(Topic ID: 86881)

Is this hobby worth it for new people?


By UvulaBob

5 years ago



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  • 105 posts
  • 74 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by MXV
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    There are 105 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 5 years ago

    I've been kicking around the idea of buying a pinball machine, but all the articles I've been reading aimed at people new to the hobby seem to have been written years ago and consistently lowball how much I can get a relatively well-known machine for. Even the people at some of the shows I've been to seem to live in this world where a Black Knight 2000 is easily obtainable for 1500 dollars or a Funhouse shouldn't run me more than a couple grand.

    I was under no illusions when I started looking to buying a machine, but it really seems that prices are so high that there's no way I can get anything other than some throwaway 1965 EM clunker for the price I'm wanting (or able) to pay. Everyone around here posts picture of their rooms full of machines, and I have to think that all of you either have six-figure incomes or started collecting machines years ago when they were falling off the backs of trucks.

    Should I just be content with my Steam Pinball Arcade and local dollar-a-play hangouts, or is there still room for new collectors?

    #2 5 years ago

    You probably shouldn't get involved in the pinball hobby it's only for the super rich like everyone here.

    If you are young enough when we all start dying off you might be able to get some good games.

    #3 5 years ago

    It's good to see Levi here. Pinside is good reading with Levi and Rarehero

    22
    #4 5 years ago

    Welcome to the wondrous world of pinball.

    You don't need a million bucks to have fun. Find a cheap beater. Fix it up. Play it, enjoy it. Maybe sell it for profit and get another.

    You can enjoy your game, your labor can produce a great collection.

    There is room in every hobby for someone. If you need expensive things, work your way into to it. I once built a nice scale model train collection by painting them.

    Be creative and achieve your dreams.

    Unless your dollar a play hang out is my place, then forget everything I said.

    LTG : )™

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    If you are young enough when we all start dying off you might be able to get some good games.

    How you feeling Levi ? Getting around okay ?

    Just curious.

    LTG : )™

    #6 5 years ago

    Don't be discouraged. Prices have gone up, and there are still deals, just harder to find, and it takes a bit of luck. A guy just got a thousand dollar white water the other day.

    Trust me, a lot of us in the hobby aren't rich by any stretch. A decent amount started collecting years ago, or have gotten lucky, or have traded several games for one.

    #7 5 years ago

    You can just as much fun on a $2000 pin then a more expensive one.

    #8 5 years ago

    Prices are a bit out of control. I bought most of mine years ago. If you look long and hard you can still find good deals. Just study up and ask lots of questions. Know what you are looking at. It's very easy for someone new to this world to get taken. There are many helpful people here that will answer any "dumb" questions honestly. Good luck on your quest!

    #9 5 years ago

    calling it a "hobby" is not accurate. many profit from it, low balling to get games, flipping the same games for much more, and calling names to anyone who posts a game for sale at a reasonable price.
    thats not a hobby.

    A hobby is fishing, hiking, collecting objects that don't have dollar signs wrapped up in them.

    #10 5 years ago

    No. I've been contemplating on selling it all lately. Pain in the ass lately,& causes havoc with the wife.

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from silver_spinner:

    calling it a "hobby" is not accurate. many profit from it, low balling to get games, flipping the same games for much more, and calling names to anyone who posts a game for sale at a reasonable price.
    thats not a hobby.
    A hobby is fishing, hiking, collecting objects that don't have dollar signs wrapped up in them.

    Some of us are still here for the hobby.

    #12 5 years ago
    Quoted from UvulaBob:

    but it really seems that prices are so high that there's no way I can get anything other than some throwaway 1965 EM clunker for the price I'm wanting (or able) to pay.

    You should have seen the jackass trying to sell his TRON pro on Ebay for 13K or something moronic like that.

    #13 5 years ago

    Don't get discouraged . Hang in there and be patient a good deal will come your way. Heck I got a couple this past year myself. Networking is the best way. Ask your barber , bank teller, mechanic, doctor, IRS agent etc. if he or she might know of anyone with a broken or unused game in the garage. I built a collection with this method. Just a example of pricing Broken Diner $250.00 Black Knight 2000 $1295.00 Taxi 495.00 I can go on and on but will not, granted these all needed work but they are still out there. Dig deeper. Whenever I drive around a neighborhood and see open garage doors I look for machines. Don't be afraid to knock on the front door and ask. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    Good luck and happy hunting,
    Rob

    #14 5 years ago

    I think there are plenty of good SS machines available.. even on pinside... for reasonable.
    Heck My Buck Rogers is still for sale, although I have someone coming by thursday to look at it.

    I have seen recently some tasty B list titles sitting for sale in the mid teens.

    Dont expect to get an A list title for little coin though. But you dont need an A list title to enjoy pinball.

    Nothing wrong with a Nice Gottlieb System 1 machine If you want something cheap to learn on.

    #15 5 years ago

    I've only been in for just a couple of years. Owned an $800-1k pin (Bally lost world), a $2200ish pin (Johnny mnemonic), and since have gotten an Avatar and ACDC pro machine which are yet again quite a bit more..... I'm 39 and grew up in arcades, but never was into pinball back then.

    Getting into them brought me into a new hobby / part time job in building virtual pins for folks....and virtuals are a great way to get a lot of fun for your money regardless of how well some virtual tables are programmed and recreated. Virtual or real....they are all a fun experience and IMO they both have their place.

    Welcome aboard....go to some pinball and arcade shows and check out PAPA in Pittsburgh if you can.....great place to play in spring and fall when it is open to the public.

    -1
    #16 5 years ago

    No we don't need any more new people, you're the ones driving the price up. Supply/Demand :p

    Lots of good games out there for 1500-2500. Be patient...

    #17 5 years ago

    In 3 years, I've seen lot of great starter games for under $1000. Flash, volcano, big guns, devils dare, mousin around, space invaders, operation thunder... some needed some work, but others were perfectly good. No need to get a second mortgage.

    #18 5 years ago

    I'm new to the hobby myself and just bought a 8.5/10 Batman Forever at the top end of your range. Good, affordable games are out there. Just stay off fleabay and stick to pinside, your contacts as mentioned, and Craigslist.

    In fact, I don't ever see myself paying $5000+ for one game when I can have at least two for the same or even less. Also, look past Bally/Williams in favor of Gottlieb, Data East, Capcom and Sega. There are some great games from those manufactures and they are usually, more reasonably priced.

    #19 5 years ago
    Quoted from silver_spinner:

    calling it a "hobby" is not accurate.

    If you own games and you're more concerned about resale value than your high score, yeah, that ain't a hobby. That's an investment. If you play on location regularly, that's a hobby. Owning a game is not a requirement of the hobby.

    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from UvulaBob:

    I have to think that all of you either have six-figure incomes or started collecting machines years ago when they were falling off the backs of trucks.

    No six figure income here. I work part time for cheap. I bought my first machine two years ago, and have picked up a few more. I like to play them and fix them. It's lots of fun. How you ask? I wanted to make better use of my retirement account than let some bean counter play with it.

    #21 5 years ago

    The relative price of machines hasn't changed much for the most part. They were always expensive. $2000 was a lot of money in the 80s when that could get you a new machine.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from derek533:

    I'm new to the hobby myself and just bought a 8.5/10 Batman Forever at the top end of your range. Good, affordable games are out there. Just stay off fleabay and stick to pinside, your contacts as mentioned, and Craigslist.
    In fact, I don't ever see myself paying $5000+ for one game when I can have at least two for the same or even less. Also, look past Bally/Williams in favor of Gottlieb, Data East, Capcom and Sega. There are some great games from those manufactures and they are usually, more reasonably priced.

    I thought the same thing. My first big dollar pin that i had to have was a TFTC for $1300. I thought that was the most I'd ever pay for a pin. Little did I know that a few years later $7K would be a deal!?!?

    #23 5 years ago

    "Is this hobby worth it for new people?"

    It can make you rich or feed ya to the fishes....wait a minute...I think that is the ocean.
    Never mind.

    #24 5 years ago

    For some reason The Langoliers come to mind.

    #25 5 years ago

    If you REALLY want to enjoy the hobby... Start hunting Craigslist and stay off Pinside.

    #26 5 years ago

    There's great games out there for cheap. they don't have to be the highest end to be fun

    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/f14-tomcat-for-sale-1000

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from RawleyD:

    There's great games out there for cheap. they don't have to be the highest end to be fun
    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/f14-tomcat-for-sale-1000

    I was going to post exactly the same link. F14 for $1000 is a great pin for a good price.

    Plenty of great pins out there for $500-$1500.

    In the last few months, I've bought (from Pinsiders in the USA)

    Gorgar - mint $1100
    Future Spa - 800
    Firepower 2 - 500

    And about 5 more all at reasonable prices.

    Shop around, the deals are there.

    rd.

    #28 5 years ago

    I sell my blood and sperm... Not together of course.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from PEN:

    I sell my blood and sperm... Not together of course.

    Why not? I do!

    Makes a fun trip to the clinic.

    rd.

    #30 5 years ago

    Yep, starting a new hobby can be scary

    you see people who have been doing it for so long they talk in shorthand and know all the answers

    ignore that

    We all started knowing nothing (except LTG) we read the forums, we reed the how to sites, we attend shows

    Get an old game (one that works), and take of the playfield glass.
    and see what happens

    #31 5 years ago

    One thing about this hobby is that you can buy a game, play it, and sell it for about what you paid. What other hobby is this way? People tend to talk about prices like they're going to keep every game forever. It's not a pure money loss when you can simply sell it later and recoup your investment.

    #32 5 years ago

    Take the plunge!

    #33 5 years ago

    Yes, get 1 affordable game.
    Let all your friends and family know that you enjoy collecting pinball machines (more eyeballs helping)
    Join a club or league, and share your game with like-minded pinheads (networking)
    Support your local pinball show, take your game there (networking, and free play at the show for helping)
    Offer to tech for a location operator, at a highly discounted rate (free play, leads, and more networking)

    If you in looking into collecting, now is not the best time. If you are young, wait out this bubble on the expensive stuff. Search some information on baby boomer demographics.

    These are not an investment -- look at the jukes, and bingo machines. If you can't afford to loose all the money you put into these, then you should stay out of owning them.

    #34 5 years ago

    One thing to remember is all pinball machines are awesome. Just because it's rated low on Pinside, or people say it's shallow, or some people don't like it, it's still a pinball machine and it's fun - period. There's plenty of B/C list games out there for reasonable money - my favorite example is Jokerz. I picked one up in awesome shape for 900 bucks, it's a shallow, but fun and addicting System 11 with ramps, multiball, etc.

    My first pin was a Brunswick "Alive". For those that aren't familiar, it's a home model pinball that is completely shunned by all pinballers. I got it for 200 dollars and played the crap out of it. What a horrible game in relation to others, but still fun. I then upgraded to a Space Shuttle which I got for 500 dollars. Still a shallow game, but being able to play pinball without leaving the house was amazing, and again, still fun. Of course now these are going for 1500 bucks or so.

    In conclusion, all pinballs are awesome. It's easy to get caught up in the hype on forums like these, especially when you see other people's collections. A lot of these people have a lot of disposable income, but many have been in the hobby forever and have grown their collections.

    #35 5 years ago

    I'm young, relatively poor (I teach high school) and I have been able to put together a nice little collection in under two years just by purchasing games that were cheap fixing them and selling for profit later. Check craigslist often, negotiate, and take a few chances. It is a great hobby. Also if you are willing to drive and do the transporting of games that makes everything easier. I do work a second job mostly to fund my pinball hobby, but that is by choice. In addition to that I have met incredible people in this hobby, some of the nicest, most sincere, and helpful people I have ever encountered. Warning though it wont stop with one game.

    #36 5 years ago
    Quoted from centerflank:

    You should have seen the jackass trying to sell his TRON pro on Ebay for 13K or something moronic like that.

    I know! It is guys that just dump games on the market for such a low price that ruin it for the rest of us trying to sell our games for a good price. Since then I haven't gotten one hit on my nearly perfect f-14 (only has a pealing cab and lifting inserts) for $10K!

    #37 5 years ago
    Quoted from Tsskinne:

    I'm young, relatively poor (I teach high school) and I have been able to put together a nice little collection in under two years just by purchasing games that were cheap fixing them and selling for profit later. Check craigslist often, negotiate, and take a few chances. It is a great hobby. Also if you are willing to drive and do the transporting of games that makes everything easier. I do work a second job mostly to fund my pinball hobby, but that is by choice. In addition to that I have met incredible people in this hobby, some of the nicest, most sincere, and helpful people I have ever encountered. Warning though it wont stop with one game.

    well said.

    i think it goes something like. welcome to pinball, sorry about your wallet.

    #38 5 years ago

    The are deals to be had. I just picked up a working but dirty Cyclone for $500. Four of my six machines were purchased on a very tight budget. I paid $100 for my Gottlieb Pro Football, $150 for Chicago Coin Hula Hula and $250 for the Gottlieb Genie. Make sure you talk up your new hobby and that everyone you know is aware that you are into Pinball. Three of my machines were purchased via word of mouth from people who knew I had an interest and were looking to get rid of that old machine in the basement that the kids no longer play. You never know when one will come your way. The Cyclone was a call from a friend who's next door neighbors sister was moving and couldn't take the machine. Be patient in your search and don't give up on your pinball dreams.

    #39 5 years ago

    so what game are you thinking of getting??

    #40 5 years ago

    Seriously, just look around and you will find pins. Been collecting 4 years I have 8 in my collection now and none of them cost me more than $2000. You definitely don't have to be rich, just patient. Most of the guys that have a house full of a-list titles have been at this a while and have built their collection slowly. This is a great hobby and you will find that there are a lot of super people that are involved with it, even if we do bitch about each other a bit too much.

    #41 5 years ago

    I've been doing this just a little over a year. It has been extremely fun. I was fortunate enough to have cash to bank roll my pins but have played a number of $2k-ish pins which are every bit as fun as some of the more expensive stuff.

    I've enjoyed playing T2, DM, JD to name a few.

    #42 5 years ago

    get this and go from there. its not the end all for prices but its a very good reference point. a few outliers but all in all a fairly good place to see whats selling for what. http://user.xmission.com/~daina/pinlist_info.html

    #43 5 years ago

    One word... Classics. The classics market is much lower. And there you will find amazing games that are a blast to play for a lot less money. Harlem Globetrotters, Eight Ball, the old Bally games from the 70s and 80s. They are a blast to play, and fairly easy to work on. They are not as flashy as the latest games, but a couple of flippers and a steel ball usually equals fun. They are champaign fun on a beer budget.

    #44 5 years ago

    900 got me this before and after

    IMG_20130214_161657.jpg IMG_20130605_141201.jpg
    #45 5 years ago

    As someone who literally went through the same thing about a month ago, I'd say yes - it's absolutely worth it.

    The only thing is, you NEED to set a budget. Once you've established that, it seems like the folks here are more than willing to help give you some options and targets to hunt for. You can find great games at all price points.

    Virtual/arcade/video pinball is in no way a substitute for the real thing - it more augments the experience, giving you the opportunity to play tables you may never have the chance to otherwise.

    #46 5 years ago

    Here is the 400 buck bttf I am working on now
    Before and after. No lights on after pic still waiting on the board to come back

    1394732664946.jpg 20140406_131152.jpg
    #47 5 years ago

    Don't right off EM games cheep money easy to shop and good games to learn to work on.

    #48 5 years ago

    It's worth it... you have to be vigilant and patient.

    There are deals to be had, just keep your ear to the tracks!

    #49 5 years ago

    here is the 175 buck EM I bought it did have some wear but dang was doodle bug FUN!

    IMG_20130714_154026.jpg
    #50 5 years ago

    here is a home model AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

    IMG_20130212_144041.jpg
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