(Topic ID: 254497)

SS vs. EM.............Some folks just don't know


By Blake

8 months ago



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  • Latest reply 8 months ago by Dono
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    19
    #1 8 months ago

    I routinely see people poo-pooing EM machines from all era's. 1930's all mechanical, pre war pre flipper, 60's wedge heads and late model EM's alike. One of the first giveaways I hear that shows just how little some of these folks know about EM's (and I still consider myself an absolute NOOB) is that they prefer SS because they are more challenging.

    ARE YOU SERIOUS.................F me are most of these EM's brutally difficult. Quite often when playing I think to myself, "Have I forgotten how to play".

    Then I hear about how much more ingenuity there is in SS. Once again, I shit myself and my jaw hits the floor.

    "Ingenuity" - (the quality of being clever, original, and inventive.)

    More lights, more sounds, deeper rules, more balls, faster shots, and greater shot variety I will give to SS undoubtedly. But a person need only donate the length of time it takes to watch one PAPA tutorial on a new Stern, to see that the folks who designed pinball when bells, chimes, and whistles were king came up with some pretty amazing feats of engineering.

    I'm still shaking my head while researching EM's and saying to myself, "That is fucking awesome."

    Thanks
    Blake

    20
    #2 8 months ago

    I like both kinds of music, country and western.

    #3 8 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I like both kinds of music, country and western.

    The thought is not that one is better then the other. But that EM's, their tech, their creativity, and their game play is highly underrated and often times either forgotten or just never experienced.

    From the back box, the cabinets, the playfields and all the amazing mechanics that often times provide an experience that leaves even a thought to be knowledgable person on the subject asking "how did they do that".

    Keeps me coming back for more. But I like that sort of stuff.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #4 8 months ago

    Or you can play Stern Stars. SS & EM

    #5 8 months ago
    Quoted from TKDalumni:

    Or you can play Stern Stars. SS & EM

    or Joker poker, Black Jack, Charlies Angels, Cleopatra, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sinbad, Dragon, Solar Ride, Mata Hari, Night Rider, Lucky Seven, Hot Tip, Space Walk, Countdown, Evil Knievel, Aztec, Freedom, ETC. ETC. ETC.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #6 8 months ago
    Quoted from TKDalumni:

    Or you can play Stern Stars. SS & EM

    Did Stern really make an EM version of Stars?

    #7 8 months ago

    Stern only made 4 EMs (Rawhide, Stampede, Disco and Pinball). Rawhide and Stampede were Chicago Coin leftovers. Only Pinball was a Stern in both EM and SS.

    #8 8 months ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Stern only made 4 EMs (Rawhide, Stampede, Disco and Pinball). Rawhide and Stampede were Chicago Coin leftovers. Only Pinball was a Stern in both EM and SS.

    I thought Pinball was the only Stern made both ways (wouldn’t mind getting a Pinball EM some day...)

    #9 8 months ago

    I love EM pinball!

    #10 8 months ago

    Im picking up 3 wedge heads in about a week.
    El Dorado Atlantis and 4 Square.
    I do have fun with them, but I don't really have the space so they will be up for sale sooner or later.

    #11 8 months ago

    I love SS games so much that I convert them to EM.

    #12 8 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I like both kinds of music, country and western.

    Buddy Rich was asked, when he was in the hospital, are you allergic to anything? He said yes country and western.

    #13 8 months ago

    The only thing about owning an em that worries me is the repair. Otherwise, I agree with your statements. EMs are fun to play, just like any other pinball machine. While I do enjoy callouts, music, and animations. You don't need any of those things to enjoy pinball. In fact chimes can be just as rewarding if they're done right, or a nice spinner rip.

    I own a sinbad ss. Sure not an em.. But, mine has chimes, so basically I do get slightly(ever so slightly, even though I have the new board with skill shot) rules on it.
    I view these games as just pure pinball fun. And I can play my sinbad for hours on end. I put some tunes on and I just flip and flip. And because its just chimes I don't have to worry about the music playing over the callouts or music as there are none. I still can hear the chimes and its just a fun experience.

    In fact at expos I really enjoy seeing and playing the EMs that people bring. Most of the time they're also easier to hop on and off of. No wait as people don't really want to play those as much. Their loss, as those games like you said can have cool features.

    They had spinning discs in the em era, multiball, and other cool features. One of my favorite EM games is fireball. That game has everything on it. But, its a bit random due to the spinner disc. Not the best em game, but a cool one.
    I also liked Hot Hand. That had a really cool spinning arm in the center that moves the ball around and you can get points for it hitting the switches there.
    And I also like bow and arrow. Not a complex game, but it shoots good. Again. At least for me I enjoy shooting it.

    And lastly... I like the scoring reels. I think its cool how they reset and I like how they keep track of points. Again... I don't want one in my collection as I'd hate to do repairs on one.

    #14 8 months ago

    Right with ya! I have been playing pinball for 10 years (since I was 13) and I have always loved EMs. To me, if you are a tourney player and you can only beat new Sterns but can’t beat the classics, you are not a well-rounded player.

    #15 8 months ago

    I have an EM-only pin event this Friday; Check IFPA events in FL... Enlighten me on how much people don’t understand the difference

    #16 8 months ago

    I get irritated at people who do not know the difference and refer to the system 1s I have as ems.

    #17 8 months ago
    Quoted from Pinball-DOOD:

    Right with ya! I have been playing pinball for 10 years (since I was 13) and I have always loved EMs. To me, if you are a tourney player and you can only beat new Sterns but can’t beat the classics, you are not a well-rounded player.

    I'm not a tourney player myself, but I will say I enjoy getting replays on all the machines I play on. Not saying I get replays on all the machines. But, that is my goal as I think thats a nice measuring stick for if you had a good game or not.

    And one thing that all EMs have is a real knocker. I think in the late 90s they started phasing out the real knockers as I know my MBr doesn't have a real knocker and that was made to the same specs as the original.

    Any besides getting the really cool knocker sound, I do agree with you. You need to be well rounded and the games do behave different. But, I must admit I sometimes prefer the simple ruleset of classic games over the code of games such as GOT and Star Wars.
    My real issue is you want to double up on the modes in both GOT and Star Wars and then get into a MB... For GOT the mb start shot is the same as the mode start shot... Which is a bit too easy. Once you get that start 2 modes at once and watch the points just add up on your screen. Not a lot of skill or strategy. And also it robs you of enjoying the modes, their animations, and their callouts, and what should make modes unique and rewarding to play through.

    I know I'm going to use my Sinbad SS as an example of classic pinball rules(but it really is a nice example), but it has a nice risk reward aspect to its rules.
    Basically its a build your bonus and collect bonus type of game. Easiest way to build bonus is to hit the drop targets. There are star rollovers that can advance bonus and a spinner that can advance bonus as well. Then you need to hit the drops in the right order to get your bonus x. You can have all but one drop target down and still be at 1x bonus. So its important to hit and complete the banks in order.
    So that is what I try to do. Always getting 2x out of the way first(or trying to).

    But, there is some strategy in how you go about it, and sometimes you might want to switch your order as you don't have the ball on the right flipper and it might not be the safe shot. And there are other things to consider. So while its a simple ruleset. There is still tons of strategy about the shots that you want to prioritize and on which flippers you should be taking them from.

    I think these skills translate into newer pinball machines as well, and the older ones you really should and they do teach you to always be thinking and asking what you should be aiming for.
    But, again please don't think I'm a good player. I'm not. I myself am still learning. But, that is the joy of playing pinball. Always learning and improving.

    #18 8 months ago

    Most 60's EM with 2" flippers are brutal.

    You up your skill set or don't bother. Operators used to say if you were playing longer than 3 minutes you were losing money.

    Magic Town is one of my latest EM acquisitions, took me over a week to break 2000 points. Game just delights in kicking your ass.

    I have both solid state and electro-mechanical, by a good margin the 2" EM's are more tougher to play. 3" flippers REALLY makes a difference in game play, you have far more wiggle room and control in making shots.

    Which is more entertaining to play is a different question.

    #19 8 months ago

    Quick list of some EM and PM features that I have found interesting, ground breaking and or amazing in one way or another. Leaving out plenty of obvious examples as the bulk of what we see today came from an early predecessor.

    - Lock down bracket assembly on 60’s D. Gottlieb Wedge heads
    - Manual ball lift mechs
    - Score motors/stepper units/spinner units/relays
    - Raceways off the plunge
    - Stool Pigeon tilts
    - Action holes & Repeater holes - and the endless amount of creative ways to use them
    - Roto targets
    - Spinning disks
    - D. Gottlieb’s Knock Out - Rock em sock em robots
    - Dancing Lady back box
    - Balls-a-Poppin multiball
    - Transition to dual inward facing flippers
    - D. Gottlieb’s 2001 drop targets (20x)
    - Rockola Triple Crown - World's Series, Jigsaw and Army Navy (If you have never heard of these just take 5 minutes and watch a quick vid while
    remembering they have no electricity “Pure Mechanical”)
    - 1934 Bally Fleet (Cannons are just plain cool and are well incorporated into rule set)
    - Harry Williams design of Contact

    Thanks
    Blake

    #20 8 months ago

    I prefer EM's, but I like the late model ones with the DC voltage used on the coils from 1977 or after. I have really nice examples of Cleopatra EM, Close Encounters EM, Poseidon and Cherry Bell currently in my collection. I also have some older EM's, but prefer the later ones. I use to have a really nice Williams Hot Tip EM, that was a fantastic game as well.

    #21 8 months ago

    I enjoy both EM's can be bastard it took me a while to get the hang of them.

    #22 8 months ago

    Another beautiful thing about EMs, you can play whatever music you like and it doesn't clash with the chime sounds emanating from the game.

    Can't really do that with modern pins with their own music sound track.

    #23 8 months ago
    Quoted from DRDAVE:

    Another beautiful thing about EMs, you can play whatever music you like and it doesn't clash with the chime sounds emanating from the game.
    Can't really do that with modern pins with their own music sound track.

    When it comes to the sounds I was blown away how refreshing it was to play an EM after only having SS for so long. It really put a smile on my face. I could totally see what your saying about background music during gameplay.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #24 8 months ago
    Quoted from Diospinball:

    The only thing about owning an em that worries me is the repair. Again... I don't want one in my collection as I'd hate to do repairs on one.

    The great thing about EM's is that once they're working, they are friggin' tanks - you most likely wont be doing much work on them.

    #25 8 months ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    The great thing about EM's is that once they're working, they are friggin' tanks - you most likely wont be doing much work on them.

    And the amount of problems you fix with adjusting switch gaps and gentle filing is simply amazing!

    thanks
    Blake

    #26 8 months ago

    I hear comments at shows about how EMs are bore-fests, and when asking these folks for reasons they feel that way, they typically point to a game or set of games on the show floor that shouldn't be at any show... game functions that don't work, weak flips, not leveled properly, etc. etc... we need to make sure all EM games on the show floor work all the way and are shopped properly. We need to pass on the wow factor of EM games by respecting them in the way we prepare them for shows.

    For me personally I can see how some lines are drawn... for me growing up, I started playing at the end of the 2 inch flipper era... there were a few games around that were still on route (Magic City, Royal Guard, Apollo, Buckaroo), but the crux of games I played were of the 3 inch variety. These games are what I poured my hard earned quarters into, and what I'm generally drawn to today.

    That being said I try to play new-to-me-games at every show I attend; you never know what kind of game you'll fall in love with. Bally Spectrum and Nine Ball are two I never played until recently but definitely enjoyed to the max.

    #27 8 months ago

    I LOVE my EM Night Rider and would not trade it for a SS, ever! Love ripping the spinners and hearing the chimes and score reels go nuts!

    #28 8 months ago

    One of the misconceptions about EMs in tourneys is that they are often (incorrectly) referred to as "luck boxes". There is a lot of skill required to play an EM well, especially 2" flipper games.

    I actually enjoy playing EMs more now than the modern games

    #29 8 months ago
    Quoted from Blake:

    Thanks
    Blake

    Went over your head

    #30 8 months ago
    Quoted from pinballcorpse:

    One of the misconceptions about EMs in tourneys is that they are often (incorrectly) referred to as "luck boxes".

    You are thinking of people calling EMs "slot machines". I will admit, generally speaking there is more luck to an EM and less skill than a SS. That's why the ball times are so short. The skill is still there and it does require a lot of practice to be good at EM machines. It's a different skillset for certain. You are not making post passes, drop catches the same or repeating ramp shots but aiming, flipper strength, tap passes and understand how an EM "instantly tilts" with no warnings are things you have to practice a lot, in order to be great.

    Back to OP...

    I never really cared for Ems until I stated playing competitively. (Not a recent thing!)

    EVERY SINGLE BEST PINBALL MACHINE EVER MADE BEFORE ANY SS MACHINES WAS AN EM!
    Think of it this way. Before around 1977-ish, all the top rated machines at that time in pinball were all EMs. So, to discount that specific era of machines and design really says a lot about the person you are talking about. No EM is going to play like Addams or Scared Stiff but it does not mean that at one time, a particular EM was not the best available game for your money. Grand Prix, Jungle Queen, Wizard, Capt. Fant., and Nip It all come to mind here.

    The same exact thing happens with rules and strategies these days. Take GOT as an example of many, many different strategies to get big points. Compare that to AFM or Monster Bash or LOTR where there are 2,3 main ways to get big points in competition. It's much less of a chess game than GOT.

    That comparison is no different than comparing Captain Fantastic to Addams Family. Both great game designs that hold my attention. But, if you are a player that did not grow up in between the 70 and 90's, the chances that you play and appreciate both of those machines so much that you own them both, is VERY slim.

    I NEVER played an EM before I was 24 years old. I have owned around 10 of them over the years. I like a few of them a lot but, because they are not what I grew up around, the ones that I hold in the highest regard and own are those that have great design and risk/reward. It's mainly because I am a competitive player of pinball. I'm not a collector of pinball nor did I grow up in the heyday of Ems.

    Another thing, you can't help or force someone to "get it" with EMs. It's like drug additions. You can never help someone that does not first ask for it. If you are the only one making all the effort, the user will likely never be clear of their vice.

    #31 8 months ago
    Quoted from Classics_Master:

    I use to have a really nice Williams Hot Tip EM, that was a fantastic game as well.

    I searched to find a Hot Tip EM, it’s my favorite EM I've ever played (couldn’t get enough of it at ReplayFX the last two years). What a great pin! So glad I found one! It’s right next to my Cleopatra EM, another gem.

    #32 8 months ago
    Quoted from Classics_Master:

    I prefer EM's, but I like the late model ones with the DC voltage used on the coils from 1977 or after.

    EMs before 1977 can be fast with DC too. I’ve got a Strato-Flite (1974), which has a bridge rectifier, set on high tap, and she flies!

    #33 8 months ago
    Quoted from pinballcorpse:

    One of the misconceptions about EMs in tourneys is that they are often (incorrectly) referred to as "luck boxes". There is a lot of skill required to play an EM well, especially 2" flipper games.

    More skill required. It can take hundreds of plays to get the playfield geometry down on earlier two inch flipper games that have a lot of side to side action on the lower part of the playfield with all the different flipper configurations.

    Quoted from Dono:

    I hear comments at shows about how EMs are bore-fests, and when asking these folks for reasons they feel that way, they typically point to a game or set of games on the show floor that shouldn't be at any show...

    To be fair, some of the generic EMs that are on display are borefests no matter how much you high tap them or have them set up.

    #34 8 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    To be fair, some of the generic EMs that are on display are borefests no matter how much you high tap them or have them set up.

    Totally agree, if you took 100 random EM titles and asked me to list the keepers, I'd list maybe 10-15 tops, maybe less.

    #35 8 months ago
    Quoted from Dono:

    Totally agree, if you took 100 random EM titles and asked me to list the keepers, I'd list maybe 10-15 tops, maybe less.

    I've been thru maybe 100, and the few keepers are mostly Williams 2 inch flipper games from the late 50s to the late 60s.

    I went to one show where there was very little representation of those with zero reverse wedgeheads at all. But they had 100s of others.

    #36 8 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I've been thru maybe 100, and the few keepers are mostly Williams 2 inch flipper games from the late 50s to the late 60s.
    I went to one show where there was very little representation of those with zero reverse wedgeheads at all. But they had 100s of others.

    Gottlieb made some rocking 2", Melody/Sing Along and Hearts and Spades (Spin a Card) are my two favorites.

    20191031_130201_resized (resized).jpg
    #37 8 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Gottlieb made some rocking 2", Melody/Sing Along and Hearts and Spades (Spin a Card) are my two favorites.

    Glad somebody likes them. Of all the ones I owned, the only one I kept is 1955 Frontiersman.

    #38 8 months ago
    Quoted from Dono:

    Totally agree, if you took 100 random EM titles and asked me to list the keepers, I'd list maybe 10-15 tops, maybe less.

    I'd like to keep 10 or 15 based on historical significance alone.

    Hell I can think of 5 pure mechanical machines I'd like to own because of how cool they are.

    My list of EM's that I am hoping to stumble upon at some point is growing by the minute. And so far I would have to guess that my list would be MUCH larger then 10-15 keepers. If room wasn't an issue.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #39 8 months ago

    I keep the ones that look good and get played the most by not just me. I listen to those that come over, and we usually agree.

    Many have left in a couple weeks because of less than appealing art or gameplay that doesn't keep people coming back.

    #40 8 months ago

    I BUY DEALS.

    I use to do what your doing.

    Adjust my game room based on what people played or said they like the most.

    But to be honest, PINBALL was always at the bottom of the list regardless of what era machine I had. Early SS, SYS 11, Whitestar. Vids were played 10-1.

    Hasn't stopped me from having a nice GoldenEYE in the lineup. Or collecting more pins.

    But my home arcade is small with room for just 6-7 machines. And when you have 90's classics like Mortal Kombat II/3 and NBA Jam they tend to be pretty popular because folks remember playing them on console.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #41 8 months ago

    I was a EM Gottlieb snob until I played a couple of working early 70s Bally’s and now I can’t get enough of them

    #42 8 months ago

    I was lucky enough to play Vic Camp's collection in Clifton NJ. Hands down the greatest EM collection I've seen. Most games in mint cosmetic condition and all were fine tuned to play perfectly. Simply amazing, check out the You tube vids.

    What bums me out is some EM games at York and Allentown shows. Weak flippers that can't push the ball more than halfway up the PF. Weak sling shots and my personal biggest gripe (all games), not level side to side.

    #43 8 months ago
    Quoted from tomdrum:

    not level side to side.

    Yes, please, if you take the time and effort to load, transport, set up, and share a machine for others to play (and thank you to everyone who does so), please take the little extra time to level it and make it fun to play. (I bring a small torpedo level for that.)

    #44 8 months ago
    Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

    I was a EM Gottlieb snob until I played a couple of working early 70s Bally’s and now I can’t get enough of them

    Ballys were what we played in the 70s. Around here, their games always drew the biggest crowds. Gottlieb was when the Ballys and Williams were too busy or broken. Or a charity quarter or dime at the end of the day to change it up a little. The ops knew what we liked though and didn't have a bunch around.

    #45 8 months ago
    Quoted from Diospinball:

    I'm not a tourney player myself, but I will say I enjoy getting replays on all the machines I play on. Not saying I get replays on all the machines. But, that is my goal as I think thats a nice measuring stick for if you had a good game or not.
    And one thing that all EMs have is a real knocker. I think in the late 90s they started phasing out the real knockers as I know my MBr doesn't have a real knocker and that was made to the same specs as the original.
    Any besides getting the really cool knocker sound, I do agree with you. You need to be well rounded and the games do behave different. But, I must admit I sometimes prefer the simple ruleset of classic games over the code of games such as GOT and Star Wars.
    My real issue is you want to double up on the modes in both GOT and Star Wars and then get into a MB... For GOT the mb start shot is the same as the mode start shot... Which is a bit too easy. Once you get that start 2 modes at once and watch the points just add up on your screen. Not a lot of skill or strategy. And also it robs you of enjoying the modes, their animations, and their callouts, and what should make modes unique and rewarding to play through.
    I know I'm going to use my Sinbad SS as an example of classic pinball rules(but it really is a nice example), but it has a nice risk reward aspect to its rules.
    Basically its a build your bonus and collect bonus type of game. Easiest way to build bonus is to hit the drop targets. There are star rollovers that can advance bonus and a spinner that can advance bonus as well. Then you need to hit the drops in the right order to get your bonus x. You can have all but one drop target down and still be at 1x bonus. So its important to hit and complete the banks in order.
    So that is what I try to do. Always getting 2x out of the way first(or trying to).
    But, there is some strategy in how you go about it, and sometimes you might want to switch your order as you don't have the ball on the right flipper and it might not be the safe shot. And there are other things to consider. So while its a simple ruleset. There is still tons of strategy about the shots that you want to prioritize and on which flippers you should be taking them from.
    I think these skills translate into newer pinball machines as well, and the older ones you really should and they do teach you to always be thinking and asking what you should be aiming for.
    But, again please don't think I'm a good player. I'm not. I myself am still learning. But, that is the joy of playing pinball. Always learning and improving.

    Thanks for sharing, man!

    #46 8 months ago
    Quoted from wolverinetuner:

    Yes, please, if you take the time and effort to load, transport, set up, and share a machine for others to play (and thank you to everyone who does so), please take the little extra time to level it and make it fun to play. (I bring a small torpedo level for that.)

    I didn't see it happen this past show, but last year I had to admonish the staff at one of the local shows for moving my games around to fill in blank spaces. I take care to level my games after they're set up, and moving them even a few feet can throw off the level and/or pitch.

    #47 8 months ago

    I started using the pinguy app on my iphone... easy squeezy!

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