(Topic ID: 159631)

Rank the Atari Pinball Machines


By jwilson

4 years ago



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There are 56 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 4 years ago

I'm picking up a bulk buy of a bunch of Atari games and I'm wondering how people rank the various titles. The ones in the buy are Time 2000, Space Riders and Middle Earth, but how to the others rank as well?

#2 4 years ago

Hercules is pretty low. Not only is it not much fun, it's a PitA to work on and takes up space that could hold two or three better pins.

#3 4 years ago

So basically they're all pretty much the same?

#4 4 years ago

Time 2000 is probably the hardest one to find out of the bunch. Middle Earth comes up fairly frequently, space riders not quite as much.

None of the Atari pins are particularly exciting to play, although Time 2000's layout is certainly quite different with the way the four flippers are arranged.

Atari pins aren't seen enough in working order for most folks to gauge how they play.

At *some* point (and once I find a Time 2000 or Time 2000 cab), I'd really like to get all of mine up and running and line them all up together at a show.

#5 4 years ago

I've heard Middle Earth is the best of the bunch

#6 4 years ago

Sorry I don't know much aboot these Atari titles...

bump

#7 4 years ago

4x4 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hercules

#8 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Atari pins aren't seen enough in working order for most folks to gauge how they play.

So true. Saw several Atari games FS in France... none listed as working

#9 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Time 2000 is probably the hardest one to find out of the bunch.

Well, I've got two of them in "handyman special" condition. I've owned a Superman and played Space Riders. Not sure I've ever played the others.

Mostly I'm trying to decide which game to restore out of the bunch - whichever people like the best. Seems like no one likes them much!

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from jlm33:

So true. Saw several Atari games FS in France... none listed as working

If only someone could come up with an aftermarket boardset....so many of these games could easily be brought back to life

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

Well, I've got two of them in "handyman special" condition. I've owned a Superman and played Space Riders. Not sure I've ever played the others.
Mostly I'm trying to decide which game to restore out of the bunch - whichever people like the best. Seems like no one likes them much!

Yeah, Superman is really the only highly desirable one out of the bunch just because of the theme.

Unless you are really enthusiastic about Atari games or are already geared up to repair them, it's probably best to let them go if you have other projects to work on. However--they do get parted out a lot because they are often not working, and I at least try to prevent that fate from befalling them, especially since most of them are in really good cosmetic condition.

#12 4 years ago

The art on them is amazing. That's the one reason I'd like to have one.

#13 4 years ago

I thought Superman seemed like it could be pretty good. The only one i have gotten to play was a beater though, so it was hard to tell.

If Middle Earth is the best of the bunch, they all suck =D. I got one working to the point the CPU board booted and I could flip the ball around. I thought it seemed boring as hell so it got folded back up. I would let that sucker go for pretty cheap. Someone come take it away.

#14 4 years ago

The only one I've played was Airborne Avenger. It was alright; nothing to really write home about the only things really going for it was Steve Ritchie's first pinball design and as a result only about 350 were made.

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from iron00monkey:

The art on them is amazing. That's the one reason I'd like to have one.

The artwork is certainly wild--and quite colorful. Much different than most other pins. One of the main reasons why I like them.

Quoted from barakandl:

so it got folded back up

They don't fold!

Quoted from chucktee:

only about 350 were made

Honestly, I'm not sure anymore if that number is actually accurate (even though it's the only production number that came out from Atari's paperwork on production numbers for their pins). I've been starting to think it was a typo and the number might have been 3500, rather than 350. I see Airborne Avenger pop up all the time.

#16 4 years ago

The Atari games would break and often no one knew how to fix them, so they would get tossed in the dumpster.

I used to see them at auction all the time, broken, and no operator would even give $25 for one.

http://gamearchive.askey.org/General/Test_Equipment/Atari/PinballTSGuide.pdf

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

If only someone could come up with an aftermarket boardset....so many of these games could easily be brought back to life

Now that would be something. I love these old games but never could get any working. I owned a middle earth back when I still knew how to repair boards. I could repair most of the Atari video game boards ( Pole Position, Centipede, Dig Dug, Black Widow and so on) Never got anywhere with the pin.

#18 4 years ago

There is a Superman at the VFW showcase this weekend.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from arcademojo:

Now that would be something. I love these old games but never could get any working. I owned a middle earth back when I still knew how to repair boards. I could repair most of the Atari video game boards ( Pole Position, Centipede, Dig Dug, Black Widow and so on) Never got anywhere with the pin.

I was emailing someone at the start of the year about the possibility of remaking atari boards and displays. I'll have to check with him again and see if he started on anything yet. So far, this fellow seemed to be the only one that I'm aware of with any interest in coming up with something.

Quoted from trufflepiggy:

There is a Superman at the VFW showcase this weekend.

There were *two* at pinfest this past weekend. I thought the prices were a bit high for their condition though.

#20 4 years ago

#1: Superman (own)
#2: Road Runner (Played at CAX 10 years ago)
#3: Neutron Star (Played at CAX 10 years ago)
#4: Middle Earth (Played at CAX 10 years ago)
#5: 4X4 (Played at CAX 10 years ago)

#21 4 years ago

I can remember Atari pins always out of order even when fresh in the arcades back in the 70s.

#22 4 years ago

I had a Time2000 for several years. It was in great shape and played well, but it was a pretty boring pin....

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from barakandl:

I thought Superman seemed like it could be pretty good. The only one i have gotten to play was a beater though, so it was hard to tell.
If Middle Earth is the best of the bunch, they all suck =D. I got one working to the point the CPU board booted and I could flip the ball around. I thought it seemed boring as hell so it got folded back up. I would let that sucker go for pretty cheap. Someone come take it away.

A well working Superman (and I've only played 3 or 4) is amazing. It's a challenging, fast game. Too many can't even make the most important shot on the pf. A great game that almost no one gets to experience as it was meant to be.

#24 4 years ago

Here's a Superman how it is supposed to play:

#25 4 years ago

middle earth and superman would be my top picks

#26 4 years ago

Dr dave that is a real nice video and awesome condition!
Mike

#27 4 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

Here's a Superman how it is supposed to play:
» YouTube video

Nice

Heh...the games I saw at the show played nothing like that.

#28 4 years ago

Here is the 1st one I did back in 2012:

Have 3 more of them to go through and restore. Keeping one for me of course.

#29 4 years ago

I have a Middle Earth and have been in the process of fixing it. Still haven't got to play it yet but the artwork is basically mint on the game all the way around would love to see pictures of your pins once you get them in hand. I'm always on the look out for parts for the games. I might consider getting another after I get the Sharpshooter fixed and sold.

#30 4 years ago

Other than Hercules, Superman is the only one I have ever seen in person. And it didn't work.

#31 4 years ago

Hercules fan club rolling through. I'd rather play a good gimmick pin than a bunch of early solid states that can't hold a candle to Ballys!

#32 4 years ago

Atari pins are without question all about the art. They feature some of the best pinball art I ever seen, especially Space Riders. The art was done by George Opperman who also designed the Atari logo as well as tons of art for Atari arcade games and 2600 boxes/cartridges. A true master of art and graphic design who sadly died of cancer in 1985 rather suddenly.

I found a great picture of George Opperman working on the backglass art for Airborne Avenger (see attached, he is in the center).

As it would happen, I actually just found an Airborne Avengers off Craigslist. I bought it non-working and to my amazement the only thing wrong with it was a stuck tilt switch. It's now fully working... I couldn't believe it. Just needs a shop out.

I've attached a few shots of the AA added to our office lineup at Generations Beyond where do high end web design... The pins fit the vibe quite nicely.

-Brendan

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#33 4 years ago

I vote for Road Runner. I did get to play it at Pin-A-Go-Go this weekend.
Certainly not complete, but fun nonetheless.

#34 4 years ago

That picture of the game development is awesome. God to have some of that original production artwork....

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from jbovenzi:

I vote for Road Runner. I did get to play it at Pin-A-Go-Go this weekend.
Certainly not complete, but fun nonetheless.

That's a rare bird. Aren't there only 4 of them in existence or something like that?

#36 4 years ago

Only 2 Road Runners were ever made. If you ever see one at a show, defiantly give it a try. Fun game and cool artwork.

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

Only 2 Road Runners were ever made. If you ever see one at a show, defiantly give it a try. Fun game and cool artwork.

That's one machine I would love to put some time on.

I'm *assuming* one is Tim's machine; who's the other owner? Dale?

#38 4 years ago

Hercules is always 'worth' playing at Expo just because there's nothing else like it on earth. It really does look, feel and play like something out of The Flintstones, all made out of giant rocks and molasses.

Superman is an Atari game I've always wanted to get a play on. Never seen a real one though, which is a shame as they don't seem to be all that uncommon according to Steve Ritchie himself. I have to question if it's really *that* good though since the whole ethos behind Flash was 'do it again, better'.

#39 4 years ago

-Superman
-Middle Earth
-Hercules (for pure shock and awe...not because it is a blast to play. However, replace the cue ball with a plastic Trac-Ball, and it plays quicker).
- Airborne Avenger
- The others, I haven't put enough time into.

-1
#40 4 years ago

Hercules is way fun to play, especially multiplayer. They are almost always in horrible shape which might be why everybody hates it, but the one at FLippers in NC plays very nicely.

Best novelty game by far and way more fun than dreck like Joust or the other head to head machines.

#42 4 years ago

superman is an awesome game - when people play mine they go out and buy one - it's hard to find them working - but it is an awesome game when you get a good one - trying to think of all the people who have played mine and then bought one - has to be at least 6 or 7.

i never cared for any of the others - they are okay games - but not i have to have one - basically you can rank them all the same after superman - and i think Hercules is awful.

thanks ed

#43 4 years ago

As someone who worked on all of them, (eventually), and attended Atari Service Schools at the factory, (I was only an hour south of there), I can tell you a few things about them.

The first question is Superman is the best production game, hands down. It had conventional flippers and Steve Ritchie flow. It had the Phase 2 board set with memory. It had LED displays and not plasma style. Some of the metals were a grade up from the earlier games. I did like the non matrix switch inputs.

Second the best of the non production games was Road Runner. There were two at Atari during one of the weeks I was there. One had the Phase 3 board set. That board set had a serial output feature. You cannot use that board in Superman or Hercules. Next is Nutron Star. That was going to be a pretty good game. The code needed revision but it played completely. I worked on the boards for it when Dan Kramer owned it.

Hercules. What can you say. It was a piece of work. Bombay doors to work on the bottom of the playfield. You basically laid on the floor working on it above you. The blood runs out of your arms pretty quickly. 120 volt Guardian solenoids for activating flippers and pop bumpers. Used a pool ball for game play. (Tip, works better if you can find the lighter pool ball and not the regulation one). Those solenoids are slow reacting if not aligned perfectly. Boards in the back box as with Superman. Has the extra interface board for the 120 volt coils. On that game things just fell apart.

The others. Pretty much the same. Middle Earth was OK and Space Riders was the best game of those that was on route. Those Ledex motors on many were as disaster. Those were made by a company not far from the Atari factory. The display was always dying. The board was mounted to the bottom of the cabinet and every loose screw fell on it. No memory. Strange switch input circuitry. The board was designed by the video side of the house so they used that style of operation. You need the Atari Book to fully understand what they were doing. Sound was OK for the time.

On the production line I saw a lot of stuff on the floor. The line people would get frustrated with bad parts and just throw them all over the place. The music in there was loud and pretty good!

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#44 4 years ago

Just imagine what they'd have done given a few more years.

-1
#45 4 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

Just imagine what they'd have done given a few more years.

Put thousands of unsold pins in a landfill?

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Put thousands of unsold pins in a landfill?

In all fairness, some technical and design choices they made were certainly cringe-worthy. But a few things they did were innovative at the time.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

In all fairness, some technical and design choices they made were certainly cringe-worthy. But a few things they did were innovative at the time.

I was referencing the millions of brand new Atari cartridges and hardware that were buried alive in the NM landfill.

Even the seagulls would not eat them.

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#48 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I was referencing the millions of brand new Atari cartridges and hardware that were buried alive in the NM landfill.
Even the seagulls would not eat them.

In fairness the extrapolation numbers now believe the numbers are much lower. It's in the hundreds of thousands now vs millions. Microsoft did a documentary of some kind last year.

#49 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

In fairness the extrapolation numbers now believe the numbers are much lower. It's in the hundreds of thousands now vs millions. Microsoft did a documentary of some kind last year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_video_game_burial

Only about 1300 cartridges of the estimated 700,000 were removed from the burial, as the remaining materials were deeper than expected, and made them more difficult to access

#50 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

. Microsoft did a documentary of some kind last year.

I'm not sure I saw the Microsoft one, but there was some kind of documentary on TV a few years ago.

All the geeks standing around in the sun, and then suddenly they hit a shitload of Atari stuff!

Atari_E.T._Dig-_Alamogordo,_New_Mexico_(14036097792)_(resized).jpg

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