(Topic ID: 198394)

Star Wars LE is likely my last new Stern Machine


By glasairpilot

1 year ago



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#1 1 year ago

Before you get too crazy about the title, let me explain. I have now bought 4 NIB machines, MMrLE, LOTR, GBLE, and SWLE. Before that I have owned some mint HUO machines - TZ, XMLE, TSPP, RFM, STLE, and a few others. On the HUO machines (again these were perfect) I paid $5000 for TZ, $4000 for XMLE, $3500 for TSPP, $3500 for RFM, $8000 for STLE.

I found all of these machines to be high quality, fun, and easy to sell when I grew tired of them. I also liked the fact that they powered up and were ready to play within 5 seconds of turning on the power. I liked XMLE so much (I know, some people think it is a dog) that I bought it back for more than I paid for it the first time. Same with TZ. I know I could sell my STLE for what I paid or more, because it is a great game with good flow, nice toys, and a great light show (especially with the green laser mod.)

Now to the new machines: I sold MMrLE, not because I did not like it, but because I was moving and did not have room for all the pins. I lost $400 on it an did not worry about it since I felt that was reasonable. The machine played great and was well built. It is just a great classic. I might buy it again when my new game room is done. LOTR was the same. Great game that is easily modded to make even better. Deep rule set and lots of fun. Afforable also. Now to GBLE. Super excited when I bought it. Thought it was fun for the first few games just because of the different layout of the subway, slimer, etc. Of course, I paid $8500 for it and since it came with a shaker and is a cool looking pin I was still fairly happy with it even if the play was not quite a exciting as I thought it should be. Not as excited now since I have mine listed at $7400 which is the cheapest in the country and not a single inquiry. So, my SWLE arrives for $8,700. The art is rather dull in my opinion, and I even put in the premium back glass art since everyone I asked said it was much better. I actually like the game play. The hyperspace loop is cool and the shots are challenging, but the death star shot is too tough considering it is such an important shot. It blows my mind that they made this one shot so tough. My biggest aggravation, though, is the fact that this nearly $9000 machine did not come with a shaker motor. Yeah, I know, I should have read the description better, but really? That is like ordering a new top of the line Lincoln and having to pay extra for air conditioning. That put me over the edge. Furthermore, the lack of thought of the call outs (especially when you are saving the princess) is annoying. Leah will say the same thing 7-8 times in each mode and it makes me wish I had a blaster to shoot her instead of saving her. I just feel that Stern is cranking these out too fast and we don't get what could have been a great game. Now, who's fault is that - well that is easy - ours! I am done with the craze and will look to remakes, JJP, or buy some classics. I just don't see $9000 as a good deal anymore considering the stripping of options and a rushed product.

Instead, if I buy new, I will wait for PPS to hopefully remake CV, TZ, and a few others since I know what I will get for code and game play there. If I do buy another Stern it will be a perfect used machine and I will let the first owner take the hit on the price. I no longer need to be a tester for Stern.

To be fair, I still think Stern makes a good product, and I wish them well, but they have pushed the limits of what I will pay. Time to go back and see what else is available for me.

#2 1 year ago

You make some very good points wish you luck.
I really enjoy pinball but am not an Le buyer probably not premium either.

I've bought my fare share of pins but I'm good with Stern pro models they are fun for me. My price point is 5k my exceptions are smve woz and hobbit.

I would think SW pro would work for me.

#3 1 year ago

I agree and disagree with some points, I think NIB pin from Stern is fine, however the LE is up the buyer. I am young in this sport/hobby as of 12/2016 my only NIB is a GB premium I think the game is outstanding even without all the bells and whistles, and when I order my GB in 2017, just so happen to be Stern accessories/mods and loads of aftermarket mods so I got lucky. Currently Stern release's the SW with no Stern mods.... its 2017 WTF?

That being said, on the GB the current 1.13v code is garbage, the magna slings need an off mode, b/c a half loop and drain SDTM or out-line drain is just BS, once they fix the manga slings random BS as there is no way to counter for a magnet powered drain I will be happier. I like the challenge keeps me wanting more, If I can easily beat a pin then it gets boring fast.

Now on to SWLE, I think Stern's total build cost/money went to video with the new LCD screen, that eats up loads of money to develop for, I mean the Batman 66 and Aerosmith, and now SW, seems like the playfields get less since the LCD screen, again develop time and money. I see that the SWLE's were stripped of the shaker motor... thats disappointing for sure. I had the opportunity to buy a SWLE but instead found a local STLE IMO is just an absolute awesome pin, not sure why anyone would sale it but the STLE is like eye candy and all the RGB inserts along with the interactive enterprise armor shooting photons/lasers is beyond any PIN today. I don't have to have a LE for SW's you only get a numbered pin, armor and art work... that's not enough anymore to buy an LE IMO. More than likely I will get a NIB SW premium.

#4 1 year ago

I'm starting to realize myself that huo is the way to go. I have 3 nib games that were fun getting, and are keepers, but the resale value doesn't hold up. You can usually get a nicely modded huo game for 10-15% off a stock nib if you're patient enough. Not saying I won't buy nib ever again, but I'm going to look used first. The nib prices are way too much for what you get out of box now. SW was a huge disappointment for me, so I backed out of my le spot. Now I'm even trying to figure out if the hyper loop is worth $2k more than the pro.

#5 1 year ago

Agree 100%. STLE gets a really cool Vengenace,, RGB, cool rail lights, and the Laser is great (which is cheap to install, yet adds a lot) You also get a REAL translight that is beautiful. Star Wars could and should have been just like STLE, but they screwed up. I would sell my SWLE well before I would sell STLE. Also, the playfield screen on SWLE is worthless. A toy positioned there would have been much better.

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from konghusker:

I'm starting to realize myself that huo is the way to go. I have 3 nib games that we're fun getting, and are keepers, but the resale value doesn't hold up. You can usually get a nicely modded huo game for 15-20% off a stock nib if you're patient enough. Not saying I won't buy nib ever again, but I'm going to look used first. The nib prices are way too much for what you get out of box now. SW was a huge disappointment for me, so I backed out of my le spot. Now I'm even trying to figure out if the hyper loop is worth $2k more than the pro.

I wouldn't buy SW without the hyperloop. Without it, it is just another cookie cutter Stern with a new theme. Again, back to X-MEN LE. Two cool ramps, multiple ways to lock balls, spinning magnet disc, and colorful cabinet for under $6k. So much more value than what is out now.

#7 1 year ago

I totally get your frustration with the things you listed. I have a SWLE and in my case, I want to strangle Yoda every time I drain the ball. You can't shut him up even by cancelling the bonus display with the flippers. And the death star shot is a bitch. The LE is a ripoff and yes...it should come with a shaker AND their version of Invisiglass (as well as some other stuff). Will I buy another one? Not sure. There's only one theme that would make me cough up LE money.

Now let me play devil's advocate...

Do you have death star rejects? That's an issue that's easily tweaked. When you get it right, it's like butter. It's a hard shot, but it should be. It's crucial to a few of the biggest goals in the game. On GOT, the hardest shot is the dragon shot (or Castle Black shot on the premium/LE). Again...if you want to take down the Targaryens, you've gotta master that shot. It's the whole Steve Ritchie "play better" thing, but it IS frustrating.

The code is still .89, so I'm hoping there are additional callouts. But callouts on any game get repetitive after a while. People get tired of the redneck callouts on AFM, and that's considered one of the greats. You hit a switch, the programming's going to play the predetermined callout. There's no way that can't get stale after a while.

Also, I get the feeling they paid an assload for the license on SW. They were probably bidding against JJP and had to cough up a bundle. With that said, the design of the game doesn't leave much room to put a bunch of plastics and toys in there. Where would you put it with a ball whizzing around that loop? It's easier on the pro. I'm trying to add stuff and can't find safe places to mount it.

So I'm with you on about 80% of your post!

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from beelzeboob:

You can't shut him up even by cancelling the bonus display with the flippers.

"Reckless!!"

#9 1 year ago

The market determines the price regardless of what Stern thinks their shit is worth.

#10 1 year ago

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose. Everyone gets bored of a machine eventually. I agree the used market is the way to go. I'll never buy a NIB machine again.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from usandthem:

The market determines the price regardless if what Stern thinks their shit is worth.

Agreed 100% and Stern is earning what people will pay. I'm just not going to be a part of the pool anymore.

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose. Everyone gets bored of a machine eventually. I agree the used market is the way to go. I'll never buy a NIB machine again.

You'd be waiting an awfully long time to get an HUO MMR.

#13 1 year ago

I agree that the price point for a NIB is now too high. I have purchased 2 NIB Stern's in the past but can't keep up with the current price increases and lack of features. I know that there are thousands of great games from the past that can be had for much less money. That being said, if no one is buying NIB pins, these lightly used and tastefully modded pins that everyone is talking about are going to be gone. Just some food for thought.

#14 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose. Everyone gets bored of a machine eventually. I agree the used market is the way to go. I'll never buy a NIB machine again.

I'm with you. Every used pin I have bought I have gotten my money back when bored with it. And while I don't expect to get my money back on a new pin I don't like being the test pilot for the new machine and pay for mods that I feel should be included at every increasing prices. As said earlier - market is the market - but i think there are some older games out there that are a lot of fun.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from Ericc123:

I agree that the price point for a NIB is now too high. I have purchased 2 NIB Stern's in the past but can't keep up with the current price increases and lack of features. I know that there are thousands of great games from the past that can be had for much less money. That being said, if no one is buying NIB pins, these lightly used and tastefully modded pins that everyone is talking about are going to be gone. Just some food for thought.

Everybody has not ended with this statement yet.
There will be another NIB buyers...and so huo buyers.

#16 1 year ago

Glasairpilot, I wish they would release, the pro First, Premium 2nd and the LE last. I think this a good thread, good clean info/banner. I am glad you kept it positive with while driving the NIB experience is less than ideal. I think more than anything they really missed the total package and theme, it does fell incomplete just looking at it, note I have not played it yet.

#17 1 year ago

The smart move with Stern pins is really to wait at least a year from release before you buy, probably sound advice for all new pins, let them work out all the bugs and add all the code then grab it. I will say I'm happy with SW's.

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#19 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose. Everyone gets bored of a machine eventually.

That might be true if boredom is your only factor.

My Funhouse has been here 9 years and I'm not bored of it yet. (Having around two dozen pins helps.)

More importantly, it was a gift from my late wife, and it's what got me back into pinball!

So I'm afraid I have disproved your negative by giving one example; there is such a thing as a keeper.

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from camcamaro1991:

Glasairpilot, I wish they would release, the pro First, Premium 2nd and the LE last. I think this a good thread, good clean info/banner. I am glad you kept it positive with while driving the NIB experience is less than ideal. I think more than anything they really missed the total package and theme, it does fell incomplete just looking at it, note I have not played it yet.

Yeah, I'm not bashing Stern as I believe pinball would be nearly dead without them. I think they are going to end up like Harley Davidson before it is over, though. 15-20 years ago you had to stand in line to buy a Harley and used bikes were nearly as much as new, but then again a new bike was $14k. Instead of innovating and keeping prices modest they thought people would continue to take huge price increases and receive an average product. Today, you can walk into any Harley store and buy pretty much what ever you want and your used 4 year old Harley is worth about 40% of new. The market spoke with Harley and I think it will with Stern also. Until then Stern will likely just keep pumping out as much as possible and I don't blame them, but long term I think it will hurt them a bit. I don't mind the lock down bar changes and actually like the simplified electronics even though they are not repairable, but the cabinet problems and playfield ghosting, lack of standard options for an LE, etc is not acceptable in a $9000 machine. My MMr was much higher quality (In my opinion) than any Stern I own.

I played a Dailed In machine the other day and I feel that it's quality was better than my Stern Machines also, but I did not think much of the theme. It might have great flow, but the theme was boring to me.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose.

I wish that you were right. I either have pins that are keepers or a bad case of separation anxiety. Can't think of one to sell for room.

Just played SW pro at NY,NY need to play more but I like it.

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

Yeah, I'm not bashing Stern as I believe pinball would be nearly dead without them. I think they are going to end up like Harley Davidson before it is over, though. 15-20 years ago you had to stand in line to buy a Harley and used bikes were nearly as much as new, but then again a new bike was $14k. Instead of innovating and keeping prices modest they thought people would continue to take huge price increases and receive an average product. Today, you can walk into any Harley store and buy pretty much what ever you want and your used 4 year old Harley is worth about 40% of new. The market spoke with Harley and I think it will with Stern also. Until then Stern will likely just keep pumping out as much as possible and I don't blame them, but long term I think it will hurt them a bit. I don't mind the lock down bar changes and actually like the simplified electronics even though they are not repairable, but the cabinet problems and playfield ghosting, lack of standard options for an LE, etc is not acceptable in a $9000 machine. My MMr was much higher quality (In my opinion) than any Stern I own.
I played a Dailed In machine the other day and I feel that it's quality was better than my Stern Machines also, but I did not think much of the theme. It might have great flow, but the theme was boring to me.

Fully agree with the Harley Davidson comparison. Similar market, similar product. I think the only problem for Stern compared to Harley, is their product and brand is really not unique and desirable compared to their opposition. There is no credibility owning a Stern. Almost the opposite. There's nothing inherently Stern about a Stern game. They are an easy target for opposition. The only thing they have in their favour is established high volume production and good licencing. The licencing is easy to emulate, the production not so much, but given enough time the opposition will catch up. Depends if the pinball 'boom' has long enough to run.

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose. Everyone gets bored of a machine eventually.

Quoted from DanQverymuch:

That might be true if boredom is your only factor.
My Funhouse has been here 9 years and I'm not bored of it yet. (Having around two dozen pins helps.)
More importantly, it was a gift from my late wife, and it's what got me back into pinball!
So I'm afraid I have disproved your negative by giving one example; there is such a thing as a keeper.

Yep I have none that are leaving I have offers all the time...and boredom has never been a reason for a pin to leave if they ever do...

Phoebe

#24 1 year ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

The smart move with Stern pins is really to wait at least a year from release before you buy, probably sound advice for all new pins, let them work out all the bugs and add all the code then grab it. I will say I'm happy with SW's.

This is the advice I have taken since 2013. AC/DC was already out for a year, and the code was generally considered complete. I wanted a Metallica then, but waited another year to make sure they would complete the code. Both AC/DC and Metallica were around version 1.6 after a year of release. Others have made it up to that level over time. I consider that to be close to complete code for a good selling game. It looks like less than stellar sellers get to around 1.4.

It blows my mind that they are now selling pins with pre release software (< 1.0). I may have missed some, but I don't remember seeing that before Batman 66.

At the same time, I guess we need a good number of people to buy before the code is complete because they definitely seem more likely to finish the code on a good seller.

I would buy another Stern, but it would have to be as good as Metallica (which is my current favorite), and out for at least a year. I haven't played one yet since Metallica that I like as much, so I don't know if that will happen. We will have a Star Wars Premium locally on location soon, so I am really looking forward to trying that one.

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#25 1 year ago
Quoted from cooked71:

The only thing they have in their favour is established high volume production and good licencing.

Maybe a lot of people find their games really fun as well? You know, actually playing pinball. People still do that, right?

#26 1 year ago
Quoted from smokedog:

Maybe a lot of people find their games really fun as well? You know, actually playing pinball. People still do that, right?

You are thinking of tilt forums. This is pinside!

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

My biggest aggravation, though, is the fact that this nearly $9000 machine did not come with a shaker motor.

The market can't support 9k machines. Granted, I've been saying that since I was saying it couldn't support many 8k games, but I still think it. I bought exactly one 8k game, and I hated having that much wrapped up in one game. It's long gone.

I'm not saying the sky is falling. I'm not saying used prices are going to drop. I'm saying the number of people that can afford to drop that kind of cash on a single game is pretty small. And small markets tend towards being buyers markets.

-1
#28 1 year ago
Quoted from smokedog:

Maybe a lot of people find their games really fun as well? You know, actually playing pinball. People still do that, right?

Why would I play my Stern games? The inserts will ghost, the shooter lane will chip and the cabinet will split.

Edit:

But seriously, I'm not saying Stern games are not fun, just they're really not unique. There is nothing inherently Stern about a Stern game, unlike Harley Davidson. They make a pretty basic pinball machine that has little to no innovation over games 30 - 40 years old - until b66 they were pretty much indistinguishable.

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from DaveH:

The market can't support 9k machines. Granted, I've been saying that since I was saying it couldn't support many 8k games, but I still think it. I bought exactly one 8k game, and I hated having that much wrapped up in one game. It's long gone.
I'm not saying the sky is falling. I'm not saying used prices are going to drop. I'm saying the number of people that can afford to drop that kind of cash on a single game is pretty small. And small markets tend towards being buyers markets.

I'm not sure you need brass balls to be buying nib games these days, but blurry vision helps. I ain't afraid of no ghosts (if I can't see ghosting, crackling inserts or missing software - do they exist )

In fact that's normal environmental settling according to Stern. That's right big boy. Nothing to see here, it's time for you to move along. So even if you get a machine with ghosting or insert issues, it should be considered within tolerance and a minor nuisance. CONgratulations You dropped a big piece of change for a game with a problematic clearcoat. Some are hearing that one or two "minor issues" don't create a reason for swapping a populated playfield. In other words - no soup for you.

There's a trending phrase as of late that having one ghosted insert is the new norm for Stern. I don't believe it but it sounds possible. More than anything, I'd hate to allow myself to believe it could be true. Stern should guarantee to replace any playfield for 90 days from delivery to customer. Some simple pics and docs to file a claim within 90 period. Actual populated playfield swap to take place in following six months. Then make this the published warranty.

#30 1 year ago

I love my SWLE. Plays great no quality issues. I have not seen any used LE's for sale. That should mean something...Right? There are a few hot games and this is one of them. Should it of came with more? YES! I always want more. Is this game bad? NO! I hope stern listens and we get another great game like Star Wars... This time just with more stuff inside of it. Time will tell. I will jump off a roof if Jurassic Park has that same pop open egg and a water growing dinosaur.

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#31 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

One thing I've learned over the course of my collecting is there is no such thing as a keeper. People will say it's bolted to the floor and it's a grail yadda yadda. Eventually that game will shake loose.

Not true - Some of my games I've had for over 20 years, and friends that have topped 30 years.
I'd call those keepers.

#32 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

ordering a new top of the line Lincoln

matthew mcconaughey car advert (resized).jpg

#33 1 year ago
Quoted from cooked71:

Fully agree with the Harley Davidson comparison. Similar market, similar product. I think the only problem for Stern compared to Harley, is their product and brand is really not unique and desirable compared to their opposition. There is no credibility owning a Stern. Almost the opposite. They are an easy target for opposition. The only thing they have in their favour is established high volume production and good licencing. The licencing is easy to emulate, the production not so much, but given enough time the opposition will catch up. Depends if the pinball 'boom' has long enough to run.

And they have the best designers, and their pins are the most reliable, and they are the only ones with a product around $5k. Good luck topping Stern in any of those 3 areas.

#34 1 year ago
Quoted from DaveH:

The market can't support 9k machines. Granted, I've been saying that since I was saying it couldn't support many 8k games, but I still think it. I bought exactly one 8k game, and I hated having that much wrapped up in one game. It's long gone.
I'm not saying the sky is falling. I'm not saying used prices are going to drop. I'm saying the number of people that can afford to drop that kind of cash on a single game is pretty small. And small markets tend towards being buyers markets.

You mean like Ferrari, right? Every market is different and unique in its own way. I have a different opinion. Very small market normally equates to high margin to stay in production. The percentage of people that can afford to drop that kind of cash on a single game is pretty small. That still equates to a lot of people that have disposable income to buy a NIB pinball machine. We have to line up and fork out most of the money upfront in Australia to get a NIB.

While ever demand is higher than supply prices will continue to rise. Like most markets there will have to be a correction at some point.

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

And they have the best designers, and their pins are the most reliable, and they are the only ones with a product around $5k. Good luck topping Stern in any of those 3 areas.

Designers I'll give you, but they're all pretty old and not really producing anything unique, so something would need to change in that area given stiff competition. But again, those designers are not uniquely Stern. They've all worked for other manufacturers in the past and there are plenty of other good designers not with Stern.

Reliability I'm not convinced, mostly with Spike, but also their recent QC is an issue.

And lower price is just a function of the manufacturing scale, which I 100% agree is their main/only competitive advantage at the moment.

#36 1 year ago

Until I get schematics to at least attempt to understand repairing the new system on a component level I am done buying nib stern pinball.

#37 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballaddicted:

You mean like Ferrari, right? Every market is different and unique in its own way. I have a different opinion. Very small market normally equates to high margin to stay in production. The percentage of people that can afford to drop that kind of cash on a single game is pretty small. That still equates to a lot of people that have disposable income to buy a NIB pinball machine. We have to line up and fork out most of the money upfront in Australia to get a NIB.
While ever demand is higher than supply prices will continue to rise. Like most markets there will have to be a correction at some point.

I have the means to buy a new Ferrari every year and one of everything Stern makes every year, but I don't do it because I don't see the value. You buy a Ferrari because you want to have people see you drive a Ferrari. A Corvette ZO6 will flat out crush almost all Ferraris in speed, handling, comfort, reliability, and maintenance costs for 1/3 to 1/10th the cost. The Corvette also now looks just as good in my opinion. It is no different than anything else - when a company gets comfortable another comes along to do better. Look what Google did to Yahoo, Apple did to Blackberry, and Amazon is doing to Walmart.

Again, if you want to impress people with having the newest and greatest you buy everything with a big price tag regardless of value. I just don't see it going forward.

A point was made about Stern $5k machines and they are right. You can buy a nice pro of just about anything for $5-6k, but after playing the LE models I'm not interested. I will just wait for people to get tired of their LEs or premiums and pick them up for a price of a pro.

Stern has done well and I love my older machines with STLE being the pinnacle; however, every machine after it has been less value in my opinion.

#38 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

Until I get schematics to at least attempt to understand repairing the new system on a component level I am done buying nib stern pinball.

You will be buying pre 2012 pins forever then. Surface mount technology is here to stay and the throw away mentality is never going away. The "hobby" is gravitating to "bling" instead serviceability by the end user. The average college graduate cannot even operate a screwdriver correctly and the pinball producers know that. They are building what is economical and reliable from a manufacturing standpoint. They don't care that you can repair it yourself in 20 years and neither do car manufacturers, smart phone producers, or TV manufacturers.

I actually like the new technology from a serviceability standpoint. If a node board is bad I replace it. Opening up my old TZ and looking at all the capacitors and diodes that could be a potential failure was overwhelming along with the 20 miles of wire. As long as Stern will continue to support the machines I am fine with new tech, but if they don't it could be like new cars today - there will be no classics tomorrow.

#39 1 year ago

Bad sign when the Pilot gives it up

I get it though. Laden with common sense

#40 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

I have the means to buy a new Ferrari every year and one of everything Stern makes every year

Quoted from RandomGuyOffCL:

My $140k mercedes V12 has only retained %10 of its value after 7 years and Stern Tar wars will certainly bankrupt anyone else who even thinks of making a pinball...

#41 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

You will be buying pre 2012 pins forever then. Surface mount technology is here to stay and the throw away mentality is never going away. The "hobby" is gravitating to "bling" instead serviceability by the end user. The average college graduate cannot even operate a screwdriver correctly and the pinball producers know that. They are building what is economical and reliable from a manufacturing standpoint. They don't care that you can repair it yourself in 20 years and neither do car manufacturers, smart phone producers, or TV manufacturers.
I actually like the new technology from a serviceability standpoint. If a node board is bad I replace it. Opening up my old TZ and looking at all the capacitors and diodes that could be a potential failure was overwhelming along with the 20 miles of wire. As long as Stern will continue to support the machines I am fine with new tech, but if they don't it could be like new cars today - there will be no classics tomorrow.

I'm personally not against them going primarily surface mount, since that's where everything is going now. I just know it's going to be harder to support it 20 years down the road, unlike TZ. Especially if they decide to go with spike v 2.0 or something completely different where the parts don't interchange. They will support it for 5 years after they sell their last game using that system, and then the distributors will buyout the parts. Once the distributors run out of the node boards for that version of spike, oh well tough shit... Obviously games like TZ are still running because they are more serviceable.

I'd rather attempt to fix an SMD then spend 200 or more on a new board. The CPU board is almost 500 bucks, don't know about you but that's not chump change to me. Haven't needed the schematics yet, luckily the one node and one cpu board I've had to replace were under warranty. The time will come though, has anyone asked why they don't give them out anymore? or is there a place you can download them?

#42 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

Before you get too crazy about the title, let me explain. I have now bought 4 NIB machines, MMrLE, LOTR, GBLE, and SWLE. Before that I have owned some mint HUO machines - TZ, XMLE, TSPP, RFM, STLE, and a few others. On the HUO machines (again these were perfect) I paid $5000 for TZ, $4000 for XMLE, $3500 for TSPP, $3500 for RFM, $8000 for STLE.
I found all of these machines to be high quality, fun, and easy to sell when I grew tired of them. I also liked the fact that they powered up and were ready to play within 5 seconds of turning on the power. I liked XMLE so much (I know, some people think it is a dog) that I bought it back for more than I paid for it the first time. Same with TZ. I know I could sell my STLE for what I paid or more, because it is a great game with good flow, nice toys, and a great light show (especially with the green laser mod.)
Now to the new machines: I sold MMrLE, not because I did not like it, but because I was moving and did not have room for all the pins. I lost $400 on it an did not worry about it since I felt that was reasonable. The machine played great and was well built. It is just a great classic. I might buy it again when my new game room is done. LOTR was the same. Great game that is easily modded to make even better. Deep rule set and lots of fun. Afforable also. Now to GBLE. Super excited when I bought it. Thought it was fun for the first few games just because of the different layout of the subway, slimer, etc. Of course, I paid $8500 for it and since it came with a shaker and is a cool looking pin I was still fairly happy with it even if the play was not quite a exciting as I thought it should be. Not as excited now since I have mine listed at $7400 which is the cheapest in the country and not a single inquiry. So, my SWLE arrives for $8,700. The art is rather dull in my opinion, and I even put in the premium back glass art since everyone I asked said it was much better. I actually like the game play. The hyperspace loop is cool and the shots are challenging, but the death star shot is too tough considering it is such an important shot. It blows my mind that they made this one shot so tough. My biggest aggravation, though, is the fact that this nearly $9000 machine did not come with a shaker motor. Yeah, I know, I should have read the description better, but really? That is like ordering a new top of the line Lincoln and having to pay extra for air conditioning. That put me over the edge. Furthermore, the lack of thought of the call outs (especially when you are saving the princess) is annoying. Leah will say the same thing 7-8 times in each mode and it makes me wish I had a blaster to shoot her instead of saving her. I just feel that Stern is cranking these out too fast and we don't get what could have been a great game. Now, who's fault is that - well that is easy - ours! I am done with the craze and will look to remakes, JJP, or buy some classics. I just don't see $9000 as a good deal anymore considering the stripping of options and a rushed product.
Instead, if I buy new, I will wait for PPS to hopefully remake CV, TZ, and a few others since I know what I will get for code and game play there. If I do buy another Stern it will be a perfect used machine and I will let the first owner take the hit on the price. I no longer need to be a tester for Stern.
To be fair, I still think Stern makes a good product, and I wish them well, but they have pushed the limits of what I will pay. Time to go back and see what else is available for me.

I see your point. Is STARWARS LE fun? As you have owned great pinball machines for a good frame of reference .

#43 1 year ago
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

And they have the best designers, and their pins are the most reliable, and they are the only ones with a product around $5k. Good luck topping Stern in any of those 3 areas.

designers...maybe....reliable no way....innovative...no way....quality control....no way....bang for your buck...no way.....Stern is stuck in their old school ways, and are being bypassed by JJP and CGC...

18
#44 1 year ago

Times are changing and I'm not the only one who thinks so. The release of SW, and the way Stern is going about their business, is causing an inflection point in the pinball market. Ask youself this question: Is Stern currently investing in the industry and building it up or simply cashing out, seeing how much can they push the limits before buyers say "I'm out." Magnets removed, shakers removed etc and prices going up. They are releasing beta code now on all their new releases and redifining what an LE is, never mind art like it's 2004. It's very sad that they haven't realized yet that as they strip mine the industry it is they who have the most to lose as they have 90%+ market share. (Bracing self for the shills who will now respond that it's the best game ever released or we have some religious duty to love anything they release regardless of quality).

#45 1 year ago
Quoted from glasairpilot:

I have the means to buy a new Ferrari every year and one of everything Stern makes every year, but I don't do it because I don't see the value. You buy a Ferrari because you want to have people see you drive a Ferrari. A Corvette ZO6 will flat out crush almost all Ferraris in speed, handling, comfort, reliability, and maintenance costs for 1/3 to 1/10th the cost. The Corvette also now looks just as good in my opinion. It is no different than anything else - when a company gets comfortable another comes along to do better. Look what Google did to Yahoo, Apple did to Blackberry, and Amazon is doing to Walmart.
Again, if you want to impress people with having the newest and greatest you buy everything with a big price tag regardless of value. I just don't see it going forward.
A point was made about Stern $5k machines and they are right. You can buy a nice pro of just about anything for $5-6k, but after playing the LE models I'm not interested. I will just wait for people to get tired of their LEs or premiums and pick them up for a price of a pro.
Stern has done well and I love my older machines with STLE being the pinnacle; however, every machine after it has been less value in my opinion.

I couldn't agree more...I have means to buy just about anything I want, but I want value for that dollar. When you look at the higher priced NIB machines i.e. Stern LE's, CGC LE's, or JJP machines there's no comparison in terms of value and quality. CGC and JJP have leap frogged Stern in terms of innovation and quality. A primary example is the AFMRLE game...they were smart and actually offered the customer value that differentiated it from the lower priced units (interactive topper, trim color options, blades, extended warranty, etc). What Stern does offer that the others don't is a lower priced "value" model with the Pro's. The only Pro model I have in my collection is Metallica, which I love to play. I might be in the minority, but people who can afford a $8500+ SWLE would have had no problem shelling out a little bit more if they actually got value i.e. higher quality play field, some kick ass toy, glass, lite rails, etc....

#46 1 year ago

I have always been an LE buyer or atleast a premium buyer but my next purchases would be and I have bought over 10 NIB:

1. Dialed in
2. AFM remake
3. HUO LOTR
4. HEP IJ

New Stern is nowhere on that list. Like 90% of the people SW was a dream theme but they did nothing with it. My money is basically in on JJP and HUO games going forward. I would buy a Kiss pre/LE if I can find one dirt cheap but that is about it.
I do think people are starting to talk with their wallets and the next year or so should be interesting. I don't see another cash grab like SW at there.

25
#47 1 year ago

I think another thing Stern didn't count on is the backlash they are getting for not honoring the Star Wars theme with the very best they could do. They removed the magnets to save a few dollars - on a game where the central theme is using the force. The Tie Fighter on a spring as the only toy on the pro. And the Death Star doesn't look right - looks cheap and color is off.

They have pissed off a lot of fans by showing so much disrespect for the Star Wars license.

#48 1 year ago

Until the code for my GB is finished, I'll can not in good conscious give any more money to Stern. What really gets me is when I have already paid for something and I get pushed to the back of the line while they make money off of their next/latest/greatest and give that all of their attention. Why would I want to give $ to someone who hasn't shown any willingness to finish the work on what I've already paid for? That is simply crappy business practice. So until they get some common sense... or at least common courtesy, I'm happy there are other manufacturers now (with some good titles) for me to buy NiB from.

14
#49 1 year ago
Quoted from spinal:

I think another thing Stern didn't count on is the backlash they are getting for not honoring the Star Wars theme with the very best they could do. They removed the magnets to save a few dollars - on a game where the central theme is using the force. The Tie Fighter on a spring as the only toy on the pro. And the Death Star is white for heaven's sake! They didn't even care enough to color it gray. I need to type it again: they didn't care enough to color it gray.
They have pissed off a lot of fans by showing so much disrespect for the Star Wars license.

?!? Have you played or even seen the game? The Death Star on mine, just like everyone else's is in fact GREY. Not white. Nor gray I guess to be specific.

To say that Stern did not honour the theme because they did not put a playfield magnet on the game is just nonsense. The game totally feels like Star Wars. Classic sound fx. Movie clips. Movie voices. Even the C3PO and Admiral Akbar sound alikes for custom callouts are well done. John Williams score. And the game plays fast as hell, just like you are piloting around in the Star Wars universe. Give me this all day long over a slow boring wide body JJP pin with 18 toys and individually controlled drop targets. Dwight has done an amazing job with the code to make the game feel and play like Star Wars. The game may not be for everyone, and sure more could have been added "toy" wise but to say that Stern hasn't honoured the theme is bs.

IMG_0403 (resized).JPG

#50 1 year ago
Quoted from spinal:

I think another thing Stern didn't count on is the backlash they are getting for not honoring the Star Wars theme with the very best they could do. They removed the magnets to save a few dollars - on a game where the central theme is using the force. The Tie Fighter on a spring as the only toy on the pro. And the Death Star is white for heaven's sake! They didn't even care enough to color it gray. I need to type it again: they didn't care enough to color it gray.
They have pissed off a lot of fans by showing so much disrespect for the Star Wars license.

I just got me LE yesterday and I maybe in that honeymoon phase. I agree they could have packed more into it. Like a shaker motor, more figurines, a real back glass etc. but game play I'm really loving it. I didn't have this kind love with twdle nor gotle on first release as with SWLE. I just score 1.9B and I have no idea how I did it from a previous high score of 600M but the shots were smooth and fast.

But I will agree with most in this thread. This is most likely my last stern. I have room for 1 more pin and it's going to JJP and toy story.

I know jack will pack real value and the wow factor into it

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