(Topic ID: 195856)

Looking to buy my first pin


By BobcatBowling

2 years ago



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  • 39 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Lord_of_the_pins
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    #1 2 years ago

    Hi guys,

    I am looking to buy my very first pin. Grew up loving to play them in the arcades and now looking to add something special to my basement. Was trying to not spend a lot on a new machine, but if it makes sense I may go for a KISS Pro or Ghostbusters Pro if it makes sense. So I guess I have 2 big questions.

    1. If I buy NIB, what is the best means to do so while not spending more than I should be? I have read on here that dealers can be a nightmare and jack up the price but don't really do much work for it.

    2. If I am buying used, what are some good ideas keeping in mind that I am also trying to find something that everyone can relate to and enjoy at the same time? Theming can be important in this and I know this can skyrocket the price for some titles. My wife says she isn't fond of the games that went to a push button ball launcher (Me I am not as worried about this). I have perused around the site here, but feel like I am no closer to making a decision.

    HELP!!!

    #2 2 years ago
    Quoted from BobcatBowling:

    Hi guys,
    I am looking to buy my very first pin. Grew up loving to play them in the arcades and now looking to add something special to my basement. Was trying to not spend a lot on a new machine, but if it makes sense I may go for a KISS Pro or Ghostbusters Pro if it makes sense. So I guess I have 2 big questions.
    1. If I buy NIB, what is the best means to do so while not spending more than I should be? I have read on here that dealers can be a nightmare and jack up the price but don't really do much work for it.
    2. If I am buying used, what are some good ideas keeping in mind that I am also trying to find something that everyone can relate to and enjoy at the same time? Theming can be important in this and I know this can skyrocket the price for some titles. My wife says she isn't fond of the games that went to a push button ball launcher (Me I am not as worried about this). I have perused around the site here, but feel like I am no closer to making a decision.
    HELP!!!

    I just bought my first NIB from JJ gexchange in Colorado. Nothing could have went smoother. I thought about KISS, but was scared a way because of the bad code issues. I instead opted for a Met Premium... haven't had time to open it up yet. My next one is either a HUO AC/DC or an AS Premium. If I get another NIB it will be from JJ, otherwise keep checking your local craigslist and the marketplace here on pinside. If you call GameExchang, tell him that you are on pinside.

    Good Luck

    #3 2 years ago

    Welcome. Looks like you are relatively local. There are a few collectors in toledo that have great collections and are willing to open their door to someone wanting to play. Dr scott has a lot of games, but be ready for retail prices. I personally like the 90s games with cheesy themes, but i do like playing the new sterns. Theres a lot of great games out there, play a lot before you buy!

    #4 2 years ago

    I posted this same question last year and all of the responses were super helpful:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/help-me-buy-my-first-pin

    I ended up picking up a Terminator 2 and I absolutely love it.

    #5 2 years ago
    Quoted from BobcatBowling:

    Hi guys,
    I am looking to buy my very first pin. Grew up loving to play them in the arcades and now looking to add something special to my basement. Was trying to not spend a lot on a new machine, but if it makes sense I may go for a KISS Pro or Ghostbusters Pro if it makes sense. So I guess I have 2 big questions.
    1. If I buy NIB, what is the best means to do so while not spending more than I should be? I have read on here that dealers can be a nightmare and jack up the price but don't really do much work for it.
    2. If I am buying used, what are some good ideas keeping in mind that I am also trying to find something that everyone can relate to and enjoy at the same time? Theming can be important in this and I know this can skyrocket the price for some titles. My wife says she isn't fond of the games that went to a push button ball launcher (Me I am not as worried about this). I have perused around the site here, but feel like I am no closer to making a decision.
    HELP!!!

    1. I highly recommend Trent from Tilt Amusements. He's always very helpful and an awesome Stern distributor.

    2. That's a highly subjective question and entirely depends on your own personal playstyle and theme love I have had GoT (Loved), SW(Loved), TWD(Liked...), and Ghostbusters(Loved for a while, but ready to move it, so I'm selling it on pinside). I love all of those themes, and enjoyed all the games, but also found that my playstyle is more of an "on the fly" style instead of stop and go "sniping" like GB and TWD provide. there aren't too many newer games that only launch with a button other than the Spider Man home pin.

    #6 2 years ago
    Quoted from BobcatBowling:

    I am looking to buy my very first pin. Grew up loving to play them in the arcades and now looking to add something special to my basement. Was trying to not spend a lot on a new machine, but if it makes sense I may go for a KISS Pro or Ghostbusters Pro if it makes sense.

    First, welcome! It's intimidating to consider buying your first machine, but also a lot of fun.

    1. For NIB, buy from a well-reviewed retailer (all of whom will ship the game to your door) and you can feel confident that you're not overpaying. Gexchange (JJ from Game Exchange here in Colorado) is a great guy and has a sterling reputation. I'm sure others will pop in with recommendations as there are a number of other great dealers on Pinside. And you can always contact a few to confirm you're getting the same price quotes (you probably will be, since Stern now sets a minimum price below which dealers cannot go).

    2. If you're buying used, get a game that's 100% working since it sounds like you don't have much experience working on pins. That said, something will inevitably break or need adjustment, so be prepared to learn to do some light work (adjusting targets, screws, and switches, maybe some light soldering). Don't worry, there's a wealth of knowledge here and people will be happy to walk you through diagnostics and repair if/when you hit that point. And it's a rewarding feeling to fix something yourself! This holds true for NIB pins too, which will inevitably also have issues.

    If you're going used, also consider asking around to see if a local Pinsider will ride along to check out the game with you, always nice to have help from someone that can spot issues like battery corrosion on circuit boards. They can probably also provide advice on pricing. And buy local! That way you can play the game first and have at least some sense of what you're getting, plus avoid the stress of shipping.

    As far as what machine to pick, there's really no substitute for playing a bunch of different games to see what you like. Are there specific machines you loved as a kid? Might be fun to pick one of those up. That said, DMD machines are nice because they give more accessible diagnostic info when things break, plus they feel a bit more "modern" and tend to have more complex/deep rules if you're into that. But they're also more expensive. You can't go wrong starting with a cheaper title, since this will be your first pin you'll probably love it so long as it is working.

    #7 2 years ago

    As someone who just bought their first pin a little over a month ago my advice is to go out and play the hell out of anything you may be thinking about buying.

    I was considering Metallica, ghostbusters, and Aerosmith. I was fortunate to have some bars with all of these games on location. I went a few times a week for months till I knew for sure what game I could commit the money to. I even went as far as taking my non gamer friends along to make them play and get their thoughts so I didn't get lost in my own head. I decided on a Metallica because I'm a metal head and enjoyed the fast gameplay. I really thought I wanted GB but the more I played the less I enjoyed it due to the difficulty , flipper gap and accuracy required to squeeze good games out of it.

    When I finally settled on Metallica I couldn't find a NIB pro with any of the more local distributors to me and was told they weren't sure when the next production run was going to be. I ended up buying a HUO met premium that only had 150 plays on it. The price wasn't far from where I would have been for a NIB pro plus shipping so I went for it.

    During my process of play testing I've turned two of my other friends into pinball fans and they've also bought machines so not only do I get Metallica I also no have access to a cherry demolition man and a terminator 2.

    Best decision I ever made. Life hasn't been the same since! Good luck with the first purchase!

    #8 2 years ago
    Quoted from amkoepfer:

    Welcome. Looks like you are relatively local. There are a few collectors in toledo that have great collections and are willing to open their door to someone wanting to play. Dr scott has a lot of games, but be ready for retail prices. I personally like the 90s games with cheesy themes, but i do like playing the new sterns. Theres a lot of great games out there, play a lot before you buy!

    Yes we are relatively local and I have visited Dr. Scott's place a couple of times. Some of the pricing has scared me away somewhat on some of the games. But I also felt like he was very attuned to his games and his crew is taking the time to shop through the machine first before placing them on the floor. He does have a great collection and has had a couple games pass through that I probably should have jumped at the chance I had at a Rocky and Bullwinkle machine from the 90's. Those are also my soft spot getting back into it.

    #9 2 years ago
    Quoted from waspinat0r:

    1. I highly recommend Trent from Tilt Amusements. He's always very helpful and an awesome Stern distributor.
    2. That's a highly subjective question and entirely depends on your own personal playstyle and theme love I have had GoT (Loved), SW(Loved), TWD(Liked...), and Ghostbusters(Loved for a while, but ready to move it, so I'm selling it on pinside). I love all of those themes, and enjoyed all the games, but also found that my playstyle is more of an "on the fly" style instead of stop and go "sniping" like GB and TWD provide. there aren't too many newer games that only launch with a button other than the Spider Man home pin.

    I did reach out to Trent at Tilt Amusements and he was very quick to reply. Got me some prices for NIB on GB, KISS, Iron Man and a couple others. He did state that shipping was included and that he could only negotiate a little lower on a couple of the machines for pickup versus shipped to the house due to not allowing for discounts from Stern.

    Quoted from amkoepfer:

    Welcome. Looks like you are relatively local. There are a few collectors in toledo that have great collections and are willing to open their door to someone wanting to play. Dr scott has a lot of games, but be ready for retail prices. I personally like the 90s games with cheesy themes, but i do like playing the new sterns. Theres a lot of great games out there, play a lot before you buy!

    May I ask what you have in your collection thus far? I am also really intrigued at the possibility of getting TSPP that people rave about. I always liked the arcade game and show and think the layout and play appears fun, but haven't had an opportunity to play and try it. Open to other cheaper options with a decent theme that everyone will love. I know it is hard to pick when there are so many and where some of the hotter titles with good themes (Addams Family for instance) where you will pay top dollar for the game unless it is in bad condition and needs work.

    Thanks to everyone else as well so far with their suggestions. Glad to see there are such great members in this community. I would like to touch base with a local person or persons to run thoughts by them in more detail and possibly to help go through the purchasing if it is fairly local (which is a plus for me).

    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from BobcatBowling:

    May I ask what you have in your collection thus far?

    Under people avatars, right under their location is a little pinball machine icon with a number next to it. That is the number of machines they own & clicking in it will show you the person's collection.

    #11 2 years ago

    You can view most persons' collections on here if you click on the pinball machine icon next to their user name (as long as they keep it up to date, which reminds me I need to update my changes).

    #12 2 years ago

    If you buy from a used game retailer you'll pay more (which is fair enough, they're running a business and need to cover overhead plus make a profit). Some retailers have a strong reputation for honestly describing games, treating newbies fairly, and sometimes even providing limited warranty support, all of which may be valuable to you depending on your situation. Of course some retailers are not so good, so a little Pinside/google research is in your interest if you go that route.

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from hlaj78:

    You can view most persons' collections on here if you click on the pinball machine icon next to their user name (as long as they keep it up to date, which reminds me I need to update my changes).

    Speaking of which, can I come play all your games? :-)Great collection and close by!

    #14 2 years ago

    Wont Tilt charge you sales tax both being in Ohio? Id recommend Cointaker(Melissa) or Game Exchange of Colorado(JJ) so dont have to pay sales tax. Cointaker will quote you the minimum Stern price without any haggling and if JJ doesnt give you lowest price he will price match Cointaker.

    #15 2 years ago
    Quoted from fosaisu:

    And buy local! That way you can play the game first and have at least some sense of what you're getting, plus avoid the stress of shipping.

    I'll start by saying I'm very new to this hobby - just got my first machine a few months ago. That said, I'm not sure I 100% agree with this statement. I bought my T2 sight-unseen. I had been looking at prices to make sure I knew roughly how much some of the games I wanted would cost, and when I saw Rockland Pinball (Gwaxt72) selling one for a great price, I called him up, chatted about it a bit and ended up buying it. He handled all of the shipping (for cost). Now I wouldn't have considered it if they didn't have a high rating on Pinside, but I had a great, stress-free experience having it shipped, and it was convenient having it unloaded into my house where it's been sitting ever since. (my wife really wants me to move it into the basement... some day. ).

    I guess what I'm saying is lean towards local, but don't completely shut out the potential of a remote sale.

    #16 2 years ago

    If you're buying used, you'll probably get a better deal and possibly a better quality game if you buy from a local private collector. Retailers obtain games and fix them up in order to sell, and only spend as much time working on them as will turn a profit (not that there's anything wrong with that!). Usually this involves a surface cleaning and some play testing to make sure everything seems to work.

    Many collectors, meanwhile, take a lot of pride in their collections, and like to show them off, so they go the extra mile to make sure a game looks good and works flawlessly. Also, a collector is in a better position to discover and fix any problems that aren't immediately obvious, since they and their guests play the game over a longer period of time. And when they grow bored of a game and go to sell, sure, they'd like to make money, but a hobbyist is not under the same kind of strict obligation for profit that a retailer is.

    There are all kinds of collectors out there, though, and not all of them are scrupulous and not all of them are meticulous. I'm sure some will disagree with my next point, but one of the best ways to verify the character of a private seller is to see if they have an account here on Pinside and are active and respected in the community. Browse their forum posts a bit to see what they're like. I'm not at all suggesting that people on Pinside are better than those who aren't -- just saying it's an easy way to verify what they're about. That's one of the biggest benefits of the Pinside marketplace and community.

    Also, I agree with fosaisu that you should definitely buy local for your first machine. Go play it in person before you buy it. I would hate to see a newcomer's interest in pinball soured because a game arrived in a different condition than expected!

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from Fezmid:

    I'll start by saying I'm very new to this hobby - just got my first machine a few months ago. That said, I'm not sure I 100% agree with this statement. I bought my T2 sight-unseen. I had been looking at prices to make sure I knew roughly how much some of the games I wanted would cost, and when I saw Rockland Pinball (Gwaxt72) selling one for a great price, I called him up, chatted about it a bit and ended up buying it. He handled all of the shipping (for cost). Now I wouldn't have considered it if they didn't have a high rating on Pinside, but I had a great, stress-free experience having it shipped, and it was convenient having it unloaded into my house where it's been sitting ever since. (my wife really wants me to move it into the basement... some day. ).
    I guess what I'm saying is lean towards local, but don't completely shut out the potential of a remote sale.

    Fair enough! Truth be told I bought my first two pins long-distance through Pinside sight-unseen, so I haven't exactly practiced what I preach. That said, there's just less cost and less risk with a local purchase, especially if you're like OP and don't have your heart set on one game (in my case I had decided it was The Shadow or nothing for what was to be my first and only pinball machine, and after waiting six months for one to pop up locally I grew too impatient and shipped one in).

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from WyseGuy:

    Speaking of which, can I come play all your games? :-)Great collection and close by!

    I was going to ask you about your collection - LOL. TMNT is one we like and wouldn't mind owning. Was looking at SMB but wife didn't like the push button launch but I thought it was a fun little machine. You wouldn't be looking to sell would you? Also jealous of your WOZ but a little pricey for my blood right now. Scott had rollergames at his shop and it played fun as well. Was considering but wasn't themed in something we both liked.

    #19 2 years ago

    Aw, don't write off rollergames -- it's a good game, and part of pinball's appeal is games with incredibly of-their-time themes that seem ridiculous or cheesy today.

    #20 2 years ago

    Welcome to the club. Believe me take the time to find one at the price point you want and enjoy it. It's hard to describe how awesome it is to have your own pin in your house it's like a dream. I started with a Royal Rumble. Remember it won't be your last pin so relax jump in and enjoy your perspective on price point will change as well. I also recommend buying from a collector we take great care of our pins.

    #21 2 years ago

    Bobcat and Wyseguy, you are welcome to come and play my games, but you'll have to wait until I move into my new home outside of Dundee with a much better gameroom. It'll be a couple of months before it's ready, so stay posted for my house warming pinball party.

    #22 2 years ago

    Howie, youre moving again?! Its only been 2 years! Good luck getting the hobbit out of there, that things a tank! Bobcat, pm me if you ever want to play some games, get a good go atrollergames and rocky and bullwinkle. Same with you wyseguy.

    #23 2 years ago

    It seems like your jumping in big, I would start with something like Whirlwind. You asked your going to get many opinions.

    #24 2 years ago

    it's funny the stuff that's important when you first buy a pin. I was concerned about theme, till I did some research. After looking through some top hundreds and suggestions. I saw an avatar for sale, which in hinds sight would of been fine, but I'm happy I went with MMR. At the time I really didn't know anything about pinball, and had never heard of Medieval Madness. I just read they were coming out with a remake and were taking pre-orders. A lot of new players gravitate towards theme's they recognize, I'm happy I didn't.

    The more I get into the hobby the more I'm finding that theme really has little value in the grand scheme of things. Still important to a lot of people though. I'd rather buy a bad ass playing (put generic game name here) table then a stop and go slow Jaws table any day of the week.

    #25 2 years ago

    Yeah Andy. I need a bigger gameroom!

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from hlaj78:

    Bobcat and Wyseguy, you are welcome to come and play my games, but you'll have to wait until I move into my new home outside of Dundee with a much better gameroom. It'll be a couple of months before it's ready, so stay posted for my house warming pinball party.

    Yup you defiantly should go Bobcat his collection is awesome ! He has lots of the best lotr , Mb , MM ,Afm , Rs etc etc a dream collection I wish I lived closer haha .

    #27 2 years ago
    Quoted from hlaj78:

    Bobcat and Wyseguy, you are welcome to come and play my games, but you'll have to wait until I move into my new home outside of Dundee with a much better gameroom. It'll be a couple of months before it's ready, so stay posted for my house warming pinball party.

    thanks for the offer. I will stayed tuned and let you know how things progress in my quest

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from hlaj78:

    Bobcat and Wyseguy, you are welcome to come and play my games, but you'll have to wait until I move into my new home outside of Dundee with a much better gameroom. It'll be a couple of months before it's ready, so stay posted for my house warming pinball party.

    I wish I lived closer -- I haven't played RFM forever... It was the first machine that drew me in (I used to watch my dad play when I was really young, but never got to play myself). I wonder if I'd still find it awesome or not.

    #29 2 years ago

    Your 2 choices of GB and KISS are great examples of two very different games and why you should play both if you can. That was my two choices (along with Star Trek) when I bought my first NIB. You have to take all of the Pinside advice in and then take with a grain of salt. At this point (about a year ago) Pinside wisdom was KISS code sucks and GB was awesome. I played both pins for hours and I hated GB. I loved KISS (not a fan of the band). The calls of poor code was premature and a first impression that Stern has had problems overcoming.

    The day after ordering KISS was reading Pinside and I panicked at all pissing on KISS. I called my dealer, Great American Pinball (GAP) but it was too late. The last ST Pro had sold. Man am I glad I stayed with KISS. It's a blast and the code is plenty deep. Moral of the story ... go play the games and make up your own mind.

    #30 2 years ago

    BTW, GAP is an awesome distributor in Chicago and they were as cheap or cheaper than all of the distributors I called. I also got some great advice and fast shipping.

    #31 2 years ago

    Howie, ill provide free storage for your games if you need it! Call me if you need help moving them (except hobbit, that was heavy!!!)

    #32 2 years ago

    Come to the Cleveland pinball show in a few weeks and play a ton of games. Come find me and I'll buy you a beer. Might even find your first game there.

    #33 2 years ago

    Very true about Kiss I want one and enjoy playing but mainly for the music. I bought a LW3 and it's in the 200's and people don't think much of it, but I enjoy it a lot and was one of my cheapest and no problem games I have.

    #34 2 years ago

    Thanks for the offer Andy: I'll probably take you up on that.

    Wyseguy: I recommend going to locations, private collections and local shows. When you find a game that keeps drawing you back, that is a good candidate to add to your collection. Dr. Scott and his techs (Ron and Steve) are very knowledgeable and reputable. Yes, he has retail prices on many of his games, but there are also a few that are very reasonable as well.

    #35 2 years ago

    I've got a decked out spider Man up for sale right now. I could always deliver to the Cleveland show as well. If you want to stop by I have quite a few set up.
    Scott

    #36 2 years ago
    Quoted from WeirPinball:

    I've got a decked out spider Man up for sale right now. I could always deliver to the Cleveland show as well. If you want to stop by I have quite a few set up.
    Scott

    Hey Weir - Not really interested in the Spiderman machine, but thanks for thinking about me and reaching out. I am trying to update my wishlist on items that I am interested in at this point. As I get through playing ones that I can I may change my mind, but right now that is where I am headed with my choices.

    #37 2 years ago

    KISS PRO - DEMO - BATTLE AXE ARMOR - FULL WARRANTY

    Cant go wrong

    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/49860

    #38 2 years ago

    Play tons of games and see what clicks with you. You may be into the latest and greatest, or prefer the games you played growing up. Do you like flow / fast games or more stop and go? All things you will figure out as you go. My first game was STTNG as that was the game I played growing up and the one that got me hooked.

    #39 2 years ago
    Quoted from BobcatBowling:

    Hey Weir - Not really interested in the Spiderman machine, but thanks for thinking about me and reaching out. I am trying to update my wishlist on items that I am interested in at this point. As I get through playing ones that I can I may change my mind, but right now that is where I am headed with my choices.

    Have you played Spider-Man simply one of the best in my opinion . That one kicks ass with the powder coating .

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