(Topic ID: 84076)

My first year experience as a pinhead...fun had and lessons learned (long)


By VolunteerPin

5 years ago



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  • 37 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by The_Director
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 5 years ago

    Not that anyone necessarily cares, but I thought I'd share my one year anniversary as a pinhead by breaking down my pin-ownership experience and decisions over the last year. It has been a wild ride for sure and one in which I've learned some lessons. As you will see, I jumped in with both feet into this hobby and I am hoping that with a couple of slight changes to the line-up in the near future I'll be able to stay more stable.

    My main lessons learned:

    1. Pinball is crazy fun to play
    2. Don't get caught up in the 'have to have it now' mentality...it WILL cost you
    3. Try not to get caught up in trading pins just because of 'value'. I've regretted a couple of decisions I've made based primarily on this criteria
    4. Figure out for yourself how much is 'enough'. I have found myself to be very fickle and have spent WAY too much time and energy trying to "wheel and deal" My desire is to simply get a great pin lineup that I can play and enjoy with family and friends. I am still learning this and have not yet arrived.
    5. See pins before you buy them if possible. I've not followed this rule well at all but one I really want to do better at in the future. That said I still have a couple of pre-orders out there and I've been happy with the pins that i have had shipped to me.
    6. This hobby is very addictive. I thought I knew this fact before I started (from talking to folks) but I had no idea.
    7. You can meet GREAT people in this hobby. As a group, Pinsiders are a very helpful people. I've learned A LOT from them and certain folks (you know who you are) were VERY helpful to me one year ago as I was getting ready to enter this hobby.

    So, here is it is:

    March 2013: I purchased my first two pins. Tron Pro (NIB from Buddy - Buddy has been EXTREMELY helpful to me over the last year) and LOTR. The Tron I paid $4700 for him to have it brought down to my house and set up for me. The LOTR I thought I was getting a HUO pin pin and when I met the guy at a neutral location I did not really look over the pin really well. When I got home, the pin was clearly a routed machine. (I don't fault the seller. I was new and simply did not ask the right questions or look over the pin.) As a newbie, I was loving every minute of playing these two great pins!

    Later that same month, Rob (Gwaxt72) sold me a really nice MM that I paid $12,100 + shipping. I purchased that MM because of its high rating and belief that its value would continue to climb. Gecko and Pinchroma had seen the pin and helped me immensely in making such a large purchase sight unseen. I had played it on the pinball arcade and loved it. That MM became the family favorite.

    I decided to sell the LOTR and upgrade it to a really nice HUO example. So, I sold it sometime that spring (I think in the low $4k's range...don't remember for sure) and purchased Skooter's HUO heavily modded LOTR LE for $6500 + shipping. I knew that LOTR was going to be a LOOONG time keeper in my collection and so I bought the best one I could find.

    Last summer I went on my first pin-trip and picked up a dirty HS for $650 and a HUO POTC for $4000. The HS was my first (and only) 'restore'. I learned a lot on this low-end restore (basically an in-depth shop job and some new caps put on the power board (a skill I had to learn from scratch). The HS had a lot of pf wear and the game play for me was not as fun as I imagined it would be. I ended up selling it last fall for $900 (basically a wash financially from what I put into it). The POTC I ended up selling for $4900 as the game was just not that great imo and I was in the 'wheeling and dealing' mindset.

    Also during late summer, the hype about WOZLE was at a fever-pitch and I just 'KNEW' i had to have one. By this time my family's interest in playing pinball was waning and I thought the WOZ would get them back playing with me. A fellow pinsider was facing some difficulites and I made another expensive spontaneous decsion to buy his pre-order for $8700 with shipping scheduled in a week or so. I also agreed to get his TZ but then he found another possible buyer for the TZ and I had him go ahead and sell to the other interested party. So, I officially 'owned' a TZ but actually never even saw it.

    The same day I sold the POTC I saw an ad for a super nice White Water. Making another very spontaneous decision, I purchased it for $5000 delivered to my house.

    In April last year I went ahead and put in my deposit with JJ for the STLE which, of course is in my house now.

    While on vacation to Hilton Head last year the MMR announcement came out. A local pin buddy texted me to let me know. Truth be told, I got scared the value of one of my favorite pins was going to drop off. So, I put it up for sale or trade and ended up trading it for four pins: FT, TAF, DM, and TFTC. I currently still have the TAF (which is in pretty good shape and is a decent player's pin). I did put in a MMR pre-order at the time. My decision to trade the MM was soley based on fear of decreased value. We miss it.

    I had to move out of my house in December due to construction and so I did not have a great opportunity to play my pins or really upgrade the STLE or WOZ to the newer codes. (lol, have been living with my in-laws over 3 months! - currently have my TOTAN, WH20 and AC/DC here at his house)

    My local buddy (a guy who I've come to really value as a friend and who I would have NEVER met had it not been for pinball since our walks of life are VERY different) offered me a trade for his AC/DC Premium which was heavily modded for the DM, FT, TFTC. We also swapped White Waters (WH20 is a grail pin for him and he had one but mine was nicer). With that trade I thought I would be pretty much done which my craziness.

    However, as much as I like the AC/DC I just didn't feel like it would be a long-time keeper (based on theme mainly) for me and currently have a trade + cash pending for a restored IJ with cc'd pf, brassed up, new decals, etc.

    Whilst marketing my trade for the AC/DC, I received an unsolicited offer for my WOZLE. Mainly because the TOTAN was SOOO nice and the value of the WOZLE's were dropping a lot, I decided to make the trade. My TOTAN is sweet, but I will probably be selling/trading (+cash) to free up money.

    So, my current situation finds me cash-poor as I've spent too much money on my house addition and theater and on my pins. I need to purchase a lot of A/V equipment. So, I have the current possibilities on my line-up...my desire truly is to get my lineup stable.

    TOTAN for sale/trade (+cash)
    White Water possibly for sale or trade
    Pending trade on the restored IJ for my AC/DC
    MMR on pre-order
    Hobbit LE on pre-order

    Crazy that in one year the following pins have been through my collection:

    LOTR, Tron Pro, LOTR LE, MM, HS, POTC, FT, DM, TFTC, TAF, WOZLE, TZ, White Water (x2), AC/DC Premium, TOTAN, IJ (pending), MMR (pending), Hobbit LE (pending)

    Is it any wonder that my wife is starting to get pretty fed up with this hobby?

    Definite long-term keepers in my collection are the LOTR LE and STLE if I had to have only 2 pins. Lucky for me (at least for now) my finances don't dictate that I have to do a big-time sell off. Hopefully the MMR and Hobbit won't release for a while so I have some time to see how my finances are when the piper comes calling. I think I would like to have both if possible.

    If you made it through this wall of text, I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my craziness. t will be interested to see how the next year goes.

    #2 5 years ago

    And I thought that my parents and I were insane for buying 9 pins in 2 years.

    I know firsthand that the addiction hits hard initially and definitely makes you want to buy every pin in sight, especially when there aren't many in this area to begin with. We've slowed way down but we've also run out of space and money, so that helped that decision. We also haven't sold a pin yet, as we tend to 'adopt' them into the family instead of buy them, and I don't see anything leaving anytime soon. I have Predator on preorder, but that is it, and I have to get rid of the guest room twin bed to even fit that one in. Who needs guests when you can have more pins.

    #3 5 years ago

    I would still love to meet you sometime. My craziness HAS to slow down! I feel like I'm only a transaction or two away from being able to be still.

    That said, I do REALLY enjoy playing!

    #4 5 years ago

    First, welcome to crack. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I see you have done that.

    Second, go Tigers!

    That's a lot off games in one year. You've got it bad. This is a really fun hobby and there are so many aspects to it. I have really enjoyed having some games come and go. Although top games are usually there for a reason, not all of those appeal to me. I've also discovered that I really liked some not so top games. NBA coes to mind. Party on Wayne.

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from blondetall:

    We've slowed way down but we've also run out of space and money, so that helped that decision.

    Thats funny because its so often true.

    Quoted from blondetall:

    We also haven't sold a pin yet, as we tend to 'adopt' them into the family instead of buy them, and I don't see anything leaving anytime soon.

    I'm just exiting this phase now

    Quoted from blondetall:

    I have Predator on preorder, but

    See how you use the word but...

    #6 5 years ago

    Good story Darin. That's the best part of Pinside, the sharing of stories and experiences! We all learn from our mistakes and despite them the journey is a blast!

    GL with house construction

    #7 5 years ago

    Well, its just pinball. The older 70's to early 90's games are very entertaining, costs much less and give the owner a chance to restore/upgrade them as wished. Many of the older EM pins are great fun to play too. Getting caught up in the 'I've got to have the latest pin' or a high end resto on a newer pin in my opinion will cause some second guessing about the hobby and the money one has spent on it. Its just pinball and the older pins have a great benefit, the ball is most always in play meaning you don't have to stop your gameplay to watch a DMD show. John

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from PapaJohn:

    Well, its just pinball. The older 70's to early 90's games are very entertaining, costs much less and give the owner a chance to restore/upgrade them as wished. Many of the older EM pins are great fun to play too. Getting caught up in the 'I've got to have the latest pin' or a high end resto on a newer pin in my opinion will cause some second guessing about the hobby and the money one has spent on it. Its just pinball and the older pins have a great benefit, the ball is most always in play meaning you don't have to stop your gameplay to watch a DMD show. John

    I wish I had access to try out pins in that genre. There is a colleague at work who has some EM's but I'm not so sure they are all working. I need to try to go over to his house some time and check them out. I think your advise and possibility about second guessing is accurate. That said, I do enjoy the pins I have.

    #9 5 years ago

    I'm assuming you must be in shape thats a lot of work moving that many pins. Or you have a super easy entrance . There are just so many choices out there and so many good pins. I hope your wife comes around a bit and really enjoys pinball too . Nice to hear from someone so enthusiastic about pinball.

    #10 5 years ago

    There is a Ph.D. thesis in psychology waiting to be written about pinball addiction!

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jokercyclone:

    I'm assuming you must be in shape thats a lot of work moving that many pins. Or you have a super easy entrance . There are just so many choices out there and so many good pins. I hope your wife comes around a bit and really enjoys pinball too . Nice to hear from someone so enthusiastic about pinball.

    Both.

    In my new addition the pins will be going in a loft so I picked up a used Escalera for when that happens...hopefully in the next few weeks.

    #12 5 years ago

    Great story. Always interesting how people fall in, fall out, then stabilize in this wonderful hobby.

    #13 5 years ago

    Awesome story Volunteerpin. It is very interesting how this hobby can grab ahold of you. You put a toe in to test the waters, and bam, you're in the deep end of the pool lol. Before I took a break from the hobby the last time, I had machines everywhere, if I saw one for sale, thought it was a deal, whatever, I grabbed it. I sold some, but mostly just bought. This was back when they were pennies on the dollar compared to today's prices. Now that I'm back in, I can feel it taking ahold of me again lol.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from blondetall:

    9 pins in 2 years.

    .....pffft! LOL....that's nothing. I'm on 25....3 months short of 3 years. He's got me beat though...19 in one year, especially the value of said pins.. yikes.

    #15 5 years ago

    Reading and experiencing Darin's story firsthand has been a awesome experience. He has been a great friend and I'm really glad that pinball has got our paths to cross. I'm the guy he was referring to that had the ac/dc and traded it for the FM TFTC FT and the WH20 even prior to our trades we would constantly call each other about purchases or trades to have a second opinion to reaffirm we were each making good decisions LOL I think for a while there we were both into A-list expensive pins simply for the wow factor but now I think we both have evolved as players and have come to the conclusion to just play what is fun and enjoyable not what we assume Is fun based off of a rating number or price tag (of course it takes a little while to realize this when there are so many machines that I haven't played before) I have had numerous high dollar pins in the last two years and traded them almost as fast as they came in(Darin can back me up on this sometimes I trade so fast no one but me gets to see it at my house LOL) but finally I think I have a lineup that I can stick with for a a while with an overall price tag that does not break my bankroll. Right now I have a really nice Terminator 2 an equally nice demolition Man with Cardona's "demolition time" ROM of course Darin's awesome Whitewater and as of last week a really nice Judge Dredd each one of these machines with the exception of Whitewater I picked up for about $2000 or less and have had more fun with that then the numerous $5000+ pins that have been in and out over the last few years. So now between Daryn and I we have a good cross-section of Pinball that can be enjoyed locally we have also met a handful of other pinheads close by and I hope that one day we can all get together on a game room rotation and play a ton of Pinball

    #16 5 years ago

    Looks like it is time to update your collection list! Can't wait to see the JD.

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from VolunteerPin:

    house addition and theater and on my pins

    Quoted from VolunteerPin:

    Crazy that in one year the following pins have been through my collection:LOTR, Tron Pro, LOTR LE, MM, HS, POTC, FT, DM, TFTC, TAF, WOZLE, TZ, White Water (x2), AC/DC Premium, TOTAN, IJ (pending), MMR (pending), Hobbit LE (pending)

    Uhhh better question......is your company hiring?

    #18 5 years ago

    I used to say that I would never sell any, only buy ones that I will play. Once you sell one, you realize they basically are just comoddities that look interesting and usually are fun to play. However, when money or space are factored in, sell when necessary to make space or get funds for something else. There are only a few that I put inn the "will not ever sell" category. One that took 18 years to find comes to mind.

    #19 5 years ago

    Looks like you've had a blast in your first year. Keep it up!

    #20 5 years ago

    Great story and one that newbies should read. Having been in the hobby for a lot
    longer, I'd add a few items to things learned;

    * never sell pins to someone that can't fix them
    * learn how to repair your own games, it'll save you lots of $'s, allow you to
    get games you othewise might not buy, and add another level of fun & challenge
    * you will only discover you have too many pins when you buy one and
    can't find a place to put it
    * don't limit your collection to one era....pinball has been a fun and challenging game
    since its start in 1931
    * trying to make money off of the hobby by putting pins on location is a good
    learning experience but few will be succesful at it

    Steve

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from zarco:

    never sell pins to someone that can't fix them

    Good luck with that, given that it seems like 75% of collectors and 100% of non-collectors can't do squat for themselves in most cases.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from zarco:

    Great story and one that newbies should read. Having been in the hobby for a lot
    longer, I'd add a few items to things learned;
    * never sell pins to someone that can't fix them
    * learn how to repair your own games, it'll save you lots of $'s, allow you to
    get games you othewise might not buy, and add another level of fun & challenge
    * you will only discover you have too many pins when you buy one and
    can't find a place to put it
    * don't limit your collection to one era....pinball has been a fun and challenging game
    since its start in 1931
    * trying to make money off of the hobby by putting pins on location is a good
    learning experience but few will be succesful at it
    Steve

    I have had to learn how to solder. I can now successfully put in a remote battery holder (one that I've made), change out a diode, reconnect a wire, replace a switch, replace a capacitor on a board and do some low level trouble shooting. I've failed at trying to do more intricate board work and had a board sent out for repair (best $70ish I've spent on pinball, lol). I have a lot to learn still but I feel like there are a couple of notches in my 'man card' which were not there previously.

    1 week later
    #23 5 years ago

    Great story and a good read. Thank you for sharing. I share the addiction... I think we all do.

    #24 5 years ago

    Good read. I am at about 50 pins in 6 years, but the last two I have not moved more than 10.

    #25 5 years ago

    welcome to pinball, sorry about your wallet. or somethin like that.

    thanks for sharing.

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from VolunteerPin:

    2. Don't get caught up in the 'have to have it now' mentality...it WILL cost you

    That's a tough one. When I started, I passed on some titles I recently picked up, as they were going for $1000-$1,200, and someone wanted $1300-$1500. I thought it was the smart thing to do at the time.

    Flash forward, and I'm now paying $2,500-$3,000 for these same titles, and that's IF I can find them. My honest opinion on this is buy them all and sort it out later. Take that with the obvious grain of salt being don't go broke or piss your wife off (too much).

    They are easy to sell, and having trade bait puts you in a better position anyway for something you want. There is the flip side to that, being the crazy over the top prices for a game you just have to have now, but sometimes we gotz to do what weez gotz to do!

    Again, the classic argument: they keep their value, so it's hard to make a bad decision. There is usually more bad decisions "felt" with ones you sell without really thinking it through.

    #27 5 years ago

    Funny, I totally forgot about that MM!

    I've learned a lot of the same lessons...amazing to look back and realize how quickly you learn and how you learn things the hard way.

    I think all of us have some regrets about selling machines or trading for what seemed good at the time. Few years ago those $2k TAFs were everywhere...

    And the HAVE IT NOW mentality will cost you, but there is a definite tradeoff. So you spend a little more...but you get to enjoy the pin for that much more time. The funny thing is that sometimes it's the opposite. What were Tron LE's when NIB? $5600 if I remember? Yeah...try finding that now. I passed up on a NIB one in 2012 for that price!

    Still,a great story to read, and one I think many many of us can relate to!

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    Funny, I totally forgot about that MM!
    I've learned a lot of the same lessons...amazing to look back and realize how quickly you learn and how you learn things the hard way.
    I think all of us have some regrets about selling machines or trading for what seemed good at the time. Few years ago those $2k TAFs were everywhere...
    And the HAVE IT NOW mentality will cost you, but there is a definite tradeoff. So you spend a little more...but you get to enjoy the pin for that much more time. The funny thing is that sometimes it's the opposite. What were TRON LE's when NIB? $5600 if I remember? Yeah...try finding that now. I passed up on a NIB one in 2012 for that price!
    Still,a great story to read, and one I think many many of us can relate to!

    I can't tell you how consoling it was as a newbie getting ready to spend over $12k on a pinball machine to have another pinsider give me an objective look over on it.

    I think Pinchroma's new thread about how well he has been treated basically sums up the great positive attitude by many, many people I've come across.

    Quoted from Atomicboy:

    That's a tough one. When I started, I passed on some titles I recently picked up, as they were going for $1000-$1,200, and someone wanted $1300-$1500. I thought it was the smart thing to do at the time.
    Flash forward, and I'm now paying $2,500-$3,000 for these same titles, and that's IF I can find them. My honest opinion on this is buy them all and sort it out later. Take that with the obvious grain of salt being don't go broke or piss your wife off (too much).
    They are easy to sell, and having trade bait puts you in a better position anyway for something you want. There is the flip side to that, being the crazy over the top prices for a game you just have to have now, but sometimes we gotz to do what weez gotz to do!
    Again, the classic argument: they keep their value, so it's hard to make a bad decision. There is usually more bad decisions "felt" with ones you sell without really thinking it through.

    I find myself frequently still caught up in it. I wish there were more pins around me for me to play and try. I'm hoping to set up a camping weekend at a Pinsider's campground in the next month or two. Family time, biking, hiking, and pinball! Sounds like a great weekend to me. Hopefully playing some of his pins will give me a "fix". Most likely, however, it will simply fuel the "I want an XMLE and IM" itch.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from VolunteerPin:

    II think Pinchroma's new thread about how well he has been treated basically sums up the great positive attitude by many, many people I've come across.

    I think you mean Pinfidel.

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from VolunteerPin:

    I find myself frequently still caught up in it.

    It never ends. It becomes a staple quickly in your daily habits, checking the online for sales, CL, wherever. Despite you telling your wife (and yourself) once I get X, and Y and Z, I'll be done, never ends. Everyone here has gone through this.

    Sometimes I think this is a good thing. It's tough to allow pinball to get stale, so much to repair, buy, search for, improve. It's the addiction of barbies and accessorising for middle age men. And really, the wives should be jumping for joy given all the other ways middle age men can spend their time and their money.

    #32 5 years ago
    Quoted from blondetall:

    I think you mean Pinfidel.

    yes, indeed. I mis-spoke.

    #33 5 years ago

    Great story and nice read VP. Thanks for sharing.

    1 month later
    #34 5 years ago

    My first year is coming up in a few months and boy has it been a roller coaster ride! I can't wait to make a similar post and share my year, thanks for this.

    #35 5 years ago

    You owned a WOZ LE and sold it? Was it strictly to solve a cash-flow problem or did the game fall short, in some way?
    You say you have some "keepers."
    WOZ wasn't one of them?
    (I haven't seen or played it yet. I'm just wondering why you dumped it.)

    #36 5 years ago

    I mainly got rid of WOZ to help with some cash flow issues. I was not actually looking at getting rid of it. I was marketing my AC/DC and got an unsolicited offer on a trade for a super nice TOTAN as a straight up trade. At the time, WOZ values were declining and this was a great TOTAN. So, I took the bait and played the TOTAN for a few months. I ended up selling the TOTAN for $8000 which is probably more than I would have gotten for WOZLE when I made the trade had I try to sell it (HUO WOZs were starting to go for low $7ks at that time). I have yet to play the finished WOZ code and perhaps I will score another one in the future but I do have a Hobbit LE on pre-order so I hope that scratches the JJP itch.

    #37 5 years ago

    It is an absolutely crazy hobby for sure. I have been in since February, 2012, though really only a crazy addicted pinhead since about October, 2012. Since then, outside of my DW which I bought in February, 2012, 27 other games have cycled through my gameroom :/

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