I've been on the hunt for an older machine locally with a tight budget. My wife mentioned that maybe our first machine should be a new one. I could do interest free payments on a new machine for a year, so that expands my budget. I'm considering a pro model, since Premium pricing is just out of my comfort zone. I've been playing a lot of Stern's newer machines locally, and here's what I found:
Jurassic Park: the pro model without the moving T-Rex felt like too much of a compromise.
Batman '66: didn't hold my interest, and the theme was just ok.
Deadpool: thought I would love this machine, but found it kind of boring.
Avengers: same as Deadpool, and no subway seemed like a big compromise.
Led Zeppelin: fun game, but the pro model without the center attraction would feel barren.
Iron Maiden: had lots of fun with this one, which surprised me. The theme is ok, but not my kind of music, and not something I would typically own.
Stranger Things: had a great time with this one, and my kids really enjoyed it too. Didn't mind the compromises with the pro edition. I think the uv kit would be a nice eventual upgrade.
TMNT: thought I would love it, and the pro version makes very few compromises...but I didn't. So disappointed. It just wasn't fun for some reason.
Elvira: loved it...no pro model though.
Guardians of the Galaxy: it was ok, but not a lot of fun.
Mandalorian: didn't get to play much, since it's popular, but it didn't immediately hook me.
Star Wars: didn't get to play much, but seemed like a lot of pauses in gameplay, which didn't feel as good.
So, I'm thinking Stranger Things pro model, but I'm worried about maintenance. Is that gate going to be hard to keep working? Would this be hard for someone new to the hobby to keep up with? I also considered the Star Wars Comic Art home edition, which is $2000 cheaper than a pro. It seems like it plays really well for a budget machine. But, having pressboard for the playfield vs. real wood seems like a deal breaker. Living in Florida with a humid climate makes me worry about that pressboard expanding and warping. Is that a valid concern?
Anyway, I'd love to hear feedback on getting a Stranger things pro! I do wish the artwork on the pro was a little better though. I could do without the focus being on bloody nose Eleven!