(Topic ID: 154876)

Newbie looking for my first game


By Silverstreak02

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 21 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by EMsInKC
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    #1 3 years ago

    I'm new to the hobby and have started to look for my first game. Due to my age I'm interested in the EM games from the 70's. There is no particular title I'm looking for I would just like a game I can enjoy. I like fixing things so it doesn't have to be perfect, but I do want it to look good. When I go to look at one of these machines what should I look for that is considered a no go item? I would also like to know what I can expect to pay for a machine from the 70's. Keep in mind I'm not looking for anything rare, just something that will be fun.

    #2 3 years ago

    You want to make sure the artwork looks good. The backglass and playfield are probably the most important parts here. Most EMs can be repaired if you know what you're doing.

    #3 3 years ago

    I'm far from an expert, but my vote is going to be a Gottlieb that's heavy in drop targets.

    Atlantis (beautiful artwork, and a wedgehead)
    Target Alpha/Solar City/El Dorado

    I'm sure others can give more examples. The above are also good in that they're relatively abundant and have lots of parts/expertise availability.

    For my money, Gottlieb was just "where it was" in the EM days. Says they guy who's owned two EM Ballys but never a Gottlieb.

    Brad

    #4 3 years ago

    Don't hold out for any particular game 'cause it may never come up for sale. Just keep looking around and play some games, you'll know it's the one when you see it! To me theme is as important as the art work, so make sure it's got some meaning for you. As long as the seller shows that it's 100% playable and can power off and power up again you should be good. The key to maintaining an EM is to "play it" ... keeps the contacts clean. Just give it a good look-over for missing/broken plastics and PF parts, BG flaking, and cabinet water damage. Those are the biggies. Good luck!

    #5 3 years ago

    What he said : Backglass and play field. You will be surprised with the amount and kind of parts you can get for an old pin, but back glasses and play fields take much labor to fix and hard to come by if you can't fix what you have.

    Don't get in a hurry. Don't get in a hurry. Don't get in a hurry. Some Ems play better than others.

    Go the the Market page on this site. Shop around for awhile. Go to Ebay and shop around. Some people here laugh but you can find some deals on Craigslist if you are patient. And then use Searchtempest that feeds off of craiglist and set your search area for 3000 miles since you are in Florida. This will let you search nationwide. You might see a machine listed somewhere in the Northeast for so many dollars and you might find the same machine list on the west coast for much less---or much more. Granted, you most likely will buy something closer to home, but looking around is learning.

    And then go to youtube and see if you can find any videos of a pin that interests you (there were 3 or 4 I thought I might like and then I saw the vid and said not this pin.

    Go to Papa and watch all of their nice vids. They have vids of Ems, solid states, and DMD pins there.

    http://papa.org/learning-center/videos/

    Like you, I thought I wanted an EM. I bought an old EM. Like you, I like fixing things but that old EM got the best of me and I sold it. I decided I would move to early solid state pins.

    Take your time and buy right. Get the wrong pin and you will selling it and looking for another.

    #6 3 years ago

    Thanks for the advice. Is it OK to open the game up during the purchase to inspect the mechanisms under the playing field and in the back cabinet? The two games I see in my area on Craig's list say they have electronic issues and don't work properly. They are listed at $500 (Jungle Queen) for one and a firm $700 (Jungle Princess) for the other. What am I getting into with these machines and is that a fair price for non working machines? Thanks again for helping me with my newbie questions.

    #7 3 years ago

    I think you'd have many choices of decent EMs for say, $500.

    I'd buy from a pinsider so they can hold your hand a bit and show you through things like getting under the playfield, how to remove the backbox, etc. Plus you'll make a friend/resource. I'd save Craigslist for your 2nd game when you are more comfortable with things. Craigslist sellers can be totally useless - like no keys to open the game, won't help breakdown game or carry.

    Also, I like to look at the (Ebay-based) prices from this price guide:
    http://bostonpinball.biz/ebay112315.htm
    Not gospel, but more info is better.

    I would require these:
    - Game works (starts a 1 or 2 player game, registers each ball, scores points, and recognizes game over state)
    - Gameplay/theme/art that you like
    - good playfield condition
    - good backglass condition

    Then I'd be willing to buy but perhaps negotiate a lower price for:
    - subpar cabinet condition
    - subpar coin door condition
    - subpar legs condition
    - lack of manual/schematic unless you can download from IPDB
    - requires going down or up stairs

    I wouldn't worry too much about overpaying a little. Everyone does on their first. Also, I wouldn't feel like you have to wait for your grail game, because half the fun for me is keeping an eye on games for sale and getting the next one.

    EM repair bible: http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index.htm

    #8 3 years ago

    You should definitely open them up and plug it in if it's not been sitting awhile. If you want a game that's in pretty good shape, buying one from another collector may be the way to go.

    #9 3 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    You should definitely open them up and plug it in if it's not been sitting awhile. If you want a game that's in pretty good shape, buying one from another collector may be the way to go.

    But: Rule of thumb is don't fix anything or even tweak anything while you're there because then what happens is it starts to work and they charge more since it's "fixed". Happens a lot apparently.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    But: Rule of thumb is don't fix anything or even tweak anything while you're there because then what happens is it starts to work and they charge more since it's "fixed". Happens a lot apparently.

    True that! I try not to even look at the batteries for fear of getting caught.

    #11 3 years ago

    I would get in touch with other Pinsiders from your area and maybe play some games they have and talk to them. Ask them if they or any of their pinball buddies into em's have any for sale. Some say it's a good idea buying one already restored and working for their first pin. If you have any pinball shows in the SE, go to one and try some games out.

    You can find a good title for around $600 - $850 already restored. I collect Gottlieb's because that's what my operator put on location back in the day. And, most parts are easy to find. There's good single and multi-players out there that are good starter games and don't cost an arm and a leg.

    Good luck!

    #12 3 years ago
    Quoted from hoov:

    I would get in touch with other Pinsiders from your area and maybe play some games they have and talk to them. Ask them if they or any of their pinball buddies into em's have any for sale. Some say it's a good idea buying one already restored and working for their first pin. If you have any pinball shows in the SE, go to one and try some games out.
    You can find a good title for around $600 - $850 already restored. I collect Gottlieb's because that's what my operator put on location back in the day. And, most parts are easy to find. There's good single and multi-players out there that are good starter games and don't cost an arm and a leg.
    Good luck!

    Great advice!

    #13 3 years ago

    Lots of folks within a 2 hr drive of your area to help.

    Sent a pm with some info.

    Just remember nice ems are more expensive in Florida and the SE than in WI and the NE.

    #14 3 years ago

    Hi Silverstreak02 +
    I would check pinside-rating and ipdb-rating -> Look at the COMMENTS - I go for "playability" - art is fine - BUT playing is the fun ...

    I would recommend a 1972 to 74 Williams or Bally - they are well documented (ipdb) and "rather easy to work-on" - Gottlieb-switch-travel is much more difficult do adjust.
    Later models (1976) may have some gimmicks - more complex.

    As others said: Do NOT hurry - BUT if one "grabs Yyou": Buy it.

    (((OK - I admit: I happen to LIKE the Gottlieb-Drop-Down-Targets - so I have several Gottliebs - BUT: I prefer "working on Williams" , I decided "not to buy Bally pins - must I have spare-parts for Gottliebs, Williams -AND Bally ?".))) Greetings Rolf

    #15 3 years ago

    Here's one close to you for sale.

    tampa.craigslist.org link

    #16 3 years ago

    I have some advice take it with a grain of salt.

    Game must be appealing to you and be complete . Some games flat out suck and you'll lose interest quickly.

    Things that bother me are : rust, peeling backglasses, badly worn playfields, smell of mold/mildew.

    Avoid: games with hacked wires, water damage, mice poop/nests, missing parts (not so much keys but lockdown bars, back doors), broken plastics .

    IPDB ratings are a crap shoot! there a handful of Jackwagons trolling giving great games a low rating .

    Advice would be to avoid CL unless the person has several games and his workshop has tools. You laugh but ppl buy pins and have NFC how to turn a screwdriver . I would go to a pinball show and see what hits you what doesn't. 3" Flipper games with drops are popular from the mid 70's. Buy a single player for your first pin. 4 player pins are heavier and more crap can go wrong .

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from 1974DeltaQueen:

    Some games flat out suck and you'll lose interest quickly.

    Truer words have never been spoken. The rest of what you say is dead on.

    Also, watch out for those ads that say, "this pin used to work before we quit playing it and I'm sure it is just a simple fix."

    #18 3 years ago

    Don't know if you can wait that long, but Silverball Museum is opening a 2nd location in Delray Beach sometime soon. If it's like the one in NJ it'll be the place to try out lots of great games and decide what goes on your list.

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from cottonm4:

    Truer words have never been spoken. The rest of what you say is dead on.
    Also, watch out for those ads that say, "this pin used to work before we quit playing it and I'm sure it is just a simple fix."

    True, although sometimes those are the good deals because it's some family that has a game, has no idea how to fix it, the "problem" is a shorted light socket or something, and they'll unload it at a discount. You get it home, find/fix the short, and then start the refurb. I also like these cases because often they don't even know how to remove the glass and lift the playfield. That tells me they haven't messed with it and broken anything most likely.

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from goldenboy232:

    True, although sometimes those are the good deals because it's some family that has a game, has no idea how to fix it, the "problem" is a shorted light socket or something, and they'll unload it at a discount. You get it home, find/fix the short, and then start the refurb. I also like these cases because often they don't even know how to remove the glass and lift the playfield. That tells me they haven't messed with it and broken anything most likely.

    This is a good point. People who don't really know what they are doing usually make things worse trying to "fix" things. I did get one machine for $150, a Bally Monte Carlo (with almost perfect backglass and an OK playfield). It is a somewhat decent machine to play although not particularly popular. It needed some work to get it going, which I understood when I bought it, and that was OK because I wanted to learn how to work on one. But what I found out is that someone in the past (not the person I bought it from) had attempted plenty of repairs, and each one was a mess that required more work from me than if they had just left it alone. Switches bent at all sorts of horrible angles, pieces broken off, hacks installed, etc. Everything worked out OK because I managed to get it all fixed, but I agree, it is better is has been left untouched by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. When I have had to fix things on unhacked machines, I found that once you figure out where the problem is, most of the time it just takes a very small and well-applied switch adjustment, or a bit of cleaning, or maybe some soldering on a broken wire, and you are good to go. Simple stuff, but you need to be able to understand how to find where the problem is and how it should be properly fixed.

    To the OP, you will find I think that you can get a pretty nice EM for $500-800 if you are patient and keep looking. Any maybe less, like I said, I got one for $150. This is assuming you don't mind working on one, which you said you wanted to do. The best ones are with a good backglass and a decent playfield, but maybe needing some mechanical work. When you first start out, you can get lots of advice here on how to start fixing it so you don't make things worse yourself when you start working on it.

    If you want to get one to work on so you can start learning how to fix them, I would recommend a single player if possible (agree with 1974DQ). 4-player has so many more score reels to deal with along with additional stepper units that a single doesn't have, it will be more intimidating to start out with.

    Good luck, I was just like you less than a year ago. It will be very enjoyable. Keep looking, keep asking, and I'll bet you'll get a good one. Then remember, these things have an amazing ability to replicate themselves. I got my first one and I thought it would be all I would need to keep me busy for a long time. Well, it turned into 3 pretty quickly, and I'm not even sure how that happened.

    #21 3 years ago

    It's simply my opinion, but Williams EM games are in the main easier to work on than Gottliebs.

    Some of Gottlieb's relays and score reels can be a real dog to work on and get adjusted correctly. Score motors, too, once Williams went to the reel type from the platter type.

    Gottliebs generally, but certainly not always, were better at game play. But I've never found them to be easier to work on, nor easier to keep dialed in once you have them fixed.

    Gottlieb parts however are much more plentiful than Williams.

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