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(Topic ID: 115464)

Journey from a Stern Hater to a Stern Lover... Anyone else?


By 27dnast

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 5 years ago by VolunteerPin
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    21
    #1 5 years ago

    When I first dove into the collecting side of the pinball world, I was all about WMS/Bally...WMS/Bally...WMS/Bally. That was the gold standard and those were the games I targeted. It was almost like I had blinders on.

    The Stern "feel" just didn't resonate with me. But somewhere along the way that changed and I began to appreciate the modern day "rock of the pinball manufacturing industry." And now I totally love em. I'm all for Stern. It has definitely been a flip-flop experience.

    My first turn-the-corner buy was AC/DC prem, and the game is just so good and so fresh with its game/player experience that I really began to see Sterns in a whole new light (specifically Sterns from about 2009 onward). There's something about their playability and fun factor. They have really nailed. I find myself gravitating toward them just for the gameplay experience.

    Anyone find themselves flipping? I'm curious. Perhaps it was total naivety on my part...or ignorance...but it sure feels good to embrace what Stern has done.

    11
    #2 5 years ago

    I like a few sterns, but they still lack that "feel."

    #3 5 years ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    When I first dove into the collecting side of the pinball world, I was all about WMS/Bally...WMS/Bally...WMS/Bally. That was the gold standard and those were the games I targeted. It was almost like I had blinders on.
    The Stern "feel" just didn't resonate with me. But somewhere along the way that changed and I began to appreciate the modern day "rock of the pinball manufacturing industry." And now I totally love em. I'm all for Stern. It has definitely been a flip-flop experience.
    My first turn-the-corner buy was AC/DC prem, and the game is just so good and so fresh with its game/player experience that I really began to see Sterns in a whole new light (specifically Sterns from about 2009 onward). There's something about their playability and fun factor. They have really nailed. I find myself gravitating toward them just for the gameplay experience.
    Anyone find themselves flipping? I'm curious. Perhaps it was total naivety on my part...or ignorance...but it sure feels good to embrace what Stern has done.

    Your story is a carbon copy of mine. Right down to AC/DC as first purchase.

    #4 5 years ago

    I used to hate sterns. I thought they were cheap under built junk. Then one day I realized that the the games are just superior to the old WMS/Bally games. I enjoy most pinball and can appreciate all eras, but the rules and snappiness of the Sterns makes them my favorite. They're built just right vs overbuilt. It was TRON that won me over personally. I'll never forget the first time I heard that bass note starting lightcycle multiball WHHHHUUUUMMMMM.
    Amazing.

    #5 5 years ago

    I've recently come around to learn that early Sterns from 1980-1981 have great feel -- so much so, that I abandoned my personal requirement to have "multiball" in a game that I own. Now, I'm wishing I didn't have so many system 11s, and instead, a few more old school Sterns.
    -mof

    #6 5 years ago

    Nope

    #7 5 years ago

    Me either.

    #8 5 years ago

    Actually, if I had any movement at all...it's a appreciation of some of the Data East pins.

    #9 5 years ago

    Everything in moderation.

    I know people with nothing but modern Sterns and I find the lack of variety a bit stale. I much prefer a more varied collection. That also means not all WPC games!

    #10 5 years ago

    Look at my history owned just about all of the b/w pins at some point and time some multiple times now I'm not looking back gonna be nib sterns or bust pretty much from here on out for me !!
    Just picked up a huo avatar with 150 plays and am loving it not the best theme but great game play !!!!Also nib iron man and walking dead premium thinking about mustang premium as well
    You can see the trend

    image.jpg
    #11 5 years ago

    I'm going to say "it depends."

    I was all Stern for a while. Tron. Iron Man. But then I got into older machines. And a while Tron was my only Stern. The last 6 months or so that's been changing.
    I absolutely LOVE to work on B/W machines. I absolutely LOVE how they feel.
    But with Sterns...I seem to enjoy playing them more. Yeah, they feel cheaper to me.
    And the rulesets are too deep for me personally (hated AC/DC for that reason)
    I don't think Sterns will ever create a gorgeous machine like B/W. Theatre of Magic is just an awesome thing to look at. Can't compare to Sterns.

    But I will also add that Sterns are a lot newer and need a lot less maintenance. Every Stern I have I can walk up to and play.

    But I'm settling into a happy mix I think.

    #12 5 years ago

    Stern still can't put out games any better than the stuff B/W was putting out 20-25 years ago. Most are much worse.

    #13 5 years ago

    I don't know about loving Stern, but I sure love my LOTR.

    #14 5 years ago

    The older I get, the more I believe in, "Lead by example."
    I'll be open to taking any game manufacturer seriously that takes itself seriously.
    This would include having the self-respect to:

    1. Always release a game to market with finished code. (notice I didn't say "perfect")
    -mof

    #15 5 years ago

    I used to be a B/W snob for a long time. Then I bought a Galaxy...damn it was so different and fun! Now I have a Meteor, Cheetah and Star Gazer as well. Not sure what took me so long...

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    I used to be a B/W snob for a long time. Then I bought a Galaxy...damn it was so different and fun! Now I have a Meteor, Cheetah and Star Gazer as well. Not sure what took me so long...

    Nice to see your appreciation of the older stuff vs new

    #17 5 years ago

    B/W stopped making games years ago and Stern is still making them. So if you want something new and different Stern provides that. I have not tired of any of my B/W games enough to replace them yet. Except for a couple that are already gone.

    #18 5 years ago

    It's a no for me.

    If anything I'm traveling back in time. This was the year I finally drank the EM kool-aid.

    #19 5 years ago

    I have owned many major B/W pins tz IJ cftbl totan STTNG t2 and bop

    Thought I'd give Stern a try bought potc and still own that, all my B/W have left replaced by newer Stern.

    I'm a condition snob meaning if I have a 20 year old game, that was on location I could see some damage, fade or wear so I'd rather have a 15 -20 year newer game with minimal wear. Plus I don't fix my own pins so I prefer the newer less trouble of Stern. My potc has had zero problems in 8 years and looks like it just came out of the box.

    Maybe I'll get a remake or find some minty older games but so far I'm rocking all Stern now.

    image-518.jpg

    #20 5 years ago

    I'm in reverse(well technically), still love Sterns but growing to hate them more and more the more they neglect their customers and code on newer games. Plus the prices keep going up, needs to stop or they deliver better and more complete products or the prices they want.

    #21 5 years ago

    It is the same designers and the some of the same programmers that worked at WMS/Bally still making great games today. We are so lucky to have them still making them.

    No the art work is not the same but they have more options will code than they did before.
    They are more dependable.

    I like the 90’s games and I like the same designers making games today.
    Yes my small collection has moved to the newer games.

    20
    #22 5 years ago

    I don't care when it was made, by whom, who designed it, who did the art package, the music or when the game came out. IF the deck is hot. I want to play it!

    #23 5 years ago

    I like Sterns a lot and a few of them I'd consider among my all time favorite machines (LOTR, SM, ACDC, TSPP), but I also feel that a lot of them are lacking in originality and many of them feel like clones of each in terms of layout/features. I think WPC were much more unique in layout/toys/feature set. Stern is all about bash toys, magnets, fan layouts, and 3 pop bumper cluster layouts. Some WPC games didn't have pop bumpers at all and had way more ingenius toys and layouts.

    Where Stern really shines is in gameplay rules. I really think that the above Stern games I mentioned have code far exceeding what we saw on 90's WPC titles.

    Both manufacturer's are great but I'd much rather prefer to have a diverse line-up with only 1-2 Sterns mixed in. A collection of all Stern games would get boring for me fast!

    #24 5 years ago

    I'm still on the fence myself.

    #25 5 years ago

    I was never a Stern hater, but I've definitely grown to appreciate their pins more over the years. The last few games I've bought have all been Sterns.

    #26 5 years ago

    I am a universal supporter. Stern has games I really enjoy and others that are horrible. Same goes for Bally/Williams. As for the other manufacturers out there, I don't really consider those worthy of commenting on. Basically there are a few titles here or there that those companies have done that are great titles, but the majority of them are not for me. I used to only enjoy bally/Williams and would likely still be that way today if it wasn't for having locations. When I got locations, I decided to give some new sterns a try as I could justify it as a company expense. I am happy I did as I do enjoy most of the new stern titles.

    #27 5 years ago

    Now have 85% sterns, and another being shipped in a month!

    #28 5 years ago

    I like them all! If it is pinball, I want to play it. I started on Classic Bally games. Went to 90's Williams. Then added some Stern games. Finally I started adding EM games. NIB, HUO, Routed, Beaters, they are all distinctive and have their own feel. But they are all good. The best part is always having a game that strikes my mood.

    I'm glad that you decided to give Stern games a try. That are very good games. I am always of the opinion that nobody should limit themselves to only one style of game. The only downside I have ever seen is that sometimes when I look down a line of pins at my house they can look a bit goofy. At times I have had a Wedgehead, an old SS, and 90's Williams, a Stern, and WOZ all in a line, and nothing matched up. But that is a minor issue compared to the fun they all provide.

    11
    #29 5 years ago

    Choose a game, not a brand.
    It's like going to the movies, only see Sony Picture's moves and saying others are crap.
    It's kind of ridiculous...

    #30 5 years ago

    Its called, not being ignorant. Welcome to the open minded world!

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

    IF the deck is hot. I want to play it!

    This.
    With the disclaimer of not buying until you have had the chance to play a few games on it first and are satisfied with the state of the code.

    #32 5 years ago

    Still haven't found a Stern that has the solid feel and play of a WMS/Bally. They all still feel cheap to me. So no, I haven't changed my opinion on them.

    Through time, I have found a much greater appreciation for the later GTL's though.

    #33 5 years ago

    I never hated Sterns, but I did enter the hobby thinking they were cheap and inferior. Buying Tron NIB won me over and now they're all I own.

    The 90s W/B are truly great. I don't think Stern will ever match the originality, playfield complexity, charm, humor, artwork, etc that came from this era. However, the amount of time and searching and patience and money it takes to locate and acquire nice examples of these classics (or locate, acquire and restore decent examples) is ample. And then you've got constant maintenance and repairs to tend with.

    Sterns may not have that "Golden Era charm", but they're more dependable, deeper, faster, more intense, more addictive, better sounding, and you can easily pick them up in new or like-new condition. For me, the pros outweigh the cons.

    Repairing, restoring, part shopping and pin hunting has it's allures, but I'd rather just play.

    #34 5 years ago
    Quoted from FrankJ:

    Still haven't found a Stern that has the solid feel and play of a WMS/Bally. They all still feel cheap to me. So no, I haven't changed my opinion on them.
    Through time, I have found a much greater appreciation for the later GTL's though.

    I used to feel the same way. Have you considered, if the tables were turned and the bally Williams were the games being made now, would you think that the b/w were too heavy and overbuilt? I think people get use to one thing and if something comes along that is different, they can't get over it.

    #35 5 years ago

    I like ALL pinball but given the choice of ownership, Sterns continue to be on the bottom of the list.

    As my tastes continue to grow I find I like GTB games more than most and would often prefer an obscure D title to most that I can fix up and appreciate rather than what I find to be cheap and very similar feel of most Sterns. I find that most new Sterns games offer very little variety in overall gameplay or general equation of what they think 'makes' a pinball. In conjunction I disliek the majority of the Stern themes.

    If anything I would say I am the opposite and the more I work on pins and fix them up, the more I appreciate some of the ingenuity of older games and am disappoint in how little Stern has pushed the limits to make something novel.

    I will say that the new hardware and very interesting design of WWE seems to be a huge leap forward and I am more excited about that game (design and layout) then pretty much every other Stern.

    #36 5 years ago

    I will say this...

    I've played more Sterns this year than last, and I've upgraded my appreciation of modern Sterns a few notches. I also discovered TSPP and FG and realized that a few of the early 2000's titles are very good as well.

    1.
    When I played a HUO Star Trek LE at a friend's home last year, I felt STLE had possibly the best look/feel of any game I had ever played before. I'm not speaking about the code here, I'm just saying Stern has incredible potential from a look/feel perspective, and I think they've created a few hits with Star Trek and Metallica. I just wish they'd bring that level of attention to ALL their games since they've only got 2 bullets to fire per year…

    2.
    The art package on Metallica is breathtaking. The yellows and purples feel so good. While I attribute this home run art package to Dirty Donny, Stern had the smarts to hire a good artist and make something unique and special. My dream would be for Stern to do this with *every* title and ditch the incredibly lazy photoshopping of movie/band/TV show art all over a package and having the balls to call that "art." They were willing to create new art for Star Trek AND Metallica. So it *is* possible to create art for known licensed themes. I just wish they'd do it for EVERY title, not just 2 games in recent years.

    -mof

    #37 5 years ago

    I'm done with B/W and older DE,Sega etc. Just can't compare to the speed and sound, gameplay and lighting of the newer Sterns. Not saying those classics aren't good but for me feel dated. JMO mind you so please no need to go crazy.

    #38 5 years ago

    Every machine feels and plays differently. I'm still amazed at how different my Congo feels from my IJ...and they're both Williams! But that's the charm of every machine. I don't think you can point to one manufacturer or one machine and say they feel the best. They're all different and unique, and that's just one of the things that's so interesting about pinball for me. Looking forward to getting a couple new Sterns in the next couple years...

    #39 5 years ago

    I started out focused on the older BW games because of the nostalgia factor and the desire to play games I had never played before. New Stern games did not appeal to me but after giving them a shot, I found some that I enjoyed. In the end, I really don't care who makes the pin as long as it is fun to play. Some older BW games are bad and so are some of the new Stern games. Overall, the older games have a better quality feel, better artwork, and just feel right. Stern typically has deeper rules, better modes, and deeper gameplay.

    Stern cuts so many corners that make you scratch your head. I mean, how much more expensive would it be to have rails under the playfield than pegs? Or how about some decent hinges where you can't drop the playfield inside the cabinet? That can't cost that much more. Also, start putting color displays in all your games. You can't tell me that would be expensive. Nobody will complain that they want the awful red displays back.

    #40 5 years ago

    My first pin was STLE, was surprising how not easy it was to lift the playfield as a newbie. A few weeks ago, I got TOTAN, my buddy came over and we lifted that up and couldn't believe that this 10yr old pin was so much easier and well built than the brand new Stern.

    That said, I'll continue to get what I enjoy

    #41 5 years ago

    I've had both. I like both. No issues with quality for me. Stern's are well made and very nice.

    #42 5 years ago

    Never a Stern hater--been playing and owning pins for a long time. For me, every mfr has some great games, and some I don't care for at all. (The exception might be the 'classic Stern' games--Stern Electronics. I really enjoy pretty much every one I've ever played.)

    #43 5 years ago

    I look at it this way, if you can still get enjoyment out of the same game for 20+ years, that's great, but as good as the Bally/Williams 90s stuff is I have played them all to death and the new Sterns are fun and have a whole new life cycle. You'd have to be a grinch to not believe they are great machines now.

    #44 5 years ago

    I like all pins... some more than others but i have to agree that ac/dc gave me faith in stern.

    #45 5 years ago

    I'm kinda just the opposite. Loved Sterns for a long time, have owned over a dozen, but the poor quality control out the factory, incomplete codes, crazy price increases, just not feeling the love like I once did....but they did hit a grand slam with ACDC

    #46 5 years ago
    Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

    I don't care when it was made, by whom, who designed it, who did the art package, the music or when the game came out. IF the deck is hot. I want to play it!

    Exactly. Who cares who made it?

    #47 5 years ago

    There seems to be two camps when it comes to games.

    There's the guy who always wants the newest, best "thing", and they like installing tons of mods and LED lighting to "bling" their games out. They like playing, but don't like fixing or cleaning machines. They tend to be mid-30s or so, and only got into pinball recently, perhaps from playing pinball simulators on iPads.

    That's the Stern customer.

    On the other side, there's the guy who is handy and likes building or fixing things - perhaps works on old cars, does home renovations, or fixes electronic junk. Often they like fixing more than even playing the games, or don't mind the maintenance because they can enjoy the playing. They probably got into pinball in the arcade or on location years ago, and discovered you could buy old pinball machines for your house, and you could get them really cheap if they were broken.

    That's the Williams customer.

    Now, it's not a hard and fast rule, obviously tons of people overlap quite a bit (including myself). But there is definitely two different types of pinball collectors separated by generation.

    On a side note, it seems like Stern people love putting their games in dark rooms with blacklights, like it's a night club. What's up with that?

    #48 5 years ago

    Been there and done that on WPC games. Sterns are much more appealing to me now. Its not just the great gameplay either; its the reliability. They are not perfect, but they are newer, less beaten up and better design so they require less repair.

    #49 5 years ago

    I own all Williams because those are what I can afford. When today's Sterns hit the used market in my price range, I'd be interested in anything that's a good game. Metallica, Tron, and ACDC are really fun tables to play. I guess right now I'd lean toward Bally/williams simply by the quantity of quality titles out there. I'm fairly new to pinball as a whole so I haven't played any title to death yet.

    #50 5 years ago

    I don't know if I can agree with reliability being better. I've seen old Williams tables on location in better shape than Sterns at the same location. Maybe in a home environment that won't matter, but that's how I see it.

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