New to collecting...please help us pick our first pin!


By dogguyscott

1 month ago


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  • Latest reply 2 weeks ago by moonduckie78
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#1 31 days ago

My wife and I have recently re-discovered a shared childhood love of pinball. We've come to the point that we'd like to start a collection of maybe 4 or 5 tables. I'm on the verge of analysis paralysis. I've read so many posts, watched so many video game play reviews, that I'm to the point of brain freeze.

Here are some bottom-line primary considerations...

** We're both essentially enjoyment players
** Visual interest/stimulation
** Interesting and varied ball-pathing
** Long-lasting re-play value (we buy new cars and drive the wheels off)

I've tried REALLY hard to love AFMr but the vectors all seem to be so......straight......no twisty-turney stuff, you know? I'm keeping it in consideration in case someone can enlighten me.

Thanks for voting and offering thoughts regarding considerations that may not have entered my mind...for example, is there any REAL difference b/w the LE and Black Arrow Hobbit tables?

Staying posted and hopeful for direction.

#2 31 days ago

Before you spend $6000 or more, I would play each of these machines together and see what you like best!

#3 31 days ago

Great point, Coz, and I should have mentioned that. Indianapolis doesn't have an abundance of the newest machines, which makes it tough. We've played MMr and Ghostbusters...love them both, and their layouts and aesthetics serve as a baseline for us.

There's a local place that is supposed to have WOZ, and I hope to get there today for some playing.

We'll need to drive about an hour to Lafayette (Main Street Amusements) to play AFMr and TWD. The nearest Hobbit table is a couple hours away, so it's not likely we'll get a ready chance at that one soon.

I think one of the things I'm really hoping to get from folks here is thoughts on the longer term re-play value. What keeps sucking you back to a given pin? Honestly, with the possible exception of AFMr, I can readily envision having all these machines in our collection. I think my issue comes down to timing. Given that we're shooting for LE or Premium versions of most machines, is there one that is our best NIB bet before it sells out and we're forced to the second-hand market (e.g. the MMr issue).

Thanks again for the feedback!

#4 31 days ago

MMr has deep enough code to keep a casual player interested long term and enough humor and theme familiarity to interest guests.

What tables are your favorite and why? Do many games you like have the same designer and if so what other games has that designer created?

Try the table out using The Pinball Arcade on a tablet. You'll get an idea if the table will be annoying in a few weeks and it won't cost you a few grand.

#5 31 days ago
Quoted from dogguyscott:

My wife and I have recently re-discovered a shared childhood love of pinball.

Most collectors start off with the games they loved during their childhood and branch out from there. At least with those you know what you are getting.

#6 31 days ago

YeOld...

Thanks for the input, our instinct regarding MMr was the same the first time we played it a few weeks ago. If the MMr LE was still available NIB, it might be an easier choice. Given that MMr Standard will (I assume) be pretty readily available for the foreseeable future, it takes some of the time-urgency off the acquisition and puts others more into the running.

Again, at a superficial level, we love tables that have a lot of path variety and are visually interesting...just our little monkey brains talking, you know? To address your point, and that from o-din (great handle...my wife is 2nd generation Norwegian on her Mom's side), I took a look at Fire! and White Water tables. Some amazing restorations with upgrades and mods knocked my socks of...but the price starts getting up there. It seemed we may as well go for something newer that we have quickly come to love just as well.

Separately, thanks for the pointer to Pinball Arcade, who knew? I'm going to see about getting it for the PS4 on our 55" TV, just because, you know?

#7 31 days ago

MedMad is always at the top of lists for a reason. It's really that good. The version with the new color/hi res DMD work is the one I would suggest.

I would also add not to overlook pins like Twilight Zone and Simpsons Pinball Party.

#8 31 days ago

out of your list TWD and AFM are my favorites to play

i always have to say in a thread like this, personally i would rather spend that cash on a couple or a few used games

or hell buy 2 pros, you'll be much happier

10
#9 31 days ago

Newbies = tables tables tables tables.

Any of your choices are good aside from Ghostbusters. Literally the worst game ever made if all time in the history of all games in the universe.

Consider some 90's classics. The games are the 90's are far superior to any of the current NIB titles. Lots more interesting geometry, better toys and features, better engineering, better code, better quality, better everything.

#10 31 days ago

I would rule out NIB right away. Plenty of those options available used and at a better value. Use the money saved toward your next pin.

#11 31 days ago

No way would I buy nib. You can buy 2 or 3 good machines for 1 nib. Since you say you drive the wheels off, you might get a high price turd and start looking to unload quick. Nothing spoils fun faster than a high price machine you don't like.

Do you like fixing and restoring or are you plug and play? Get a couple of fun good used machines and a nice project and dig in.

Go to a expo or a local auction and play a bunch of machines. Look here on pinside maps and find locations and go play. To big a gamble to listen to other people.

Personally, I wouldn't buy the machines in your poll at half price. The play, rules and features are just to similar. When I first started taking my girl out to play she said "they all seem to much alike, I like yours better".

#12 31 days ago

All of those pins you selected I think are very fun. If I had to start with just one I would say woz it is great imo it is the only pin I have that's bolted to the floor. Very deep game good theme for almost everyone and with the new 2.0 lighting you should have no issues with the lighting as some of us have with the older models.

#13 31 days ago

Thanks, everyone, for the honest opinions!

Another important point that I should have mentioned (thanks, Travish)...I'm more of a plug and play guy. I'm in a field that often requires travel and regular large projects tend to get neglected. I've come to embrace this aspect of my existence (thanks, loving wife), and focus on only those things I'm either really passionate about or get paid to do. I know this seems lazy for some of the dedicated hobbyists out there but I'd rather be honest about it.

So, based on the great input, here's a follow-up question...

Given my "plug and play" reality, is the used market a truly viable way to go about getting the top-notch, pretty/shiny stuff I'm looking for...even in an older machine? It seems that any of the machines that would grab me (Creature From the Black Lagoon, White Water, Twilight Zone), upgraded with LEDs, DMD, etc., end up being in the $7,000 ballpark at a minimum. That's when I start thinking "why don't I just get something new?"

Again, you all give me really well-needed pause regarding the "true" value of a NIB pin. Thanks and, please, others chime in.

#14 31 days ago

You and others analyze and over think this whole thing. All pinball is fun some more than others, so find something in your price point and close enough to pick up and enjoy. If you later want something else sell it. Pinball is not like investing in your 401k. Everyone has different tastes and the top 100 may not be yours. You know you the best, so just jump in and enjoy.

#15 31 days ago

Eagles77...

That seals it, I'm making a point of getting to the bar about 20 minutes drive that has WOZ so I can give it a spin (no pun intended).

#16 31 days ago

Rarehero...

I like the guy who doesn't pull ANY punches...tell us how you REALLY feel!

#17 31 days ago

I end up fixing my nib pins more than my 90s pins..... don't be afraid of them especially if you like them. Just by from a reputable person on here or in your area and you will be ok. All pins have issues at some point no matter the age.

#18 31 days ago

Buzz...wise and necessary to hear. (Thumbs up emoji here).

#19 31 days ago
Quoted from dogguyscott:

Rarehero...
I like the guy who doesn't pull ANY punches...tell us how you REALLY feel!

Any time brotha!

As for your plug n play comment - keep in mind NIB doesn't mean 100%. You might actually be better off with a used game from a knowledgeable collector who has fixed the game themselves and dialed it in for optimal play. NIB games often need lots of work out of the box....and even if they don't - it's pinball, something will break. So, whether you buy new or used, it's a good idea to get a sense of how things work and how to fix things once you become a pinball owner.

If you're gonna go NIB, I feel like you're better off with a JJP or CGC game as their QC is much tighter.

For the record I used to be a huge Stern supporter and still own 7 Stern games...while Stern always had some QC issues, they've taken a serious turn for the worse in many ways - playfield quality, built quality, incomplete/buggy code. That's why I recommend your other choices vs. GB. AFM and MM are baked in the cake classics. You know what you're getting and know their gameplay held up for 20 years. Hobbit is divisive - but I love it. It's the best overall package of the "modern" games....it's a lengthy quest game tho - some don't like that. Still needs a few bugs and things ironed out in the code. WOZ is divisive, too - but it's another solid deep quest type of game.

#20 31 days ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Any time brotha!
As for your plug n play comment - keep in mind NIB doesn't mean 100%. You might actually be better off with a used game from a knowledgeable collector who has fixed the game themselves and dialed it in for optimal play. NIB games often need lots of work out of the box....and even if they don't - it's pinball, something will break. So, whether you buy new or used, it's a good idea to get a sense of how things work and how to fix things once you become a pinball owner.
If you're gonna go NIB, I feel like you're better off with a JJP or CGC game as their QC is much tighter.
For the record I used to be a huge Stern supporter and still own 7 Stern games...while Stern always had some QC issues, they've taken a serious turn for the worse in many ways - playfield quality, built quality, incomplete/buggy code. That's why I recommend your other choices vs. GB. AFM and MM are baked in the cake classics. You know what you're getting and know their gameplay held up for 20 years. Hobbit is divisive - but I love it. It's the best overall package of the "modern" games....it's a lengthy quest game tho - some don't like that. Still needs a few bugs and things ironed out in the code. WOZ is divisive, too - but it's another solid deep quest type of game.

IMG_1325 (resized).JPG

#21 31 days ago

Have you tried dialed in? It very fun and full of neat shit.

#22 31 days ago

WOZ really hits all your bullet points.

#23 31 days ago

Find a great distributor and get them to deliver and support an AFMr LE. Done.

#24 31 days ago

To All, continued thanks!

Definitely hearing you on the "everything, new and old, needs fine-tuning"...such good food for thought when it comes to buying even a newer machine from a good distributor or collector.

I'm definitely not opposed to or incapable of the occasional PM on a machine or small whack-a-doodle add-on, just don't want to turn into the pinball version of my good friend up Chicago way who had a "project MG roadster" in his garage for about 20 years until he finally broke down and paid someone to restore it.

@bigd1979
My wife and I have both played Dialed In and, you're right on in that there's no shortage of sensory stimulation. The theme just really left us flat; can't explain it, just found ourselves practically wasting the paid-for games so we could get back to the MMr machine and, cover your ears Rarehero, Ghostbusters Premium.

@Spinal...what is it that's so awesome about AFM? As in my OP, to me it seems like just a bunch of straight-line shots. If I'm being ignorant, don't hold back, let me know what (for you) the fuss is about on this one...not afraid to get on that AFMr LE wagon if it's a good call. I may have to make time for a road trip to get some play time next weekend.

@Rarehero...thanks for your additional thoughts re: preferred machines and Stern's QC issues and resulting quality of experience.

#25 31 days ago

I have had over 40 pins in my years in pinball.
I can honestly say MMr and AFMr are the best bang for your buck NIB pins available at the moment.

And they have great build quality. And are reliable. If you want a new pinball machine
You can't go wrong with these 2.

Anything that is older will require more maintenance. And unless every capacitor has been replaced on the boards something will eventually fail. Caps have an estimated 12 year life span. Most older machines are at least twice that. And will definately require board service at some point. If not done already.

A new machine is under warranty if something fails from the get go. And if it has issues they usually pop up right away. If it doesn't have issues it more than likely won't for years.

MMr is the best purchase of a machine I ever made.

#26 31 days ago

Do you have children that are going to play them also?

#27 31 days ago

After going to MGC twice and playing tons of pins on location we've narrowed it down to our favorites. For us its MET, ST, WOZ and now we're getting an NBA Fastbreak because the kids like it so much. I would suggest WOZ, we ended up selling ours eventually but loved owning it. If I could afford it I'd get one again.

#28 31 days ago

You know you want it... buy it!

woz (resized).jpg

#29 31 days ago

What? No Dialed In on the list?

#30 31 days ago

If you like twists and turns, try out White Water. It's a complete package. Great code that's easy to understand, deep enough for long term enjoyment, tons of shots, loops, and orbits, a wonderful sound and music package, and ramps a-go-go. It's not a terribly deep game by today's standards, but there's plenty of strategy and stacking of modes involved, and has a "easy to understand, difficult to master" aura surrounding it.

#31 31 days ago

A little extra advice. A lot of pinsiders don't realize not everyone wants to fix/repair/tinker with older pins. If you don't have time and don't want to get into that side of the hobby then stick with a newer Stern. I've never had to do much of anything with any of the new pins I've bought. Pretty much plug and play, then have fun!

#32 31 days ago
Quoted from dogguyscott:

in my OP, to me it seems like just a bunch of straight-line shots. If I'm being ignorant, don't hold back, let me know what (for you) the fuss is about on this one...not afraid to get on that AFMr LE wagon if it's a good call.

A game is more than it's physical design. AFM may look simple, but it's the combination of speed, smooth flow, rules and choreography, and humor that tie it all together. For a pin to be great, the design and rules must become one and work together. A cool design can be ruined by crap rules. A blah design can be made great with excellent rules.

Or, there's GB - horrible design made even worse with repetitive rules that do not work at all on such a cheap drain-monster game.

#33 30 days ago

Don't be afraid of a older pin that has been gone through. I would put 3 of mine up against a nib anyday. But... if there is a new pin you enjoy go for it. If you end up not really liking it, sell and get a different one.

#34 30 days ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

A game is more than it's physical design. AFM may look simple, but it's the combination of speed, smooth flow, rules and choreography, and humor that tie it all together. For a pin to be great, the design and rules must become one and work together. A cool design can be ruined by crap rules. A blah design can be made great with excellent rules.
Or, there's GB - horrible design made even worse with repetitive rules that do not work at all on such a cheap drain-monster game.

We know you don't like GB, thank you for letting us know over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.....again

#35 30 days ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

We know you don't like GB, thank you for letting us know over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.....again

If I can save one newb from suffering, it's all worth it.

Put me on ignore if you don't like it. I'll
never stop until the sycophants come to their senses. NEVER!!!!!

Also, never forget: A child predator made GB. Want to shame someone regarding GB? I'm the wrong target.

#37 30 days ago

My first 2 pins same week were LOTR and Tron. I still have a LOTR 4 years later and been through a lot of pins. There is A LOT going on and can probably find one in nice shape for $5,500 +/-. Great theme. Once you get good, however, not the best multiplayer game so you will need to balance it out with a kick-your-pants type of game (Walking Dead comes to mind on your list)

#38 30 days ago

For tables , I like oak or maple or mahogany. But, pins, or games, I think AFM or I strongly recommend you check out Dialed In.

#39 30 days ago

Chicago expo is coming. You both should go and I bet when you leave you will know the machine you want.

#40 30 days ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

I would like to meet you in person someday. Curious to see what kind of person you are when you aren't behind a keyboard. Might be interesting.

*Cornholio voice* ARE YOU THREATENING ME!?!?

You're acting like I insulted your family or something. I don't like *a* game and you pull the whole "wait till we meet in person, tough guy!" act lol

I'm absolutely "normal" and boring. Tons of people here know me in person and can vouch. Listen to my interview on K's podcast if you're interested. Ep #108.

#41 30 days ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

We know you don't like GB, thank you for letting us know over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.....again

I'll take it from here....and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over and over, and over, and over.

#42 30 days ago

Try to get to expo. Let's play 2 ( Ernie Banks)
Something like Whirlwind and World Cup Soccer.

#43 30 days ago

Can y'all please take that to pm and not crap on someone's thread?

#44 30 days ago

I suggest adding Metallica Premium to your list...

#45 30 days ago
Quoted from Travish:

Can y'all please take that to pm and not crap on someone's thread?

You are absolutely correct, bad of me to derail this threat. I'll use the block button instead, as advised.

#46 30 days ago
Quoted from Travish:

Chicago expo is coming. You both should go and I bet when you leave you will know the machine you want.

This is solid advice. Honestly there isn't a bad game on your list and will all be at Expo.

#47 30 days ago

I'd go put some serious time on the games your considering. AFMr-MMr-TWD are winners and if you don't like them, they are fairly liquid. The Hobbit seems to come and go out peoples collections fairly quick from what I'm seeing, might be able to snag a good deal on a used one. TWD can be brutal and unforgiving similar to GB which I own and love btw. Metallica is an absolute winner as well, but don't know if you like the theme. Best get some seat time before making a choice in my opinion. I've had fun on Dialed In evertime I've played and have been waiting to get more time on it before making a decision.

#48 30 days ago

Go to Main Street amusements in Lafayette. They have every game you have listed except the JJP games. Hey also have like 45 other games you don't have listed. One of the best locations in the country.

#49 30 days ago

I voted for WOZ. Your list is a hard choice, all good games. I have all the games on your list except WOZ. After owning The Hobbit for a while I wish I would have bought a WOZ instead. As far as the remakes go, both are excellent and keepers for me. If it were me I'd pickup a WOZ now, plan on a MMr early next year, pickup a AFMr late next year and grab remake #3 sometime in 2019.

#50 30 days ago

I think one of my personal takeaways is that no matter how deep the game is, you're still going to memorize the rules to the point where they feel shallow. I think that's why so many of us have multiple games. So when looking around and playing games, put a lot of emphasis on how the game feels and how challenging it is to progress. A case of "easy to understand, difficult to master." There's a thread floating around with lots of great suggestions.

I think you'll find that you'll find many many other games--especially older ones--that may not have been on your radar will look attractive as strong contenders in a small collection.

Like BSD. Shallow, but hard as hell to combine the 3 multiballs.
Or Flash Gordon. Super shallow, but the game will bend you over a barrel and show you the 50 states.
I mentioned White Water because, while modestly shallow, the game randomizes the rules, so you're never shooting the same shots in the same order over and over again.

Just my additional 2¢.

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