(Topic ID: 172477)

I've been a long time Stern Pinball fan, but I'm done with them.


By jar155

2 years ago



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    There are 767 posts in this topic. You are on page 14 of 16.
    11
    #651 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    Sterns quality is questionable at best and how many of those pins are going to be around 30 years from now?

    Quoted from zr11990:

    PF probably won't last over 4 years either.

    Well, my LotR is from the 2006 run ... so, that's 10 years. Looks and plays great! Still earning on route like a mofo as well.

    #652 2 years ago

    I've seen routed sterns have tons of dimples, shooter lanes gouged and have the most quality issues in terms of flipper assemblies needing
    replacement.

    #653 2 years ago

    I doubt that Stern is making games to have a 4-year life cycle. These things should last as long as any other pinball machine, especially with so many of them going into home environments. Imagine if they were only built to last for 4-5 years. We would have games crumbling by the thousands within the next 2-3 years and Stern would be finished. Nobody would buy a thing from them going forward. Now, they can be shortsighted in many ways, but they wouldn't go out and essentially commit company suicide for such a short-lived profit scheme.

    #654 2 years ago

    The earlier games seemed better built and LOTR especially for some reason, or at least from what I have seen. I think that is the exception, not the norm.

    Quoted from smokedog:

    Well, my LotR is from the 2006 run ... so, that's 10 years. Looks and plays great! Still earning on route like a mofo as well.

    -2
    #655 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The quality of the Williams Bally pinball games really set the standard as far as I am concerned. Some are over thirty years old and still looking and playing great. Sterns quality is questionable at best and how many of those pins are going to be around 30 years from now?

    The less survivors there are the more the demand for new product. Just sayin'

    #656 2 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    The less survivors there are the more the demand for new product. Just sayin'

    Well, if you can't sell off your old games to buy new ones, money dries up fairly quickly.

    #657 2 years ago

    Most companies don't purposely build a bad product to get you to buy another one, there are of course some exceptions (like HP putting code into the ink cartridges to give them an expiration date so you can't keep refilling it with ink, or phone companies purposely updating the OS to demand more CPU cycles). Products are built with a purpose, and back in the day it was to sell a product to make money on route, then it trashed (or stored in a warehouse in case they wanted to rotate).

    Nobody thought about nostalgia back then, and for the most part there weren't home NIB buyers because who needs to buy a pinball machine when you can play it in public. If you average out all of the countries that buy pinball, it averages out to about a 50/50 split (italy is about 95% route, 5% home buyer).

    The market has changed, pinball needs to last. It's why companies like Spooky Pinball invest R&D into clearcoats that can protect a playfield from a million hits of a steel ball without dimpling.

    #658 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    t's why companies like Spooky Pinball invest R&D into clearcoats that can protect a playfield from a million hits of a steel ball without dimpling.

    Spooky's playfields don't dimple? I never knew that. That's pretty cool.

    #659 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    Most companies don't purposely build a bad product to get you to buy another one, there are of course some exceptions (like HP putting code into the ink cartridges to give them an expiration date so you can't keep refilling it with ink, or phone companies purposely updating the OS to demand more CPU cycles). Products are built with a purpose, and back in the day it was to sell a product to make money on route, then it trashed (or stored in a warehouse in case they wanted to rotate).
    Nobody thought about nostalgia back then, and for the most part there weren't home NIB buyers because who needs to buy a pinball machine when you can play it in public. If you average out all of the countries that buy pinball, it averages out to about a 50/50 split (italy is about 95% route, 5% home buyer).
    The market has changed, pinball needs to last. It's why companies like Spooky Pinball invest R&D into clearcoats that can protect a playfield from a million hits of a steel ball without dimpling.

    Spooky makes good playfields, no doubt about that but they still dimple. My AMH had dimples after a few plays.

    #660 2 years ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    Spooky's playfields don't dimple? I never knew that. That's pretty cool.

    It would indeed be very cool, if only it were true.

    #661 2 years ago

    I would like to see someone else set up this test on JJP, Stern, and Heighway machines to see how it compares to Spooky's results: https://www.facebook.com/SpookyPinball/videos/1088938331167393/

    #662 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    It's why companies like Spooky Pinball invest R&D into clearcoats that can protect a playfield from a million hits of a steel ball without dimpling.

    "No cracks, no chips, all ink still intact." Still plenty of dimples, though, as can be clearly seen from the video.

    That is expected, though, since the hardness of a steel ball bearing is ALWAYS greater than the hardness of a plywood pinball playfield. In Charlie's own words, "Dimples are gonna happen no matter what, but this looks far better than anything we've seen anywhere. Ever."

    Spooky's R&D and testing program is typical of a forward-thinking company focused on building quality products (i.e., high MTBF). Charlie and KT are in this for the long term.

    #663 2 years ago
    Quoted from Razorbak86:

    That is expected, though, since the hardness of a steel ball bearing is ALWAYS greater than the hardness of a plywood pinball playfield. In Charlie's own words, "Dimples are gonna happen no matter what, but this looks far better than anything we've seen anywhere. Ever."

    Exactly.

    You can see the dimples in the video that jar155 linked to. In fact you don't even have to click the start button on the video, you can see them in the still frame capture.

    #664 2 years ago

    I have purchase all all of the recent Sterns since 2001. Sold several but retained about 34. A much better experience then
    when I kept all BW , De , ect. Service is great.

    #665 2 years ago

    service-with-a-smile1 (resized).png

    #666 2 years ago
    Quoted from jgentry:

    Spooky makes good playfields, no doubt about that but they still dimple. My AMH had dimples after a few plays.

    all AMH playfields dimple (including mine). But shortly after that they posted a video on facebook with a lifetest running that doesn't dimple (I don't know if they used that same process on RZ or not). Anyone that wants to buy a replacement AMH playfield with the new coating can do so.

    #667 2 years ago

    AMH also doesn't have the airballs and the ball bouncing around as much as Stern games do. the more the ball flies around off the playfield, the more dimples you get sooner. the clear isn't going to protect the playfield from dimples. Wood and steel ball will dimple the field. It's the choices in the layers of wood that determines how hard it is to dimple. Harder wood on the top layer before printing, will take more to dimple than a softer wood. Clear cannot affect this in any way.

    #668 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The quality of the Williams Bally pinball games really set the standard as far as I am concerned. Some are over thirty years old and still looking and playing great. Sterns quality is questionable at best and how many of those pins are going to be around 30 years from now?

    I know my Stern pins that have been taken care of, look and play like they just came out of the box. My Potc is 10-11 years old and has not one mechanical issue and it looks 99.9% new. I can't imagine what you think will happen to that pin in another 20 years that hasn't already happend in the past 10 years.

    Someone had a IJ4 with 100K plays it still looks good. The OP of that thread is frozen so I can't get any more info.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-stern-indiana-jones-just-turned-100000-plays-and-look-at-it

    #669 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The earlier games seemed better built and LOTR especially for some reason, or at least from what I have seen. I think that is the exception, not the norm.

    very early to say but my Tron, AcDc, IM, TWD, Met, ST (etc..) have had very minimal wear. I think the shooter lain is not as robust as it used to be. But overall Stern pins seem to me to be reliable at least in my home environment.

    All that said, I am still done with buying any Stern pin until the code is complete.

    #670 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    All that said, I am still done with buying any Stern pin until the code is complete.

    Me too, it would be hard if it was a dream theme but then who cares cause I would be keeping it anyway, I wish I had waited with TWD, buying a pre a year or so after release would have been a much better choice than an LE at launch, live and learn.

    #671 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    very early to say but my Tron, AcDc, IM, TWD, Met, ST (etc..) have had very minimal wear. I think the shooter lain is not as robust as it used to be. But overall Stern pins seem to me to be reliable at least in my home environment.
    All that said, I am still done with buying any Stern pin until the code is complete.

    They were, but they switched pf vendors and recent quality is very questionable.

    #672 2 years ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    Me too, it would be hard if it was a dream theme but then who cares cause I would be keeping it anyway, I wish I had waited with TWD, buying a pre a year or so after release would have been a much better choice than an LE at launch, live and learn.

    Didn't they say that there would be no premium initially?

    #673 2 years ago

    they did...

    #674 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    Didn't they say that there would be no premium initially?

    exactly, wait a year or more and sometimes other version come out, the fixes are done, the code is complete, someone else has modded and you get a great pin for basically the same money or less.

    11
    #675 2 years ago

    I sat and listened to Gary Stern speak at Free Play Florida last weekend. It is obvious, by what he said, that is number one concern his operators and growing the hobby by placing more pinball machines on location. His view toward home users can be seen by the fact that Stern is continuing to redesign the non-coin op watered down pinball machine.

    I also sat and listened to Jersey Jack speak the same day. His attitude and presentation was geared toward the home collector/pinball enthusiast. That being said he was very happy to promote the fact that WOZ was number one in Replay.

    I currently have 7 Stern games in my collection 5 of which were NIB purchases. In the past 10 or so years I have probably purchased 15-20 NIB Stern pinball machines. My most recent was GBLE. I have no plans to purchase NIB Stern pinball machines in the future at this point. The demonstrated lack of interest by Stern in the home collector, quality, and crazy price increases are sidelining me at this point. It is not an affordability issue, as I did put a deposit in on a Dialed In, but rather I am making the point to Stern the only way I know how. I realize this will likely not impact them one bit, but, as has been repeated time and time again, if a large number of us do this it will get their attention.

    I'm not out of collecting pinball machines. I intend to keep most or all of my current Stern lineup and have bought five games in the last month. Four Bally/Williams and one Data East.

    #676 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinmaniac:

    I sat and listened to Gary Stern speak at Free Play Florida last weekend. It is obvious, by what he said, that is number one concern is operators and growing the hobby by placing more pinball machines on location. His view toward home users can be seen by the fact that Stern is continuing to redesign the non-coin op watered down pinball machine.

    I also sat and listened to Jersey Jack speak the same day. His attitude and presentation was geared toward the home collector/pinball enthusiast. That being said he was very happy to promote the fact that WOZ was number one in Replay.

    Gary is dreaming and Jack is right in this case.

    #677 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    Didn't they say that there would be no (TWD) premium initially?

    Correct. Unlike previous titles, they initially only announced the LE and the pro. That's the only reason I pre-ordered an LE. I'm normally a premium buyer, but it was my dream theme, and I didn't want to miss out. They got my ass, but I can assure you they won't fool me twice.

    #678 2 years ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    They got my ass, but I can assure you they won't fool me twice.

    That pin was the turning point for me as well, STLE even though the code wasn't complete looked like an LE and TWD just disappointed me first in cosmetics then the difference in gameplay from initial code to a year later while great took too long, I didn't care that they announced a Pre version but I wouldn't buy a Stern now for at least a year after release.

    #679 2 years ago

    Let's not forget..... They released Batman 66 and had it at an Expo in a Non - Playable state. Due to what? No Code! This is a huge problem
    for Stern.

    #680 2 years ago

    Yet some buyers are paying more than 3x the cost of a Stern pro for the BM66 SLE which for all we know could be another TF or TAV when all is said and done. Crazy.

    P.T. Barnum would be proud.

    #681 2 years ago
    Quoted from Barakawins1:

    Let's not forget..... They released Batman 66 and had it at an Expo in a Non - Playable state. Due to what? No Code! This is a huge problem
    for Stern.

    They haven't "released" BM66. It has only been "revealed". Big difference.

    #682 2 years ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    Gary is dreaming and Jack is right in this case.

    Their history and the machines they make are a big driver. Gary has been in business with operators for years and years, and that is the bulk of his business. He needs to make/sell machines that work economically for those businesses. The LE/home collector is the cherry on top. Jack went at it differently, they wanted to create a very high end machine, that they had to understand would have less appeal to an operator than a less expensive machine that they can get their return on faster. While WoZ and TH are amazing machines, and could do well on location, can they do twice as well as a stern pro?, doubtful.

    We have seen a trend with Stern, some games are designed to a be deep and feature rich (GB, AC/DC), others are designed to be good on route, less stuff that can break and go wrong, quicker return on investment for op, (e.g. WWE). Them trying to achieve both on all machines is not realistic or smart. Obviously success of a machine, out of the gate, seems to influence how much additional time is spent on software after the release (and also seems to sometimes determine if a premium or VE will be made or not).

    #683 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    Well, if you can't sell off your old games to buy new ones, money dries up fairly quickly.

    You should have already ROI'd through coin drop.

    #684 2 years ago
    Quoted from rosh:

    We have seen a trend with Stern, some games are designed to a be deep and feature rich (GB, AC/DC), others are designed to be good on route, less stuff that can break and go wrong, quicker return on investment for op, (e.g. WWE). Them trying to achieve both on all machines is not realistic or smart. Obviously success of a machine, out of the gate, seems to influence how much additional time is spent on software after the release (and also seems to sometimes determine if a premium or VE will be made or not).

    You don't really think stern is designing games thinking "well this one will sell like crap to home buyers but will do good on route. We can make a good home buyer pin next time." You use WWE as an example when it was a complete failure for both home sales and route sales. That game came out because stern had a license fall through, not because they were trying to make a good featureless route game.

    If they are not trying to make feature rich deep games that are also durable then they need to go ahead and board up the doors now. Take the profit and run because they are going to lose all of it fairly quickly.

    #685 2 years ago
    Quoted from jgentry:

    You don't really think stern is designing games thinking "well this one will sell like crap to home buyers but will do good on route.

    Yes, I do. They probably don't say 'sell like crap', but 'will be less appealing' and accordingly will be developed differently as far as investment made. Again, the home market is not their number one priority in decision making.

    Do you really thing success on route is based on a game's depth? I was at an arcade this weekend, they had five pins, including a GB, that I saw in constant play, but clearly by people who had little clue about pinball, rules, etc. Those games are only generating money if they are up and running, and the more complex a game is, the less likely that is the case on location, the depth of the game is certainly not the most important thing in that environment.

    The home market is only going to buy so many games, I think Gary and team are smart enough to know that and invest the resources on each game accordingly. Will they typically have an LE for those collector types who will buy regardless, sure, why would they not, and we all know sometimes the cost difference is not justified based on the game differences. Again, they pick and choose were to put the resources based on how and to whom, they think a pin will sell.

    #686 2 years ago
    Quoted from Razorbak86:

    They haven't "released" BM66. It has only been "revealed". Big difference.

    Then people are buying revealed pins at $15k. Very wisely put!

    #687 2 years ago
    Quoted from Razorbak86:

    They haven't "released" BM66. It has only been "revealed". Big difference.

    ..... Has Dialed In been "revealed" or "released" at this point?

    Funny, they had a shitload of DI's that were fully playable and won't be released until next year sometime, and BM66 sat there collecting dust when it's supposed to be shipping this month.

    Go figure

    #688 2 years ago
    Quoted from rosh:

    Yes, I do. They probably don't say 'sell like crap', but 'will be less appealing' and accordingly will be developed differently as far as investment made. Again, the home market is not their number one priority in decision making.
    Do you really thing success on route is based on a game's depth? I was at an arcade this weekend, they had five pins, including a GB, that I saw in constant play, but clearly by people who had little clue about pinball, rules, etc. Those games are only generating money if they are up and running, and the more complex a game is, the less likely that is the case on location, the depth of the game is certainly not the most important thing in that environment.
    The home market is only going to buy so many games, I think Gary and team are smart enough to know that and invest the resources on each game accordingly. Will they typically have an LE for those collector types who will buy regardless, sure, why would they not, and we all know sometimes the cost difference is not justified based on the game differences. Again, they pick and choose were to put the resources based on how and to whom, they think a pin will sell.

    Perhaps you should ask the designer of WWE what happened. He has been pretty open about the fact that he had an very short time to get the game designed and out because he had spent most of his development time on a license that fell through and he had to start from scratch.

    Gary can keep blabbing the same nonsense but he and stern knows good and well that home market sales passed route sales long ago. They are trying to make games like AC/DC, MET, ST, etc that appeal to both markets. Why would they want to make crappy games that sell poorly. You can make a game that is both fun to shoot for a novice but is also deep and compelling for home play. I don't understand the thought at all that they can't and shouldn't be both.

    #689 2 years ago

    I cant imagine going to a show to look (not play) at a game and thinking.....Im gonna pay $15,000 for it. If Stern wanted to show that they are trying to address the concerns of their customers, they should have at least had the game playing even if it was with an immature code. To each their own but how can anyone really feel they can like a game that they have not played? The artwork is nice, real nice but your not playing the artwork.

    -2
    #690 2 years ago
    Quoted from kpg:

    ..... Has Dialed In been "revealed" or "released" at this point?

    Dialed In has only been revealed. It has not yet been released.

    #691 2 years ago
    Quoted from Razorbak86:

    Dialed In has only been revealed. It has not yet been released.

    That was my point. Obviously. Fully playable and only revealed, just like BM66.. except BM66 wasn't playable.......

    #692 2 years ago
    Quoted from jgentry:

    Why would they want to make crappy games that sell poorly.

    I never said 'make crappy games', just that some games are going to get more resources and depth based on whom they believe the market it is and how well it will sell. if you think every game is going to be as deep and complex as LOTR or AC/DC you are kidding yourself.

    They don't ever want to make "crappy games", but they know not every game has the potential to be a big seller and you allocate resources accordingly.

    #693 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinmaniac:

    I sat and listened to Gary Stern speak at Free Play Florida last weekend. It is obvious, by what he said, that is number one concern his operators and growing the hobby by placing more pinball machines on location. His view toward home users can be seen by the fact that Stern is continuing to redesign the non-coin op watered down pinball machine.
    I also sat and listened to Jersey Jack speak the same day. His attitude and presentation was geared toward the home collector/pinball enthusiast. That being said he was very happy to promote the fact that WOZ was number one in Replay.
    I currently have 7 Stern games in my collection 5 of which were NIB purchases. In the past 10 or so years I have probably purchased 15-20 NIB Stern pinball machines. My most recent was GBLE. I have no plans to purchase NIB Stern pinball machines in the future at this point. The demonstrated lack of interest by Stern in the home collector, quality, and crazy price increases are sidelining me at this point. It is not an affordability issue, as I did put a deposit in on a Dialed In, but rather I am making the point to Stern the only way I know how. I realize this will likely not impact them one bit, but, as has been repeated time and time again, if a large number of us do this it will get their attention.
    I'm not out of collecting pinball machines. I intend to keep most or all of my current Stern lineup and have bought five games in the last month. Four Bally/Williams and one Data East.

    I have to completely disagree with your assumptions and assessment. Go listen to Coast 2 Coast pinball episode 221. George Gomez says 70% of Stern's business in the US is home collector and that Stern is completely re-orienting itself to cater to the home collector....not in the non-coinop watered down kind of way. Take whatever you thought Gary was trying to say and listen to Gomez and look at the evidence.

    Stern is not trying to make a machine that will appeal primarily to OPs. If they are, they're even bigger idiots than most of us are currently giving them credit for. They are manufacturing and pricing their games for all of us knuckleheads...and apparently its beginning to backfire, because they have crossed a price threshold that makes a ton of collectors – wealthy or meager – uncomfortable and their attitude toward the collector world has been crap. There's also that little issue of ABYSMAL quality control. Stern could be setting the pinball world on fire right now...but its greed and pompous attitude is make a lot of us sick.

    #694 2 years ago

    My point about "Gary primarily focusing on getting pins on route" might have been his mentality 5 yrs ago but it can't be today

    Sure it's a concern but pins on location are a dying breed. They just are.

    It might work in huge traffic locations like NYC or Las Vegas, but what small business operator is going to sacrifice much higher margin games to get lower margin and much higher maintenance cost and time for pinball machines just to make the public happy?

    The labor of love only goes so far and those guys are to be cherished!!

    #695 2 years ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    but what small business operator is going to sacrifice much higher margin games to get lower margin and much higher maintenance cost and time for pinball machines just to make the public happy?

    #696 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    The earlier games seemed better built and LOTR especially for some reason, or at least from what I have seen. I think that is the exception, not the norm.

    I find late period Sterns just fine my AC/DC has over 2000 games and is in fine shape one game made during the move is wear the issues are

    IMG_0726 (resized).jpg

    IMG_0707 (resized).jpg

    IMG_0709 (resized).jpg

    IMG_0716 (resized).jpg

    #697 2 years ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    I have to completely disagree with your assumptions and assessment. Go listen to Coast 2 Coast pinball episode 221. George Gomez says 70% of Stern's business in the US is home collector and that Stern is completely re-orienting itself to cater to the home collector....not in the non-coinop watered down kind of way. Take whatever you thought Gary was trying to say and listen to Gomez and look at the evidence.
    Stern is not trying to make a machine that will appeal primarily to OPs. If they are, they're even bigger idiots than most of us are currently giving them credit for. They are manufacturing and pricing their games for all of us knuckleheads...and apparently its beginning to backfire, because they have crossed a price threshold that makes a ton of collectors – wealthy or meager – uncomfortable and their attitude toward the collector world has been crap. There's also that little issue of ABYSMAL quality control. Stern could be setting the pinball world on fire right now...but its greed and pompous attitude is make a lot of us sick.

    Disagree all you want. I sat and listened to Gary for an hour. He couldn't gush enough about barcades and the millennials who are discovering and playing pinball there.

    Don't have any interest in listening to a podcast. I believe you that George said that; however, with Gary saying completely the opposite including and I quote "operators are more of our business than collectors" the company is putting out mixed messages.

    That being said I do agree with your last sentence.

    #698 2 years ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    Sure it's a concern but pins on location are a dying breed. They just are.

    They might not be in every laundromat and convenience store nowadays, but there seems to be new places to play pinball popping up everywhere - not just NYC & LV. Pinballmap is constantly updating. They just aren't a dying breed.

    #699 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinmaniac:

    Disagree all you want. I sat and listened to Gary for an hour. He couldn't gush enough about barcades and the millennials who are discovering and playing pinball there.
    Don't have any interest in listening to a podcast. I believe you that George said that; however, with Gary saying completely the opposite including and I quote "operators are more of our business than collectors" the company is putting out mixed messages.
    That being said I do agree with your last sentence.

    Don't confuse 'focus' with 'actual volume'. They can be selling more units to home, but still heavily focused on Ops. Gary will tell you till he's blue in the face that without location pinball, pinball dies and becomes antiques because there is no new blood coming into the hobby. He'll tell you that the home buyers now are because of their association with playing pinball in the past. So Gary isn't necessarily contradicting George.. he can be talking about 'what is most important' because he's talking about the moves to keep the hobby sustainable vs simply 'what is our biggest segment right now'

    We all have learned to listen to Gary with a very critical ear.. because he almost always has a message he's trying to deliver.. not necessarily just talking factual.

    #700 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinmaniac:

    Disagree all you want. I sat and listened to Gary for an hour. He couldn't gush enough about barcades and the millennials who are discovering and playing pinball there.
    Don't have any interest in listening to a podcast. I believe you that George said that; however, with Gary saying completely the opposite including and I quote "operators are more of our business than collectors" the company is putting out mixed messages.
    That being said I do agree with your last sentence.

    Gary said in this country we may be more then half not commercial, not operators. Anyone can hear the section in the 2nd part of the freeplay video at the 3:55 mark.

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    From: $ 175.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 27.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    From: $ 175.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 154.00
    Cabinet - Toppers
    Id Rather Play Pinball
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