(Topic ID: 71739)

Pinball ownership philosophy


By rpageler

7 years ago



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  • 52 posts
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  • Latest reply 7 years ago by pezpunk
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    #1 7 years ago

    I've read many posts about people stressing over pricing bubbles, etc and I'm curious what others consider when collecting pins. I believe my approach avoids stress and keeps the primary focus on the enjoyment of the hobby:

    Take what you paid for it, including fixes, etc and divide it by the cost per game. For example, i'm $5500 into a scared stiff. Will take me 11,000 games on it @$.50 a game to have paid for it through playing (sets a goal for me to keep that pin getting played by me, family, friends, etc). If i choose to sell it / trade it, etc,after that number of games the money/trade that i get back is great as i have already realized the value of the pin in play/ # of games. Seems some folks forget to factor in the fun with owning one or more pins - I even enjoy rehabbing & maintaining them though that time is not factored in other than costs of parts.

    It also helps me when looking to buy/trade. I take the price i'm willing to pay and divide by the per play cost to determine if i believe i will put that much play into it. So an older $2k game may look tempting but at $.25 i would need to play 8K games on it for a break even in my head. It's something to consider.

    OK i know this approach is not perfect but it helps me to sleep. What do others do to "calculate" or "justify" the spend on this hobby? And am i forgetting to consider anything?

    thx.

    #2 7 years ago

    I like the cut of your jib.

    I get more enjoyment out of restoring than I typically do playing. I look at things as a price per game played also. If I play 1000 games before selling something then I got $500 anjoyment out of just playing. If it keeps me busy working on it for 6 months then I saved probably thousand dollars by drinking at home rather than going to the bar and paying for other entertainment. If I learn something along the way then I saved on education expense

    If I have people over to play or run an event and see happy faces, then even one genuine thank you from a pinhead (especially a kid) makes it all worth it.

    #3 7 years ago

    That kind of works. Seems most on here don't play that much, since there seems to be an overwhelming plethora of HUO games with "less than 50 plays on it". So these NIB guys pay $8k for a game with 50 games X's .50 or even $1 per play. They are still into it $7950.

    #4 7 years ago

    I never believe the "Less than 50 games on it." Impossible to prove. All they have to do is update the software or remove the batteries.

    #5 7 years ago

    That is so true: watching kids enjoy them is a huge plus.

    I love it when friends/family play a game when you first bring it home and then a month or so later after a rehab. Most cannot believe how much of an improvement a little work can make.

    13
    #6 7 years ago

    I heard something I never thought I'd hear the other night.

    My mother in law has always thought I was crazy for spending so much money on these machines. When I first started talking about buying one, she and my wife were very against the idea. Their reservations were basically that it was an absurd amount of money for a huge ugly game that only I would be interested in playing. Don't I already play enough games? Can't you play pinball on your iPad for so much less money? We don't want some old blinking and bleeping contraption taking up space in the basement!

    But the other night my mother in law told me that after seeing how interesting and beautiful these machines can be, and how much fun I have had not just playing them but fixing them up, maintaining them, and modding them, and after seeing so many people -- friends, relatives, children -- getting so much enjoyment out of them, she now says they were worth every penny and more.

    That's why I don't worry about resale values.

    #7 7 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I saved probably thousand dollars by drinking at home rather than going to the bar and paying for other entertainment.

    Yeah-Right-On.jpeg

    #8 7 years ago

    If you have to have the newest stuff you pay more and some care about the value because they told the wife it would increase in value. Patience is key in this hobby. Wait until the right machine comes along for a deal and it doesn't matter what the market does.

    #9 7 years ago

    I'm a value buyer. My hobby budget isn't a whole lot, so evn getting my first machine (which was a really good price) was hard. Since we have a lot of events at my house (family visits, b-days, holidays,...) Mario gets played a lot during that time. All the kids love it. If I could ever finish bringing Joust (no, not that one, the other one) back from the grave, I could have another person playing at all times during those event days.

    #10 7 years ago

    I will say that it does not hurt that in 2 years time I have gotten pretty lucky with some good deals (1 in particular; MM) that helped to offset the cost of my entire collection when I sold.

    I currently have real $ of 11250 in my entire 8 pin collection.

    If you add up the 24 months of saved drinking out at an avg of $100 per month, that knocks it down to $8850. Take off another 1000 in games played (yeah I do not play that much) brings it down to $7850. Take down the value of a pinball education of various course I could have taken at local community colege and still not learned what I have already, est value 5k and that brings it down to $2850.

    I'd say if you think about pinball as a normal hobby, it puts it all in perspective. I have gotten at least another $2850 of enjoyment out of pinball.

    Things are a lot more fun when you are not concerned about the value of a game

    That was part of the reason I had to sell MM. It made me think about $ value instead of fun value.

    #11 7 years ago

    I never really thought of what they cost, or if they were worth it. Just liked playing. I didn't even know anyone else who had pins at home until just a couple of years ago. I had 8 last year at this time, now I am down to 3. Once I had bought one, I didn't give it too much thought. It was paid for, so I kept putting quarters in. Never thought of them as a commodity, just played and repaired them as needed. I guess I didn't think of it as a hobby, just what I do for fun. Fun, being the key word.

    #12 7 years ago

    I'm actually interested in these different perspectives. I don't own one yet, but it seems like there are collectors, restorer/modders, casual players and tournament players and ops as the types of people in the 'hobby'. I feel like on pinside it's more collectors and restorer/modders as well as casual players than competitive folks. I think ultimately it's just whatever you want it to be. Whenever I finally get a pin, my feeling is that I am not worrying about $ as much as fun, as it's def not an investment for business for me.

    #13 7 years ago

    I consider every cent spent toward the hobby gone forever. If I get some back someday, all the better.

    #14 7 years ago
    Quoted from CaptainNeo:

    That kind of works. Seems most on here don't play that much, since there seems to be an overwhelming plethora of HUO games with "less than 50 plays on it". So these NIB guys pay $8k for a game with 50 games X's .50 or even $1 per play. They are still into it $7950.

    While I also don't believe the 50 games, this is totally true and pretty funny actually lol!

    For me it's been pretty fun watching my wife slowly sorta kinda, but not really get into it. Mostly she is a flipper nazi now that she is aware of what a flipper rebuild is. When I bring a game home and she is playing it she always asks if the flippers have been rebuilt yet. If I answer no then it is constant complaints while playing about how the flippers are affecting her game play, lol.

    #15 7 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I will say that it does not hurt that in 2 years time I have gotten pretty lucky with some good deals (1 in particular; MM) that helped to offset the cost of my entire collection when I sold.
    I currently have real $ of 11250 in my entire 8 pin collection.
    If you add up the 24 months of saved drinking out at an avg of $100 per month, that knocks it down to $8850. Take off another 1000 in games played (yeah I do not play that much) brings it down to $7850. Take down the value of a pinball education of various course I could have taken at local community colege and still not learned what I have already, est value 5k and that brings it down to $2850.
    I'd say if you think about pinball as a normal hobby, it puts it all in perspective. I have gotten at least another $2850 of enjoyment out of pinball.
    Things are a lot more fun when you are not concerned about the value of a game
    That was part of the reason I had to sell MM. It made me think about $ value instead of fun value.

    I had a beautiful Triumph Bonneville I sold this past summer for the same reason.

    11
    #16 7 years ago

    I calculate nothing. I spend what it costs to buy a game and that money is spent/burnt/gone.

    When I need to repair, I spend what it takes to keep my games functioning - this is very important to me.

    To answer your initial question about philosophy - I buy my games to keep and they are not going anywhere - hence any tracking of costs is irrelevant.

    I'm in this for the amusement and enjoyment - and the money doesn't figure into it.

    #17 7 years ago

    Price is forgotten a week after I buy a game

    I onwn pinball machine to have fun playing them

    10
    #18 7 years ago

    I have no pinball philosophy

    I drink booze, smoke cigars, eat bacon, listen to beastie boys, play arcade games, pinball it up & generally just not give a fu*k about much

    #19 7 years ago

    don't forget the eat LSD part PBW79

    That is important

    #20 7 years ago

    My philosophy is:

    Buy it broken
    Fix it
    Play it
    Sell it for profit

    I feel no need to keep games forever. I enjoy the yearning for the Seawitch, Taxi and Flash Gordon that I sold recently. When it gets too strong, I play a few games on my simulator. It's not nearly as good, but it scratches the itch until the next time I get to play the real thing.

    No Fear, Polo, Superstar and Big Deal in the pipeline. Repair orders on Metrodome and Aladdin's Castle.

    There is virtually no place to play pins around here so I have to buy or repair the machines I want to get some time in on.

    #21 7 years ago

    I get a game if I like it and I can afford it
    I don't worry if i get my money back or not the value is in the enjoyment it has given.

    #22 7 years ago

    If it's a good deal relative to market value, I buy it.

    I play it a bunch and if I like it, it stays. If not, it goes. Rinse & Repeat.

    And obviously not everyone can/will make money on a pin they sell, but most of us are clearly smart people who make decent money at our day jobs, so I would imagine there's not too many people in it to "lose money" consistently either (hence, you get the price/market/value complaints)...

    Did I lose "hypothetical" money when they announced MM because I already owned one at a semi-inflated price? Yes, but it didn't make my cherry original restored MM look any shittier or be any less fun, so I got over it

    #23 7 years ago

    I personally just see it as a hobby, in it to enjoy playing/rebuilding the games. I am going about it all wrong if I was in it to make money as I usually spend more money than needed when I restore a unit. But then - it is for myself (stress relief, or whatever else you want to call it), if I was going to flip it, I would probably just clean it and make sure it was working - but I have yet to do that...

    I tend to think that you are not going to get rich of anything you collect - sure you might get lucky. If you want to make money you don't 'collect', you buy and sell.

    #24 7 years ago

    I buy games I like to play, and try not to overpay. If I stop enjoying the game, I sell it (WOZECLE will be the next game out). Try not to over pay, make exceptions for games you really want, sell for a fair price that the current market dictates. Sometimes you make a few hundred, sometimes you lose a few hundred, sometimes you break even. But you got to play and enjoy the game while you had it. Overall try to break even, and how many hobbies let you say that?

    #25 7 years ago
    Quoted from PW79:

    I have no pinball philosophy
    I drink booze, smoke cigars, eat bacon, listen to beastie boys, play arcade games, pinball it up & generally just not give a fu*k about much

    Amen brother! Pinball is for fun. The moment $$ enters the equation, it stops being fun and becomes stressful. F%@K THAT!
    I have to go play another round of ACDC now to bring down my blood pressure. It's therapeutic.

    #26 7 years ago

    I only have 2 games so far but I chose them on newness and theme as we can't fix our own pins....yet.
    I consider money spent on a pin gone...spent on entertainment like movies and dinner/vacations with the family. Pins for example are more cost effective for us to buy rather drop $1000 every time we visit the arcade that is 6 hour drive one way from home. Family, friends and inlaw's LOVE visiting LOL I am just glad my hubby was on board and I didn't have to convince him it is well worth it It will only take us a couple months at MOST to essentially play for "free" with 9 (ages 3 to 23) kids and thier friends/spouses. FYI we put 63 games on our WOZ last night in the first 3 hours after we set it up so I won't be selling any "lightly used" HUO games! We BUY to play!

    #27 7 years ago
    Quoted from ManiacMama:

    I only have 2 games so far but I chose them on newness and theme as we can't fix our own pins....yet.
    I consider money spent on a pin gone...spent on entertainment like movies and dinner/vacations with the family. Pins for example are more cost effective for us to buy rather drop $1000 every time we visit the arcade that is 6 hour drive one way from home. Family, friends and inlaw's LOVE visiting LOL I am just glad my hubby was on board and I didn't have to convince him it is well worth it It will only take us a couple months at MOST to essentially play for "free" with 9 (ages 3 to 23) kids and thier friends/spouses. FYI we put 63 games on our WOZ last night in the first 3 hours after we set it up so I won't be selling any "lightly used" HUO games! We BUY to play!

    Keep Playin' Mama

    #28 7 years ago

    If I want a game, I buy it for what it is being sold for. If I sell a game, I take what somebody will give me for it. But I do look to find the best possible price on Jack Daniels, as I burn through a lot more of that than pinball machines.
    That is my philosophy.

    #29 7 years ago

    My philosophy is buy in bulk, sell the ones I don't want and hopefully get to keep the ones I want without paying too much for them because the cost is covered by the ones I sell...

    I actually use the money side of it as a secondary game... I track all the money I spend, including things bought for the 'hobby' (or obsession) like vans, storage, parts etc (I don't put a value on my time though because it's not 'work'). The aim of this game is to have a decent and varied collection that's been paid for by the ones I sell... If I ever break even and have some great games to show for it I feel more relaxed about having them knowing that they cost nothing... If I didn't do it like this I'd never have the games I do because I wouldn't be able to afford it!

    #30 7 years ago

    Me like pinball. Me buy pinball. Me play pinball.

    #31 7 years ago

    If it is a hobby then it doesn't matter how much money you spend.
    Here is where much folks don't see it clearly: a hobby is something you do for fun. Not for money! It's like making a 5k trip to another country.. You spend that money to have that experience and fun and you are never gonna get that money back..
    The moment you start thinking on the profit it starts to be a business... so, or it is putting a lot of money in your pockets or else it's not worth the time spent.

    I have another hobby: surfing. Each time i buy a surfboard i pay 0.5k. And i trash one every one or two years. I don't care, i had fun with it so i just buy another one when needed. If i keep thinking on the board's resale value the hobby turns in to just a waste of time because that will fill my mind and will keep me from enjoying it.

    #32 7 years ago

    These are great responses. Glad to see so many just don't worry about the $ and enjoy playing, drinking, fixing up, more drinking, sharing with others, even more drinking, etc.

    #33 7 years ago
    Quoted from rpageler:

    Glad to see so many just don't worry about the $ and enjoy playing, drinking, fixing up, more drinking, sharing with others, even more drinking, etc

    Yeah, do you really think any of us want to leave money in the bank, just so we can drop dead of a heart attack and then have our kids fritter it away?

    #34 7 years ago

    Money ruins the fun, no doubt. Pins in the wild are few and far between here and what comes up for sale locally is usually two steps from the trash bin. I buy them, make them playable and play until I tire of them. The idea is to then sell them to buy another. So far, I haven't sold a one. Meanwhile, it is more than worth it to me to keep another game alive and intact. I HATE seeing a viable machine parted out. That's what grinds my gears!

    #35 7 years ago

    My philosophy on pinball ownership is.... If I own one, life is good.

    #36 7 years ago

    I've only sold one game that was in worse shape out the door than in it...
    Corvette.

    #37 7 years ago
    Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

    I've only sold one game that was in worse shape out the door than in it...
    Corvette.

    & weird science (*Zing*)

    #38 7 years ago
    Quoted from fattrain:

    & weird science (*Zing*)

    Ouch
    But to be fair that was out the door with a new ramp and cleaning making it better than entry.
    Just didnt make it to its new home in a better condition

    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
    #39 7 years ago
    Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

    I've only sold one game that was in worse shape out the door than in it...
    Corvette.

    Its in great shape now .

    #40 7 years ago
    Quoted from fattrain:

    & weird science (*Zing*)

    um..... Strange Science

    2 weeks later
    #41 7 years ago

    I work in a different collectible business and people always ask me what should I buy that will appreciate in value?

    I tell them: "Buy what your like, if it goes up in value, great, if it doesn't YOU will still appreciate it".

    #42 7 years ago

    pinball math. use it!

    #43 7 years ago

    I save for it, I search high and low for it, I find it, I want it, I buy it, I fix it, I play it, I keep it, I tinker with it, I break it, I fix it again, I take it to shows, I bring it back home. My wife shakes her head, looks the other way, goes "on line", and adds on to her Barbie collection.

    Steve

    #44 7 years ago

    Multiply pride of ownership by number of games played, add tinkering and enlightenment value then minus fixing and frustration costs. Divide by original affordabilty, minus number of other games in collection and add expected resale value. It always equals zero.

    #45 7 years ago

    I like the vibe of this thread. As long as I can find a good deal on one of my personal "A" list machines it comes home to join the family. I've sold off other things along the way and feel I've only made a trade out. I started out buying my first one out of curiosity but now they are like paintings to me. They have been endless fun to restore and play. I have become a "collector" and I'm very proud of my low cost collection. To me a Black Knight that has been touched up and repaired to the best of my ability is worth more than a NIB. My kids and wife give me crap from time to time but are always the first one to show off the collection. My son brags about how he can work on them, the wife still beats me at a few games, and my daughter quotes Gorgar to all her friends. Pinball!

    #46 7 years ago

    Hey, you wanna sell me your Strange Science apron?

    #47 7 years ago

    If I want it and think its worth it, I buy it.

    #48 7 years ago

    I don't have a philosophy for pinball.

    I buy em', play em', enjoy em' and when bored either sell em' or of late wrap and pack em' and stick them in storage as in a few years I know I'll wanna play it again.

    #49 7 years ago

    I don't analyze it from a # of plays because I think I spend more time fixing, tinkering and making mods for my games. I have helped many people break into this hobby as I am known to be somewhat of an enabler in my local area. I always tell new people that this hobby is not for everyone and you need to know a few things before you get into it.

    1) First machine you buy should not be a cheap project but a working machine from a reputable or referred seller by another collector. If you have no skills or knowledge about pinball repair it will only sour your experience and discourage you from staying in it.

    2) Be willing to get your hands dirty and learn how to fix or troubleshoot some basics issues or else be prepared to spend lots of money paying repair techs to come to your home otherwise you have a very expensive door stop

    3) Patience! Remember just because you over paid for a game doesn't mean the next guy has to.

    4) Provided you didn't over pay you have a pretty good chance to get your money out of it when the time comes to rotate in a new game. That is pretty good because any other hobby I have been involved in I always lost when it came time to get out or change things up.

    5) Let's say you over paid and ended up taking a $200 loss selling the game after owning it for a year. I know lots of people can't stand losing any money and when it comes time to sell they add every single bulb or rubber they replaced and the gas money they spent to get the game. It's horrible and I've seen some local games inflate $300-400 in less then 6 months after exchanging owners with no real work or value added either. Much like playing at the casino, if you can't stand losing a bit on a game then this hobby is not for you.

    If you take $200 loss and spread it over 12 months that is $16.67/month of somewhat unlimited entertainment for yourself and family. I don't think $20 would entertain my daughter for more then 15-20 minutes at Chuck E. Cheese playing these damn redemption games! Also nothing worse then paying $1.00 to play a pin in the wild with weak flippers or game is not working 100%.

    6) You win some and you lose some. So if I want a particular game bad enough I am willing to over pay to get it now but what helps me accept it is I think of the better deals I have gotten on other games in my collection and use that to off set things.

    7) You will not stop at just one pin and you will eventually sell your beloved pool table

    You will make a few good life long friends to share your journey and experiences with in this hobby. The friendships as a result of being in this hobby are priceless in my opinion.

    #50 7 years ago

    Oooo, fun thread. Here's my few cents to toss in...

    I have been buying machines for more than 10 years now.

    I buy machines for two reasons and they must meet both criteria with only two exceptions - I must be interested in the machine, and I must be getting it for what I feel like is a fair price that if I wanted to sell it at, I could. I generally have (well, had) a list of like 10 machines I was looking for, and whatever came up at a fair price I'd get. It makes not paying silly money for anything a lot easier.

    Machines tend to stick with me once I get them. Rarely do machines that I get leave. While I said that I want to buy them at a price that I could sell them at, that isn't because I flip or am looking at selling them. It's because I want to make sure I'm getting a good value. If that value goes down, that's cool as I was getting the entertainment out of them.

    I'm at a point where I'm really only looking for three more machines (and two more vids too) right now, and I have leads on ALL of them. After that, I'm going to be looking for a place to house them... I have FAR more than what fits in my basement right now... which is sort of a good thing, and sort of not. Luckily, the MGC gives me an excuse for owning them!

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