BLUF: Understanding the difference between game complexity, consumer cost, and reliability with pinball machines including HP. All things are not equal, or necessarily balance out in the long term.
Game complexity has its pitfalls in regards to route operation, and this same complexity equals breakage.
Now, before someone says "this is obvious", let me share some more information.
Equating high quality construction with pure reliability on a game title, and people continue have more false expectations.
I will explain.
If an operator wants simple, go Stern, potentially, but do not expect higher reliability exclusively for the price.
Most new owners are in for a serious letdown, especially since cost cutting is rampant.
You do not see Stern using market slogans like, "Our pinball machines are the most reliable in the world!", as that would be setting themselves up and the company is way smarter than that.
If an individual has routed games like TZ, STTNG, or RS they do understand, as these games are comparable in complexity alone to DI.
They were difficult games to maintain.
Even if they never routed any games, if a person has owned any of the above titles, "they know".
The primary issue of modern games is not board design by the technology itself under the pretenses of "nodal technology".
It is not simply not always robust enough to handle the stresses of continuous operation.
People are fooling themselves into trying to compare current consumer electronics such as LCD monitors, stereos, and televisions.
Life cycles are less than 5 years in nearly all cases, and electronics have not been fully tested under commercial pretenses only home use.
Some have not been tested at all, leading to premature failures.
All modern games including Stern, PPS, HP, DP, and JJP games have the similar issues to varying degrees.
This is a repeat of the problems that occurred with Pinball 2000s prism boards, for those that have been around long enough to remember which most are not, or simply do not care, but they should.
The biggest problems down the road are PCB replacements.
Stern has ZERO interest in supporting games that are more than 10 years old.
Parts supplies are dependent on reruns and existing stock.
Choose any manufacturer you want, not just Stern.
Want a new MMr with the new master PCB SMD under the playfield?
$300, presently, while available, and this is game specific, not generic.
If it goes down, the game is completely non-operational.
Make a mistake in diagnosing the problem? Blow up another SMD board? Another $300 please.
Compare that to an original 20 year old MM game, even if the WPC95 A/V needs rebuilt.
Fixing some of these customized PCBs are a $#@!ing nightmare, as they are not simple SMD designs.
Everyone that says using industry IPC standards that all these can be fixed easily, have not worked on these boards.
I have been doing "401" training on repair with the proper high end tools and a microscope, and I can tell you if you want quality repair it takes serious skills, and I have been soldering for over 30 years.
I don't want to even think about HP or DP PCBs, based on anything that is more specialized for titles.
Another technical support area completely omitted and not considered by new potential owners when buying new or used pinball machines.
Or discover much later...