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(Topic ID: 172856)

Opinions on Gottliebs Sys3 compared to Williams Sys11


By Pinasco

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by rattmuscle
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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    #1 4 years ago

    Hi !
    I'm an absolute beginner - who got my first pinball, Big Guns (Williams), quite recently.

    Well- I am totally hooked on pins now and I'm already looking for the second machine.

    Even though I am an absolute amateur on fixing electronics, I'm about to buy a proper electric tester and soldering station to be prepared when the machines start to show problems. However , of course, I´m the kind of guy who prefers when things function and don´t need repeated repair work. Or at least that those repair works don´t turn out to be too challenging.

    In that respect - and taking into consideration that I'm a newbie : is there anything that should be given special consideration if my next buy were to be a Gottlieb Sys 3 ?

    I've had people warn me from getting a Gottlieb Sys 80- because they are said to be very hard to troubleshoot and work on. Does that apply to the Sys 3 Gottliebs also ?

    So far I've had my sights set on getting one of the following titles: Surf N Safari, Super Marios Bros or Lights, Camera, Action.

    Thanks in advance for Your thoughts.

    #2 4 years ago

    System 11 games have a handful of known flaws that need to be addressed and bulletproofed. Troubleshooting info on System 11 games is readily available for the most part.

    System 80 games have a handful of known problem areas as well, but this system is incredibly well documented. I wouldn't listen too much to folks trying to dissuade you from them if you want to own one.

    System 3 games are built like tanks, and rarely have major issues. There are a few documented problems, but most are easy to address. Unfortunately, board-level troubleshooting & repair info for this system is pretty much non-existent. Repairs to the driver board can be done using your experience with other game systems based on general concepts on how driver boards work along with the schematics, but other than that--non-booting boards are difficult to troubleshoot on your own. But, little documentation for the boards also means there's rarely issues with them that *need* to be documented.

    #3 4 years ago

    As someone that owns both Williams System 11 (well actually Sys9 but really similar) and Gottlieb System 3, I can tell you that my System 3 is a workhorse that barely needs any work, where I've done multiple replacements of coils, diodes, and transistors on 1/2 of the plays.

    One of the major issue with "many" Gottlieb System 3 games is that there's not as much value (both by players and collectors) than "most" System 11 games. I was once not a Gottlieb fan, but now by owning one (Gladiators), my opinion changed quickly.

    #4 4 years ago
    Quoted from comment23:

    One of the major issue with "many" Gottlieb System 3 games is that there's not as much value (both by players and collectors) than "most" System 11 games. I was once not a Gottlieb fan, but now by owning one (Gladiators), my opinion changed quickly.

    This is true--Gottlieb games have their own gameplay style and aren't always as deep as some cherished classic sys11 or WPC counterparts. There are a few desirable system 3 titles, but also a fair number of duds. But, not every Williams title was a big hit either.

    On the other hand, if you want to find a DMD game for under $1k, there's a few Gottlieb titles that still can be acquired for that price.

    #5 4 years ago

    I can also say that I've had numerous Gottlieb System 3 games and haven't had much if any trouble at all. In fact I've never had anything go wrong with one of my system 3 games. I have had however some system 3 games I've purchased with issues I've had to fix. But nothing out of the ordinary that's for sure. Currently I have a Gottlieb Operation Thunder system 3 game and love it!

    #6 4 years ago

    Thanks a bundle for the information. I will definitively put those aformentioned Sys3-titles on my hunting list.

    #7 4 years ago

    As said before, system 3s dont get as much love as the system 11 games, due to shallow rules, and people say less fun to play. I personally love system 3, they are built like tanks, and ive had very few issues with them (i own 3, and have had another). The dmd games are great and can be had cheap. Gladiators, wipeout are both great. The alpha numeric seem a bit shallow, but still fun. A lot of interesting ideas they had, that would have been a lot better received if it had come from bally/williams. I know people dont like the flippers on gottlieb, i dont notice that much of a difference, except they are easy to swap bats if one breaks. System 11s are also well built. The only problems ive ever really had is switch adjust problems, or eos adjustments, but with playfield parts build quality, you can tell they had a bigger budget than gottlieb. (Not saying they are better, just higher budget. Gottlieb did very well with what they could sink into the games). Rules are generally deeper on the system 11s, artwork maybe a bit better, both did well with original themes, but near the end gottlieb started going licensed themes and got away from originality/artwork. (Backglass on big hurt and mario andretti). But the built like a tank still persisted. Oh, and with gottlieb-the callouts on wipeout make you want to jam a fork in your ears after awhile! Just my .02 cents

    #8 4 years ago

    Thanks Amkoepfer ! I must say - I really am reconsidering the Sys-3-games - from having placed them in the "less-of-a-game"-league up until now. I will try to test a few of them before buying, but from what I've seen on Youtube there seem to be quite a few exciting titels in the Sys3-line. One little, and maybe funny, detail that I like is those blue-looking Futaba (?) displays on some of them.

    Haha- thanks, I'll keep that audio-warning for Wipeout in mind

    #9 4 years ago

    I've got a new appreciation for Gottlieb System 3s. I have 2 System 11s, and they're great games, but I really enjoy the quirkiness of System 3 games, and their price point can't be beat. You can get a lot of pinball bang for your buck with the system 3 line of games.

    I'll tell you this much: I have a Lights Camera Action, and it's been bulletproof, bombproof, and built like a tank.

    As for its gameplay, I think it has a much deeper ruleset than your run-of-the-mill system 11, but be forewarned, it's terribly unbalanced. Definitely not a competition game, but a blast if you just want to kill some time.

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I've got a new appreciation for Gottlieb System 3s. I have 2 System 11s, and they're great games, but I really enjoy the quirkiness of System 3 games, and their price point can't be beat. You can get a lot of pinball bang for your buck with the system 3 line of games.
    I'll tell you this much: I have a Lights Camera Action, and it's been bulletproof, bombproof, and built like a tank.
    As for its gameplay, I think it has a much deeper ruleset than your run-of-the-mill system 11, but be forewarned, it's terribly unbalanced. Definitely not a competition game, but a blast if you just want to kill some time.

    Sorry, ya, i forgot to mention the completely unbalanced scoring!

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from amkoepfer:

    Sorry, ya, i forgot to mention the completely unbalanced scoring!

    This is because under premier gottlieb machines had a 3 month design cycle. Premier also did not allow updates after release unless it was absolutely necessary.

    In terms of reliability System 3 is much more reliable than system 11.

    #12 4 years ago

    3 month? Wow i didnt know it was that tight. I guess if tou look at the games you can kind of tell. I have gladiators sitting right next to wipeout,same year, same artist and you can tell. It is almost like they just used the same colors in a different layout. Also, along the lines of system 11 or system 3, id also put data east games up there l. Rocky and bullwinkle, and jurrasic park specifically . Good designs, pretty good rules, fun as hell, but not as reliable. Always seem to be working on them in some way, mostly transistors.

    #13 4 years ago

    It's not just the rules, System 3 games have terrible flippers (they went so overboard trying to ripoff Williams with narrow, steep flippers that you can backhand almost any shot and often trap just by holding the flipper up in an inlane roll). The gottlieb QC at the time was also atrocious, you'll find many games with badly raised inserts, and excessive playfield wear between the flippers because a) they didn't put mylar there (where they do have it above), and Premier was shipping games with defective, soft pinballs to save like 10 cents per game, which ground down playfields.

    Should let you know the mindset of Gottlieb/Premier at the time. The crummy software is legendary...welcome to the world of multiballs being awarded randomly!

    There are some fun games - of your list I'd say Surf N Safari is the winner. And yes, they really are reliable.

    #14 4 years ago

    Lights camera Action
    Silver Slugger
    SMBros
    SF 2
    Gladiators
    Wipe out
    Stargate
    Freddy
    Big Hurt
    All fun under rated pinball machines
    then theres the SYS 80's
    Robowar, TX, Genesis, Arena and more great games, I like B/W but theres something about the gottliebs, I stayed away because most pinheads aren't into them, thankfully I finally bought one. Sys 11's are fun but don't dismiss the Gottliebs, remember some people buy pins based on build quality.

    #15 4 years ago

    system3 flippers are easy to fix to make more consistent with other brands. this is well documented at http://pinrepair.com/sys3 for those that care.

    system3 are built well, but when there is a problem, often they can be a bit tricky to figure out. Mostly because there's just less base knowledge of the system. the production numbers on system3 games is very low compared to say williams/dataeast (where DE is basically a sys11 copy.) so there's less experiences out there to share.

    as for the games themselves, i like the alpha numeric system3 games myself. they are very unique. the dot stuff is decent, but the overall stop and go game play (which most seem to have) makes me weep. i don't like it when the game stops, asks me questions, and i have to give an answer. it just bothers me for some reason.

    also the style of dot animations and game play is unique to gottlieb and very different than say williams/dataeast. i don't like it as much personally. the usage of flasher bulbs too annoys me for some reason. these are all small details but it detracts from the game play in my eye.

    as for rules some system3 are really shallow and others (like cueball wiz/stargate) are pretty deep. but again the issues outlined above come into play and it changes the experience for me personally.

    1 week later
    #16 4 years ago

    Huge thanks to the contributors of information and hints in this thread. It's really appreciated.
    Now I'm just watching the market and wait for the right Sys 3/GLB-opportunity

    #17 4 years ago

    Yeah, Waterworld is a good sys 3 to try and track down. Under appreciated in my opinion.

    #18 4 years ago

    I got a freddy, it's an ok game. I changed the coil stops out as cfh mentioned and set difficulty to hard, made a huge difference. Game play was too easy in stock form for me. Do the ground mods at the transformer, makes a difference.

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