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(Topic ID: 278966)

New to pinball, what is a good fun machine priced around $3k-5500 (updated)


By Fieldsweeper

48 days ago



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  • 164 posts
  • 71 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 41 days ago by grantopia
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    #1 48 days ago

    So I am relatively new to pinball machines. I have obviously played them before but want to own one. I have played Taxi and Tales of Arabian Nights but Arabian is hella expensive. Taxi is a little more than I care to spend. (found one for around 2700)

    However, I have noticed that below about 2k they start to get old, simple and kind of lame. so I am looking to see if anyone knows which ones are good starter games that wont make me give it up so soon? Can you get a decent taxi of late 80s early 90s or newer game for around that price?

    I am little flexible on price.

    thanks,

    edit around 3k to 5500 ish + or -

    17
    #2 48 days ago

    Unfortunately you need to up your budget significantly to reach anything from the late 80's and up that works and is ready to play.

    #3 48 days ago

    Gottlieb games tend to be a bit lower in price than some of the others. But yes, more desirable games will be more expensive. If you are handy, try looking for project games to fix up. Those can usually be found at a lower price than games that are plug & play ready.

    Just looking in the marketplace right now, here's some decent solid state games in your area that aren't too far outside your budget:

    Here's a Rock listed in Pittsburg for $1350 OBO: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/103225

    Heavy Metal Meltdown in Cincinnati for $1250: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/100598

    Genie in Chelsea, MI for $1250: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/103489

    Meteor in Cleveland for $1250: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/103396

    Gladiators in Hidden Valley, IN for $1500: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/102900

    Soccer Kings in West Bloomfield Township, MI for $800: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/102564

    These are not nearly as flashy as TOTAN, but there's still fun to be had.

    15
    #4 48 days ago

    Honestly I'd recommend preparing yourself to spend a minimum of 2k for a decent game, and probably more like $2500. Also be prepared to learn to fix problems

    #5 48 days ago

    I paid $1000 for my first pin which was a getaway but those days are long gone. Maybe you can find something like a harlem globetrotters, black knight or an f14 tomcat in that range or spending a few hundred more. Just keep looking and something that will interest you will come up eventually.

    #6 48 days ago

    Right now, for around 1k, you can mayybe get a big guns, which is a blast to play. Road kings, millionaire.. all around that figure. Maybe more towards 1500.

    Also, look at something like a Flash or gorgar. Sometimes you can find one on the cheaper side.. or firepower.

    #7 48 days ago
    Quoted from Blackbeard:

    Right now, for around 1k, you can mayybe get a big guns, which is a blast to play. Road kings, millionaire.. all around that figure. Maybe more towards 1500.
    Also, look at something like a Flash or gorgar. Sometimes you can find one on the cheaper side.. or firepower.

    1K for a Big Guns? "I'LL TAKE 3 AT THAT PRICE", etc.

    It depends how "around" 1K you want to be and what features you want. The cheaper System 11 games like Millionare are out there like Blackbeard said...but keep in mind there is a reason that they are cheap. Not necessarily great players (all subjective of course) and hard to sell down the road. With 1k you are likely pretty pigeonholed into early solid state games like Flash, Meteor, etc. such as what was posted above if you want a fully working game. You can get some great EM games under 1K if you are into those.

    If you are looking for something more like a Taxi, especially working, you'll probably need to stumble on a deal on FB, CL, etc and hope you're the first guy there with cash.

    Try going though the Ohio thread here or check out some of the Ohio FB groups. There is a pretty large collector community in Ohio, especially around Cleveland, and I have seen some games on FB like Space Shuttle and High Speed sell for $1400ish in the past 2 or 3 months.

    #8 48 days ago

    Flash, Meteor, Gorgar, Blackout, Firepower. Might be able to find decent examples around 1k. Likely they could have minor issues and will definitely need maintenance at some point.

    Gottlieb system 1 games are out there for under 1k. Just sold my Countdown for $600. They play more like EMs but they’re good first games. I love my Sinbad.

    #9 48 days ago

    You can probably find a Jokerz for around $1200, fun pin for the money.

    #10 48 days ago

    You should move on ForceFlow Meteor suggestion .Great entry title . Classic Sterns very desirable now . Always can sell on down line if your tastes change .Meteor my first game , still here quarter century later .

    Forewarned condition is king on what you pay for what you get . Cosmetics something you will need to get a discerning eye for . Also look at the mpu for battery damage .

    My .02 cents

    Enjoy your new hobby ! Shane

    #11 48 days ago
    Quoted from manadams:

    You can probably find a Jokerz for around $1200, fun pin for the money.

    Jokerz is actually a pretty fun game, although I'd say it's more in the $1500 range. Mine sold for $1700 within a week. I miss it!

    #12 48 days ago
    Quoted from manadams:

    You can probably find a Jokerz for around $1200, fun pin for the money.

    I think I know of one local to Cleveland at 1200 actually. OP message me I can pass the info if he still has it and you are interested.

    #13 48 days ago

    You can usually find a Millionaire for around this price. It's underrated in my opinion.

    17
    #14 48 days ago

    My advice would be to find a new hobby. Based on your opening post you don't want anything "old and lame" yet you don't want to spend more than $1,000.

    Your ask is impossible, outside of a "fleeced an old lady" situation.

    The games you want, you'll need to budget around $2,500 to get in the building.

    And MIllioniare is a terrible game. It seems to exist these days only so people can turn them into Donald Trump pinball machines.

    #15 48 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    And MIllioniare is a terrible game.

    Dude. Totally subjective.

    Millionaire is freakin great. Totally cheesy call outs. Great music. 3 levels of jackpot. Unique layout with roulette wheel. Interesting skill shot and inline drops.

    I seriously don't get your hate for it. I personally think it's awesome. It's got that cheesy funny 80's thing going.

    To each their own.

    And to the comment about Big guns not at 1k? I just bought one for $1100 and didn't even bother haggling.
    They're out there.

    #16 48 days ago

    A players condition Stern Stars

    #17 48 days ago

    there are some great EM games for around $1000. Volley, Grand Prix...etc. dmd games are out, that's for sure. wasnt long ago BKs were going for $1000-1200, now look at them. F14 might be the closest you'll get to $1000 for a more modern game, and it's a great game, but even these have been rising pretty good..

    #18 48 days ago

    Williams Comet is usually not to pricey and a great game... Gottlieb System 80b games can be had around $1000 and are fun. EMs are under $1000... If you get to $1500 you can have a better selection of working games. Just keep looking, deals are out there still.

    #19 48 days ago

    A PS4 & Xbox One with a few games or a PS5 on eBay

    #20 48 days ago

    FIRE! tends to be in the 1k-1500 range.
    Agree on Big Guns, I've had two, and both were 1200 each.

    #21 48 days ago

    These days I would recommend a budget of at least 2,000 - 3,000 and look at anything made in the last 20 years, which are mostly from Stern. Starting out you may not want a bunch of problems, but rather ease into it with something that's initially in pretty good shape.

    There was a time when a nice used modern machine was $1,000 but it's been a minute since those days. Welcome and good luck!

    #22 48 days ago

    I have a Sinbad, one my favorite games. When you get all the targets down and it counts bonus while you're playing, it is a blast.

    #23 48 days ago

    It's almost impossible to get a solid state machine in decent condition for 1000. There is always the exception, you are competing with hundreds of other pinball enthusiasts constantly on the hunt for good deals. Don't give up but do as much reading and learning as you can stand.

    #24 48 days ago

    I get asked about this sorta thing ALL the time as I'm sure many of you do. Everyone wants a working pinball machine for $400 with a lifetime warranty to go with it. I'm not saying those games are not out there, like a old EM. for instance but your not going to find those games on Pinside, CL, FB, etc. Your best bet to staying on the cheap side is word of mouth, but not anything thats been advertised to the general public. I'm sure you must know someone that has a parent or grandparent that has a $1000 or less game in there basement sitting there unused because "the kids don't play it anymore so it's gotta go". If the game is advertised and is any good it will be gone in minutes to the highest bidder unfortunately. Just keep looking underground so to speak and it will come.

    John

    #25 48 days ago

    I recommend you spend a bit of time to save up more money. Before you get your first machine it feels like it'll never happen. But, if you're interested in something like Taxi, those older machines within your price range just won't fill the need.

    #26 48 days ago

    picked up a decent space shuttle for $1200 not to long ago.

    #27 48 days ago
    Quoted from Don44:

    I paid $1000 for my first pin which was a getaway but those days are long gone. Maybe you can find something like a harlem globetrotters, black knight or an f14 tomcat in that range or spending a few hundred more. Just keep looking and something that will interest you will come up eventually.

    F-14 Isn’t a stand alone game. Just for Your info.....amazing game though....hard.

    #28 48 days ago

    You are on an EM budget!! Lots of fun EM's out there.

    #29 48 days ago

    Old Chicago.

    #31 48 days ago

    I paid $350 for my Spanish Eyes (last year). I like it.

    At/under $1k you are looking for projects or quirky EMs...both of which can be fun.

    #33 48 days ago

    The best cheap WPC 1995 is Williams No Fear. IMO 4 ball multiball. Ramps, Orbits, talking toy. DMD. Bam! I’m sold!

    9DCE1AD3-2464-45C7-8EE3-EE2FF7EDF453 (resized).jpeg
    #34 48 days ago
    Quoted from Gorgar666:

    The best cheap WPC 1995 is Williams No Fear. IMO 4 ball multiball. Ramps, Orbits, talking toy. DMD. Bam! I’m sold!

    When was that last going for $1k thought?

    #35 48 days ago
    Quoted from Fieldsweeper:

    So I am relatively new to pinball machines. I have obviously played them before but want to own one. I have played Taxi and Tales of Arabian Nights but Arabian is hella expensive. Taxi is a little more than I care to spend. (found one for around 2700)
    However, I have noticed that below about 2k they start to get old, simple and kind of lame. so I am looking to see if anyone knows which ones are good starter games that wont make me give it up so soon? Can you get a decent taxi of late 80s early 90s or newer game for around that price?
    I am little flexible on price.
    thanks,

    What are you looking for in game play? I was in your position a month ago, but wanting to stay around 2K. I really wanted a solid state game/DMD preferred that had fun ramps and a theme my wife would let me put in the house. I feel like that's also what you are looking for. It's really, really hard to find anything in that range working. Luckily, my wife saw my frustration and started looking at themes she would like. We found one, which allowed me to up my budget a thousand bucks because now she was excited. We made it even more fun as we found sitters for the kids and did a short road trip to get the pin.

    Quoted from Dayhuff:

    I get asked about this sorta thing ALL the time as I'm sure many of you do. Everyone wants a working pinball machine for $400 with a lifetime warranty to go with it. I'm not saying those games are not out there, like a old EM. for instance but your not going to find those games on Pinside, CL, FB, etc. Your best bet to staying on the cheap side is word of mouth, but not anything thats been advertised to the general public. I'm sure you must know someone that has a parent or grandparent that has a $1000 or less game in there basement sitting there unused because "the kids don't play it anymore so it's gotta go". If the game is advertised and is any good it will be gone in minutes to the highest bidder unfortunately. Just keep looking underground so to speak and it will come.
    John

    Now, you can find deals on CL and FB, but you have to be constantly on it. I missed out on a $1,000 Strange Science about 45 minutes from me. Never played the game, but for that price and money I would have bought. Unfortunetely, I saw the ad 45 minutes after it posted, and it was already sold.

    #36 48 days ago

    If you end up going to the $2000ish range, Last Action Hero is the best bang for buck...New code upgrade is great too. Just missed this one.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/103689

    lol, trump
    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/ad/103527

    #37 48 days ago

    Fieldsweeper, I see you live in Ohio. That's good because I see a lot of for sale ads in the Ohio/Indiana area. More than I see around here. Someone mentioned No Fear, but I always see that priced $3K or more. I have seen LW3 in the low 2's recently, which gets positive reviews, but I have never played one. Same for Robocop and some other Data East games.

    Also, I see most people list games more than the top end of the Pinside estimate.

    #38 48 days ago

    FIREPOWER.
    Blackout.
    Meteor.

    There are lots of them, you just need to look.

    #39 48 days ago

    thanks for all the advice. I think I wil bump it up to 2500 to 3k tops. what can I get in that range near tallmadge oh? i cant pick up so if anyone has something they can deliver haha.

    #40 48 days ago

    Your budget is unrealistic for a turnkey game, in most regions.

    If you're willing to put in some sweat equity though, you could come in around a thousand for the game + parts to make it right for a lot of different early solid state titles. Various Williams System 6/7 games, early solid state Stern, all kinds of System 1 and System 80 Gottliebs... Solid aftermarket MPUs and driver boards are available for all of them now, and once you've got that taken care of on a given game you're down to wiring and connector work, and basic mechanical maintenance stuff, that you should know how to do anyway and which will be required at some point for pretty much any used table.

    Harder than the work to fix it will be scooping up a half decent project deal before ten other people get to it, honestly. There are far more people who want them than there are unappreciated basement/barn finds left in the wild.

    #41 48 days ago

    If you want $1k-ish, go with Big Hurt! Super fun game, fun toys, good rules.

    #42 48 days ago

    2500-3000 can get you into lots of the best 80s and early 90s pins and even some DMD games that have plenty going on to keep you busy. Requiring delivery will either cost you a lot of money or lose you the deal entirely though... Rather than depend on that I'd budget some time and money to rent a truck from a hardware store or U-Haul and go fetch it yourself, honestly.

    #43 48 days ago
    Quoted from stumptown:

    2500-3000 can get you into lots of the best 80s and early 90s pins and even some DMD games that have plenty going on to keep you busy. Requiring delivery will either cost you a lot of money or lose you the deal entirely though... Rather than depend on that I'd budget some time and money to rent a truck from a hardware store or U-Haul and go fetch it yourself, honestly.

    I was expecting to pay maybe an extra 200 or so local delivery. one guy near me on facebook is asking 2700 for a taxi and I do like that one I amn prob gonna get that one but I wish he could do so today. but he said thur or friday he can.

    #44 48 days ago
    Quoted from Fieldsweeper:

    I was expecting to pay maybe an extra 200 or so local delivery. one guy near me on facebook is asking 2700 for a taxi and I do like that one I amn prob gonna get that one but I wish he could do so today. but he said thur or friday he can.

    Nice! Taxi is fun and an easy resell when you're ready to move on.

    #45 48 days ago
    Quoted from Fieldsweeper:

    thanks for all the advice. I think I wil bump it up to 2500 to 3k tops. what can I get in that range near tallmadge oh? i cant pick up so if anyone has something they can deliver haha.

    Someone sell this guy a game!!!

    No fear, t2...

    #46 48 days ago

    Just to be clear I was thinking come up to 2K.

    #47 47 days ago

    What's it cost to rent a truck from Lowe's/Depot these days for a few hours? I assume you can't pickup because you don't have a vehicle the game will fit, rentals are cheap. You could probably rent a good hand truck as well if you don't have one. Maybe you have a friend with a minivan and they can also help with some muscle. If you pickup from a garage it's not that big of a deal to move. Now, stairs are a b-atch.

    #48 47 days ago

    Taxi is a fun game. For under $2,000 you can get a hook, a waterworld, a routed T2 is still typically under 2k. Tons of early solid states that are great games . At under $1,000 you can get tons of great EMs.

    #49 47 days ago

    I live a mile away from you in case you wanna get this beauty

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/for-sale-transformers-combo-premium-le-

    #50 47 days ago
    Quoted from RyanStl:

    What's it cost to rent a truck from Lowe's/Depot these days for a few hours? I assume you can't pickup because you don't have a vehicle the game will fit, rentals are cheap. You could probably rent a good hand truck as well if you don't have one. Maybe you have a friend with a minivan and they can also help with some muscle. If you pickup from a garage it's not that big of a deal to move. Now, stairs are a b-atch.

    Yeah it may be a sitting room device rather than my completely wide open empty finished basement just for that alone. I stuck a slot machine in the sitting room as well just cus i was not taking it down the stairs lol.

    I like to watch south park sometimes. But someone is selling a southpark one for 4k i think if I was gonna spend that much it would be the BTTF one. but that ones too far from me. and its mainly me not wanting to do that labor lmao. so IF someone is willing to deliver I say sure thing even if I pay 200 more. renting a truck for teh day cost at least 100.

    Someone does also have a lethal wep 3 one too does not look as fun tho thoughts? i want one that keeps you engaged or has stuff to do rather than just spam the flippers. I only played Arabian nights and taxi and a few others digitally. Black hole is another but that seems just a flipper pusher.

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