(Topic ID: 286990)

Preparing To Buy 1st Pinball - Have Questions & Need Advice Please!

By jvivlemore

3 years ago


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There are 87 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 3 years ago

Hello Everyone,

It looks like 2021 might be the year I buy my 1st pinball table. I'm at the point where I have a "list" of sorts but I'm not sure where to start when it comes to "what one" would be best. I don't want something super old that lacks the lighting FX, multiball, storyline of sorts, ramps, and maybe some animatronics here and there. I'm 38 but really fell in love with pinball when my oldest son was younger. They had Pirates Of The Caribbean (the one from 2006) at Chuck E Cheese and I played it everytime we went there and won the 500 ticket jackpot and was hooked. It was only a token and a blast. I've been wanting one ever since. I've owned a couple arcade cabinets (NBA Jam TE & Twin Cobra) but never pinball.

Any advice for someone who is about to buy their first? What do I want to look for or stay away from?

My short list right now contains
Police Force (1989)
TMNT (1991)
Super Mario Bros (1992)
Star Wars (1992)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Twister (1996)
Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)
Godzilla (1998)
South Park (1999)
Star Wars Episde I (1999)
Pirates Of The Caribbean (2006)

Also, any others that I should be considering?

#2 3 years ago

Couple of tips:
If you can, bring someone with you that knows the typical issues to watch for on a machine. There’s really too many potential issues to list and a lot are unique to the machine.
If you can’t do that, buy from a local enthusiast who will walk you through the machine and knows it well
If you can’t do that, save some cash for a NIB Stern Pro if you can wait. They’re typically issue free out of the box or have minimal issues.

#3 3 years ago
Quoted from jvivlemore:

...stay away from...

Super Mario Bros (1992)
South Park (1999)
Star Wars Episde I (1999)

#4 3 years ago

That's an unusual short list, as almost none of those games are regarded very highly.
Of course, you may be able to find a cheap one because of that.

It really depends upon what your budget is.

#5 3 years ago

I was in your shoes a year ago. Ended up with a DE Jurassic Park and have been very happy with the purchase. Great game.

The thing I wish I knew first (and had mentally prepared for) is that things can/will/do break and need repair. Could be swapping out a plastic, resoldering a wire that the JP shaker motor has ripped off, or something more invasive.

Try and narrow down your list slightly and read the owners threads for each machine on pinside. Once you see the machine listed that you want, check the thread (or ask) what are the key things you should look for on that specific game. Switch/lamp/coil tests are standard but each game has its nuances. For JP, for example, you want to make sure every aspect of the t-Rex is working.

Good luck and welcome to this addictive hobby!

19
#6 3 years ago

Don't ever buy a game from ebay

Ever.

14
#7 3 years ago

Don't call a pinball machine a table.

#8 3 years ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

Don't call a pinball machine a table.

Oh man. This is embarrassing. I thought that was another name for them? I've heard others refer to them as such when at arcades.

#9 3 years ago

These all used to be deep bargains but not really anymore. Budget is always key - connect to locals or Pinside vs blind internet. Pirates may cost more but gets my vote based on what you are looking for in a game - lights/animatronic sinking ship etc.

#10 3 years ago
Quoted from mbeardsley:

That's an unusual short list, as almost none of those games are regarded very highly.
Of course, you may be able to find a cheap one because of that.
It really depends upon what your budget is.

Figures I would make such a list. Most of these I either remember from being a child or are themes I know my kids would enjoy. I'm open to machines outside of this list but haven't experienced a lot of other machines. I've played on Adam's Family, AC/DC, and a handful of others at a local FEC that has a ton of pinball machines but only once or twice. What would you recommend that's not on this list?

#11 3 years ago

i think pirates would be my choice from your list.in excellent playing condition for about 4k to 5k.easy to find.try and get with mods unless you want to do them yourself.like speaker lights

#12 3 years ago

you could also get a spiderman for about 5k

#13 3 years ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

Don't call a pinball machine a table.

#14 3 years ago
Quoted from Jamesays:

you could also get a spiderman for about 5k

Thanks. I haven't played that one. Is '24' decent? Saw that a local pinball place called Cactus Jack's has it on their list of machines to play.

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

Don't call a pinball machine a table.

"Even on my favorite table, he can beat my best....."

"I thought I was the Bally table king......"

All the serious, true players call it a table

12
#16 3 years ago

You can call it a table.

Don't worry about your first.

Worry about where you are gonna put your 4th.

#17 3 years ago

Theres a Earthshaker within 3 hours of you in the Market for decent enough price for a first table.

#18 3 years ago

1st , dont rush in and buy the first game you can.
I overpayed for my first.
Use pinside when you find a possible candidate, price, condition, pics. Share.
There are no stupid questions when your new to the hobby.
Keep asking.

If you love stern Pirates, aim for that.
Also, Revenge from Mars, is much better than Episode One, if your serious about a pin 2000.

Watch lots of unboxing and set up vids, how to move a pin. And how to break down a pin.

Buy a solid dolly.
Buy good moving blankets. Wrapping a machine for transport is always a good idea. You cant overdo it.
Buy the plastic foot furniture sliders, once you set it up, use the sliders! They are a miracle device.
Buy a set of good quality ratchet straps.
Take a piece of cardboard with you to protect the head when you fold it down.

Put the keys somewhere you REMEMBER!
Take a friend, and take your time.

Cheers! Welcome to our mad hobby.

Message from the Freeeek Kingdom.

the-bad-news-bears (resized).jpgthe-bad-news-bears (resized).jpg

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from Jamesays:

you could also get a spiderman for about 5k

I think SM is a perfect 1st pin as it’s approachable and easy to understand, super reliable, good value, and a damn fun game to shoot. You can find them between 4500-5000 and that’s a lot of game for that price. The Pirates game you played is also a good idea and fun for the whole family.

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from jvivlemore:

Oh man. This is embarrassing. I thought that was another name for them? I've heard others refer to them as such when at arcades.

Dont be embarrassed. Call it whatever you want. Table, game, machine, toy, its all the same. Maybe not to some people that feel they are somehow better than others because they call it one thing and not another. Cheese and rice.

Anywhoser. Out of that list I would recommend POTC and DE JP. Everyone has a different opinion on what they like, kinda like everyone has a bunghole, and so if you like POTC then go for that. DE JP is also a very solid choice, regardless of what others say. Especially if you upgrade the sound with sounds from the movie. It looks like you would buy based on theme mostly, but I would think those will be the easiest to find parts for. As a TMNT owner, I would tell you to stay away until someone makes more repro ramps. If they break, you cant play anymore. Ultimately though, go with what you like the most and can afford. Just remember that you will end up buying another very soon and there will be repairs. Im not exactly close, but if you want to hit me up privately, feel free to do so. I am no expert by any stretch, but can share my experience in the hobby. There are plenty of people on here that would be willing to help you out too, Im sure. Good luck finding the right one for you!

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

All the serious, true players call it a table

Nailed me, I love pinball, but I am not that great at it.

I just call them by name, hey man, want to stop by and play some Walking Dead.

I do have a table that gets played a good bit. A ping pong table. (I know, the ultimate sin because it takes a lot of space away from more pinball machines).

#22 3 years ago

Good luck. And welcome! If you buy an older pin be prepared to fix things. Do you have a multimeter, soldering iron and basic tool kit? As long as you are willing, go for an older game and read pinwiki.

And one game will turn into 20!

#23 3 years ago

I think getting a pinball at home is a fairly different story than playing a bunch on location, especially if you only buy one.

Replay value comes in mind and in your list I would go for the Pirates of the Caribbean.

#24 3 years ago

Whatever you decide on, cash on the glass is king, and may get you a discount and also maybe save sales tax.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

Nailed me, I love pinball, but I am not that great at it.
I just call them by name, hey man, want to stop by and play some Walking Dead.
I do have a table that gets played a good bit. A ping pong table. (I know, the ultimate sin because it takes a lot of space away from more pinball machines).

Get a folding outdoor ping pong table.

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#26 3 years ago
Quoted from jvivlemore:

Hello Everyone,
It looks like 2021 might be the year I buy my 1st pinball table. I'm at the point where I have a "list" of sorts but I'm not sure where to start when it comes to "what one" would be best. I don't want something super old that lacks the lighting FX, multiball, storyline of sorts, ramps, and maybe some animatronics here and there. I'm 38 but really fell in love with pinball when my oldest son was younger. They had Pirates Of The Caribbean (the one from 2006) at Chuck E Cheese and I played it everytime we went there and won the 500 ticket jackpot and was hooked. It was only a token and a blast. I've been wanting one ever since. I've owned a couple arcade cabinets (NBA Jam TE & Twin Cobra) but never pinball.
Any advice for someone who is about to buy their first? What do I want to look for or stay away from?
My short list right now contains
Police Force (1989)
TMNT (1991)
Super Mario Bros (1992)
Star Wars (1992)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Twister (1996)
Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)
Godzilla (1998)
South Park (1999)
Star Wars Episde I (1999)
Pirates Of The Caribbean (2006)
Also, any others that I should be considering?

The most important things are budget and availability. You are lucky, however, because you have a lot of pinballers in your area.

Out of the ones you mentioned, jurassic park would be my choice. I love that game.

You should, however, go through the pinside top 100 and look over reviews and watch videos to find what you would truly enjoy the most. Try playing as many games as you can to get the best idea though.

#27 3 years ago

you are off to a good start
having a long list of fun 'B' titles means you wont over pay and you will get back your money when/if you sell

buy a game that's working, trying to save a few dollars by buying a project will be more trouble than it is worth
buy something local, inspect in person before you buy, don't ship from the other side of the country
don't be afraid to walk away if something feels odd

don't be afraid to ask questions, we were all noobs once

#28 3 years ago

I would look for a pirates, sounds like that’s the game that got you hooked so why not make it your first, nothing better than having a game you know you love so easily accessible.

#29 3 years ago

I would get a Deadpool pro

#30 3 years ago

If your budget will allow it, go for a modern Stern. They play quite balanced in all the areas you would like and retain their value if you pick a good title. Stern has the corner on fun experience, although I wish for the money they put a little more in the game. Having said that, TMNT new Stern machine has a great deal in it. It is quite loaded and fun! TMNT Pro is great value for the money.

#31 3 years ago

Consider going to the “owners club” forum threads for the machines that interest you. You may find that some are more prone to break or have hard to find parts etc. Take it with a grain of salt as there will also be some who hype the game a little more than it deserves.

#32 3 years ago

I sold "Cactus Jacks" about half of their pinball inventory a few years ago. They keep their games in really good condition by having an on site mechanic. From time to time they will sell one of their underperforming machines. If you buy one from him, chances are when you get it, it will be working 100%. My kids worked for the original owners the brothers who own the car lot next door now. Its a great place to play over 30 different pinball games at any given time. BTW I am using a CONTACT machine for a very handy "table" so that is what I refer to it as. I wouldnt call a pool table a pool machine though.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from mbeardsley:

That's an unusual short list, as almost none of those games are regarded very highly.
Of course, you may be able to find a cheap one because of that.
It really depends upon what your budget is.

I think knowing your budget and what features you like on games would help alot. As a few others have said, some of those games you can get pretty cheap, but they are not (generally) desirable or popular titles. What is considered fun however is all up to you. Play as many as you can and see what you like.

IMO, JP is the best game on that list. Godzilla is a pretty cool game too, but its low production has really driven the price way up. Police force is a very simple game rules wise but would likely be the cheaper of the games you have there, and (my opinion) is probably a better player than most of the games you have listed. JP seems to be in the $3K + range these days.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from JohnnyPinball007:

Don't call a pinball machine a table.

You can call it a table. It’s fine. The pinball police won’t give you a ticket. I call them tables sometimes. I’ve heard others. I’ve heard people use it in arcades. Pinball almost died 20 years ago. As new people join the hobby we should rejoice and welcome them, not criticize first thing because of something like this.

#35 3 years ago

Delete

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from jvivlemore:

Figures I would make such a list. Most of these I either remember from being a child or are themes I know my kids would enjoy. I'm open to machines outside of this list but haven't experienced a lot of other machines. I've played on Adam's Family, AC/DC, and a handful of others at a local FEC that has a ton of pinball machines but only once or twice. What would you recommend that's not on this list?

Well, like I said, it really matters what your budget is.

Look at the Top 100 machines list here to get a feel for what's good. People will argue here about whether the list is accurate/fair, but it is still a decent starting place. If a machine is near the top, you can be sure it's good.

Of course, that may mean it will cost more. Personally, if it was my first machine, I would recommend buying something newer than most of the stuff you mention (in general - the older the machine, the more stuff is likely to break). Either a recent Stern machine or a CGC remake would be good choices.

But again, that will depend on how much you have to spend.

#37 3 years ago

What’s your rough budget? That’ll make it a lot easier for people to offer more specific options.

#38 3 years ago

Jurassic Park DE and POTC Stern are on my lookout list when I'm ready to buy again.

Others have given great advice. What i would add is find a seller that will wrap after you play test/inspect and help you load your game. Seeing it done once really helps because moving a game is usually a challenge. Unless you are an experienced mover of heavy stuff, a garage pickup is best and avoid steps.

#39 3 years ago

Forgot to add, you are probably aware, but SWE1 is a different type of pinball machine called a Pinball 2000. It's not for everyone, but I do like it. I would have one, but they seem over priced to me, but that is just my opinion.

#40 3 years ago

My son lives in OKC and there are some nice arcades there, so you should check those out and get a feel for some games you like.

The only 2 on your list that I would even consider for a first and only is JP and Pirates. DE JP was actually my first game and it got old pretty quickly and I personally think it has priced itself out of the low end market. Pirates is fun and you could also look at spiderman that would be in that same price range.

Police force is fun and can be got for well under $2k. Maybe do a police force and high speed. If you get lucky could probably grab both for $3k.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from pinballshack:

I sold "Cactus Jacks" about half of their pinball inventory a few years ago. They keep their games in really good condition by having an on site mechanic. From time to time they will sell one of their underperforming machines. If you buy one from him, chances are when you get it, it will be working 100%. My kids worked for the original owners the brothers who own the car lot next door now. Its a great place to play over 30 different pinball games at any given time. BTW I am using a CONTACT machine for a very handy "table" so that is what I refer to it as. I wouldnt call a pool table a pool machine though.

That's awesome. I've been to Cactus Jack's once. Great selection of pinballs. I need to go back. It's in an area I'm never in so I always forget about it. I had no idea they sell them so that's good to know. Do they just put a sign on it inside or list it online somewhere when that happens?

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from sammiesguys:

What’s your rough budget? That’ll make it a lot easier for people to offer more specific options.

I started at $1,500 to $2,000 which is why 'Police Force' made the list, however, after reading posts here and elsewhere it sounds like I need $3,000 to $5,000 to get a top pick for a first timer or one that was recommended above and would be easy to maintain. No 'set' budget right now. I'm trying to let the pinballs help determine that. I don't want to spend $2K on something and regret it when $3K or move could have gotten me something I enjoy if that makes sense. I do have a wife and 4 kids though so can't get crazy and have to set a realistic budget at some point.

#43 3 years ago

Remember - Pinball is not like other hobbies . When you spend $3 -$5k on a popular game - you can play it for a year or more and still get almost all the money back when you sell or trade it !

#44 3 years ago

I have owned 37 games. I have spent more than $2000 7 times and only over 3k twice. Now if I was to update for the Pin-flation and the current pricing it would be more than that but I don't think that you need to have expensive machines to play some serious pinball. You do have to be handy enough to fix them when you deal with older machines but that is half the fun!

#45 3 years ago

Remember unless a game is 100% restored, always set aside another $700 to restore all the things that will break on it immediately

You will always find incorrect coils, broken plastics, burnt connectors, worn out linkages, coil stops, crappy repairs, loose sockets

#46 3 years ago

As others have said — Jp or potc for sure with a large lean towards potc if you can afford it. For a 1 pin household, a lot of the lower priced games get old pretty fast.

But even potc probably will get old after a while. Easy to sell for little loss or even a little gain and get something else down the road.

#47 3 years ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

As others have said — Jp or potc for sure with a large lean towards potc if you can afford it. For a 1 pin household, a lot of the lower priced games get old pretty fast.
But even potc probably will get old after a while. Easy to sell for little loss or even a little gain and get something else down the road.

This is likely impossible to answer but I'm going to ask anyway. In general, what kind of pinballs hold their value? Are they made by certain manufactures, a certain range of years (IE: Everything post 2000), etc? I do love the idea if we're a one 1 pin household to buy one, play for a couple years, then swap it out for another. That said, I was a one arcade household 5 years ago and 2 months after buying the first bought another so I see this going the same way.

#48 3 years ago

My .02: Going by your list it, I would suggest that you find a couple more locations to play before pulling the trigger.

If you can find a reason to visit Dallas, Cidercade always has a great lineup of pins set to free play.

Upping your budget to $3-5k increases your options tremendously.

Here are a few I would recommend as good first pins for reasonable $ ($2500-$4000):
Fish Tales
The Shadow
The Getaway High Speed II
Last Action Hero

#49 3 years ago

This seller here : https://pinside.com/pinball/community/pinsiders/imyaboo2/market
is not too far from you and has 3 games currently for sale that all look to be in nice shape at around your budget price.

All 3 of those titles are fun (though it has been a long time since I played the D&D one). If I had room for it, I would be pursuing the D&D machine myself.

Note that I DO NOT know this seller, nor have I had any contact with him, so I cannot vouch for his worthiness. But since he has 3 machines, it might be worth investigating.

11
#50 3 years ago

With 4 kids I'd track down a world cup soccer. Fun for new and skilled players, family friendly, and usually a good price point.

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