(Topic ID: 354315)

Operator Pin Setting Philosophy

By superdrummer20

19 days ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 19 days ago by DNO
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    #1 19 days ago

    Hi team Pinside,
    I have a general misunderstanding on how some operators manage their pinball machine settings and price structure.
    I am a recent newcomer to pinball. And now actually own several machines. But, I distinctly recall dropping a quarter into a machine when I was 14, watching 3 balls go directly down the drain, and vowing to never allow my hard earned money to be wasted again.
    As an adult, I now enjoy visiting locations to try out different games and I just cannot fathom the thinking when setting these machines up. Quite regularly it's my childhood experience all over again. No ball saves (or very short ball saves), absolutely no tilt forgiveness, and essentially 2 minute games for $1. I just don't understand the short-sightedness of these decisions. Why would anyone play after an experience like this? Doesn't repeat business actually pay for itself? We all know new business is 100 times more difficult to get versus repeat. So why is the experience so brutal? As a pinball fan, I regularly say to myself "well I'll never play that machine again".
    O.K., I understand these things are expensive and labor intensive. As an owner I get it. But whenever I go to any arcade or location with a few machines, there is hardly ever anyone playing the games. No cash flow whatsoever.
    Shouldn't we be attempting to get new younger kids engaged to perpetuate the hobby? And enticing adults to want to have a machine of their own? Isn't a machine which plays for 10minutes per game going to bring in repeat business 100s of times more than a 2 min SDTM shock fest? And dare I say it, a 5 ball game? Doesn't a fun exciting game mean more $$s for locations, operators, distributors, and manufacturers?
    Now I've been to several locations where you pay $15 to play all day. And this definitely brings me back. And I would hardly ever spend $15 at $1 a pop. And when I’m not dropping in a dollar, or worse yet, 4 quarters, then you can set the ball saves conservative and the tilt tight. And guess what, I’ll play again!
    I just don't get it. In an effort to make more money, pay-per play operators are dis-incentivizing anyone from playing a second time. Is $1 dropped in once with hardly any playtime worth more than $10 dropped in regularly with more playtime? Or even better, $100 dropped in regularly?
    Can anyone explain it to me?
    Can any operator suggest why this is the way it is?
    If we really want cheaper pinball machines, then we need more people playing. And a $1, three ball, tilt-out drain-fest is not going to make that happen.
    I beg of you, PLEASE make pinball on location more enjoyable.
    Thanks for your tolerance.

    #2 19 days ago

    I can attest. As my brother (full disclosure) has described, I've also recently been to 2 different locations where I viewed to never return. One was a $1.30, three ball game with no ball save, two immediate balls right down the outlanes (didn't even touch them with the flipper), a whopping 30 sec game for a 30 year old pin. It was rage inducing
    The other I spent $7 for twenty minutes. Hated the whole experience. I'll play in my basement thank you very much. I've never enjoyed the $1 three-ball game for three minutes. No kid i know is gonna do that.

    #3 19 days ago

    Lots of operators are looking at going to $2/play. Simply because everything including the price of pinball machines has more than doubled in the past several years. It way beyond the time where it should be $2/play. Operators I know are looking at 2 choices, raise prices or quit operating pins.

    #4 19 days ago
    Quoted from superdrummer20:

    Can anyone explain it to me?

    I don't really patronize random locations that happen to have pins. Most of the time, they're not maintained at all. A quick look at how filthy the playfield is will tell you how much attention they get. I tend to skip playing those games. Pretty much every time I try to play those kinds of games, I end up disappointed.

    I will patronize locations known for maintaining their pins well--either coin drop or entry fee. Although I will generally end up playing significantly more games with at an entry fee location than at a coin drop location.

    #5 19 days ago

    If you get better at playing pinball then your money will go longer.

    Pinball is under priced as it is at $1 / play. It's not the 1990s anymore.

    #6 19 days ago
    Quoted from superdrummer20:

    Hi team Pinside,
    I have a general misunderstanding on how some operators manage their pinball machine settings and price structure.
    I am a recent newcomer to pinball. And now actually own several machines. But, I distinctly recall dropping a quarter into a machine when I was 14, watching 3 balls go directly down the drain, and vowing to never allow my hard earned money to be wasted again.
    As an adult, I now enjoy visiting locations to try out different games and I just cannot fathom the thinking when setting these machines up. Quite regularly it's my childhood experience all over again. No ball saves (or very short ball saves), absolutely no tilt forgiveness, and essentially 2 minute games for $1. I just don't understand the short-sightedness of these decisions. Why would anyone play after an experience like this? Doesn't repeat business actually pay for itself? We all know new business is 100 times more difficult to get versus repeat. So why is the experience so brutal? As a pinball fan, I regularly say to myself "well I'll never play that machine again".
    O.K., I understand these things are expensive and labor intensive. As an owner I get it. But whenever I go to any arcade or location with a few machines, there is hardly ever anyone playing the games. No cash flow whatsoever.
    Shouldn't we be attempting to get new younger kids engaged to perpetuate the hobby? And enticing adults to want to have a machine of their own? Isn't a machine which plays for 10minutes per game going to bring in repeat business 100s of times more than a 2 min SDTM shock fest? And dare I say it, a 5 ball game? Doesn't a fun exciting game mean more $$s for locations, operators, distributors, and manufacturers?
    Now I've been to several locations where you pay $15 to play all day. And this definitely brings me back. And I would hardly ever spend $15 at $1 a pop. And when I’m not dropping in a dollar, or worse yet, 4 quarters, then you can set the ball saves conservative and the tilt tight. And guess what, I’ll play again!
    I just don't get it. In an effort to make more money, pay-per play operators are dis-incentivizing anyone from playing a second time. Is $1 dropped in once with hardly any playtime worth more than $10 dropped in regularly with more playtime? Or even better, $100 dropped in regularly?
    Can anyone explain it to me?
    Can any operator suggest why this is the way it is?
    If we really want cheaper pinball machines, then we need more people playing. And a $1, three ball, tilt-out drain-fest is not going to make that happen.
    I beg of you, PLEASE make pinball on location more enjoyable.
    Thanks for your tolerance.

    Youve rapid fire asked about 20 rhetorical questions, so let me try to boil the answer down as simply as possible:

    I'd love to see what "no tilt forgiveness" means to you. There's people who get pissed when they slide a game halfway across the floor and get a double-danger.

    A smart op will set his games up according to his audience. If it's a place frequented by leagues/tournament players, it will be wise for him to tighten up his games, reduce replays, reduce allowed EBs etc. (I just described a few major NYC locations).

    If it's a total scrub location, it makes sense for games to be easier.

    It's a hard balance for ops to strike I'm sure.

    You could also, frankly, just suck at pinball. If you get better, you'll get more for your money wherever you play.

    And in this day and age, $1 for 2 minutes of entertainment isn't any kind of an outrageous ripoff. And, average 10 minute games for $1 would be DEATH For most operators. That's not a winning formula for them.

    #7 19 days ago

    OP, all of the settings you described, with the exception of the tilt, and the factors relating to your skill level, are more or less default from the factory. and for a reason.

    and trust me, as both a player and operator, i can assure you that the number of people who feel compelled to continue playing to get better (partly so they can play longer) far outnumbers the number of people who rage quit because they feel they didn't get their money's worth.

    #8 19 days ago

    Play better.

    #9 19 days ago
    Quoted from superdrummer20:

    PLEASE make pinball on location more enjoyable.

    I've killed myself striving to make pinball in my arcade fun and a good value.

    You need to patronize places that do.

    LTG : )

    #10 19 days ago

    Im a year into being a owner/operator. I stick to ideally late 60s thru early/mid 80s machines. Only have 3 going now with another almost ready...on location in my 101 year old bar/dance hall. All mine are 25¢ a pop. I dont expect to make any money on them. What i take in barely pays the state taxes.

    What it is...is a novelty. In central Tx. there is no place to place these 40-50year old machines. Basically i have my personal collection for the public to play.

    But money makers ...not.

    So far as setting them tight or loose...i currently have 2 EMs set a 5 balls liberal tilts...and my F-14 is set EASY with 3 balls. Skill plays alot into anybody's time of play vs. money spent.

    Experienced players manage the flippers better, and persuasive shakes shoves with very few tilts. Novice players ...a games lasts about a minute if that...but at 25¢ they have a plenty of quarters waiting.

    #11 19 days ago

    I worked for an operator in the late 70s. Games then did not have ball savers (except when you drained without scoring, and even then only at first ball with some games). No tilt warnings, many 1 player EMs had tilt=game over.

    That was a standard then, and nobody complained. To get higher scores, you had to play better.

    Most important thing is that the game is well maintained, and in good working condition with clean playfield.

    #12 19 days ago

    I might add that I disable most of my tilts, and the few that have tilts are set as low as possible. People know not to abuse them.

    My assortment of 50¢ per play games is going down, along with the one 25¢ per play game. With the coming in of all the American Pinball machines ( two still to come, then an American Pinball party ). And cheaper play wasn't driving in players anyway.

    I try to keep in newer games, and maintain them.

    Next time you visit a location and like it and plan to return. Thank them. They ain't getting rich doing it for you.

    LTG : )

    #13 19 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I might add that I disable most of my tilt

    Why? Seems like not letting customers get the full experience. Also makes me not count any of the high scores.
    A properly set tilt also sets the standard of how much one can shake or nudge, not having some guy yell across the room at you for shaking a game with no tilt.
    Seems like not using all the tools of the trade to me.

    #14 19 days ago

    Funny, my experience is that games offer extra games like candy and the establishment is dead set on me never leaving... or spending any more money.

    #15 19 days ago

    It started with my original MM. Tilt set low, well centered. And it was just too sensitive. Flipping could tilt it.

    That ain't right.

    Kind of grew from there.

    I don't have to yell across the room. People here have been more respectful than that.

    LTG : )

    #16 19 days ago

    I'm blessed to be near AYCE Gogi, a great arcade where most everything is $.50 and there's a healthy mix of the latest and the old classics.

    Place is almost always empty, in the heart of the san fernando valley. Thank god for the all-you-can-eat korean BBQ supporting the pins.

    I think price-per-play and hardness of set-up have probably pretty low impact on profitability. Other local arcades with higher prices are equally empty.

    I really find it hard to believe that any pinball machine in California is making a profit these days. It would take an incredible location. Hope I'm wrong.

    #17 19 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    It started with my original MM. Tilt set low, well centered. And it was just too sensitive. Flipping could tilt it.
    That ain't right.
    Kind of grew from there.

    Ah, those B/W mechs swing the bob forever!
    The earplug trick takes care of that, but that’s only been figured out in the last 5 years or so.
    I hold a lot of tournaments and leagues, so no tilt is not an option.

    Reply

    Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

    Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

    Donate to Pinside

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!


    This page was printed from https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/operator-pin-setting-philosophy and we tried optimising it for printing. Some page elements may have been deliberately hidden.

    Scan the QR code on the left to jump to the URL this document was printed from.