(Topic ID: 260676)

Looking to buy my first Pinball for my 9 year old son


By The_Great_Man

4 months ago



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  • Latest reply 60 days ago by CaptainNeo
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    #1 4 months ago

    Hello All. New member. So I was on vacation with my 9 year old son. We stopped into a sub shop and they happened to have a Jack-Bot pinball machine. I had not played pinball since my college days about 40 years ago...3 hours later we left (No sub) but a renewed love for pinball. The best part was my son really loved it. So now I would like to buy a pinball machine for our home. Did a little research and I realized I can not do enough research. I really like the old 1980's Williams games but not sure if this is what I should get for my "one" machine. I like a game with some round bright bumpers, nice sound, extra balls and more than 2 flippers. I was considering High Speed or Firepower but I am wondering if I am jumping in too deep. Anyone have any suggestions on a great "first" machine for a 9 year old that is fun to play and will not cost more than $5,000. Any ideas would be helpful. Thank you.

    #2 4 months ago

    With a $5,000 budget you have a staggering amount of choices. There are plenty of games for sale in your area many solid game can be had for under 2k. You could get a Stern Ster Trek for that price as well. There is also plenty of places to play pinball in your area, check out the New England Pinball League to see about trying out even more games. June 25-28 there will be a pinball convention in your area (Boxboro) called Pintastic, there are over 200 machines to play and many of them will be for sale. Good luck!

    #3 4 months ago

    Consider Deadpool, World Cup Soccer, or another game with a cartoon-ish theme and ball save for your son. Ball save, in my opinion, will be important for him to play and stay engaged until he no longer needs those “training wheels” and you can get onto older games

    #4 4 months ago

    Going to Pintastic is a great idea-- it will give you the chance to play lots of different games and see if there's something you fall in love with.

    10
    #5 4 months ago

    If he likes Soccer or not - The best family game has always been World Cup Soccer from Bally 1994 . And it woun't break the bank .

    #6 4 months ago

    Honestly when I was a kid I liked the 80s pins a lot, Firepower is a great choice in my opinion! Def go with a theme you think your kid will like though.

    #7 4 months ago

    Use the Pinside map to seek out games on location. Play as much as you can before buying anything. Talk to the operator or someone that owns a few pins. A used Stern Pro from late 2000s up to Ghostbusters is a good value. How handy are you? It will break and you will need to learn how to fix it. Everything you need to know is online so spend some time doing your research. It's a great hobby but don't let it consume you!

    #8 4 months ago

    I have a 7 year old that loves to play pinball. For the past 5 years I've mainly had recent Stern games and Wizard of Oz. He really enjoys the super hero pins like Iron Man, Spiderman, Batman Dark Knight, and Avengers Hulk LE, so I decided to get them all to make sure the theme was something that really attracted him. His favorite feature out of all those games is hitting the ball on the crane in Batman. The crane is a cool interactive toy and will really help him learn how to aim the ball.

    Now that he really enjoys playing pinball, the theme doesn't need to attract him as much. I recently picked up a Black Knight and Stellar Wars, which are early solid state Williams games. His new favorite game to play is Black Knight. He even runs downstairs to play it before he goes to school. It's easy to play and he loves shooting the ball to the upper playfield and using the two flippers on the upper playfield. He said it's like having two pinball machines in one.

    If your budget is $5k, you could easily find 2-3 early solid state games that have 3+ flippers. You might as well start planning for more than one pinball machine, because these things have a bad habit of multiplying quickly!
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    #9 4 months ago

    Baywatch

    A couple of years back I think Lloyd had one for under $1500 (does that sound right?) and I could kick myself for not buying it then. It's like what... $10K now?

    Classic Game, Classic Theme and David Hasselhoff!

    #10 4 months ago

    My 4 year old prefers sci-fi themes. STTNG, RFM and Tron are his favourites.

    #11 4 months ago

    As someone else mentioned above, use the Pinside Maps (or https://pinballmap.com/) to find more local places that have games. It's a good idea to buy a game you guys like to play, rather than a game someone else likes.

    You can also play virtual pinball on many of today's common gaming consoles (https://pinballmap.com/). The Pinball Arcade has a ton of classic games (and some current ones) that let you get a good idea of what games look like, their rules and how they might play.

    Arcade1Up is eventually coming out with a sub $1000 virtual pinball cabinet this year, but opinions vary on virtual pinball cabinets.

    #12 4 months ago

    Some mentioned Star Trek Pro above... awesome game that can be fetched for less than $5k.

    Great suggestion.

    Also, you mentioned JackBot. One of my favorite games... if you really enjoyed it on location, start with that in your home. Master it. Sell it. And grab a different title.

    #13 4 months ago

    $5000 you could get 2 or 3 system 11 games that he would probably love

    #14 4 months ago
    Quoted from woody76:

    $5000 you could get 2 or 3 system 11 games that he would probably love

    Thanks for all the advice. So I am thinking I should be looking at spreading the $5000 around and maybe getting 2 or 3 machines. I think I would like the Star Trek machine but that might be a bit much. I think my son would like the Spyder-Man game. Looks like I could get a pretty decent Aztec machine and an F-14 Tomcat machine for about $3,000. Anyone have any experience with these machines and kids?

    #15 4 months ago

    All machines are fun, and have there certain charms. The playfield and flaking paint on the back glass is what you should consider...Older stern games like Galaxy (IMO) will leave him hooked on that silverball for life (or at least the next 40 years).

    #16 4 months ago

    It starts with 1....and then wham!

    #17 4 months ago
    Quoted from 6S3NC3:

    It starts with 1....and then wham!

    This is so true. When I first started I was only going to have 1...

    #18 4 months ago

    1 can get boring. I suggest going with the 2-3 and choosing pins that offer different playing experiences.

    Personally, I try to get pins with different ball times, various makers, flipper counts, etc. It keeps it fresh.
    Variety is the spice of life!

    #19 4 months ago
    Quoted from The_Great_Man:

    Thanks for all the advice. So I am thinking I should be looking at spreading the $5000 around and maybe getting 2 or 3 machines. I think I would like the Star Trek machine but that might be a bit much. I think my son would like the Spyder-Man game. Looks like I could get a pretty decent Aztec machine and an F-14 Tomcat machine for about $3,000. Anyone have any experience with these machines and kids?

    Best practice is to play as many games on as many pins as you can before deciding to buy. In my experience, kids quickly lose interest in pinball if any interest to begin with. All games are great the first few times you play them. Many get old fast so good to get a lot of plays and see if your interest still holds up after a bunch of games.

    #20 4 months ago

    I currently have a triple digit collection, and have to agree with that addictive behavior thing.

    #21 4 months ago

    F-14 is a great first pin. Perhaps a tad repetitive... but I’d you dig the theme, it’s great.

    #22 4 months ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    1 can get boring. I suggest going with the 2-3 and choosing pins that offer different playing experiences.

    When interest is lost, time to switch it out for something different.

    #23 4 months ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    F-14 is a great first pin. Perhaps a tad repetitive... but I’d you dig the theme, it’s great.

    It's a great game but for a 9 year old it might be too brutal. There aren't really any "toys" a kid would appreciate and the games can be fast and unforgiving. I think it's definitely more a "players" game than some other system 11s (Taxi, Diner, Mousin', etc.).

    Lots of good kid friendly games out there already mentioned...WCS or Spiderman would both be great options. Heck, if you had a great time with Jackbot look for one of those or save a few bucks and find a Pinbot. Starting cheaper and slow probably isn't a bad idea vs. dropping 5K down, especially if you've never owned a game before and don't know if the hobby or interest will stick with you and your kid in the long run. Even the most well maintained game will need some maintenance eventually.

    Space Shuttle is a great game that is pretty kid friendly both in rules and theme, affordable, and easy to work on.

    #24 4 months ago

    Eventually try for one per decade, thats my advice to people, pick the era where you played the most pinball at first in your life, or pick a machine that has deep meaning. Jackbot would be a great double up title, you get the playfield of a 80’s machine with the bells and whistles of a 90’s. I have a varied lineup that goes from the sixties (Central Park), 80’s (Pinbot), 90’s (Bride of Pinbot, Monster Bash, South Park), 00’s is Family Guy, but my Monster Bash is an MBrLE so it counts as a 201x era title too! I need a ‘70’s machine and a 2020 to complete my 1 per decade. Probably going with Fireball or Space Invaders or 8 Ball Deluxe for my 70’s machine. Like they said, you can’t eat just one...

    #25 4 months ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Eventually try for one per decade, thats my advice to people, pick the era where you played the most pinball at first in your life, or pick a machine that has deep meaning. Jackbot would be a great double up title, you get the playfield of a 80’s machine with the bells and whistles of a 90’s. I have a varied lineup that goes from the sixties (Central Park), 80’s (Pinbot), 90’s (Bride of Pinbot, Monster Bash, South Park), 00’s is Family Guy, but my Monster Bash is an MBrLE so it counts as a 201x era title too! I need a ‘70’s machine and a 2020 to complete my 1 per decade. Probably going with Fireball or Space Invaders or 8 Ball Deluxe for my 70’s machine. Like they said, you can’t eat just one...

    I'm right there with you.
    In my main game room, I have a 1979 bally paragon, 1986 Williams pinbot, 1993 data east Jurassic park, 2003 stern lord of the rings, and a 2013 Jersey jack pinball wizard of oz emerald city LE

    #26 4 months ago

    I have kids ranging from 8 to 18 at my home weekly as we host a small group. We meet and the kids play in the gameroom with older kids supervising. The younger kids love my EM followed by F14 Tomcat. They can barely grasp flipping, let alone deep rules. Would recommend solid state games and steer clear of most modern games. The kids walk away from WOZ, Pirates, Stern SW. They just can't grasp the concept of rules. Older kids don't play them at all...which is sad. They are just on their phones.

    #27 4 months ago
    Quoted from Crile1:

    I have kids ranging from 8 to 18 at my home weekly as we host a small group. We meet and the kids play in the gameroom with older kids supervising. The younger kids love my EM followed by F14 Tomcat. They can barely grasp flipping, let alone deep rules. Would recommend solid state games and steer clear of most modern games. The kids walk away from WOZ, Pirates, Stern SW. They just can't grasp the concept of rules. Older kids don't play them at all...which is sad. They are just on their phones.

    this is why I recommended some System 11's. Fun to play and look at and simple rules.

    #28 4 months ago
    Quoted from woody76:

    this is why I recommended some System 11's. Fun to play and look at and simple rules.

    20200127_120625 (resized).jpg
    #29 4 months ago

    Excellent question. Whatever you get, you will end up playing more than your son will. With that budget, you could get a lightly used full motion video game with the top recommendations being Star Wars, Deadpool, and Jurassic Park. If your kid is into Dinosaurs or Star Wars, either would be a no brainer. Another option would be to go with 2 cheaper older machines. Data East Jurassic Park was my 6 year olds favorite (the Dinosaur eats the Ball) and World Cup Soccer was my 8 year olds favorite. You could snag one of these for around $3,000 and have enough left over for a second Alpha Numeric pin like Pinbot or Taxi.

    My recommendations would be to either go with Star Wars or Jurassic park (1 nice pin) or to pick 1 DMD (DE Jurassic Park, World Cup Soccer, Gettaway) and 1 DMD (Pinbot, Taxi, Whirlwind). Either way you'll have fun.

    Full motion video:

    1. Stern Star Wars Pro- 2017 ($4700) Modern game will movie clips. It's star wars. You both can have fun on it. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/star-wars-stern

    2. Deadpool Pro- 2018 ($5000) Great cartoonish feel, no swearing. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/deadpool-pro

    3. Stern Jurassic Park Pro- 2019 ($5200) In contention for best new game of past decade. Kid friendly rules. Just released so hard to snag used ($5800 new).

    Dot Matrix Display (DMD)

    4. DE Jurassic Park-1993 (~$3200). Very child friendly theme with 3 flippers. The Dinosaur eats the ball! 6 ball multiball. Lots of fun. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/jurassic-park

    5. World Cup Soccer-1994 ($3,000). If you kid likes soccer get this. Simple themes for beginners (shoot goals). Great intermediate goals for average players (light the ramps to lock balls, shoot the scoop to start multiball). Very kid friendly theme with a giant dog on the backglass. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/world-cup-soccer

    6. Gettaway- 1992 ($3000) Fast car themed game with a cool supercharger toy. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/getaway-high-speed-ii

    7. Stern Star Trek Pro-2013 ($4800). More modern game with 3 flippers. Very fast playing game where you can destroy the ship. This is a fantastic pin with some easy modes and a hard to achieve wizard mode. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/star_trek

    (Alpha Numeric)

    8. Whirlwind-1990 ($3000). Fairly simple game that is challenging to master. Shoot the lit shots, hit the ramp to lock a ball, start multiball to start the spinning fan and playfield. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/whirlwind

    9. Taxi - 1988 ($2200). Another fairly simple game that's loads of fun and easy to understand. Pick up passengers and go for jackpots. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/taxi

    10. Pinbot- 1986 ($2000). Kids love this one for the robot. Complete the grid to open the robots visor. Lock balls in visor for multiball. Explore the solar system. https://pinside.com/pinball/machine/pinbot

    #30 4 months ago

    Here's a World Cup Soccer for sale near you, make them an offer in $2700-$2900 range and can probably make a deal.

    boston.craigslist.org link

    #31 4 months ago

    I’ve seen others mention this one: Stern Star Trek pro. It’s a fun game, I owned for almost 2 years. Wife and kids really enjoyed it. Very similar layout to stern Spider Man. Both can be $4500-4800

    #32 4 months ago
    Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

    Consider Deadpool, World Cup Soccer, or another game with a cartoon-ish theme and ball save for your son. Ball save, in my opinion, will be important for him to play and stay engaged until he no longer needs those “training wheels” and you can get onto older games

    Works with wives who are initially disinterested as well

    #33 4 months ago

    go to a local pinball show or event. Try out 100's of games at one of those. Find something that really appeals to both of you.

    #34 4 months ago

    The pinball hobby is addictive. You're in for it now. Should have just had a sub sandwich and called it a day.

    #35 4 months ago

    NGG. What kid wouldn't enjoy bashing trash talking gophers? Plus you'll get one of the best games evar!

    #36 4 months ago
    Quoted from The_Great_Man:

    Thanks for all the advice. So I am thinking I should be looking at spreading the $5000 around and maybe getting 2 or 3 machines. I think I would like the Star Trek machine but that might be a bit much. I think my son would like the Spyder-Man game. Looks like I could get a pretty decent Aztec machine and an F-14 Tomcat machine for about $3,000. Anyone have any experience with these machines and kids?

    Born and raised in Andover, work nearby, still have lunch there regularly, and have an 11yr old.

    My son has been playing for a few years and it's crazy how different the games are that we sometimes gravitate to. I love upper flippers, and he tends to ignore them because timing it is a lot easier when you're 6' tall and are looking straight down, which he is not. Your best bet is to play a bunch, see what you like and there are a good few spots to do so. You may find there are some games that win you both over, or perhaps you have to get one for him and one for yourself, which I've done myself before.

    (Local tip - Canobie Lake Park has a crazy selection of games when they open in a few months. It will give you a sample of each era from pitch and bats, EM's, 80s, 90s, and modern... and he'll probably want to go there anyways! Also Pintastic is amazing, and NEPL league locations also will show you a ton of variety if you ever wanted to join)

    Between his ages of 6-11, we've had great times with World Cup Soccer, Batman Forever (he often ignored the upper flipper), Stern Star Trek (same deal), Spiderman (Again!) and now ACDC. At friend's houses he really enjoys Deadpool, Avatar, Total Nuclear Annihilation, KISS, Metallica, Aerosmith, and Star Wars. The bright shiny games with LEDs and LCDs catch his attention more. Also Data East Simpsons was a good bang for the buck due to theme alone.

    Good luck with the hunt, and if you want, PM me and I'll shoot you some more local areas to check out games.

    #37 4 months ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    1 can get boring. I suggest going with the 2-3 and choosing pins that offer different playing experiences.
    Personally, I try to get pins with different ball times, various makers, flipper counts, etc. It keeps it fresh.
    Variety is the spice of life!

    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    Born and raised in Andover, work nearby, still have lunch there regularly, and have an 11yr old.
    My son has been playing for a few years and it's crazy how different the games are that we sometimes gravitate to. I love upper flippers, and he tends to ignore them because timing it is a lot easier when you're 6' tall and are looking straight down. Your best bet is to play a bunch, see what you like and there are a good few spots to do so. You may find there are some games that win you both over, or perhaps you have to get one for him and one for yourself, which I've done myself before.
    (Local tip - Canobie Lake Park has a crazy selection of games when they open in a few months. It will give you a sample of each era from pitch and bats, EM's, 80s, 90s, and modern. Also Pintastic is amazing, and NEPL league locations also will show you a ton of variety if you ever wanted to join)
    Between his ages of 6-11, we've had great times with World Cup Soccer, Batman Forever (he often ignored the upper flipper), Stern Star Trek (same deal), Spiderman (Again!) and now ACDC. At friend's houses he really enjoys Deadpool, Avatar, Total Nuclear Annihilation, KISS, Metallica, Aerosmith, and Star Wars. The bright shiny games with LEDs and LCDs catch his attention more. Also Data East Simpsons was a good bang for the buck due to theme alone.
    Good luck with the hunt, and if you want, PM me and I'll shoot you some more local areas to check out games.

    Thanks for the help. I am always telling my son to stop playing with his ipad for hours and he is always asking me "Dad - What did you do when you were younger?" After we played for an hour, I turned to him and said - "This is what we used to do when I was younger. Play these games for hours."

    #38 4 months ago

    If into sports, NBA Fastbreak or World Cup soccer can be had for less than $3k. Good pins. You could probably pick them both up for $5500 if you look around.

    #39 4 months ago

    For $5k you could pull off an EM, SS and DMD line-up. Say Aztec, Firepower and Terminator 2 for instance. Then start selling and changing the line-up or adding to it. Unfortunately, as part of the experience, you're going to become a pin repair tech. So keep that in mind.

    #40 4 months ago

    Stern Spiderman

    #41 4 months ago

    I love the early solid state game from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are some of the best pinball ever. But if I were you, I'd get a newer Stern title used because although that early era is awesome, you may learn more about fixing the game than actually playing it and loose interest. I'm not saying one can't bullet proof an older game and make it reliable, but it may not be a project you want to take on. Get a reliable newer Stern first, then get an older classic second and have that in the line up parallel. If you only can have one game, get a used recent Stern game.

    #42 4 months ago

    I am going to look at an F-14 Tomcat machine that is in good condition for $2,000. And then I was thinking of getting an older EM machine for $1,000. Anyone have experience with kids and the F-14 machine? Thanks for your help.

    #43 4 months ago

    My 6 year old put some games on one at the local arcade. He seemed to like it. Other good options in that same price range and era are High Speed (same designer) and Pinbot. F-14 would be a good game... kids love the flashing lights. It may be a bit hard.

    #44 4 months ago
    Quoted from The_Great_Man:

    I am going to look at an F-14 Tomcat machine that is in good condition for $2,000. And then I was thinking of getting an older EM machine for $1,000. Anyone have experience with kids and the F-14 machine? Thanks for your help.

    My son loved the theme and the beacons on top of the backbox. It was a bit too fast of a pin for him though. But to be fair, he was 6 at the time. I think a 9 year old would fair better with the gameplay. Its nice for kids / casual players in the sense that the rules and gameplay are simple to understand, yet tricky to complete.

    #45 3 months ago

    Iron Man or Spider Man or Stern ST Pro
    see if you could find a nice TF LE that would appeal also

    #46 3 months ago

    the getaway is one of the best bang for your buck games out there. If you like High Speed you'll love the sequel. Plus its easy to understand but has enough depth to keep your attention for a while. You can usually find a pretty nice one for 3k or under. Your kid will love the siren on top and light show and the supercharger

    Edit- people keep saying f-14. Ya'll are crazy! That game is brutally hard. Plus its rather shallow. For the price you can find better games imo. I admit I kinda liked it when I was a kid but hellll no would that be something I'd consider for my first game unless I just got a great deal I couldn't pass up

    #47 3 months ago

    I can think of two locations near you that might help in your quest. One public and one private.

    Private: goes by Maxbadazz here on Pinside. Has large selection of games and does tournaments. He lives in Londonderry, NH.

    Public: Mystic Pinball in Turners Falls.

    I’m a classic Bally collector if there is something you want to play contact me privately. My suggestion might be Harlem Globetrotters. Reasonable in price. Fun to play. Family theme.

    As mentioned above a newer used game might be the correct call. Older games sometime require more attention than a new person has or wants.

    #48 3 months ago
    Quoted from gliebig:

    NGG. What kid wouldn't enjoy bashing trash talking gophers? Plus you'll get one of the best games evar!

    this is a good one, my kids did not talk to me for a while when I sold ours

    #49 3 months ago
    Quoted from Haymaker:

    the getaway is one of the best bang for your buck games out there. If you like High Speed you'll love the sequel. Plus its easy to understand but has enough depth to keep your attention for a while. You can usually find a pretty nice one for 3k or under. Your kid will love the siren on top and light show and the supercharger
    Edit- people keep saying f-14. Ya'll are crazy! That game is brutally hard. Plus its rather shallow. For the price you can find better games imo. I admit I kinda liked it when I was a kid but hellll no would that be something I'd consider for my first game unless I just got a great deal I couldn't pass up

    I actually like high speed better than the sequel. Both are great though

    1 week later
    #50 3 months ago

    Update: So I bought a Williams Aztec machine for $800 and it is in pretty good shape. Kids like playing it. And although my wife does not understand why we have a pinball machine in our house - She seems to play it quite a bit. I am really trying to resist the urge to open up the guts of the machine and start tinkering with it. My plan is to try to find a Williams High Speed or NGG game for around $2,000-$2,500 and stop with that. Unless of course I find a decent Spiderman machine for sale. One of the early replyers was right on - I should have just gotten a sub and called it a day. Thanks for all your help.

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