(Topic ID: 306531)

Pinball...What happened? Tell me your story.

By Dantesmark

5 months ago


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  • 91 posts
  • 59 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 54 days ago by naf_llabnip
  • Topic is favorited by 11 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Predict your pinball future”

    • Im done. 14 votes
      13%
    • Im waiting for prices to drop. 30 votes
      28%
    • Im a buyer regardless. 48 votes
      45%
    • Im selling at these prices. 14 votes
      13%

    (106 votes)

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    There are 91 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 5 months ago

    News alert!!!
    Pinball has hit a fever pitch like we havent seen since the 90's or maybe ever. This is great!?...pinball has survived! But, at what cost?
    I started buying pins back in 2016, when prices were still "reasonable", but now...well you know where im going.

    Anyhow, i wanted to start this thread hoping to hear from hobbyist new and old.
    When did you get in?
    What was your first purchase?
    How much was it?
    Thoughts on how things used to be, how they are now, and your future in this hobby as it continues to spiral out of control.

    Myself... i had a video game collection and decided to sell most of it to buy a Bride of Pinbot ($2800)...20 pins later and im still addicted to everything pinball. Checking the market hourly, listening to all the pods, and anticipating every new release!

    If youre reading this you are probably addicted just like me... but thats not a bad thing...after all.... its just pinball. Right???

    #2 5 months ago

    Born in. 1954

    Gottlieb Pinball Pool February 1979.

    $1895.00

    Things never stay the same. There is always change. Whether we like it or not.

    Me, I'm glad the way pinball has evolved.

    LTG : )

    #3 5 months ago

    I’ve been in the industry for 20+ years. 20 years ago, you could get a theater of magic for $600… twilight zone for $1,800… the list goes on and on.

    Here are the variables I think are at play with the rising prices, and it’s more than just 1 or 2:

    - Stern has 1000s of units in its backlog
    - Less supply of pinball machines overall, growing demand and popularity, and more disposable income for the average consumer. I know people who used to make minimum wage but had enough money to buy a stern pro because they were unemployed during covid. The barrier to own a machine has never been lower and people have never had more money.
    - Stern increased the price floor on all new stern pros being created after Godzilla
    - older machines are being restored; come with new and expensive mods; and are becoming less available (scarcity/FOMO). These machine prices become higher, thereby increasing the price floor of all machines of that same title incrementally over time. The carrying trade value on these older machines are always maxed too.
    - Older games are being reproduced and setting a new price floor
    - New pinball machine manufacturers have very high base entry
    - Inflation

    Probably a bunch of other reasons, but these stand out to me right away as to why pinball machine prices have sky rocketed over the past few years.

    I honestly don’t see any pinball prices going down soon because no one is willing to sell less than what they paid for something, and everyone is over paying.

    #4 5 months ago

    I see u on here a bunch LTG... love your takes and opinions! Thanks for sharing.

    #5 5 months ago

    At the point I got in…pinball was a very small hobby. The general public liked pinball somewhat but interest dropped off for awhile.

    Then things came back stronger I never would guessed.

    I’ll always keep buying.

    #6 5 months ago
    Quoted from Cauger5:

    I’ve been in the industry for 20+ years. 20 years ago, you could get a theater of magic for $600… twilight zone for $1,800… the list goes on and on.
    Here are the variables I think are at play with the rising prices, and it’s more than just 1 or 2:
    - Stern has 1000s of units in its backlog
    - Less supply of pinball machines overall, growing demand and popularity, and more disposable income for the average consumer. I know people who used to make minimum wage but had enough money to buy a stern pro because they were unemployed during covid. The barrier to own a machine has never been lower and people have never had more money.
    - Stern increased the price floor on all new stern pros being created after Godzilla
    - older machines are being restored; come with new and expensive mods; and are becoming less available (scarcity/FOMO). These machine prices become higher, thereby increasing the price floor of all machines of that same title incrementally over time. The carrying trade value on these older machines are always maxed too.
    - Older games are being reproduced and setting a new price floor
    - New pinball machine manufacturers have very high base entry
    - Inflation
    Probably a bunch of other reasons, but these stand out to me right away as to why pinball machine prices have sky rocketed over the past few years.
    I honestly don’t see any pinball prices going down soon because no one is willing to sell less than what they paid for something, and everyone is over paying.

    Yes to all of that... but where do u fit in? Ride the wave as if business as usual or stopping until ???

    #7 5 months ago
    Quoted from EJS:

    At the point I got in…pinball was a very small hobby. The general public liked pinball somewhat but interest dropped off for awhile.
    Then things came back stronger I never would guessed.
    I’ll always keep buying.

    Whats ur story? First pin and such?

    #8 5 months ago

    Bought my first pin in 1971 a Bally Safari for $50.
    50 years later and too many games, I'll enjoy what I have, and wind down, maybe with a game or two in trade down the line, but pretty much done.

    As this stage, I'd rather use the funds differently, and drop $20 at local Pin locations.

    20
    #9 5 months ago

    bought my first pin in 2021. a Ghostbusters LE, paid $22,000. Been hooked ever since!

    10
    #10 5 months ago

    Got in last year cause I was stuck at home. Had the intentions of buying 1 which was a Bally Kiss. It was one my dad liked and so I bought us both one. Then both a playboy and I got myself a Flash Gordon and restored it.

    I can’t afford newer machines so I buy stuff that needs fixed up and take my time. It’s fun.

    #11 5 months ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    bought my first pin in 2021. a Ghostbusters LE, paid $22,000. Been hooked ever since!
    //<![CDATA[
    window.__mirage2 = {petok:"501a84df09c647cfe40f12391cbcee3de7f34c16-1640143344-1800"};
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    Your a funny mf John. Lol!

    #12 5 months ago
    Quoted from Golfnutz81:

    Got in last year cause I was stuck at home. Had the intentions of buying 1 which was a Bally Kiss. It was one my dad liked and so I bought us both one. Then both a playboy and I got myself a Flash Gordon and restored it.
    I can’t afford newer machines so I buy stuff that needs fixed up and take my time. It’s fun.

    You could prolly sell those pins for 5k a piece nowadays
    ..
    Curious how much they erre just a year ago...

    #13 5 months ago

    I was born in 1978 and have pictures of me as an infant on my dad's pinball machines. First arcade related game I bought was in 1997 a Midway bump and jump video game($50), first pin was a Chicago coin big flipper ($100) that I bought a year later. I'm always on the prowl for anything at a deal really. The more broken the better as I possess the skill set to troubleshoot boards at the component level. Plus I've been hoarding hard to find electronic components since the late 90's since I saw where this hobby was going. It's nice working on things knowing I've got almost anything needed to fix it somewhere in my house. My current collection of everything is well over 50 machines, I have more pins than video games but even that market is starting to spike. I have no idea where this hobby is going. Bitd I used to get calls to haul this broken machine out of someone's basement. Now even junk is commanding more money than I'd pay. I think eventually things will calm down. But I have no idea when.

    #14 5 months ago
    Quoted from Drewscruis:

    I was born in 1978 and have pictures of me as an infant on my dad's pinball machines. First arcade related game I bought was in 1997 a Midway bump and jump video game, first pin was a Chicago coin big flipper that I bought a year later. I'm always on the prowl for anything at a deal really. The more broken the better as I possess the skill set to troubleshoot boards at the component level. Plus I've been hoarding hard to find electronic components since the late 90's since I saw where this hobby was going. It's nice working on things knowing I've got almost anything needed to fix it somewhere in my house. My current collection of everything is well over 50 machines, I have more pins than video games but even that market is starting to spike.

    I originally thought i would have many arcades in my basement but came to realize how much more i dig pinball.
    Ever consider selling most of the arcades and focus on pinballs? Thats the route i took. Only arcades i wanted were ones with peripherals that werent joysticks. IE tron, racing, gun games etc.

    #15 5 months ago

    Most of the video games I have, I have for a reason. 2 I have had since I was 5yrs old, the others are what I remember playing bitd at Aladdin's castle. So no I'd never sell the video games i have to buy more pins. Also as of recently the prices on video games have gone into the stratosphere.

    #16 5 months ago

    Born in 1954.

    Played pinball a lot in 1973 in Melbourne Fla during college at "Worlds Worst Pizza".

    Worked surveying offshore oil around the world after college 1978 and was based in Houston. Where I would play Bally Playboy at Dome Shadows Rock Bar every weekend I was in town.

    A pinball Arcade was set up in an old movie lobby in Bowie, MD around 1992. I put a few quarters into games there too.

    I was working in Reston VA. in 2001 and found a Bally Dr. Who game in a sub shop down the street. It became a favorite lunch spot.

    2019 hit like a brick wall with Covid and retirement and being stuck in the house. While surfing the Interwebs, I re-discovered Pinball. At first, I just browsed Ebay ads. Then did google searches. Found Pinwicki and IPDB, then Pinside. Started searching for pinballs, I used to play, that I could afford. Finally found a well-used working pinball an hour away for $2800.

    With rusty electrical skills, a full toolbox, and a desire to learn, I jumped into the pinball hobby. It was not going to crash like so many of my RC planes. It did not take up as much room as muscle cars. With the help of Pinside hobbiests and pinball parts suppliers, I have resurrected a pinball that would have had a short life in a few years.

    Now the desire to own a new in the box pinball, is only restrained by my lack of finances. But the good news is that there are two arcades full of new and old pinballs, just 20 minutes away.

    #17 5 months ago
    Quoted from Golfnutz81:

    Got in last year cause I was stuck at home. Had the intentions of buying 1 which was a Bally Kiss. It was one my dad liked and so I bought us both one. Then both a playboy and I got myself a Flash Gordon and restored it.
    I can’t afford newer machines so I buy stuff that needs fixed up and take my time. It’s fun.

    Kudos for picking up a pin or two for your dad!

    I guess that's what a lot people did not long ago - buy an older pin at a decent price, do some work on it, clean it up, and have a blast playing it. That's what I did when I bought a couple of 70's pins for the mancave. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread - to have a couple of pins at home. I was originally going to buy a pin back in the 90's/2000's, but that never materialized. Looked at few, never bought (and always wondered if I passed on a MM for a few hundred dollars, LOL). Eventually sell, maybe make a few dollars (I don't flip). I was far more interested in enjoying the pin than making a buck.

    But with retirement in the near future (this was maybe 5-6 years ago), I decided to slowly upgrade the pins. Sort of skipped the 80's pins and moved into the 90's era. Then as retirement was getting closer, and the prices starting to increased (pre-COVID), I decided to start to pickup pins from the post 2010 years. The idea being, once I'm retired, the hobby will sort of be 'self-sustaining'. Newer pins will have likely increased in price but at the same time, hopefully my collection went along for the ride. So when I do get a different pin in and one goes out - not much money will exchange hands.

    I did retire at the end of 2020 and I think I'm in good shape with the collection and my goal. One thing I decided to do was to actually try to play better, learn the rules, and beat the pins (or at least get further into the goals). Result is I tend to not rotate thru the collection as fast. A couple of years ago, I think my entire collection rotated in/out for something new in not much more than a year.

    #18 5 months ago
    Quoted from Tophervette:

    Born in 1954.
    Played pinball a lot in 1973 in Melbourne Fla during college at "Worlds Worst Pizza".
    Worked surveying offshore oil around the world after college 1978 and was based in Houston. Where I would play Bally Playboy at Dome Shadows Rock Bar every weekend I was in town.
    A pinball Arcade was set up in an old movie lobby in Bowie, MD around 1992. I put a few quarters into games there too.
    I was working in Reston VA. in 2001 and found a Bally Dr. Who game in a sub shop down the street. It became a favorite lunch spot.
    2019 hit like a brick wall with Covid and retirement and being stuck in the house. While surfing the Interwebs, I re-discovered Pinball. At first, I just browsed Ebay ads. Then did google searches. Found Pinwicki and IPDB, then Pinside. Started searching for pinballs, I used to play, that I could afford. Finally found a well-used working pinball an hour away for $2800.
    With rusty electrical skills, a full toolbox, and a desire to learn, I jumped into the pinball hobby. It was not going to crash like so many of my RC planes. It did not take up as much room as muscle cars. With the help of Pinside hobbiests and pinball parts suppliers, I have resurrected a pinball that would have had a short life in a few years.
    Now the desire to own a new in the box pinball, is only restrained by my lack of finances. But the good news is that there are two arcades full of new and old pinballs, just 20 minutes away.

    Great story and thanks for sharing!
    My earliest memory playing pinball was an addams in aladdins castle. I am at 7 pins currently. 3 are old ems, 2 are 90s, a maiden and a gnrle. If i want something new i will prolly have to sell my 2 90s pins.
    We will see what gets released i guess.

    #19 5 months ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    Kudos for picking up a pin or two for your dad!
    I guess that's what a lot people did not long ago - buy an older pin at a decent price, do some work on it, clean it up, and have a blast playing it. That's what I did when I bought a couple of 70's pins for the mancave. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread - to have a couple of pins at home. I was originally going to buy a pin back in the 90's/2000's, but that never materialized. Looked at few, never bought (and always wondered if I passed on a MM for a few hundred dollars, LOL) Eventually sell, maybe make a few dollars (I don't flip). I was far more interested in enjoying the pin than making a buck.
    But with retirement in the near future (this was maybe 5-6 years ago), I decided to slowly upgrade the pins. Sort of skipped the 80's pins and moved into the 90's era. Then as retirement was getting closer, and the prices starting to increased (pre-COVID), I decided to start to pickup pins from the post 2010 years. The idea being, once I'm retired, the hobby will sort of be 'self-sustaining'. Newer pins will have likely increased in price but at the same time, hopefully my collection went along for the ride. So when I do get a different pin in and one goes out - not much money will exchange hands.
    I did retire at the end of 2020 and I think I'm in good shape with the collection and my goal. One thing I decided to do was to actually try to play better, learn the rules, and beat the pins (or at least get further into the goals).

    Thanks so much for sharing ur story!
    Any pins currently that u want or any dream themes you would consider if made a reality?

    #20 5 months ago

    Very simple. My father took me to an arcade in the 70s. I loved it. Then about 10 years ago I started to check craigslist and realized that I could buy one. I called about one and the guy turned out to be a very respected Pinsider. Great exerience.

    Recently I told myself no purhases for a year. I uptraded plus cash for a Godzilla LE 3 days ago. My 1st Stern LE. Yep. I'm addicted.

    #21 5 months ago
    Quoted from Dantesmark:

    Thanks so much for sharing ur story!
    Any pins currently that u want or any dream themes you would consider if made a reality?

    Like many - GZ and DP are on the list. Pros are fine. Just picked up a used pristine TMNT Pro (first pin in almost a year). Hated the Turtles theme when it first came out, but after playing one, I had a blast shooting.

    Mancave is full and had to move one pin into my basement office for now.

    I have 10 pins now, seems like a decent number to not get bored since I decided to keep them for awhile. Plus I tried to get pins that all play different. Some fast, some slow. Some easy rules, some deep. Some easy flow, some you really have to think and aim, etc. Wife likes to play too, so we tend to play all of them during our 'weekend tournament'. She kicks my butt often!

    #22 5 months ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    Like many - GZ and DP are on the list. Pros are fine. Just picked up a used pristine TMNT Pro (first pin in almost a year). Hated the Turtles theme when it first came out, but after playing one, I had a blast shooting.
    Mancave is full and had to move one pin into my basement office for now.
    I have 10 pins now, seems like a decent number to not get bored since I decided to keep them for awhile. Plus I tried to get pins that all play different. Some fast, some slow. Some easy rules, some deep. Some easy flow, some you really have to think and aim, etc. Wife likes to play too, so we tend to play all of them during our 'weekend tournament'. She kicks my butt often!

    Perfect! Love it...and my better half kicjs my ass often. Lol

    #23 5 months ago

    Started collecting console video games just like you… back in 96. Never sold many of them outside of the time I sold some to fund part of a a Tron Legacy which I have since sold. Bought a bunch of arcades over the same years. Sold some of those. Bought and sold/traded a bunch of pins (over 80!). Always just kept what I really liked or could not play anywhere else… also kept about 12 arcades (mostly vector) and glad I kept most of my console collections because they’ve only increased in value.

    Pinball is cool but honestly, it’s just another adult toy/collectible. I only really ever wanted a few newer pins, a few older, a few from before I was born and I’m happy. I am actually really glad I don’t have any more space because quite honestly, it’s nearly impossible to keep everything working perfectly at this point without it being a 2nd full time job. These facts have made me very strict on anything I buy. I really don’t buy much any more. Also I do not have any more fun playing Godzilla than I do playing an EM from 1970. Pinball has been fun but seriously… here’s the truth… there’s nothing I really want now! If I buy something now, it’s typically on a whim and I sell it quickly thereafter.

    Also, no regrets ever!

    #24 5 months ago
    Quoted from Golfnutz81:

    Got in last year cause I was stuck at home. Had the intentions of buying 1 which was a Bally Kiss. It was one my dad liked and so I bought us both one. Then both a playboy and I got myself a Flash Gordon and restored it.
    I can’t afford newer machines so I buy stuff that needs fixed up and take my time. It’s fun.

    Bally KISS and FG are two games I wouldn’t consider affordable!

    My rule is simple, cheapo projects only or large multi-machine bundles. Built my whole collection on that rule and it’s served me well. Going forward I won’t be buying outrageously priced games. Simply continuing to buy the large package deals that enable “expensive games” to be acquired for relatively affordable prices.

    #25 5 months ago

    Born in 1991,

    Entered the hobby as an enthusiast/owner in 2018, after visiting an arcade bar while on a work trip (shoutout to Recbar!),

    First purchase was a DE Tommy from a family friend, which was actually the same machine I had played periodically while growing up. Routed before they owned it, so it has some miles.. but also has the topper!

    $3500.

    #26 5 months ago

    Bought my first pin in 2005. Back To The Future for $300 I was an arcade guy at the time…and I took the natural progression of selling most of my arcade games & focusing on pinball.

    I got in at the perfect time. Tons and tons of games on Craigslist for cheap, learned how to fix & shop games out…bought cheap, fixed up & kept, or sold for more. I don’t buy much at all anymore, partially cuz I’m happy with the games I have, I don’t have the time or desire to do projects, and prices are insane. I’ll probably be doing more selling than buying. I’m hoping after Rush LE, I can “quit” new games….but, we’ll see. After calculating what I bought/sold games for over the years, all in my collection of 23 games cost less than a few Stern LE’s. After I sell more, whatever I still have will essentially be “free”.

    #27 5 months ago

    Buying since 2001. I bought a simpsons pinball party at a auction for $2100 and passed on a lord of the rings for $2300. Cheapest machine I ever got was a data east teenage mutant turtles for $300 and it was working.. The prices right now on some are just insanity. I remember when the prices jumped up previously, but it made sense at the time. This wave of madness does not. A stern premium costs close to what a le was. I also miss buying a Stern that was released a few weeks after it was revealed. We ordered a premium in May and were still waiting. If Stern gets back to hammering out games quickly it would most likely help a little bit. All the flippers are also a problem, but who can blame them.

    #28 5 months ago
    Quoted from Loganpinball:

    Buying since 2001. I bought a simpsons pinball party at a auction for $2100 and passed on a lord of the rings for $2300. Cheapest machine I ever got was a data east teenage mutant turtles for $300 and it was working.. The prices right now on some are just insanity. I remember when the prices jumped up previously, but it made sense at the time. This wave of madness does not. A stern premium costs close to what a le was. I also miss buying a Stern that was released a few weeks after it was revealed. We ordered a premium in May and were still waiting. If Stern gets back to hammering out games quickly it would most likely help a little bit. All the flippers are also a problem, but who can blame them.

    True... perfect storm for supply and demand. Kind of crazy tho since these toys on average go for 5k plus and people are gobbling them up like beanie babies from the 90"s.

    #29 5 months ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    Bought my first pin in 2005. Back To The Future for $300 I was an arcade guy at the time…and I took the natural progression of selling most of my arcade games & focusing on pinball.
    I got in at the perfect time. Tons and tons of games on Craigslist for cheap, learned how to fix & shop games out…bought cheap, fixed up & kept, or sold for more. I don’t buy much at all anymore, partially cuz I’m happy with the games I have, I don’t have the time or desire to do projects, and prices are insane. I’ll probably be doing more selling than buying. I’m hoping after Rush LE, I can “quit” new games….but, we’ll see. After calculating what I bought/sold games for over the years, all in my collection of 23 games cost less than a few Stern LE’s. After I sell more, whatever I still have will essentially be “free”.

    There is no quitting in this hobby...maybe just waiting longer for those dream themes or innovative designs.

    #30 5 months ago

    Still have all my pins, and zero desire to sell any at these prices because they just seem to keep going up.

    Full stopped looking for pins at current prices.

    Still love pinball competition but don’t feel comfortable in the crowds associated with that right now.

    So, I’m playing a lot of arcade games lately and have quite a collection of arcade1up machines now hahaha.

    #31 5 months ago

    1st purchase: DE GNR 2013
    2nd purchase: ACDC Premium 2015 (first NIB)
    3rd purchase: TSPP August 2020
    38th purchase: Primus (last Friday)

    Please help me. I blame Covid.

    #32 5 months ago

    Bought a roadshow in 2002 for $1800 because our new house had a little cutout in the basement that was the perfect size for a game. A few years later I realized I didn't need all that basement furniture or the big fishtank. Or the TV..... And it's been an addiction ever since.

    #33 5 months ago
    Quoted from insight75:

    1st purchase: DE GNR 2013
    2nd purchase: ACDC Premium 2015 (first NIB)
    3rd purchase: TSPP August 2020
    38th purchase: Primus (last Friday)
    Please help me. I blame Covid.

    Lol
    Thats awesome!

    #34 5 months ago

    I have always been pinball fan. I had built a 4 player multicade with guns and trackball 8 years ago. Than I purchased a puck bowler about 3.5-4 years ago which I loved as a kid for dirt cheap and fixed it with some cleaning. Than before covid I picked up an arcade 1up starwars. That started the obession of getting those for crazy $50 a cab. I owned the multicade, but something having simplicity of a couple games and artwork appealed to me. Plus the customizing done to them lol. Than I purchased my first pin for a great deal. A blackwater 100 pinball at the beginning of covid. It was interesting to purchase a pinball from a garage with nobody in it and leave the cash in his door for my first pin transaction. It was fast, fun and all. I wanted more, so fast forward to now. I own 6 machines and sold off the blackwater 100 to acquire another machine. Now I'm modding, repairing boards and about to do a full playfield swap on my barracora machine I got for free from a family member.

    #35 5 months ago

    I got into this hobby in 2015 - first game was a Back to the Future. I had no idea what I was doing however the seller was extremely helpful. I ended up selling that game to get another and when I listed it for 3k, people flipped out! Game sold in 2 days - and that was 2015!

    The market right now is absolutely bonkers. I don't even know where the ceiling is but I'm in a much different pinball state of mind considering 2015-2019 or so was all about playing as many as I could, learning how to actually fix these things and now I'm revisiting the ones I want to keep, along with picking up dream themes (like Halloween).

    I feel lucky to have gotten in when I did b/c as many have said, with the market appreciating so much, it was hard to take a major loss on any of these things. It allowed you to move around much more and not have to drop 10k in cash just to get another taste.

    Speaking of 10k, remember when people would say that game will be 10k by Christmas and it was funny b/c the idea of a pinball costing that much was ridiculous? I guess the new saying should be 20? Or is it 30? haha

    #36 5 months ago

    I bought my first pin at an auction in 2008 or 09. It was a fully working Super Mario Bros for $625. Since then this damn hobby has taken over and I’ve met a lot of good friends and have played a lot of pinball with them!

    #37 5 months ago

    No joke, my parents bought this for me my sister and brother in 1976. I think that's what put the subliminal thoughts in my brain until I played a Theatre of Magic when that came out and then I knew I had to own one one day. Currently have an IMDN Pre and a GOTG Pro. The prices SUCK but eh, what are you going to do. Would love an AFM one day.

    the-fonz-happy-days-vintage-electric-pinball-machine-by-coleco-1976-americanlisted_39712389 (resized).jpg
    #38 5 months ago
    Quoted from ExSquid:

    No joke, my parents bought this for me my sister and brother in 1976. I think that's what put the subliminal thoughts in my brain until I played a Theatre of Magic when that came out and then I knew I had to own one one day. Currently have an IMDN Pre and a GOTG Pro. The prices SUCK but eh, what are you going to do. Would love an AFM one day.
    [quoted image]

    The REAL Eight Ball pin. Nice!

    #39 5 months ago

    Parents owned and operated an arcade in the 90s when I was a kid. Arcades, pinballs, bumper boats, go-karts, laser tag, batting cages, mini-golf, rides… the works. I spent summers and weekends there while my parents worked (no complaints). It shut down in the year 1999 and I forgot about it all until I walked into a local restaurant with a retro-arcade (Crabtown USA) decades later. I loved the place and snuck off when I could to play. A few months later one of my bosses (a pinhead) put a Avengers in the company office and I dove deep into that game. I later found out that my boss had a handful at home and it began to dawn on me that I could put some in my own home. I bought, played, and sold a World Cup Soccer 94 to prove that I could get my back and after shopping it out and playing the crap out of it a few months actually made a little money. My boss gave me a pin as a bonus a few months later when he found out I was into it and I’ve slowly added and traded pins since then (although I’ve been firm at 6 for a year and am staying there. It’s been a slow slide off the deep end since then.

    #40 5 months ago
    Quoted from ExSquid:

    No joke, my parents bought this for me my sister and brother in 1976. I think that's what put the subliminal thoughts in my brain until I played a Theatre of Magic when that came out and then I knew I had to own one one day. Currently have an IMDN Pre and a GOTG Pro. The prices SUCK but eh, what are you going to do. Would love an AFM one day.
    [quoted image]

    I thought about getting a toy pin like that and putting it in one of my tourneys. Lol

    #41 5 months ago
    Quoted from ExSquid:

    No joke, my parents bought this for me my sister and brother in 1976....

    Quoted from Dantesmark:

    I thought about getting a toy pin like that and putting it in one of my tourneys. Lol

    10K by Christmas.

    #42 5 months ago

    I'm a Gen X so I grew up in the arcade like a lot of us did. I remember begging to be dropped off there with a crap ton of quarters! And My parents were in a bowling league and for some reason I remember playing the game Journey at the bowling alley mostly.. But as I grew older and if memory serves me right, I pretty much stopped playing pins & arcade games when the atari 2600 came out??? Now to the present time period, my good friend ( also a gen x ) has never stopped playing and amassed a huge collection of pins and arcade games. He pretty much got me back into pinball at the WORST time lol! My first pin was suppose to be Mando premium but it doesn't look like I'll get one before the price increase and I wont pay the increased price... I did get the Jurassic Park home pin and love it... Been playing since I received it 2 weeks ago.. Also bought The Halloween pin from Spooky but I'm #495 and wont receive it for another few months. Not sure I'll be buying more in the future because of the price increases unless the title really connects with me, like BTTF! And from the rumors I heard that if BTTF does come out it's going to be extremely limited with price tag around $25k, I sure hope not....

    #43 5 months ago

    I don't recall really playing pinball much prior to my high school years, I know I did, but nothing stuck with me. My friends and I would go to the bowling alley occasionally after school. They had 2 pinball machines there, Funhouse and T2 and we would spend hours playing them. A few years later I worked for a cable company and I went into this one persons' house and I remember he had 4 SS machines lined up in a room above his garage and I thought that was pretty cool - and wasn't until then that it dawned on me you could have a pinball machine at home. Shortly thereafter I found out about arcade auctions and bought my first machine, a Xenon. That was in 1995.

    #44 5 months ago
    Quoted from Dantesmark:

    I thought about getting a toy pin like that and putting it in one of my tourneys. Lol

    Do it! just for the looks you'll get when everyone shows up!

    #45 5 months ago

    First played pinball back in 1983 at age 15. Bally Kiss at my local arcade. Loved it. Started to play again in 2006 in NYC, when the only place to play was at a few bars in the East Village that had machines. Played like a maniac for about 3 years, sometimes spending 12-16hrs/day playing. Then I quit drinking and going to bars and pinball fell by the wayside. A few months back we visited my wife's work colleague's house and they have 3 machines (Simpsons PP, AIQ & Theater Of Magic). I was hooked again. Bought a pristine RBION from a local guy for a good price, which I absolutely love. Bought the JP Home Pin two weeks ago. Undecided on that for now as it's largely been out of commission with tech issues since I got it. However, I know this is just the beginning of a fun (and most likely expensive) journey.

    #46 5 months ago

    Born in 1953. Played pinball at the local bowling alley as a teen. Dime a game... Joined the Navy in 1971 at 18 and life moved on. Didn't play pinball until an employee took me out to breakfast in 1999. There was a well used Theater of Magic in the back of the restaurant. Put in my quarters started play without knowing what's up and this machine talked, had ramps and started spitting out a number of balls (multiball). I was amazed.
    Bought my first machine in 2000, a Whirlwind off of E-bay from Craig Hassell. Overpaid at the time, it was an auction with a few bidders. I believe $1,200 or so. Caught the bug and now have 18 machines including the Whirlwind which is being restored at this time.
    Tough times in the early 2000's as parts dried up quite a bit. The resurgence has been great for new machines and restoration / maintenance of the older machines. Pricing of late is an eyebrow raiser.

    #47 5 months ago

    Cool thread, some great stories so far. My parents bought an EM in the late 70s when was 10 or so. My brother and I loved it but it was broken all the time and my father got fed up with having to call the repair man. Fast forward to 2019 and I pickup a Jukebox and by December of 2019 I began to entertain the idea of purchasing a pinball machine for the house. Wish I would have decided quicker as the prices today are crazy. I did eventually pull the trigger in Sept of this year, Stern premium Led Zep and I am definitely hooked. Would love to bring home a few more games but the cost is making me question my new addiction.

    #48 5 months ago

    I started collecting pins in I think 2008 or 2009. Thanks to the prices back then I've been able to sell those original games for a good profit and then roll that into future purchases. Below are a few of the games I remember buying back then and their prices.

    Getaway: $1100 (my first pin, sold it a couple years later for $1400 and was very happy at the time to make $300...wish I still had it)
    Twilight Zone: $2800
    F14 Tomcat: $600
    STTNG: $1400
    Lord of the Rings (routed): $3100
    Lord of the Rings (HUO, sold one above): $3500

    #49 5 months ago

    First pinball memory was at Myrtle Beach in 1977, Aladdin's Castle, also my first pinball purchase and how I got to where I am at (45 and still counting... LOTS of those are low cost project pins) The full story is here on Pinside:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/community/pinsiders/readypo/stories/be-back-by-dinner)

    Short answer, I wish I had gotten into this hobby sooner, but very happy the bulk of what I have came before COVID and large price increases. I actually have two NIB on order, NEVER thought that would happen but given the price of the few remaining "wish list" pins, it makes total economic sense to me to just buy new for the same price (or less).

    I always thought I would be building a model railroad layout when I got older. I imagine people would come over, say that is nice but no thank you, I don't want to play with your trains. The pinball hobby, however is interactive with all ages and although everyone's enthusiasm isn't the same, most appreciate it and "get it".

    So many things to do/try/see in the hobby, I feel like I am just scratching the surface. Started out thinking just a few special ones, keep them running and restoration. Playing in some tournaments now, going to events and buying NIBs - building a much better workshop and dreaming of the near future when I will have more time... Maybe a homebrew? who knows??

    #50 5 months ago
    Quoted from Dantesmark:

    When did you get in?
    What was your first purchase?
    How much was it?
    Thoughts on how things used to be, how they are now, and your future in this hobby as it continues to spiral out of control.

    11 years ago.

    Space Shuttle, 500 bucks.

    This used to be a hobby where you could teach yourself some things, learn a lot from other people, buy beater games cheap and do a quality job of bringing them back to life and turn a fair bit of cash to put back into other games. Not so much anymore. All the really good deals are either insider trades (i.e. "I know a guy with a warehouse") or other private sales. Cragislist? Forget about it. Prices are batshit across the board, not just with new in box. The range of prices for available games has gone from 200-1500 for low tier solid states and EMs to 1200-2500. It's just not worth buying trashy games anymore.

    I'm getting Ultraman, and hopefully Godzilla at some point, as those are both grail themes for me, and waaaay down the road I may pick up a STTNG or Metallica to satisfy my wife......but other than that...unless a really good deal just falls in my lap, I'm over owning games. It physically hurts too much to work on them for more than about 20-30 minutes, and I don't really enjoy working on them anymore the way I used to. I don't plan on buying anything after that, even if I do have the money, which is highly unlikely, since almost all of the money I've spent in pinball over 10 years primarily came from resurrecting dead games.

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