(Topic ID: 161293)

Post about your first machine purchase experience...


By schudel5

3 years ago



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#1 3 years ago

Curious to hear what things ran through your mind regarding your first machine buying experience. Good or bad. Were you prepared, anxious, confused, etc? Did you do lots of research or just a spur of the moment thing? I guess this could be categorized under the 'confessional' thread, but want to hear more about that first time...handing over the cash.

#2 3 years ago

I'll start. It's about 1996 or 1997. Never really knew that you could buy a pinball game until a local arcade was going out of business and they were selling everything. By the time my wife and I discussed a price and I went back, the place was closed up.

Found a local pinball selling place and walked in. I talked to the guy and asked which was 'the best'. He gave me some good advice, "you need to play each one and decide for yourself". I played all the ones in my price range and settled between Hurricane and Whitewater.

Needless to say...I did NOT choose wisely.

#3 3 years ago

Right off my profile front page (4 years old):

Long story made short, I owned LW3 in 2003, sold it, moved on and thought pinball was over. VPinMame got me hooked again, and I thought I would leave it at emulators - no need to get a REAL pinball machine. Well, got through school - both college and AF officers school - and I decided it was time to treat myself and get something I wanted from my childhood - a pinball machine! So I start asking around about machines in the Dayton area, and of course, I deal with retailers and dealers first. So I deal with a certain business out in Huber Heights trying to get a Jurassic Park, and wow, WHAT a nightmare.

Guy charges me $2200 for a JP that has NO hex wrench, no game manual, no topper, and once I brought it home - found out there were 3-4 bulbs in the playfield completely missing, no tilt pendulum, dirty playfield, GI lights that don't work, some ball scoop lights that don't work, some TREX lights on the side that don't work, and worst of all - the TREX assembly itself sometimes picks up the ball and sometimes doesn't even try to pick up the ball (and believe me, I know when it SHOULD and when it shouldn't). Unfortunately, I was green to the hobby, and man, did he try to milk it for all it was worth.

So I have some users here help me and come to my rescue, and I could tell Pinside was definitely a safe-haven. Talked with a couple people here, and I realized I needed to get a refund - which thank goodness - I was able to accomplish. So then I go to another retailer in Dayton with MANY promises that I will absolutely love the Getaway and JP he has. I get there, and let's start with Getaway. There are GI lights that stay on while the rest of the lights in the main circle of the playfield flash on and off (like 4 lights out of 20 or so stay on while ALL the others blink on and off). There's dust and dirt all over the playfield to where I can wipe my fingers through it and see lines in the dust where I just wiped. Most of the lights are dim and dark, indicating to me the playfield underside has not been inspected in a long time. Wrong size rubbers are installed to where the ball got STUCK in the in lanes right before the flippers. Playglass had scratches in it deep enough that they stopped my fingernail when I ran my fingernail across them. How much does he want ...? $2995.00

So then I go to JP. Ball shoots out of the shooting lane in a very lazy manner. Left flipper is SO WEAK that I could not even get it to the one ramp the game has. There was also no topper. Price on this one: $2795.00.

Or I could get both for $5600.00 - right ...

So, nearly burned out, I call Snurdley here from Pinside. He tells me he's got a Johnny Mnemonic in REALLY great shape that he is ready to sell, and man, I almost feel like I stole that game from him. I drove up to his place on 31 March, and finally, finally, finally, FINALLY - F-I-N-A-L-L-Y - I had a great pin at home. And man, he included extra ramps, bulbs, tools, cleaning supplies, manual, and framed profile page of the machine - all for less than $1500. Just - man - the answer to my prayers. And we found things that needed to be addressed - mainly a couple burned out bulbs - and he didn't even hesitate to change them out. We did some very minor repairs like replacing those bulbs, and man, that got my confidence booming. He walked me through how to scroll through the test menus, and he did not leave until I was 100% comfortable with my new JM. To say the least, just a great testimony to the pinball community.

#4 3 years ago

I spend about 2 or 3 months scouring the internet and mrpinball.com trying to find just the right game for my budget which was about $500. This was in 2001/2002.

I almost stretched and pulled the trigger on a Bride of Pinbot for $750 or a High Speed with non-working sound for $600 (both games I had played on location a lot). I think a $500 Hollywood Heat might have been in the mix at some point.

I eventually decided I'd be better off buying something cheaper and simpler that was playing 100 percent, and that maybe an EM would be the way to go - they seemed cheap and plentiful. Now, I'd never actually PLAYED an EM game before but I liked what I was seeing. Finally settled on the Pinball parlour in PA - the location was right and Paul had maybe half a dozen Williams EMs for sale on his website that were in the wheelhouse of what I was looking for. Argosy for $400 really caught my eye - it seemed to have a little of pretty much everything. Four player, drops, spinner, kickout hole, ball save gate...I was pretty intrigued. Took a trip up there with a borrowed SUV, and Paul let me play these games for an hour or so. I was a little surprised by how slow the EM games were but a friend who had been collecting for years said "we can take care of it" and rebuild flippers, make the game faster etc. I had it narrowed down to Satin Doll (he was asking 350) and Argosy. I decided to go with the Argosy, talked him down 50 bucks and also got him to throw in a new set of rubbers. I'm such a wheeler dealer! On the way out Paul said he would have let me have that Satin Doll for 250 bucks lol! If I knew that I probably would have bought it instead of the Argosy but I think I did better with the Argosy. Really I should have just bought both but $600 was just way more money than I wanted to spend at that point - I think it was basically all of my savings!!!

I was a happy camper. And we were able to clean the game, shop it out, and make it play faster. And I still have the game - great machine! People kinda joke about Pinball Parlour and say the games don't work and Paul is a bit of a "drag" but I have nothing but fond memories of that place and that experience.

Everybody's experience is different but I really enjoyed mine, looking at all these pictures of games I've never played and trying to figure out what the best use of my limited cash would be. I kind of frown upon all the posts I see here - "Looking for first game! Can only spend $6500, which one should I get!!!" - and wonder why people think they need to spend so much money on their first game. But people are at different points in their lives, have different budgets, and different wants so hey whatever works for people. I do think free-spending newbies lately really want to bite off more than they need to these days but it's keeping Stern in business for sure.

#5 3 years ago

When I decided to buy my first machine, I did a lot of research on the IPDB and YouTube, looking for games that would keep my interest. I was looking for DMD games only with two ramps, drop targets, a multiball feature and a theme that I could live with (no sports, no cars, no Western motifs). There was an auction nearby a few weeks into my research, and discovered a few titles I had shortlisted and others I hadn't considered. But I ended up winning my first choice - a dirty, routed Rocky & Bullwinkle with broken plastics, bad boards and most of the bulbs burned out. At $1500 I overpaid, but I brought it home, cleaned it up and spent at least $1500 more turning it into a fast-playing jewel.

From that first game I learned that I have a proficiency for solving mechanical problems, a severe learning defficency when it comes to electronics, how to care for a machine, and I got a general understanding of how a pinball machine works. From there I bought my all-time favorite game, branched out into EM's and figured out more precisely what I do and don't like about certain pins. R&B left my collection about a year ago and, while I don't miss it, I still have a fondness for that game - it's one of the most under-appreciated games around.

#6 3 years ago

It's summer break between my freshman and sophomore years of college, back in the stone age of 1986.
I come home to my parents' house from my summer job one day, and my mom says "Hey, the vending company located behind the grocery store at the end of the block is selling a bunch of old vending machines and stuff from their warehouse area. You should stop by there and see if any of those old games or machines looks fun."
So I stop by there and examine the stuff in my price range, which is less than $200.
I can't remember which early SS games I passed up to buy a nice, fully working Williams Gulfstream EM for $150.
The vending company guy could not have been nicer and told me how to remove the glass, take the head and legs off, change bulbs and fuses, etc.
Happy I bought it, sad I don't still have it.
I did surprise my mom though, who thought I might buy a video arcade game or cool old vending machine.
My college roommates were also surprised, as were the neighbors in the adjoining apartments.

#7 3 years ago

Craisglist F-14.

The pictures weren't of his game, but I was too stupid to figure that out. I asked what LEDs were. I couldn't figure out how to turn it on so I had to call him.

Weeks later, I was freeze spraying the Mylar, replacing switches, and soldering capacitors.

Needless to say, I was hooked.

#8 3 years ago

Craigslist Mr Ms Pacman.

I helped fix MPU issues on my father-in-law’s Phoenix pinball and then played it with my son. We were hooked. My son then showed me some YouTube videos on newer machines (like Jersey Jack) and got us interested in owning a pinball. We played a few at a couple of vintage arcades then set off to see what was available – but not in that high newer price range. I saw a working Mr Ms Pacman pinball about 250 miles away, but near a college football game we were going to attend. We went to check out the pinball machine first. The owner had it for 15 years and hadn’t ever taken the glass off. His daughter who played the game had long since moved out. The game worked (as far as I could tell). It was very dirty and some of the bulbs were out. I had no idea what to look for. I didn’t look closely at the cabinet, playfield wear, wiring hacks, boards – nothing. I didn’t notice the battery still in the -35 MPU board and the HUGE amount of corrosion that had migrated to all 4 edges of the PCB. I also didn’t notice the sound board was wrong. We settled on a price and proceeded to remove the game from his basement. We didn’t take the head off, as it looked like way too much work. We only took the bigger backglass out and removed the legs. We left the ball in it and didn't even look to see what was in the cabinet. It took 4 of us to squeeze the thing out of his basement and through his entire house out the door. We had to lay it on it’s side in our vehicle and it became our road trip partner the entire weekend. Would you believe the thing fired right up after getting it back home and right-siding it? Zero issues! It didn’t last long: MPU failure, display failure, wires breaking off solenoids, solenoids coming loose from the playfield, etc. I learned a lot real quick.

#9 3 years ago

Surprised nobody wants to post in this thread.

OP should try a "post pics of your mods" or "what's the best deal you ever got?" thread instead.

#10 3 years ago

2012. Bride of Pinbot. eBay. Drove from Chicago to Louisville and back to pick it up. I overpaid for a machine that needed work, and I learned my lesson.

#11 3 years ago

I was ripped off from a local on my first bought pinball machine.. Black Knight . Had searched Craigslist for some truck tires and yet a pinball machine popped up in the search.. I had remembered putting thousands of quarters in it at my local Pizza place in the early eighties and thought damn 900 dollars is an ok price for a game(no idea of pricing being just new to hobby)and bought it .
It was set up without legs in a shack outside his house and was working but had no knowledge and not knowing anything on electronics and what to look for so it seemed legit and the guy told me he would help if anything went wrong.. So I paid for it brought it home and set it up.. played it for like 10 minutes and bam shuts off itself .. Well the 40 pin connector board MPU was giving problems after being on for 10 minutes / wound up needing a new Kohout Replacement board set to get it going since the MPU was acid damaged and hacked .. it was 2007 and at the time would have been a way overpriced sale..seller claimed it was damaged in transit but I was told by his friend he knew it had problems... Terrible conman, bad experience ,but happy I did not make it my last pin game.. instead I got STTNG for 1800 and it became my Grail even though that title is a maintenance whore// I had sold it / bought another and sold it again after getting it working solid ,just to avoid the next Problem.
Since then I just buy games notorious for there staying power .
The Short version / Overpaid for a game(900) that was supposed to be fully operational and spent another 600-700 getting it working=Total price 1700 . sold it on Epay out of state for 1100 in 2009 / total loss of 600 to 700

#12 3 years ago

I gave the guy cash and he delivered the two machines I purchased. A GnR and a Shadow.
And that was the plan.

#13 3 years ago

2007 I had got a little extra cash happen upon me for the first time ever. I always told myself in he early 90s that when I got older I'd get a TZ "when I was rich" I had hung out/worked in arcades for a long time so I was sort of familiar with pins but never buying them and had no idea what a price would even be. So I started searching for what a fair price would be, which let me to pinside and I got a good plan.
So I hit the criagslist the kids were using at the time and looked for a TZ, and eventually found one some 30 minutes away from me. Went and checked it out, hadn't been around pins in a few+ years, guy selling it was a QUITE weirdo (those were the days , didn't really help me much so my friend and I sort of winged it as best we could to get it home. I think it was $3500 then, which was probably over priced but I didn't care, once in a lifetime purchase.

It was probably the most uneventful sale for years to come to be honest. So then I did all the standardish things that a n00b does these days. I took it apart for no reason, had trouble putting it back together of course, plenty of confused days looking at notes I wrote myself the night before when drunk, spent a bunch of mods dressing it up like a French whore because it was fun and it's the only one I have. Then I realized if I dind't spend stupid monies, I could get another machine. Then another, then save up more, then out of room, then buy a bigger house to get more pins...and that's were we are today.

Being in a small garage scared thinking I was going to die, heading into the mansion of a magician to buy a PM, being in a total burned down squatters shithole in Detroit looking at a Sinbad that you had to open the head with a stick....all that shit came later.

EDIT: Ah yes...It's still the TZ I have today and I wouldn't even trade it with a better one...first in, last out.

#14 3 years ago

Interesting topic.....Like CrazyLevi, I searched for months for a "perfect Pinball", because ...of course....I was only ever going to get 1.......I ended up settling on a really nice condition TSPP from Betson for $3700. I still have it today, and will probably never get rid of it. This is an old picture of when I first got it.

The interesting thing about my search for that machine is that it led me to Pinside, Pinball Bash, RGP, SpookyPodcast, Gameroom Junkies, etc., etc. It BLEW ME AWAY when I started seeing some of the collections, and gamerooms that everyone has. I could never imagine having what I have now....yet here I am.....it just keeps growing, and growing...I love this hobby, and the community of people I have met all over the country in it.

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#15 3 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Surprised nobody wants to post in this thread.
OP should try a "post pics of your mods" or "what's the best deal you ever got?" thread instead.

thread has been done before

1982, before the internets
Local arcade was selling their EMs, single players were $100, two players were $120
I bought a Gottlieb Sure Shot

A few years ago I bought an Abra Ca Dabra that had been in the same sale

#16 3 years ago

February 1979. Got up early. Went to distributor to pick up Gottlieb Pinball Pool. Took to business. Uncrated it. Set it up. Dead in the water. Bad power supply board. Went and got a new power supply board. Back in business.

LTG : )

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

February 1979. Got up early. Went to distributor to pick up Gottlieb Pinball Pool. Took to business. Uncrated it. Set it up. Dead in the water. Bad power supply board. Went and got a new power supply board. Back in business.
LTG : )

Remember the cost? Around $1900?

#18 3 years ago

My story has two parts. First purchase as a kid and first as an adult. As a 13 or 14 year old in either 1977 or78, I don't remember the exact year, I wanted my own machine. My mother told me she would split the cost with me if we could find one. We went to a local operator that sold games and he had a Williams Grand Prix and another game to choose from. I don't remember what the other one was but for some reason I think it was a Gottlieb Royal Flush. We ended up buying the Grand Prix for $350.00. Fast forward to 2009, mom passes away and we have to clean out her house. I had never taken the Grand Prix with me even though I had moved out over 20 years before. After bringing it home the bug bit again and I wanted another almost right away. I really didn't really know a lot about solid states so I looked for another EM and I found a Williams Klondike on CL. Went and bought that for $300.00, it was in real nice shape and played great. I started buying lots of EM's after that but eventually sold them all to start buying solid states, but I still have that original Grand Prix.

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Remember the cost? Around $1900?

Yes. $1895. You were spot on.

LTG : )

#20 3 years ago

Around 2003-4 - best guess. I went to a friend's birthday party and he had just received a High Speed as the gift from his wife. I had no idea at the time that you could home own a pinball machine. I also had not played a machine in years - since my youth in Coney Island.

I was mesmerized by the idea and started looking at classified ads - remember them - just out of curiosity I said I found an ad for a STTNG being sold by someone who lived on the coast, North of SF, in a rather desolate setting. When I got there he had STTNG, Tommy and a Black Knight 2000 for sale. He offered the three to me for $2000. I picked up the machines one at a time and by the second visit he said be had reservations about selling STTNG because it was finicky. On instinct I assumed he decided he had underpriced the sale and said that STTNG was the reason I bought the package and was OK with it AS IS.

I remember picking up the last machine on a dark, rainy - Alfred Hitchcock like night - not to far from Bodega Bay where The Birds was filmed. I still have BH2K and STTNG - which the seller was right about I sold Tommy about 2 years ago and can now tally about 11 machines as a part of this addiction.

The best part of this is that my son has become a pretty good player(can't say the same for myself) and that pinball is a part of both our lives. He is likely to read this today and can fill in any details I may have missed as he was young but with me on this first venture.

#21 3 years ago

Going through my first buying experience now actually. Have a 1k deposit on a Metallica Pro LED, that should be here in July. Definitely did lots of research (playing and reading) first. Can't wait, feel like a kid on Christmas
First post too haha

#22 3 years ago

Hadn't played any pinball since the 90's but always loved it. I had no idea things had gotten so accessible with replacement parts widely available and tutorials all over the place, and I finally moved from an apartment to a house with a basement.

Joined this site last July. Immediately started replying to for sale ads asking all kinds of noob questions, which everybody patiently answered. Life tip for other aspiring noobs: everybody here is SUPER helpful if you don't act like a dick. Anyhoo.... A week later I bought one sight unseen from a member here after a bit of back and forth. Probably not the smartest move but it all worked out.

His tech (who's now MY tech) ended up delivering it and set it up. He of course laughed his ass off when I explained this was going to be my only pin for a long time, maybe forever... and I couldn't understand why he thought that was so funny.

I purchased some nut drivers and a magnetic screwdriver... a cheap soldering iron... and of COURSE a bottle of millwax which still sits there unopened. Ended up fixing a couple things, replaced a scoop, replaced a fuse, changed some GI bulbs, put in an LEDOCD... and realized I wasn't totally overwhelmed and actually kind of liked fixing shit when it broke. Aaaaaaaaand... now I have 7 and am already considering which will be the first to go to make room for the next one. The struggle is real.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from sshughes75:

Going through my first buying experience now actually. Have a 1k deposit on a Metallica Pro LED, that should be here in July. Definitely did lots of research (playing and reading) first. Can't wait, feel like a kid on Christmas
First post too haha

Congrats, it's a magical experience and you're always going to be chasing that high

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from GorillaBiscuits:Hadn't played any pinball since the 90's but always loved it. I had no idea things had gotten so accessible with replacement parts widely available and tutorials all over the place, and I finally moved from an apartment to a house with a basement.
Joined this site last July. Immediately started replying to for sale ads asking all kinds of noob questions, which everybody patiently answered. Life tip for other aspiring noobs: everybody here is SUPER helpful if you don't act like a dick. Anyhoo.... A week later I bought one sight unseen from a member here after a bit of back and forth. Probably not the smartest move but it all worked out.
His tech (who's now MY tech) ended up delivering it and set it up. He of course laughed his ass off when I explained this was going to be my only pin for a long time, maybe forever... and I couldn't understand why he thought that was so funny.
I purchased some nut drivers and a magnetic screwdriver... a cheap soldering iron... and of COURSE a bottle of millwax which still sits there unopened. Ended up fixing a couple things, replaced a scoop, replaced a fuse, changed some GI bulbs, put in an LEDOCD... and realized I wasn't totally overwhelmed and actually kind of liked fixing shit when it broke. Aaaaaaaaand... now I have 7 and am already considering which will be the first to go to make room for the next one. The struggle is real.

Holy Christ! Since just starting less than a year you have one hell of a collection! Bravo

#25 3 years ago

Wasn't really looking for a pin but a Firepower showed up on Craigslist in May 2013, two towns over and $150. It was a Superstorm Sandy game (long before the recent Sandy thread) and it looked it, everything under the hood was rusty. I knew nothing whatsoever about fixing a pin at the time, but it booted into attract mode at least, so I figured how hard could the rest be? Brought it home for a hundred bucks and started tearing it apart right away in the only space I had, my dining room, to my fiancee's chagrin.

I knew I was in over my head but figured this would be a good learning experience for the skills to work on future games. Replaced all the funky rusty stuff, rebuilt the flips, removed the battery corrosion and installed a remote pack, polished the PF, built a nice coindoor from three coindoors, touched up the backglass, learned to solder, fixed switches, etc etc. Sad to see it go last year but some day I'll find a nicer one.

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from MAJRob:

Holy Christ! Since just starting less than a year you have one hell of a collection! Bravo

Thank you. It's a sickness, but I'm making up for lost time. I recently turned 40 and it seemed like an appropriate thing to do since I don't like sports cars

#27 3 years ago

Around 2007, a family friend of my parents let slip to them he had a side business fixing and selling pinballs, and mentioned he had a DW. It had always been a bucket list item for me (though I knew nothing about pins at the time, other than a Travel Time my dad had growing up)) and he assured me he was "giving us a great deal". Though I LOVE my pins and I'm really happy that that machine got me into this hobby, gave me a ton of enjoyment rebuilding and modding that routed, hacked to heck, tired old mare, years later I'm still wondering WTF I thought this was a good idea.

How much was the great deal? $5K.

#28 3 years ago

2010 NIB Spider-Man. I had been through a few video game purchases and I was hesitant to get something I couldn't fix. At the time, I could splurge a little. A reseller rom this community responded to a want ad and made the process really easy. It was a good choice and I was hooked! I eventually bought another game from him.

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#29 3 years ago
Quoted from Nevus:

I eventually bought another game from him.

Did he add least throw in some rear legs on the next purchase?

#30 3 years ago

My first purchase was a NIB TSPP. While waiting for it to arrive, I found a nice Top Card at a local thrift store for $200. That was earky 05. I had 5 pins within a month and a dozen a few months later. Fuggetaboutit. Now so many!

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from pinaholic:

My first purchase was a NIB TSPP. While waiting for it to arrive, I found a nice Top Card at a local thrift store for $200. That was earky 05. I had 5 pins within a month and a dozen a few months later. Fuggetaboutit. Now so many!

Username checks out. amazing!

#32 3 years ago

So it was 2013, I was just getting into Pinball and decided I wanted to own one. I had no idea about places like Pinside, local forums etc where I could get games at reasonable prices so like anyone else new to this I went to eBay.

I decided I wanted a Judge Dredd, I am a huge fan of the comics and the pin was a theme made in heaven for me. So off I go, and lo-and-behold there is one for sale, £950 (or roughly $1400). All working, sold by a reputable person on eBay (who I would later find out is a well known mod maker in the community who I would be in contact with many more times over the years, and oddly had it listed on eBay for what was a reasonable price!). I bought the game, paid the money and it arrived a few weeks later. I remember wheeling it round the house and into the dining room, I had some vision in my head it would go upstairs in my bedroom but I completely underestimated how much a machine weighs so there was no way that was happening. In the end it was set up and even though it was slightly damp from sitting in a moving truck for about a week, after 2 hours of it sitting there I just could't wait any longer and turned it on (how the thing didn't throw a wobbly I have no idea since the glass still had condensation on it). I remember first turning that game on, I practically leaped in the air with joy and played it for hours until I turned it off at the end of the day.

First thing to go wrong was a wire fell off the coil for the ball launch, after ringing up the chap who sold it to me I ran out and got a soldering iron, I learned to solder very quickly!

One of the last photos I have of the game before it left, I was really pleased I had fitted an under-cab LED strip, haha! I had a lot of fun with the game but lack of space and wanting other games meant it had to go - I may pick another one up later on in my life.

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#33 3 years ago

1997.

I'd started out collecting arcade games, since that's what I grew up with. I had all the classics, but I found that they'd sit in the basement turned off most of the time because once you'd played them a bunch, there was nothing really new.

A friend of mine who collected both arcade and pinball suggested I try a pin. So we went down to a local pinball retailer's warehouse where they had hundreds of old solid state games to choose from. I picked out a Gottlieb Volcano for $200 that was in amazing, mint shape but didn't work. We got it working pretty easily and I found that even months later I was still playing it all the time because the ball is wild! I was hooked.

So slowly the video games were replaced with pinball machines. Back then you could have your pick of cheap DMDs since there were few collectors and operators didn't want poor earners like TZ, IJ, WW and what not so it was easy to build up a nice collection. You could buy six machines for what a TZ goes for now.

#34 3 years ago

Summer 2009.

I had recently been to my first pinball show and was determined to get myself a machine. I was in the process of moving house, so i made sure that I found somewhere to live that had enough room to set up a game first.

I made a good choice in choosing Fish Tales as my first game. One turned up on Ebay near to me for £600 BIN, but I had never played one before. There was one located in a Laser Quest arcade in a nearby town, so I went in and had a few games on it to try it out. I was probably double the age of everyone else there, but I was impressed with the game and decided to go ahead and buy the one on Ebay.

I asked my then boss at work for a favour, and he helped me pick the game up in his 4X4. It turned out to be owned by a lady in the Armed Forces who had brought the game back from Germany. It was missing the topper, but in my ignorance at the time I wasn't too bothered about that. It had the usual faded cabinet as well.

We got the game home and set it up. Of course there were several things wrong with it, the fish reel wouldn't work properly and there were lots of lamps out and switches not working. I found who the UK parts suppliers were, and ordered up the required parts. I'm a maintenance electrician by trade so I was confident to do minor work on the game. A bridge rectifier then decided to short out, but being new to the hobby I took the board to a repairer for him to fix. That's something that I'd now be confident to fix myself.

While I was waiting for the Power Driver Board to be fixed, I bought my second machine, a Silverball Mania. The disease had now taken hold!

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#35 3 years ago

2009 it happened, listening to a local radio program called the swap shop, some one local had a pinball machine for sale. I always thought it would be cool to have a pinball machine. I called the number and I was on my way to my new Hobby I just didn’t know it at the time. I went to an old house and there it was a Williams Space Odyssey as I was looking it over another local person came to see it to. Luckily since I was there first I had official first chance at it. Turned out the seller was the son of the local repair man from back in the day for the games in this area. He opened up the game pointed at a coil and said this one needs to be replaced. But then he showed me how to start the game without replacing it. So a few hundred bucks and the game was on its way to its new home. We played the game until we totally burnt up that already bad coil; I think it was the 25 cent coil. A new one was ordered from PBR and then I learned about cleaning the game. Still have it and still love playing it.

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#36 3 years ago

About 3 years ago, a colleague of mine told me he had to down-size and had 2 "antique pinball machines" that he needed to sell - so I thought, "Why not go look at them?" Before then, I had no plans to buy a pinball as I had a Ms Pac-Man multi-cade and was totally happy with that alone. I never really was into pinball as a kid and, due to career development, I missed the whole late 80's - 90's pinball surge. My buddy had a Diner as well as an Eight Ball Deluxe. These games where fun! Beyond just bells, whistles and lights, Diner was interactive and seemed to have objectives to complete that followed a sort of story line. Pinball was something beyond what I expected. Video games tended to have set patterns and were somewhat predictable (except for Ms Pac-Man where the ghosts movements are determined by a random algorithm); whereas, in pinball, "The Ball is Wild!". So I decided to give it a chance. Since I liked the look and sounds of Diner much better than EBD, that's the one I took. I played the heck out of that Diner for about 6 months during which, in the course of searching for videos on how to play it correctly, I found Chris Bucci's Pinball Collection videos. I watched them all (probably 25+ times a piece). Wow - I realized that there were totally cool games out there I never even knew about. At about this same time, my Diner began to have all sorts of issues, which as a newbie I wasn't really up to fixing myself. So once I got Diner working again, I decided to start looking around for another machine to maybe trade for. I found the Pinside website and saw all the different games available. That's where I learned about Stern and that there were new-in-box games out there -> which in turn led me to a local distributor. Of all the games, I saw Tron and thought it looked awesome - I traded for a Pro (would have gone for the LE but he was sold out of them). Tron has created a total pinball addict. I thought, "Well, now I have an awesome pinball - maybe I can squeeze in second game, but surely, there would be no more after that." Now I have a dedicated pinball cave and am trying to figure out where else I could stash pins around the house. The best part of the hobby has been the fun of figuring out what games I want, modding up games, seeking out routed games, playing in a league (when I can make it), and figuring out what I specifically like in games with respect to features and rule sets and what I just don't. At this time, I have set a hard limit at 8 games (but I am currently at 9 and looking for somewhere to stash a 10th) in my room so I will likely be rotating them on somewhat of a yearly maybe or bi-annual basis. My distributor tells me I just need to get a warehouse to stash games and then rotate every 6 months or so. Hmmm, that's an idea that might work. So I guess the answer to the question, "How many games do you really need?" is, "Just one more..."

#37 3 years ago

My very first pin was a Christmas gift from my parents.
In 1977 they got my brother and I a Bally Nip-It that we played the hell out of.

However my first purchase myself was a one time thing of mailing a check off to a company in Michigan and praying I got a good machine sight unseen. (I got lucky)
In the late 90's I went with my wife to a conference in Florida. While she was in her meeting, I went to the hotel game room that had an Addams Family pinball. I fell in love with it instantly and knew I had to have one.
Went home and within a few months time I sold a Red Skelton painting I had purchased as a kid in Vegas.
The company in Michagan (I can't remember their name) was asking $1700 and said the game as fully working and had been gone over by a tech. I mailed off the check and waited, telling no one in my family as I wanted it to be a surprise.
A few weeks later an 18 wheeler rolls down my street and the poor guy has to get a hand truck and roll the game down a rock driveway about 30 or 40 yards to get to my house.
We still have the game to this day and have had over 100 machines go in and out at sometime or another.
But that is another story.
Here is the very same Addams Family tucked away with all my new Sterns.

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#38 3 years ago

August of 1990 Williams PinBot. Paid $1000.00 for it and it was in the local arcade all its 4 year life. Great price, awesome shape to boot, but for just being out of high school- a lot of money to spend. Got a friend who had a pick u p to bring it home. Still have it to this day. That arcade had some really cool early test Williams games I tell ya!!

#39 3 years ago

I went in a slightly different direction. Being unfamiliar with the mechanics of pins, I decided to buy a cheap beater to mess around with. I picked up a $65 Las Vegas machine which had a couple of obvious issues. I'm using it to practice all of my skills, but I've been having so much fun working on it, I also picked up a project EM on the cheap. It's been nice having machines that I'm not too emotionally invested in, bc I am not afraid to test out stuff with them. I'm now ready to start getting some of my wishlist titles.

#40 3 years ago

Sometime in the Summer of '99.....talked my parents into getting a pinball machine. Walked into our local op (who still routes pinballs til this day) to see what they had. Back then, the shop was completely full of pinballs. I had a choice between Twilight Zone or ST:TNG at the time.....of course I love both games.

Looking back, I so wish I had bought both....but $800 later I walked out with a fully shopped Twilight Zone that I will likely be buried in someday.

The rest....well...the rest is history now. 25 machines later and TZ is still my favorite

#41 3 years ago

I bought this High Speed last week from a guy not far from my house, I saw it posted on CL. I've been looking for one and just happened to pop up, it was posted for 5 hours and he had a ton of calls on it. One guy was going to mail a check, but he said I was bringing cash and I could have it. It needs a few things, but over all it's in good shape. I also have a Road Show being delivered this Tuesday from an estate sale I purchased from. This is my first pin, with the other on the way. I have 5 arcade games and a ball bowler. I'm getting hooked! You guys are great with all this help!

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2 months later
#42 3 years ago
Quoted from schudel5:

I'll start. It's about 1996 or 1997. Never really knew that you could buy a pinball game until a local arcade was going out of business and they were selling everything. By the time my wife and I discussed a price and I went back, the place was closed up.
Found a local pinball selling place and walked in. I talked to the guy and asked which was 'the best'. He gave me some good advice, "you need to play each one and decide for yourself". I played all the ones in my price range and settled between Hurricane and Whitewater.
Needless to say...I did NOT choose wisely.

Found the invoice from my first game I ever bought tucked inside my Scared Stiff coin box. It was 1996. Almost 20 years.

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#43 3 years ago

My first purchase was HORRIBLE. I was fed every lie he could. Took me hours and hours to clean all the mouse shit and garbage out of a great machine, fully working.... Oh and a nice fat Marco bill.

I did learn the ropes though, never again will it happen.

I had the pleasure of meeting said seller a few years later, on another 100% working arcade multicade. It was the biggest pile of shit Ive ever seen and the guy was worse than a shitty used car salesman. Ive since heard from several other people the same things. Its sad this hobby has to deal with people like this.

#44 3 years ago

5 years ago. Paid $350 (delivered) for a Bally Frontier...the good old days.
Hook'd!

#45 3 years ago

I think around 1999... An F-14 tomcat a buddy of mine spotted in the thrifty nickle down south. I had previously had a chance to buy a T2 locally but instead took a centepede and dig dug since the pin was too much for me at the time (500). Hey I was in college. Even then I regretted it so I jumped on the tomcat. Borrowed my grandmothers truck and made a 6 hour drive to somewhere in the San Diego area. I remember being amazed at the guy having an Addams Family (not for sale of course) and he had a story about playfield glass shattering when being set on cold concrete.

It wasn't long after that I was replacing power drivers and control chips getting that game playing 100%. Of course I was hooked.

#46 3 years ago

Six years ago, picked up a non working Bally Embryon for $300
A little cleanup, new rubbers & Clay's repair guide and it was up and running fine.
Had to replace a bad rectifier & rebuild the reset section on the main board. Still have it & it works great. It's never leaving!

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