machines are mostly empty. But I think it's a subtle push-back against the digitalization of so much of our entertainment, and will keep the hobby alive for another generation or two. :-/ I guess we'll know if there's another Avatar pin.

    #8 27 days ago

    Is there a way to track pinside membership numbers?

    #9 27 days ago
    Quoted from jackd104:

    Yes. Steadily increasing for the past 15 years. Driven a lot by home collectors now which is why you don’t notice it much. But many of us are everywhere, unnoticed, lurking, having the time of our lives in our basements, while all the normies don’t know what they’re missing.

    right next to my sex dungeon.

    21
    #10 27 days ago

    When most people come over to my house, they ooh and ahh upon first look at my pins, maybe play a game or two, then move on to the Skee Ball, arcade cabinet, and slot machine for the rest of the night. In general, I think awareness of the pinball hobby is growing, but gameplay is still too complex for most people's tastes to want to delve deeper into it. They flip for a few minutes, have no idea what's going on, then move on.

    I try my best to get my friends and family into it, but they just don't get it the way I do. It is what it is.

    #11 27 days ago

    So many questions...

    #12 27 days ago
    Quoted from japespin:

    When most people come over to my house, they ooh and ahh upon first look at my pins, maybe play a game or two, then move on to the Skee Ball, arcade cabinet, and slot machine for the rest of the night. In general, I think awareness of the pinball hobby is growing, but gameplay is still too complex for most people's tastes to want to delve deeper into it. They flip for a few minutes, have no idea what's going on, then move on.
    I try my best to get my friends and family into it, but they just don't get it the way I do. It is what it is.

    I think the hard thing for people to understand is that it's not just luck, there are actual skills that improve with practice. Usually a few drinks, tokes, or other substances can entice them into a deeper study...

    #13 27 days ago
    Quoted from japespin:

    When most people come over to my house, they ooh and ahh upon first look at my pins, maybe play a game or two, then move on to the Skee Ball, arcade cabinet, and slot machine for the rest of the night. In general, I think awareness of the pinball hobby is growing, but gameplay is still too complex for most people's tastes to want to delve deeper into it. They flip for a few minutes, have no idea what's going on, then move on.
    I try my best to get my friends and family into it, but they just don't get it the way I do. It is what it is.

    I was explaining a bit to a guest how to play. A look of revelation came over his face as he said, “you mean you can actually control where the ball goes?!”

    #14 27 days ago

    I think k popularity was always there with the home users for a very long time especially the 40+ crowd. I don’t think you see them much out in the world anymore because 1) there really aren’t any arcades like there used to be like in malls and places like that. Sure there are barcades out there but those are few and far between 2) pinball machines are such a bitch to maintain and always need to be taken care of something that really takes from the profits. So why put a pinball machine in when you can put a video game in that has zero maintenance

    #15 27 days ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I think k popularity was always there with the home users for a very long time especially the 40+ generation. I don’t think you see them much out in the world anymore because 1) there really aren’t any arcades like there used to be like in malls and places like that. Sure there are barcades out there but those are few and far between 2) pinball machines are such a bitch to maintain and always need to be taken care of something that really takes from the profits. So why out s pinball in when you can put a video game in that has zero maintenance

    #16 27 days ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I think k popularity was always there with the home users for a very long time especially the 40+ crowd. I don’t think you see them much out in the world anymore because 1) there really aren’t any arcades like there used to be like in malls and places like that. Sure there are barcades out there but those are few and far between 2) pinball machines are such a bitch to maintain and always need to be taken care of something that really takes from the profits. So why out s pinball in when you can put a video game in that has zero maintenance

    You don’t see what out in the world anymore? Pinball? Barcades few and far between? What?

    I am totally lost here. I see more pinball today than I remember seeing as a kid in the 70s and 80s… not to mention all the tournaments and events.

    #17 27 days ago

    Pinball has been coming back for the last 15 years.
    Beercades
    Private ownership
    It almost died in the 90’s to early 2000’s and since have been hot hot hot

    #18 27 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    You don’t see what out in the world anymore? Pinball? Barcades few and far between? What?
    I am totally lost here. I see more pinball today than I remember seeing as a kid in the 70s and 80s… not to mention all the tournaments and events.

    Quoted from skink91:

    You don’t see what out in the world anymore? Pinball? Barcades few and far between? What?
    I am totally lost here. I see more pinball today than I remember seeing as a kid in the 70s and 80s… not to mention all the tournaments and events.

    I mean out in the wild like arcades. Sure pinball events that are organized by the community are out there and popular. But I am saying just out in bars and restaurants and actual arcades. Every dive bar and bowling alley near where I grew up had pinball machines you don’t really see that now.

    As far as barcades I don’t see many of them here in the east coast

    #19 27 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    You don’t see what out in the world anymore? Pinball? Barcades few and far between? What?
    I am totally lost here. I see more pinball today than I remember seeing as a kid in the 70s and 80s… not to mention all the tournaments and events.

    It's still highly dependent on location.

    #20 27 days ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I mean out in the wild like arcades. Sure pinball events that are organized by the community are out there and popular. But I am saying just out in bars and restaurants and actual arcades. Every dive bar and bowling alley near where I grew up had pinball machines you don’t really see that now.
    As far as barcades I don’t see many of them here in the east coast

    Well it sounds like you guys need to shape up out there. Its everywhere out here.

    #21 27 days ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    Well it sounds like you guys need to shape up out there. Its everywhere out here.

    I wouldn't have a problem with that

    #22 27 days ago
    Quoted from japespin:

    When most people come over to my house, they ooh and ahh upon first look at my pins, maybe play a game or two, then move on to the Skee Ball, arcade cabinet, and slot machine for the rest of the night. In general, I think awareness of the pinball hobby is growing, but gameplay is still too complex for most people's tastes to want to delve deeper into it. They flip for a few minutes, have no idea what's going on, then move on.
    I try my best to get my friends and family into it, but they just don't get it the way I do. It is what it is.

    This is so true! The most played machine in my house is the big ball bowler.

    #23 27 days ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I mean out in the wild like arcades. Sure pinball events that are organized by the community are out there and popular. But I am saying just out in bars and restaurants and actual arcades. Every dive bar and bowling alley near where I grew up had pinball machines you don’t really see that now.
    As far as barcades I don’t see many of them here in the east coast

    They are around but you may have to drive a bit. Check pinmap.com. I see a few options not too far - “Barcade” in New Haven. Place called Gamecraft one of biggest in CT. Can always go to NYC for a pin weekend. Boston, Providence area had a few at least before the pandemic. Great place Western Mass Pinball Club in Palmer MA

    #25 27 days ago

    You dream smasher.

    #26 27 days ago

    It’s big in NE Ohio. At least, big enough that there’s 5 places I can think of right now off the top of my head, within 30 mins of me, that have 10+ machines. Mostly newer sterns, but some locations have a mix.

    Edit: These places only have pinball (and beer), none are general arcades.

    #27 27 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    There are pinball/arcade bars opening up all over the country, but I don't think the machines really pay for themselves, mostly a way to make a bar stand out.

    $8k/per new Stern title, $5k-$10k/per Bally/Williams title, $1.5k-$3k per older 70s/80s title. At $.50-$1 a play fuck no you aren't making your money back any time soon. The money is in the alcohol.

    #28 27 days ago
    Quoted from mmr61184:

    I think k popularity was always there with the home users for a very long time

    Not really until Williams closed. Prior to that time it was near impossible to buy a machine. Ops didn't want you becoming competition.

    It seems with the internet growth from the early 90's and the manufacturers closing and ops dumping pinball. Gave huge growth to the private ownership of pinball machines and tremendous growth to the hobby.

    Quoted from mmr61184:

    As far as barcades I don’t see many of them here in the east coast

    Some of them come and go. The bar pays for nearly everything and pinball doesn't. So they can feed on each other, when bar patrons realize they are subsidizing the pinball. They drift away. Some do survive.

    LTG : )

    #29 27 days ago

    The answer is YES and unless you are in charge of running a place like I am you probably don't even realize it.

    We expanded from a 650 sq ft space to a 1100 sq ft, and we're already out of room. We already need to expand again. Our leagues have gone from 20 people per season to 30 to 40 to ???? next season.

    The drop-ins used to be sporadic but now they are expected. People who show up say "my family bought a game last year" and they searched for pinball and that's how they found us.

    I'm fearful that I'm going to need to tell people we are at full capacity and turn people away. I do NOT advertise. We are a business in a hidden location and you can only find us through Google or word of mouth. Dear God if we were out in the open, I don't even know how I would handle the traffic.

    I think the answer is "yes", which is a problem for me but a great problem to have.

    #30 27 days ago

    It’s been back! A resounding yes! Better then ever IMO.

    #31 27 days ago

    There is a pin-fad going on right now, and it will pass.

    People are like "oh they still make these? How fun", and then $5 later they'll move on.
    A single game is just too limiting for modern people to really get into. They play a handful of times and get bored.

    Pins are too expensive for locations, and someday it won't make sense for locations to stock games (does it now?).... and that's a good thing.
    It's a prestige item for a home setting...... just like jukeboxes are.

    The novelty is high at the moment, give it five years and people will be long gone. Too bad they'll have killed off their regular buying base by then.
    Disney-boy has already figured it all out: He's going to milk it for all it's worth, cook those books, inflate those numbers and sell off the company.

    The popularity is temporary. It's 1997 all over again, and 1999 is coming.....

    #32 27 days ago

    Pinball? I barely even know her!

    #33 27 days ago

    It’s popular in my brain and on my phone screen

    #34 27 days ago
    Quoted from Jase1979:

    What does everyone think about Pinball's current popularity? Is pinball making a comeback in popularity? There have been a good number of major trade marked pinball machine released in recent years, this this a sign that pinballs popularity is increasing?
    I have noticed there is a large following online but I have not noticed an increase of pinball machines in everyday life.
    The 1990's is my favioute era and memories of pinball but I do think we could be at the start of a new era of popularity in Pinball.

    I don’t know, did you just recently seek out a pinball forum to join?

    21
    #35 27 days ago

    It used to be nice and quiet in here 19 years ago. Now there's a shit ton of people on my lawn.

    #36 27 days ago
    Quoted from The_Pump_House:

    I don’t know, did you just recently seek out a pinball forum to join?

    Haha, I’m out of town for work, literally sitting at your place right now. Sweet lineup by the way, pins in great shape too. A+

    #37 27 days ago
    Quoted from Jaybird815:

    Haha, I’m out of town for work, literally sitting at your place right now. Sweet lineup by the way, pins in great shape too. A+

    damn! Wish I was there!

    #38 26 days ago
    Quoted from JakeFAttie:

    Is there a way to track pinside membership numbers?

    Insider Connect by Stern will be providing THEM numbers, but I don't know that they'll be releasing play statistics to everyone.

    #39 26 days ago

    I have a slightly different take.

    I would say that people want to play pinball.

    The reason you don't see pinball everywhere is because it breaks. It breaks a lot. And when it breaks, it's not much fun.

    If we had a completely different repair profile, an operator could buy a pinball, and have it making money for thirty years.

    As it is, pinball doesn't make sense financially.

    You can do what Mark of Marco Pinball parts (Miss you Mark!) told me:

    Buy a pinball, operate it for two-three years, don't even fix it, sell it at an amusement auction for almost what you paid for it, or more than what you paid for it.

    The pinball bars are operating on a long-time business reality in the amusement industry:

    Anybody can make money for three years.

    After three years, your machines start needing a lot of repair, your customers want a completely new set of machines, you haven't paid for your first set of machines and your business is in trouble.

    That's the future for a lot of these places you can go and play all the pinball you want.

    But people want to play pinball.

    So... yes! Pinball is on a (temporary) high, but it's also got 'legs'.

    It will continue to be VERY popular... when there are people who are passionate about it.

    #40 26 days ago

    The barcades do seem to be regional. When visiting our daughter in Loveland, CO…it seems that every smalll town north of Denver has 2+ options.

    Here in York, PA…I believe I have to drive 45minutes to either Baltimore or Harrisburg before I can find a place to have a beer and play pinball.

    Has the recent social popularity not made its way East.

    #41 26 days ago
    Quoted from PinStalker:

    There is a pin-fad going on right now, and it will pass.
    People are like "oh they still make these? How fun", and then $5 later they'll move on.
    A single game is just too limiting for modern people to really get into. They play a handful of times and get bored.
    Pins are too expensive for locations, and someday it won't make sense for locations to stock games (does it now?).... and that's a good thing.
    It's a prestige item for a home setting...... just like jukeboxes are.
    The novelty is high at the moment, give it five years and people will be long gone. Too bad they'll have killed off their regular buying base by then.
    Disney-boy has already figured it all out: He's going to milk it for all it's worth, cook those books, inflate those numbers and sell off the company.
    The popularity is temporary. It's 1997 all over again, and 1999 is coming.....

    I heard the same quote almost 12 years ago, yet here we are.

    #42 26 days ago
    Quoted from PinStalker:

    There is a pin-fad going on right now, and it will pass.
    People are like "oh they still make these? How fun", and then $5 later they'll move on.

    I don’t think the current popularity has anything to do with those kinds of customers. Pinball might fade in 50 years when we are all dead but all these home collectors driving the hobby are not going to just quit in 5 years. It will be going strong for quite a while.

    #43 26 days ago
    Quoted from Jase1979:

    What does everyone think about Pinball's current popularity?

    I think it sucks. In the late 90s and early 2000s, I could pick up $500-$700 pins at several annual auctions in NJ. Was a fun niche hobby that I enjoyed.

    I'm not interested in my hobby gaining popularity and all the bullshit that comes along with that. But here we are with newbs getting erections over toppers and other bullshit.

    #44 26 days ago
    Quoted from Jase1979:

    What does everyone think about Pinball's current popularity? Is pinball making a comeback in popularity? There have been a good number of major trade marked pinball machine released in recent years, this this a sign that pinballs popularity is increasing?
    I have noticed there is a large following online but I have not noticed an increase of pinball machines in everyday life.
    The 1990's is my favioute era and memories of pinball but I do think we could be at the start of a new era of popularity in Pinball.

    You're about 5 years late to the party, but welcome - standing room only.

    18
    #46 26 days ago

    The hobby has changed so much in the last ten years it's crazy. It used to be a bunch of good old boys trading around some beat up machines and tinkering on them for hardly any money. Now it's a bunch of bougie rich collectors buying machines as status symbols. It's obvious when you look at the marketplace and see all these for sale ads with more dolls glued to it than games played. Games for sale with 30 plays?? I put that many on within the first day I open the damn box. Check out the the number of collectors with strictly modded out Sterns because they don't even know what a soldering iron is. I don't think pinball is gaining popularity as much as the demographics are shifting and total numbers staying steady. One person gets priced out and leaves and a rich noob begins. $tern has realized that catering to these noobs is their bread and butter and a great business decision. Moths to a flame that will buy anything since they don't actually play the games. It's great for $tern and the other manufacturers but bad long term for the hobby IMO.

    #47 26 days ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    You're about 5 years late to the party, but welcome - standing room only.

    I was going to post the same thing. If you are asking the question now, you are one of the ones who was drawn to pinball because it did make a come back 5-10 years ago.

    Patiently awaiting the rehash of the next topic: "Has the pinball bubble started to burst?"

    #48 26 days ago
    Quoted from japespin:

    When most people come over to my house, they ooh and ahh upon first look at my pins, maybe play a game or two, then move on to the Skee Ball, arcade cabinet, and slot machine for the rest of the night. In general, I think awareness of the pinball hobby is growing, but gameplay is still too complex for most people's tastes to want to delve deeper into it. They flip for a few minutes, have no idea what's going on, then move on.
    I try my best to get my friends and family into it, but they just don't get it the way I do. It is what it is.

    Exactly same thing at my house. Most people think the pins are cool, maybe play for a few minutes, and never again. Even my own teenage kids rarely if ever play anymore. All kids rather go play video games on consoles or their phones. Nobody knows how to play and struggle to keep ball in play more than a minute. Nobody cares to hear anything about rules or how to play because it's just too much.

    #49 26 days ago

    When the abbreviation “HUO” started to appear in every add or post coming out of someone in the hobby, is when it started to get real dark.

    #50 26 days ago

    The only thing we have more of here is beer and cheese! Is this Heaven?!?

    There are 112 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.

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