Seeking early-ish solid state opinions - please pick 2

(Topic ID: 199125)

Seeking early-ish solid state opinions - please pick 2


By nman

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by snyper2099
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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Topic poll

“Which two should I consider adding to my collection?”

  • Black Hole 32 votes
    53%
  • Embryon 18 votes
    30%
  • Paragon 26 votes
    43%
  • Sorcerer 30 votes
    50%

(Multiple choice - 60 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

#1 1 year ago

Hello all. I hope to begin diversifying my collection in the near future with some earlier solid state machines and am seeking some advice from the collective on which combination I should consider. I've narrowed it down to four that I really like, but due to space constraints, I'll only be able to purchase two anytime in the next few years. I've put some time on all of them, but some more than others and haven't had any of them available to really play regularly so I'd really value input from anyone who's owned some combination of them. Primarily interested in similarities, longevity in a smaller collection, accessibility to guests, etc. Looks and price differences don't really matter much to me (I guess I would say Paragon is the best looking but I consider each to be beautiful). Some specifics:

Black Hole:
This is a long-time wanted game of mine and an admitted front-runner for me. Love the theme, lower playfield, multiball, etc.

Embryon:
Didn't think I would care much for this one before playing it, but ended up really enjoying it. Seems to be a good number of things to do and I tend to enjoy games with captive balls for whatever reason. Wife really hates the way it looks though due to the "interesting" artistic choices made with the center of the playfield. It would be a tough sell to her.

Paragon:
Beautiful, challenging, great sounding, and a lot of people seem to love it, but honestly I feel I enjoyed the play less than the other games on this list. Its also the one I've played the least on this list though, so that may have something to do with it.

Sorcerer:
Here's where the "ish" comes in. A bit of an outlier on this list since its not a widebody, has a ramp, and is a bit newer than the others. That said, its close enough for my purposes. It's also the one I've probably spent the most time on (it's addictive to me). I really enjoy the sounds when I've played it, but kinda wondering if they would eventually get a bit grating after I've had it for awhile.

In an effort to avoid a bunch of "Have you tried Centaur?" responses, yes, I've also played and do enjoy other oft-recommended games from this era (Centaur, Fathom, Medusa, EBD, FG, etc.), but for various reasons have narrowed it down to these four for the time being.

#2 1 year ago

Looks like you answered your own question. Black Hole and Embryon and definitely the winners on that list.

John

#3 1 year ago

Both Black Hole and Embryon are great games. Paragon is great as well, but it can be a total bitch.

#4 1 year ago

Thanks for the replies.

For what its worth, I really love all of these games and want to own them all eventually. Not much love for Sorcerer so far in the poll though. Anyone want to chime in as to why? Just because its fairly shallow?

Also, although I know none of these games are truly similar to one another, anyone feel that any of the widebodies might start to feel too similar to each other in a small collection (5-6 pins max) over a few years?

#5 1 year ago

I am a huge sorcerer fan (just look at my profile pic!) and wish I never sold mine.
I think part of the beauty of sorcerer is its simplicity. It’s addicitive and has that one-more-game-to-see-if-I-can-beat-my-last-score sort of feel if you ask me. Plus sorcerer is by far one of the greatest art packages ever in a pin. Pam Ericsson knocked it out of the park.

#6 1 year ago

Bump for input from the weekday crowd. Thanks!

#7 1 year ago

4 great games
Any 2 will improve a collection
Paragon has a weak sound package
Black Hole and Sorcerer are top-2 in the list
-mof

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from nman:

Paragon:
Beautiful, challenging, great sounding, and a lot of people seem to love it, but honestly I feel I enjoyed the play less than the other games on this list. Its also the one I've played the least on this list though, so that may have something to do with it.

I have to agree with you on Paragon. It's an absolutely beautiful game and it can be brutal. Super bonus/max bonus is hard to achieve so it's very satisfying when you have a good game.

Personally, I find myself only shooting for the inline drops and saucer to get back up top. The spinner can be a good choice when you need one or two bonus to reach a super bonus threshold, but it's a risky strategy to use as a bonus builder. The drop target bank was tempting back in it's arcade days as the fastest means of getting a special, but is completely worthless in the home environment other than a bank shot to get back up top.

Every Paragon I've owned didn't stay in my line up very long. Absence always draws me back, but because of the imbalanced game play it doesn't last.

#9 1 year ago

Sorcerer is the best pick on the list for me. Sound, art and gameplay makes Sorcerer my favorite early SS I've ever owned. Mark Ritchie knew how to design fun, pure pinball games!

#10 1 year ago

I think I'd be torn between paragon and sorcerer, I haven't clocked any memorable time on embryon. There's maybe a bit to love and hate about a transitional pin like sorcerer, it sort of bridges the early and late 80s. I guess the adversarial factor tips to sorcerer in the end.

#11 1 year ago

I have both Paragon and Sorcerer, and neither one is going anywhere! The game play on these two could not be more different, but in a cool and complimentary way. That's a good thing in a small collection. I've enjoyed playing Black Hole since it first came out. If I had room for another pin, it would be on the short list. I haven't played any Embryon since the early 80s, so I don't feel qualified to chime in on that one.

#12 1 year ago

Black Hole and Embryon.

#13 1 year ago

High Speed and Pinbot

#14 1 year ago

Thanks again for the input everyone. Turned out to be much closer in the polls than it originally looked to be. Black Hole seems to have been consistently popular (understandably), with Embryon lagging a bit. I have to wonder though, if that could be because fewer people have played it maybe?

Anyhow, I've decided to just go with High Speed and Pinbot instead.

Or perhaps nice NIB Stern? Anyone have opinions on those?

#15 1 year ago

HAH! Gottlieb is starting to get some love That’s what I like to see

#16 1 year ago

I just recently got my Black Hole working, and it's awesome. It's a great looking game (infinity lights are so cool!) and it's very challenging. Difficult multiball to achieve, great sound effects, tons of drop targets, 6(!) pop bumpers, non-traditionally placed slings, 6 flippers... What a great game!

I have to echo Doothedoo's sentiments regarding Paragon. I owned one for several years and ultimately found that the primary strategy is to go after the inline drops, then build bonus, and then max out saucers up top. It's artistically fantastic, but gameplay can get stale after a while (not to mention it can be a brutal game). I don't really miss mine since i sold it a couple years back.

Can't comment on Sorcerer or Embryon as i have such little experience with them. Embryon is definitely one I'd like to add to my collection someday though. Cool, funky playfield layout, weird sci-fi art... If the gameplay is solid, i imagine it could be a winner. But again, I'm only speculating on that one.

Sounds like you'll probably be happy with any pairing though, they're all classics for good reason. Good luck!

#17 1 year ago

I consider myself an average skilled player so that may affect your choice.

I've never played Embryon so I can't comment.

Sorcerer definitely has that one more game feel for me, plus I love the art and sound. Won't leave my collection. A more skilled payer may get bored.

Paragon, I don't like the sound at all, but many view that game as a classic. It is a challenging game which may be a draw to a higher skilled player than me. Although you said the game is "great sounding" and I guess I'll have to look it up online because I've only ever heard the game do monotone bings and bongs, maybe there's more to the sound than what I've experienced.

Black Hole is fun and cool looking and wouldn't mind have a stable one someday.

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from Geocab:

Although you said the game is "great sounding" and I guess I'll have to look it up online because I've only ever heard the game do monotone bings and bongs, maybe there's more to the sound than what I've experienced.

Eh, i don't think there's too much more to it. I just kind of like the bings and boings. Reminds me a tiny bit of EM chimes sometimes, i guess.

I think Sorcerer is probably the best sounding of the bunch though.

#19 1 year ago

Another vote for Sorcerer here. Mark Ritchie was a great game designer -- I find the relatively straightforward rule set nicely complements more dense B/W and Stern games (which it looks like you currently have in your collection). The excitement and risk/reward of lighting "SORCERER" to get the spinner bonus keeps me coming back for more. Opinions vary on the sound package but it's totally of its era and I still enjoy it after two years of owning the game.

And of course it doesn't hurt that it's one of the best looking pinball machines ever made. Just need CPR to get around to making those repro playfields!

Quoted from Kneissl:

I guess the adversarial factor tips to sorcerer in the end.

You have to love a game that taunts you directly. "You are done, mortal!"

#20 1 year ago

Any of these for sale in your area? That could also play a role in your choice since you seem to like them all and shipping would probably kill any deal.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from bam10:

Any of these for sale in your area? That could also play a role in your choice since you seem to like them all and shipping would probably kill any deal.

He makes a fair point. I had to wait a year or so for a Sorcerer to pop up locally. These games probably wouldn't make sense to ship unless you're getting a high end restored machine (in which case the chances of finding one locally are much worse).

#22 1 year ago

My favorites from that time are: EBD, Joker Poker, Seawitch and Genie. If you have the budget Fathom but that's kind of pricey for what it is.

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from bam10:

Any of these for sale in your area? That could also play a role in your choice since you seem to like them all and shipping would probably kill any deal.

Most of these seem to pop up within reasonable driving distance several times a year at least. Paragon seems to a lot and Embryon less than the others. There was actually a decent looking Embryon a couple of hours away recently, but I never contacted him because I was a little strapped for cash at the time and, also, the wife gave me an evil look whenever I mentioned it.

I generally prefer to start with a nicer machine (particularly cosmetically), but I'm not above putting some work into one and I don't need it to be a high end restoration.

#24 1 year ago
Quoted from nman:

Eh, i don't think there's too much more to it. I just kind of like the bings and boings. Reminds me a tiny bit of EM chimes sometimes, i guess.
I think Sorcerer is probably the best sounding of the bunch though.

I think that's what annoys me about the early solid state games that just use a single tone, should've just kept the bells and chimes. If using a computer, I want to hear fantastical sounds like classic Williams sounds, Centaur, etc.
Just my opinion, I have zero issue with anyone who likes the tones.

#25 1 year ago

Paragon was my 1st love back in 85 so I'm biased on that pick. One of the best pins ever made. I've owned 2 Embryons and 2 sorcerers and would pick sorcerer as the next choice due to the art package, sounds and the gotta play one more feeling. Strange thing though for me I would pick Embryon over the Sorcerer because I'm a wide body slut!

#26 1 year ago

My vote is for Paragon as well. I'd also throw in a Stern Stars. Can't beat the brutal fun game play on that and I also love the chimes when you rip that spinner.

#27 1 year ago

Paragon and Black Hole are difficult games...

If you don't mind short ball times, they can be fun with a group of people. From your list, the only game I have owned was Sorcerer (and I have had two of them). Having said that, I would buy another one if I had unlimited space. Also, if I'm being completely honest, Sorcerer has the most replay value out of the games in your list. As you stated, the sounds are some of the best of all the early solid state machines. One thing I do not like about Embryon is that the bonus is cumulative from ball to ball. More beneficial to have a great ball 1 instead of a great ball 3.

If I had to rate them it would go:
1. Sorcerer
2. Black Hole
3. Paragon
4. Embryon

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