(Topic ID: 236511)

Operating non-pinball machines


By desertT1

7 months ago



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  • 19 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 34 days ago by desertT1
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    #1 7 months ago

    I just recently picked up 3 ticket games. Reason being is that the owner of my main location had mentioned doing something like that a while ago. I sort of brushed it off at the time, but then started thinking about it recently. There are quite a few kids that are there at select times, and most of them don't play the pins, while some do. So I thought about it, made a proposal (which was accepted) and started looking. The games I got all need a little attention as they have been sitting for a little while.

    ICE Cyclone. It's been sitting for a while, but I will say that this is my favorite ticket game. The goal was to find one of these, and I did within 2 hours drive. Working on some electrical issues right now. Down to it dispensing tickets, but not taking them off the "tickets owed" display. This is the one I have the highest hopes for. Super simple gameplay and missing the jackpot still gives a decent amount of tickets compared to other games where it can be as bad as 1 or 0 tickets per game/coin.

    Baytek Wonder Wheel. This is one where there is a belt that is constantly spinning and a wheel with openings on the opposite side that the coin gets "shot" at. This one was "fully" working in that it would power up, everything was spinning fine, and when a coin went into the opening, it added those tickets to the "tickets owed" counter. I didn't have tickets until recently, so wasn't able to test the ticket dispenser, but will hopefully be able to today. It's still pretty dusty inside, so have to take off all the panels to clean it out, but if the ticket dispenser works, it will be ready to rock pretty soon. I think this might be a 1 of 0 ticket game if you miss, but with a few misses in a row, it adds to your multiplier that can go up to 3X or 4X. I think if it sits for a while the multiplier goes away. So big ticket potential, but might be too brutal if it doesn't pay out often enough.

    Wheel Em In. Currently made by Sega, but I'm pretty sure mine was when it was owned by a different company. Mirrored backglass gives it a little pinball cred, but I'm not sure how this one will do. It has a chute that rolls the coin onto a belt that has ticket rows printed on it. The belt is moving slow. The goal is to get the coin to fall in a pretty narrow span on the ticket image. Watching some video of it, it's a pretty small gap that actually wins tickets. But, the ticket numbers (at least on mine) are pretty high. 12/25/50/75 or something like that. There might be a 125 as well which is about what the Cyclone jackpot starts at. So this one is a higher risk/reward game. It's not in too bad of shape, but due to it's reduced appeal (in my mind) compared to the others it will be the last one I get fully working. It runs, but because it has an electronic coin validator that isn't getting power, I can't play test it unless I take the glass off and just place a coin down. Time will tell.

    For prizes, the bar will handle counting tickets and doing prizes for now. I want to get a scale that will measure and report X number of tickets since ticket eater machines are really expensive and nothing has shown up close yet. There is a much better plan for a few months down the road, but is also expensive, so this has to prove as worthwhile first. For prizes I'll have a mix of smaller (but still hopefully cool) stuff and a few larger items. Don't want too much selection to take up space at the bar. I'll also be tipping out the bartenders for tickets they return to me since they wouldn't see any added pay for the added task.

    If anyone else wants to talk about stuff like this, cool. If not, this will be a documentation of if this works for me or not. If it works, any extra cash will just be going towards pins, so there's the connection.

    #2 7 months ago

    You might be able to find a used deltronics table top ticket eater (there is also a large display option that customers can see). I saw those in use for many years in the 90s before self-service ticket stations entered the market and became popular.

    Quoted from desertT1:

    Baytek Wonder Wheel.

    All these type of quarter feeder games are designed to spit out a good number of tickets (if a player times it right). I don't recall what kind of adjustments are available. The ones I service are all set to default settings. Quarter feeder games are generally only popular in arcades that have a good selection of prizes. Otherwise, the fun value on them is minimal since it's over so quickly, and the main objective is to get the most amount of tickets possible per quarter to get bigger & better prizes. That's basically the whole point of a redemption arcade--have some good stuff with various ticket values, and people will keep dropping quarters to get the prize they want.

    Note that this game has the jackpot rigged, so it's not completely a game of skill. The jackpot is mostly based on a percentage of plays. When these games were new, they were played a lot, since they gave the appearance of a skill-based game. But essentially, it's just a quarter feeder with a button. The arcades I still see these games at rarely get play and they are typically stuffed away in a far corner somewhere.

    Games that rely on the position of a quarter to determine winnings are a pain. Sometimes (especially if they were routed for a long time), the sensors malfunction, or the zero position goes out of alignment. You also get a lot of people complain about "hey, it landed on the circled, but I didn't get anything". So, you often run into the question of whether or not it's a game malfunction, if a player is mistaken, or if a player is just lying to get tickets. Personally, I would avoid these types of games.

    For some reason, themed coin pushers seem to popular these days, but the new ones are ridiculously expensive. The newer ones have collectible cards that are dispensed, and the arcade usually exchanges them for a certain number of tickets. Themed arcade games are a little risky though as the popularity of a theme can decline over time.

    Ball drop games seem to be popular, and there are units that are various sizes (ball drop, monster drop, slam-a-winner, etc).

    If you have the space, skee ball games are generally popular, as are carnival type games. Skill-based games tend to get a lot of repeat plays.

    ball-based card games seem to be moderately popular, but they take up as much space as skee ball games and whatnot since they tend to have long lanes.

    Shooting games used to be reasonably popular, but not so much these days. I've been noticing they've been disappearing during the last few years.

    Note: This is just from my experience in the past few years in my area. Your area and customer base might be completely different.

    #3 6 months ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    You might be able to find a used deltronics table top ticket eater (there is also a large display option that customers can see). I saw those in use for many years in the 90s before self-service ticket stations entered the market and became popular.

    This browser isn't going to let me multi-quote, but I'll try to remember everything.

    I am looking for a ticket eater, and the Captains Auction in SoCal just had one, but I didn't remember to look and see. Went for next to nothing too...

    As far as Cyclone, it does have settings for how easy/hard the jackpot is, but it's not exactly rigged like claw machines can be. I attached the two settings in the manual that cover this. How I read this is that you set the window the jackpot is open with one and with the next you can set up how often it gets open up all the way. I haven't looked at the settings on mine, but actually hit the jackpot on my second game and then did it again 10 or so games later. This was over the span of about 40 tries for me. Each of my kids tried 10-20 times and didn't get any jackpots. But still, the game awards decent tickets so hopefully will get repeat plays.

    With Wonder Wheel, again, I know it's a short game per coin, but the goal is to have cool prizes so that is the encouragement to play.

    I saw a video on YT where they were playing Wheel Em In and it seemed pretty touchy. That's where my concerns come from. If I can get it playing properly it might still not be a very good earner. If it earns itself back (not much $ anyway) that will make me happy and if it tanks after that, it'll go away. You never know though, it may be the big hit.

    The down side to where I'm going to put these is the limited space. I see room for 2 games, or maybe cramming 3 games in. Cyclone is the biggest, so that will determine how things are arranged. It's the area of the building that the kids hang out so at least I have that working for me.

    If I had a ton of space, I'd want to get 2 skeeball machines as well. I also really like the ball drop games, so would shoot for one of those eventually too. A coin pusher would probably go over pretty well too. I'm such a sucker for those since it's always right on the edge of dumping all the winnings and cashing in on tickets. $10 later and it's still right on the freaking edge of a huge payout...

    cyclone settings (resized).jpg
    #4 6 months ago

    I’d convert the ticket system to a thermal printer and a RKS ticket notch to print interface. Tickets are expensive and make a mess. Thermal paper is cheap. Don’t get the ICT printer. It’s crap. Justin makes a good device. Same printer that most gas pumps have. Don’t rely on bar staff to do anything. As soon as you have someone that knows what to do, they’ll get fired or quit.

    #5 6 months ago
    Quoted from ryanbrooks:

    I’d convert the ticket system to a thermal printer and a RKS ticket notch to print interface. Tickets are expensive and make a mess. Thermal paper is cheap. Don’t get the ICT printer. It’s crap. Justin makes a good device. Same printer that most gas pumps have. Don’t rely on bar staff to do anything. As soon as you have someone that knows what to do, they’ll get fired or quit.

    Or, a card-based system. That can be somewhat expensive to implement, but for a decent sized arcade, it can eliminate quite a lot of maintenance issues that go along with coin-based and ticket-based systems. I've also noticed the cash-based arcades have more staff than the card-based arcades, probably for that reason.

    The arcades in my area are split about half and half between cash-based and card-based systems. I wish I could do a 1-to-1 comparison between them somehow to see how much of a difference it actually makes on earnings to see what customers actually seem to prefer.

    #6 6 months ago

    For a small location, tickets are a MAJOR PIA.

    #7 6 months ago
    Quoted from ryanbrooks:

    I’d convert the ticket system to a thermal printer and a RKS ticket notch to print interface. Tickets are expensive and make a mess. Thermal paper is cheap. Don’t get the ICT printer. It’s crap. Justin makes a good device. Same printer that most gas pumps have. Don’t rely on bar staff to do anything. As soon as you have someone that knows what to do, they’ll get fired or quit.

    After finding the RKS you are referencing, that isn’t the band that was the majority of google hits, it shows that the product section of their page is down. Have any other place I can look at to just see what they offer?

    #8 6 months ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    After finding the RKS you are referencing, that isn’t the band that was the majority of google hits, it shows that the product section of their page is down. Have any other place I can look at to just see what they offer?

    Really Killer Systems. They made the Goose-It board that we used to put in 8-liners to make them print.

    You’ll need a piece of sheet aluminum to make a mounting plate for the printer into the Deltronics hole. A few 8-liner suppliers used to sell them. We’ve been out of the gray-area amusements for almost a decade now so I don’t really know if much of this stuff is still around.

    In re prizes, I don’t know Arizona redemption laws, but in most states, the prize can have no cash value. That doesn’t mean you can’t win an Xbox with tickets, it means you can’t BUY the prize at the redemption counter. Furthermore, most states do not allow alcohol to be given away or won. One of my customers a few years ago was arrested on NYE for giving away the champagne toast!

    #9 6 months ago
    Quoted from ryanbrooks:

    Really Killer Systems. They made the Goose-It board that we used to put in 8-liners to make them print.
    You’ll need a piece of sheet aluminum to make a mounting plate for the printer into the Deltronics hole. A few 8-liner suppliers used to sell them. We’ve been out of the gray-area amusements for almost a decade now so I don’t really know if much of this stuff is still around.
    In re prizes, I don’t know Arizona redemption laws, but in most states, the prize can have no cash value. That doesn’t mean you can’t win an Xbox with tickets, it means you can’t BUY the prize at the redemption counter. Furthermore, most states do not allow alcohol to be given away or won. One of my customers a few years ago was arrested on NYE for giving away the champagne toast!

    All I could find on that was an installation manual and an eBay listing. Not exactly looking like something available until that product page comes back from the manufacturer.

    Believe me, I’d rather had a swipe system, but this is literally a test, of 2-3 machines, at a location that I operate in and don’t own. Down the line we will see what happens, but this is a tie dip, until I can cannonball.

    #10 6 months ago

    Here is a scientific study of Cyclone's programmable payout behavior.

    #11 6 months ago
    Quoted from Crash:

    Here is a scientific study of Cyclone's programmable payout behavior.

    Right, I’ve seen that. It’s a setting, which is turned off by default.

    2 months later
    #13 4 months ago

    First month out and ICE Cyclone is getting played. The math is a little different compared to pins because with pins it's just coins in minus split and repairs is what I make. With ticket games it's more overhead because of prizes and tickets having a cost as well.

    Repairs have been needed as well. Nothing has broken, but the game has needed a few free fixes. One of them was the display was saying it owed a few tickets. It wasn't paying out. I go over and there are a few tickets folded like an accordion between the ticket dispenser and the door it is mounted to. Not sure if little fingers managed to jam a few tickets in there and it got backed up, or it snagged somehow and jot jammed. Either way, quick fix and it worked with a few tests and has worked fine since then.

    Another one was when I was opening the 3 doors to check ticket levels. One side had a few in the dispenser as they should be, but then the stack had disconnected somehow. There isn't much to snag on, by design, so I'm not sure what happened there, but I'm glad I caught it. I fed the few tickets through and set them on the game to be found and fed the tickets back in and it worked just fine. Odd, but glad I saw it.

    So the game has grossed more than the best earning pin, but accounting for prizes and other costs it's closer to being in the middle of the pack of pins. But, I see it as a game getting played by kids who would not be playing pins.

    I know it's kids playing it though because the jackpot was over 350 when I left on Saturday. It starts at 100 and goes up 1 with every play. I don't have it set up to only let you hit the jackpot every X number of games. What I see is kids hitting the button almost as soon as the light gets into their section of the game. So some parent will probably clear it out and be a hero to their kid, which works too.

    The following months will be interesting to see if it keeps getting played or if the new shiny toy gets ignored.

    2 weeks later
    #14 3 months ago

    Wonder Wheel was put out on location last Friday. It will take a few months, but assuming I don't get another machine I will be able to tell which game is liked more. I have had a few other prizes arrive that will be delivered to the location later this week. This will help bring the prize selection closer to being pretty balanced. I currently only have candy of various ticket costs and some mini hockey stick sets that are on the upper end. Those are 2k tickets, nothing close to the super high cost prizes at other places. So now there will be some smaller toys and bouncy balls that the kids playing will be entertained with.

    All in all, I wont know how well they are truly doing for a few months because then I will have an idea of how quickly prizes are getting picked up. Early on it seems like nothing but expenses (games, repairs/parts, tickets, prizes) but the kids playing the games wouldn't be playing pinball anyway. That's important in my mind because as Vid and others have said, there is only so much money in the room. Adding more pins doesn't add more income for me at this location, but adding a whole different player base could/should as long as I offer something that they find entertaining. Looking that way so far, hopefully it continues.

    #15 3 months ago

    I just saw this thread so I am a little late. If you dont have them, cranes. Self redemption is nice because you dont need the counter. Stackers, key master, winners cube. Not sure about the laws in az, but look into them. Here in mi it's not uncommon to walk into a bowling alley with 3 to 5 cranes with different prizes. I do run a route with some cranes and pins. I have $14,000 in pinball sitting next to one $2,500 crane and the crane doubles what the pins do.

    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    I just saw this thread so I am a little late. If you dont have them, cranes. Self redemption is nice because you dont need the counter. Stackers, key master, winners cube. Not sure about the laws in az, but look into them. Here in mi it's not uncommon to walk into a bowling alley with 3 to 5 cranes with different prizes. I do run a route with some cranes and pins. I have $14,000 in pinball sitting next to one $2,500 crane and the crane doubles what the pins do.

    My location has a crane, but it’s not mine. It has slowly broken down and now literally nothing works on it. Lights, timer display, bill acceptor. I’m trying to get them to move it or have it pulled. I’m there every week for pinball tournaments and now ticket games, I’ve seen this person once in 3 years. Comes maybe once a quarter.

    #17 3 months ago
    Quoted from desertT1:

    My location has a crane, but it’s not mine. It has slowly broken down and now literally nothing works on it. Lights, timer display, bill acceptor. I’m trying to get them to move it or have it pulled. I’m there every week for pinball tournaments and now ticket games, I’ve seen this person once in 3 years. Comes maybe once a quarter.

    I never split accounts for that reason. It makes you look bad. It's not your game but the customers don't know this. I would go to your local distributor, gather a few flyers, and tell him you will bring a new one in. A small prize cube will run about 2500. A bigger one for a few hundred more.

    #18 3 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    I never split accounts for that reason. It makes you look bad. It's not your game but the customers don't know this. I would go to your local distributor, gather a few flyers, and tell him you will bring a new one in. A small prize cube will run about 2500. A bigger one for a few hundred more.

    The main bartender brought up this claw game just last weekend when I was there. She knows it's not mine, but she didn't know how broken it was. It's actually been there longer than I've had pins there. I said I could put something there that was working, even if the other claw machine got moved somewhere else. I have started putting stickers on all of my machines with my logo and "owned and operated by Tucson Pinball" along with my contact info. The people who can put two and two together figure out what is mine and what isn't, but not everyone can do that by themselves. I never even cared about paying attention to the claw machine until somebody saw me working on a pin and asked if I owned the claw as well because it was taking money. That's the first time I had even realized how far downhill it had gone.

    I don't like trying to weasel in, but it was the bartender who suggested they move the claw and I put something there since at least I'm around to fix things. That was less than a week ago, so we'll see what happens. Even if the claw goes, this person still has a rack of those .50 and .75 toy capsule things.

    2 months later
    #19 34 days ago

    The Cyclone ticket game has almost paid for itself after 4 months. The Wonder wheel isn’t too far behind after 3 months. Considering I paid very little for either that isn’t saying a ton, but they are getting played.

    The non-candy prizes have been chosen at an acceptable pace. I did lower the ticket cost of 2 of the 3 candy prizes, even though I had those priced exactly the same as other ticket arcade places.

    Maintenance hasn’t been too bad, but I have had tickets get smashed into accordion shapes and get stuck between the door and the dispenser. I have tweaked the position of the dispenser slightly when this happens to try and avoid it happening more.

    Between the cost of games, prizes, and other things the ticket games should be making a profit in the next few months. I haven’t been putting any of the quarters from these games into the pinball quarters. I’m saving them for either another game or a prize machine.

    So far the only issue is how much space is still left to put machines. I might be able to fit one more but after that it’s full.

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