(Topic ID: 353045)

Is rarity a consideration with your collection?

By Nintegageo

4 months ago


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  • Latest reply 4 months ago by AlexF
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    #1 4 months ago

    When choosing a game for your collection, how big a consideration is rarity? I used to avoid rarer titles because parts scarcity could be an issue, but that is rarely a problem now. Changed my mind as I met people in the local community as well, and now I like to have at least one title that you don't always see in the wild or at a friends' place. Currently have a tough decision regarding this matter and curious what others' think.

    Obviously any game has to be good to be considered; I don't mean rare titles that aren't.

    Edit: I guess rare is subjective. Let's say uncommon/rare is sub 5k done? Or just not include numbers and say games a person might not commonly see.

    #2 4 months ago

    I like my steaks really rare. But seared heavily on the outside.

    10
    #3 4 months ago
    Quoted from Nintegageo:

    When choosing a game for your collection, how big a consideration is rarity? I used to avoid rarer titles because parts scarcity could be an issue, but that is rarely a problem now. Changed my mind as I met people in the local community as well, and now I like to have at least one title that you don't always see in the wild or at a friends' place. Currently have a tough decision regarding this matter and curious what others' think.
    Obviously any game has to be good to be considered; I don't mean rare titles that aren't.

    The thing about rare games is the reason they are rare is almost always because they were bad and they didn't sell and the manufacturer cut their production short. Take thunderbirds for example. That one's rare. The only exception that comes to mind is JJ pirates.

    #4 4 months ago

    A great question! The more games I have, the more interested in owning rare-ish ones. But rare can just mean I don't see them on location near me so all my games are 30+ years old weirdos, minus my temp loaner LOTR. I spent 2 years waiting for a Torpedo Alley, now I've double rolled it and it feels too rare to just let go. I have room for 4 and told myself I wouldn't sell the other 3. Stuck by my own thinking.

    #5 4 months ago

    Yeah, Rarity in pinball doesn't correlate to desirability the same was as many other hobbies. For most of pinball's lifetime games were made based on how successful they were. So, the more fun the game, the better the operators did, the more games were made. Games that were poor performers were not produced in great numbers.

    When it comes to rarity I like to have a rare "gimmick" rather than a rare (By the number produced) machine. I have a R911 because that helicopter is so cool and casual players absolutely love that game. Not rare by numbers or expensive in any way but I can just about guarantee it's not in any bars or arcade's near you to go out and play. So it is rare in that way and fun to have.

    I do think it's funny seeing the Craigslist and Facebook posts advertising some game as "SUPER RARE ONLY 333 produced! $9999.99" and its a busted up Chicago Coin woodrail.

    #6 4 months ago

    If I won the lottery, I would like to get something rare. But a prototype or a test game

    #7 4 months ago

    In the early 2000's when I started running pinball events. I tried to get rare games. Because once they go into private collections most people will never see or play them.

    When the economy tanked mid 2000's and things were all down hill from there. That ended my efforts for the rare.

    LTG : )

    #8 4 months ago
    Quoted from Electronmagic:

    The thing about rare games is the reason they are rare is almost always because they were bad and they didn't sell and the manufacturer cut their production short.

    Sometimes.

    Reasons can include:
    The game didn't play test well on location
    The bean counters ultimately decided against the project for any number of reasons (development costs, production costs, licensing costs...)
    The engineering dept decided against the project (something might not have worked properly/reliably)
    Shifting company priorities/trends caused the project to be abandoned
    The company closed before production was completed (Cactus Canyon, Brooks & Dunn, Lock Ness Monster)
    In the EM era, some games had limited production runs in order to comply with anti-gambling laws in certain areas (AAB vs free game)

    Quoted from Electronmagic:

    Take thunderbirds for example. That one's rare. The only exception that comes to mind is JJ pirates.

    Neither of those are that "rare". A production run of 100 or less is rare.

    #9 4 months ago
    Quoted from Nintegageo:

    When choosing a game for your collection, how big a consideration is rarity?

    I usually consider how interested I am in owning the title and how likely it might be (or not) to come up for sale again. I don't necessarily hunt something down *specifically* because it's rare, but if an opportunity came up for a game that doesn't surface often and looked interesting, I may take a crack at it if the price is right. So, I'm always open to trying/buying unusual games. It just depends on what happens to be available.

    On the other hand, there are some collectors who only collect sample games, or prototype games, or whitewood games, or unproduced games. Part of that is the rarity, part of it is interest in the game development process or differences from production.

    Folks focus their collections in all sorts of ways. A serious tournament player might have a very different line-up than a casual player.

    Quoted from Nintegageo:

    I used to avoid rarer titles because parts scarcity could be an issue, but that is rarely a problem now.

    That never really stopped me. The scavenger hunt is sometimes part of the fun.

    Quoted from Nintegageo:

    I guess rare is subjective. Let's say uncommon/rare is sub 5k done?

    A production run of 5,000 is not rare. 500 might be uncommon. 100 would be rare. 10 or less could be nearly unobtainable.

    #10 4 months ago

    Depends if you want to play them. Sometimes they're rare cuz they blow! It's kinda like that saying. "Everything happens for a reason." I mean, that's true too but sometimes the reason is, you're a dumbass!

    #11 4 months ago

    A good 20 years ago when all collectors had almost the same games at home (all A wpc/wpc95 titles) I went for a varied collection and had rare games (less than 1000 produced) such as Safecracker, Orbitor 1 and QBerts Quest. And usually also an em or sys11.

    Finding parts wasn't an issue then. Games were cheap enough. Worst case you could part it out if it was too broken.

    Now I still have a varied collection, ems, zaccaria, wpc, sega, wpc95 and stern.
    If the price is right, rarity will definitely not stop me, I'm interested in it.

    Now games are much more expensive I do take it more in considation. Buying an AP game such as hot wheels or JJP woz ? It's not an insta buy, I take parts replacement and having maybe expensive/ difficult repairs in consideration. If I can get for the same money (or less) a recent Stern for which parts are still available, the latter wins.

    #12 4 months ago

    Rarity is not important to me. I have simple rules to buying a game. Is it fun to play over and over. Does it look good. Is the price right with condition issues and acceptable wear.

    #13 4 months ago

    It's theme, fun and coolness for me.

    Eg...had a Williams Starlight, sold and don't miss it, just don't dig wizard type games (like mm...had 3 now)

    Sold a nice Stern Orbitor 1...sold it and massive regret, was so cool...

    Now have a Williams Defender...uber cool and quite fun but I'm torn to keep or resto or leave as is...or even sell

    Had all the info and resources to scratch build a BBB and even Kingpin....but looking at it further...theme seems tacky as hell now so zero interest in either tbh.

    King Kong and Joust though....would walk across hot coals!

    #14 4 months ago

    To some degree yes. But I always thought that if I were going to own a certain title I wanted the rare version of it, for example like the EM version of Evel Knievel, Mata Hari, Cleopatra, Close Encounters... Why be the same as everyone else? Now a game like King Kong I bought because as a kid I seen the 1975 movie in the theater and always loved watching it over and over since, but it just so happened it was a rare prototype game as well and to me that was just a bonus but had nothing to do with wanting it for it's rarity. The Canada Dry I bought because I loved the backglass art and had found a NOS glass in a old Operators stash of stuff many years ago. Six months later I found a game for sale in the Netherlands and had it shipped to the states. Yes Eldorado and so many others have the same layout but it was the artwork and it's rarity here in the states that made me want it. BBB I bought for it's rarity and had never played the game until the day it arrived here and now I love it. Yes rarity does factor in here.

    John

    #15 4 months ago

    Rarity? No. Public availability? Yes.

    STTNG was made on a huge scale and its my personal all time favorite... but publicly available ones... especially ones in good working condition are few and far between. I'm keeping mine.

    #16 4 months ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Sometimes.
    Reasons can include:
    The game didn't play test well on location
    The bean counters ultimately decided against the project for any number of reasons (development costs, production costs, licensing costs...)
    The engineering dept decided against the project (something might not have worked properly/reliably)
    Shifting company priorities/trends caused the project to be abandoned
    The company closed before production was completed (Cactus Canyon, Brooks & Dunn, Lock Ness Monster)
    In the EM era, some games had limited production runs in order to comply with anti-gambling laws in certain areas (AAB vs free game)

    Torpedo Alley is rare (1002 made), most people agree it's a fun game.

    Why did Data East not make more? Who knows.

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    #17 4 months ago

    I would say yes rarity is a consideration. Lots of collectors seek rare things to collect like baseball cards, watches, cars, etc. There is a fascination with the thought of something being rare. I have hunted tons of rare stuff but have learned lessons from each and every acquisition. One of my first rare games was Iron Man Classic. I bought it strictly for it's rarity and quickly realized rare does not make it good. I still chase odd unique games that will cut up a cookie cutter collection. I am getting to the point of been there done that for pinball but still chasing rare arcade games.

    I will also ask what is the definition of a truly rare game? Just when I think something is super rare another one pops up for sale somewhere or the same rare game comes up for sale again. Games like King Kong and Kingpin-those are games that I consider rare(everything else is just not as common). My consideration now when chasing rare games-can I get parts for it?

    #18 4 months ago
    Quoted from pinmister:

    I would say yes rarity is a consideration. Lots of collectors seek rare things to collect like baseball cards, watches, cars, etc. There is a fascination with the thought of something being rare. I have hunted tons of rare stuff but have learned lessons from each and every acquisition. One of my first rare games was Iron Man Classic. I bought it strictly for it's rarity and quickly realized rare does not make it good. I still chase odd unique games that will cut up a cookie cutter collection. I am getting to the point of been there done that for pinball but still chasing rare arcade games.
    I will also ask what is definition of a truly rare game? Just when I think something is super rare another one pops up for sale somewhere or the same rare game comes up for sale again. Games like King Kong and Kingpin-those are games that I consider rare(everything else is just not as common). My consideration now when chasing rare games-can I get parts for it?

    I'm more concerned with "rare but unfun" game taking valuable space that could be used for a game that is actually fun.

    So I guess in my case, rarity is not that an important consideration or secondary at least.

    On a tangent I had games that many consider lookers on Pinside and I rapidly got rid of them due to them not being fun. My floor space is too valuable for games that are a "10" visually but a "2" in bed

    #19 4 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I'm more concerned with "rare but unfun" game taking valuable space

    Having a game just because it is rare makes no sense to me. When I first got into the hobby I would buy anything I thought was 'rare'. Over time if the fun factor was not there-then what is the point. Makes me think of a Krull arcade offered to me by an awesome collector for a great price. I played it over and over trying to find a connection and it just was not there and so I passed. If it is not fun-forget about it. For example right now I have a Big Buck Hunter HUO on my radar. Fun cheesy game that many would consider a b title. Is it rare? No not really they pop up every so often and it is all about patience. I know I can get one no problem and I will wait for the right deal. -Point is nothing is really rare nowadays-just have to be patient and games will pop up.

    #20 4 months ago

    So is rare is only a game with low production numbers?

    Or is a a game rare only because there are only a few that have survived of that game?

    #21 4 months ago

    I buy and collect games I want to play. Rarity really doesn’t have any influence.

    It’s cool when there’s games I want to play and own that are also rare, like TX-Sector or pinball magic, but that introduces stresses like “how will I rebuild these flippers with zero parts availability” or “what happens if a plastic light shield breaks?”

    Rare games are also usually rare for a good reason.

    #22 4 months ago
    Quoted from timab2000:

    So is rare is only a game with low production numbers?

    Or is a a game rare only because there are only a few that have survived of that game?

    I think it is a combination of both. For example my NBA was rumored to have less than 100 made. Many went on location or to Canada and a few to China. -Trying to find a true HUO for this game is rare because of the circumstances

    #23 4 months ago

    mbaumle literally the reason I sold Pinball Magic. Looooove that game, but Capcom parts in general can get tough. It's the boring reason I stay with B/W games when it comes to the 90s.

    #24 4 months ago

    I guess I do think some about rarity when shopping, but inversely - when a buy opportunity appears, is it a game I see often in other's collections or at every show? But it's a second-tier consideration. My primary drivers align well with what cp1610 spelled out:

    Quoted from cp1610:

    I have simple rules to buying a game. Is it fun to play over and over. Does it look good. Is the price right with condition issues and acceptable wear.

    With emphasis on the "over and over" because games that I bring in tend to stay for a very long time.

    -Rob
    -visit https://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or my replacement Type 1 sound board for classic Williams games

    #25 4 months ago

    It honestly depends. I'm not generally chomping at the bit to own a Godzilla, Jurassic Park, Bond, Adams Family, etc, because I live in a pinball hotspot, and they're on location everywhere within an hour of me. I've currently got 3 pins in my lineup, and two are ones I've only been able to play on location when I'm willing to drive 2+ hours or more each way. Those being Black Knight 2000, and WWF Royal Rumble. My third pin was Scooby-Doo (which I enjoyed on location, but came to hate in my home), but I recently sold it and basically did a straight trade for Stern's Heavy Metal while pocketing a little cash.

    Heavy Metal is probably my favorite modern pin, despite its controversy. Its limited run was a factor in my decision, because I knew if I passed up the deal, I would never play a machine that is probably one of my Grail themes for art, history, and music. Its also got a simple design, so parts aren't really a huge concern, as the only stuff that really takes a beating are simple T posts. People cried about it reusing the layout of Star Wars home, but it's genuinely a good layout, and replaced a lot of the toys. There's a misconception because of its limited run that it was just a home pin too, but it's a full premium Stern, with premium toys, art, and build. Do I love that I have such a rare machine that I also love? Absolutely. Do I wish more people were able to get their hands on it, and appreciate it for all that it actually is? Also yes.

    I'm pumped that I have it, despite its rarity, and its rarity also makes me value it more. But I would say all its other features are what I actually cared about. All other things being equal, it's a pin I would want to own, whether there was 100 or 10,000 of them.

    All that being said, I tend to privilege the tables I love that are harder to find on location, because it's not a huge ask to just drive 30 minutes anytime I want to play the more common games. Especially when the price to own one is 6-12k or more. I'm not made of the kind of money to consider that a big inconvenience.

    I'm probably eying a TMNT or Sword of Rage next, just because they're a little more rare on location around me, and I genuinely love them. That is a big factor in my home owned games, but all the other parts of pinball fun have to be there too. I'm not gonna buy a game just because it's rare, but if it's one I love, and it also is harder to find? Yeah, I'll pull the trigger if I've got the capital and one comes along.

    #26 4 months ago

    Rarity is important to me only for the fact that it gives friends the opportunity to play games they would never otherwise see. 50% of my collection is games that I played in my youth and loved. Another 40% is games I've fallen in love with since I started collecting. The remaining 10% will rotate out to keep my lineup fresh. So obviously, games I love to play is the most important factor, but if they're rare too, that's just icing on the cake. I don't keep games that I don't like, even if they're rare (Spectrum).

    #27 4 months ago

    I ended up with something rare.

    I went to auction, and got a Wizard of Oz Emerald City.

    Not in great condition, the lighting was unfixable. (Eventually upgraded to 2.0). Hard drive crashed, and when I replaced the SSD and got new software, no serial number came up.

    I had noticed that there were no stickers with a serial number on them, but sometimes games have a colorful history, and identifying serial number stickers get removed.

    There was a plexi piece with lights that indicated which ramp to shoot, hand soldered, I called to find out how to get the lights to work...

    Turns out that Jersey Jacks had made 12 demonstration machines, VERY early production, and all of these were to have been returned to Jersey Jacks.

    Apparently, this machine, and one machine in Europe, and since then one other guy in the United States has popped up...

    Anyway, I have one of three existent first machines from Wizard of Oz.

    The Illuminated ramp guide plastic was replaced by software, never put in production machines.

    The other 'Well, it's a prototype' sadness is that the crystal ball used a different serial port arrangement in this game, and while the circuitry is there to properly run the video screen behind the crystal ball, software that is available doesn't activate the circuits on this board. So the Crystal Ball lights up with the boot up 'Jersey Jack Logo' animation, but won't display scenes in the game.

    I was told firmly that Jersey Jacks wouldn't be able to help me get my hardware working. Software for this version of the game is unattainable.

    Which is fair, because this game should have never ended up in a private customer's hands.

    So. Emerald City Wizard Of Oz. No serial number on the dongle. Not in extraordinary condition (it had spent years on an amusement route).

    As far as I can tell, one of three in existence.

    #28 4 months ago

    Yes or unusual
    nothing worse than rows of Stern pinballs.
    no im not bagging Stern, just mix it up a bit

    #29 4 months ago

    The rarity I look for in a pinball machine has nothing to do with how many were made or how many are left.

    It is the rarity of original low play condition.

    Such as the AFM I picked up last year that looked like it had be hiding in a closet somewhere since 1995 and still does. Now that is pretty rare.

    #30 4 months ago

    Speaking of Rare, what happened to Midways pinball circus remake? It's cool looking and got to play it 10 years ago in Vegas at the pinball hall of fame. I would buy one because it fits in smaller areas.

    #31 4 months ago

    Had a Stern NBA for a while. I think there were only 250 of those made or so. Sold it quite some time ago and don't think I've seen one on location since. Don't regret selling and don't miss.

    BSD, on the other hand, I miss every day. Haha.

    #32 4 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Torpedo Alley is rare (1002 made), most people agree it's a fun game.
    Why did Data East not make more? Who knows. [quoted image]

    I don't see 1,002 units as rare.

    #33 4 months ago

    I’ve owned many rare games
    Few left in my collection

    Reason their rare because not that much fun to play and low produced

    #34 4 months ago
    Quoted from PinRetail:

    I ended up with something rare.
    I went to auction, and got a Wizard of Oz Emerald City.
    Not in great condition, the lighting was unfixable. (Eventually upgraded to 2.0). Hard drive crashed, and when I replaced the SSD and got new software, no serial number came up.
    I had noticed that there were no stickers with a serial number on them, but sometimes games have a colorful history, and identifying serial number stickers get removed.
    There was a plexi piece with lights that indicated which ramp to shoot, hand soldered, I called to find out how to get the lights to work...
    Turns out that Jersey Jacks had made 12 demonstration machines, VERY early production, and all of these were to have been returned to Jersey Jacks.
    Apparently, this machine, and one machine in Europe, and since then one other guy in the United States has popped up...
    Anyway, I have one of three existent first machines from Wizard of Oz.
    The Illuminated ramp guide plastic was replaced by software, never put in production machines.
    The other 'Well, it's a prototype' sadness is that the crystal ball used a different serial port arrangement in this game, and while the circuitry is there to properly run the video screen behind the crystal ball, software that is available doesn't activate the circuits on this board. So the Crystal Ball lights up with the boot up 'Jersey Jack Logo' animation, but won't display scenes in the game.
    I was told firmly that Jersey Jacks wouldn't be able to help me get my hardware working. Software for this version of the game is unattainable.
    Which is fair, because this game should have never ended up in a private customer's hands.
    So. Emerald City Wizard Of Oz. No serial number on the dongle. Not in extraordinary condition (it had spent years on an amusement route).
    As far as I can tell, one of three in existence.

    Cool find you have there . Always like the earlier hand assembly games going through the stages.

    #35 4 months ago

    Rarity means nothing to me. The ones I’ve played are rare for a reason.

    #36 4 months ago

    I’m done with my “accumulation” stage now being out of room and maybe looking at my “time to mix things up” stage.

    When selecting my current collection it was mainly driven by theme and availability. In this sense if “rare” equated to “available” then it was something I definitely considered. Specifically to my LOTR, I was looking for a bit to add one but didn’t want to go that much out of my way (drive 3+ hours) as my 3 prior pins came from a distributor so were delivered. One popped up less than 20 minutes away so I definitely factored that into my decision to pursue.

    Recently something similar with the Hobbit where I was fine working with someone more local as it was more convenient location and timing wise.

    I’m currently applying your overall question to my next pin, which may or may not be GF. Looking at Pinside stats it seems less than 300 have it in their collections. Would this mean 5 years from now it will be even more rare to get a hold of and I should therefore look to get one now? The X factor is if JJP abandons or continues to support code updates and what not.

    #37 4 months ago

    I had this rarity discussion with some morons on FB not long ago.

    They claimed radical is rare. I said no.

    #38 4 months ago
    Quoted from centerflank:

    They claimed radical is rare. I said no.

    It's rare that anybody who has one wants to sell one myself included.

    Now, excuse me, my buddies are out in the garage and just fired up RoboCop.

    #39 4 months ago

    Perhaps I shoulda used the word scarcity instead. Some people seem too concentrated on the number to constitute as rare.

    #40 4 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    It's rare that anybody who has one wants to sell one myself included.
    Now, excuse me, my buddies are out in the garage and just fired up RoboCop.

    Robocop > Radical

    Someone borrowed me a radical once I couldn’t wait to give it back

    #41 4 months ago
    Quoted from centerflank:

    Robocop > Radical
    Someone borrowed me a radical once I couldn’t wait to give it back

    Wasn't that your birthday about ten years ago? I remember something like that.

    Let's just say the appreciation of the game has improved a lot lately. We dig it. Skate or Die!

    #42 4 months ago
    Quoted from chad:

    I don't see 1,002 units as

    I don't see 1,002 units as rare.

    It is in the solid state era.

    #43 4 months ago
    Quoted from Nintegageo:

    Perhaps I shoulda used the word scarcity instead. Some people seem too concentrated on the number to constitute as rare.

    For '90's machines and earlier, I think the important question is not how many were produced, but how many are left. A lot of Gottliebs and Data Easts ended up in dumpsters while a lot of the Bally/Williams games got squirreled away.

    For example:
    With 1002 torpedo alley's produced, 86 of them are accounted for on Pinside, which is 8% accounted for

    With 7304 Whirlwinds produced, and 1241 of them accounted for on Pinside, that's 17% accounted for

    Of course there are games not owned by Pinsiders that don't show in the numbers, but nevertheless the numbers are still good enough to give us a good idea of what has happened with these games. Obviously a much larger percentage of the Torpedo Alleys produced simply no longer exist.

    #44 4 months ago
    Quoted from Electronmagic:

    With 1002 torpedo alley's produced, 86 of them are accounted for on Pinside, which is 8% accounted for

    I would guess there's maybe about 250-300 left in existence.

    The general rule of thumb had been to cut the production numbers in half every 10 years, but in the 2010s, a lot of people starting saving and rebuilding games that would've otherwise been scrapped. So, by that logic, that may have brought the numbers down to 250.

    Mr. Pinball's price guide used to estimate in the 2010's that about 30% of a game's production run still existed, so in this case, that's 250.

    Then on the other side starting with known numbers, roughly 30% of games that still exist are added to profiles on Pinside. So, with 86 being added, that may bring the number up to about 286.

    So yeah, not a very large number, which is why that title doesn't surface too often today.

    Quoted from Electronmagic:

    With 7304 Whirlwinds produced, and 1241 of them accounted for on Pinside, that's 17% accounted for

    Following the same logic as above, those result in different numbers.

    50% every 10 year rule: 1400
    30% total remaining rule: 2200
    Pinside 30% known owners rule: 4136

    So, there could be a range of somewhere around 1400-4100 examples of this title. Since the Pinside numbers are the only actual numbers that exist, I might lean towards that one more as closer to the total number left in existence, as opposed to the other two general rules.

    There's probably at least a couple thousand in existence since this title isn't too hard to find.

    As for other similar titles, there are titles that would completely buck the rule because they were stripped for their parts/boards in unusually high numbers, like NBA Fastbreak and Congo.

    #45 4 months ago

    I don't chase rare. I may happen upon it once in a while. I like it until something else takes its place.

    #46 4 months ago

    I like rare games in the mix. It’s nice to have friends over to play games that others in town don’t have. What is the fun in going to others homes or locations to play the same games…

    #47 4 months ago

    Prefer to own Non-rare games. I like to be able to fix them.
    ALL rare games will eventually find the landfill

    #48 4 months ago

    Nope. Only thing I care about is fun.

    #49 4 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    The rarity I look for in a pinball machine has nothing to do with how many were made or how many are left.
    It is the rarity of original low play condition.
    Such as the AFM I picked up last year that looked like it had be hiding in a closet somewhere since 1995 and still does. Now that is pretty rare.

    Good point. I have a HUO Paragon that's the same...9k were made, but finding one in amazing condition is very cool. Despite having no PF wear (and no mylar installed), the colors weren't that sharp after 45 years and the inserts had cupping.

    #50 4 months ago

    I think it’s cool that my Williams Big Deal is a sample machine, but I probably wouldn’t pay extra for one.

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