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.