I've been in on one pre-order; BBB. I remember walking up to Gene's booth at the Expo and he had a BBB on paid play for charity along with a stack of BBB glossy prints for perusal. Next to the game was a clipboard and a sign up sheet; Illinois Pinball would be producing a short run of the game. At first there wasn't much hype, more of a lark, but what the hell, what if it does get produced?. I put a few 'bucks' in the game and initially liked the game play; I signed up, why not.
Then the letter came requesting payment schedule along with initial payment,....., in or out? I paid up and crossed my fingers. Total outlay: $4500.00.
Then the wait,......, and waiting,........., etc. I had a chance to visit the factory late in the process and saw the production line, parts, playfields, tooling, and met the people actually doing the assembly. It was a very large operation and many bright people were involved; starting with Kerry Stair, who was fundamental in the initial process.
Then the rumors and banter on the pinball newsgroups, bets placed on production dates or whether it would ever be produced aka 'when pigs fly' etc. It was difficult at times but I never thought of pulling out; Gene did have all the parts from Capcom and all the necessary tooling.
Approximately three years later I picked up the game and had options for extra parts, playfields, plastics, and shot glasses; it was a joyous occasion In retrospect, I should have purchased a few playfields.
That said, the market has changed dramatically since then. P-ROC and other advancing technologies have allowed innovation, and disruption, like never before; I love it! However, prices have climbed significantly and it's not uncommon to see price points nearing $10,000 per game, 'gulp'. Back in 2005-2006 I had an opportunity to purchase AFM and MB for $6000,...., for the pair; not anymore.
I have come to appreciate what it is that I already have. This explosion of new games and innovation is fantastic and I commend all involved in their expertise, passion, and work ethic. However, I don't have the energy and 'head-space' to go through another 3-4 year stint of speculation, supposition, and 'gut rot' waiting for the coveted item to arrive; let alone a spare $10k burning a hole in my pocket. For those that do, I tip my BBB shot glass to you.
Everyone have a great day!