"Street Level" pins smaller... true?

(Topic ID: 200079)

"Street Level" pins smaller... true?


By DennisK

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 31 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 38 days ago by DennisK
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

You

Linked Games

#1 1 year ago

Hello all,

I remember the IPDB note that was on the Gottlieb "street level" pin series, as follows:
---
A "Street level" game, which were an experiment by Gottlieb towards designing a simplier, single level (no ramps), slightly smaller and cheaper game. They did not sell very well, and only six models (Premier's 1990 'Silver Slugger', Premier's 1990 'Vegas', Premier's 1990 'Deadly Weapon', Premier's 1990 'Title Fight', Premier's 1991 'Car Hop' and Premier's 1991 'Hoops') were made.
---

The "slightly smaller" aspect confuses me. In terms of overall dimensions, I think it is clearly untrue. Silver Slugger, Title Fight, and Car Hop (H: 77", W: 27", D: 52", Weight: 260 lb.) have the same dimensions as Lights...Camera...Action (the first System 3 and only Sys3 to come before the "street level" line-up). Hoops is only 75" in height (the only dimension different), but that matches Cactus Jacks and Class of 1812 (two System 3 games just after the "street level" series ended; Cactus Jacks is the same weight but Class of 1812 does weigh more).

Vegas and Deadly Weapon are 26" wide (otherwise their dimensions match Silver Slugger, Title Fight, and Car Hop). So, are these the only ones "slightly smaller" than Gottlieb's full-featured pins (I didn't research to see if 26" was otherwise common or not)? Was it something else (less actual playable space on the playfield and/or the playfield being smaller despite the cabinet size)? Or is the IPDB statement wrong (as a majority of these games have cabinet dimensions on par with the full featured titles Gottlieb released around the same time period)?

#2 1 year ago

I haven't noticed a difference in size of the cabinet, but if there is one, I would guess it would be the height of the cabinet body.

#3 1 year ago

Not significantly smaller than other games of the era. A few inches shorter, that's it.

In keeping with the 90s Gottlieb ethos, however, they are significantly shittier than other games of the era.

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

In keeping with the 90s Gottlieb ethos, however, they are significantly shittier than other games of the era.

Tell us how you really feel?

Hoops and Vegas are pure crap. Deadly Weapon is actually decent player, but the sounds and call outs are awful. Car Hop is fun too. Have never played Title Fight or Silver Slugger.

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I haven't noticed a difference in size of the cabinet, but if there is one, I would guess it would be the height of the cabinet body.

Ah, that dimension isn't on the flyers so I may measure that (I have a Silver Slugger... but I don't own any other Gottlieb games, still, if everyone was around the same size it may be *good enough* for me to get a sense of it).

Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Not significantly smaller than other games of the era. A few inches shorter, that's it.

Shorter in the way ForceFlow mentioned (cabinet body), or do you mean in some other way?

#6 1 year ago

I never noticed a size difference and have owned Title Fight and Vegas. Title Fight was ok game, backbox animated boxers were cool. I liked Vegas and would buy another if it came around, real simple game, ugly color on cabinet.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

Tell us how you really feel?
Hoops and Vegas are pure crap. Deadly Weapon is actually decent player, but the sounds and call outs are awful. Car Hop is fun too. Have never played Title Fight or Silver Slugger.

Back in 2004 it thought it would be fun to collect all the street level games as they were cheap, parts were plentiful and I had the space at the time to pull them all together. Of course, I hadn't had the chance to play all of them at that point, either. Ended up buying all of them except Deadly Weapon and Hoops. Played those at PAPA and decided I really didn't have to have all of the street level pins, ha!

Did playfield swaps on Title Fight, Car Hop, Vegas, and Silver Slugger. Easiest swaps ever, look underneath the playfield and you will find a map of where everything should go.

Most of the street level pins just have boring playfield layouts, cheesy callouts, and kitschy art. Not great fun to play. Hoops has to be worst of the series. Kids like Title Fight because of the animated backglass with the two fighters, Car Hop has a great theme with some cool art and special nostalgia scoring where the points and sounds are like back in the 1950s, but it can be downright boring to play. Silver Slugger has some promise but the callouts will drive you nuts--"there's a drive", art is just plain wierd on that one. Vegas could have been a great pin as the playfield multipliers and cashier shot can be very rewarding, but only with the red flipper coils. Unfortunately, the easy loop shot kills Vegas for tournaments as you can just loop that thing all day long. I never really got into Deadly Weapon after playing it at PAPA.

One other consideration, I owned most of these for 5-10 years and after going through them once, I didn't have to ever fix anything else on them ever again. Very reliable, dependable games.

#9 1 year ago

Not to digress from size too much, but...

Hoops seems very polarizing. I've not played it. I've heard it didn't rely much (at all?) on mystery awards, so very non-Gottlieb of them in that case. I know some people really like it from a tournament game perspective.

Silver Slugger seems to have balanced scoring, but mystery awards are the only way to get a multiball, so that's going to annoy some players.

Those are really the only two I know anything about.

#10 1 year ago

I like prize fight, very unique gameplay and I am a sucker for old school backglass animations. Hoops is not that bad, cannot speak for the randomness of the awards but we had fun playing it at The Sanctum last time we were there.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I haven't noticed a difference in size of the cabinet, but if there is one, I would guess it would be the height of the cabinet body.

Finally got around to some comparisons, and this accurate. The back area runs about the same height as Firepower, so the playfield remains pretty close to the glass (no ramps to accommodate). So, it saved them a bit of wood.

Scooby Doo mystery solved, thanks all!

#12 1 year ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

Hoops has to be worst of the series.

If by “worst” you mean “BEST”, then I fully agree!
A well taken care of Hoops is a beautiful (playing) thing.

#13 1 year ago

I just bought a Hoops with an NOS playfield installed.

I can understand how it can be a bit polarizing. It's very straightforward and basic, but it's saved (IMO) by the nice rules, cheesy music, and cheesy callouts. You'd have to be a little crazy to want Hoops in a small collection, I think.

#14 1 year ago

Hoops has some simplistic yet very fun shots - unique to any pin I've ever played.
Example: The left spinner goes up and around, comes out the front....when the natural shot is to hit the top left loop from the other direction.
It's pretty cool actually.

Silver slugger has 3 nice spinner shots, but is very random - mystery awards too important.
Title Fight is fun too...as long as it's set up level and with a good incline.

DWeap, CarHop, Vegas...far more limited games.

PAPA has all of them - except SS.

2 weeks later
#15 1 year ago

Part of the purpose of this thread was to help me in a research project I was doing to gather "street level" information for a podcast episode I was planning. I did finally get that all done and assembled (I had to find time to listen to some past Gottlieb interviews... finally happened). This size discussion is a very minor part, but here's a direct link to that part of the show if you'd like to hear what the designers thought of the effort, why it didn't work, and some various specifics and trivia related to that time in Gottlieb's history: https://soundcloud.com/user-465086826/episode-47#t=23:17

Thanks again everyone who weighed in on this, it was very helpful in trying to gather up what I could about Gottliebs of this vintage.

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from DennisK:

Part of the purpose of this thread was to help me in a research project I was doing to gather "street level" information for a podcast episode I was planning. I did finally get that all done and assembled (I had to find time to listen to some past Gottlieb interviews... finally happened). This size discussion is a very minor part, but here's a direct link to that part of the show if you'd like to hear what the designers thought of the effort, why it didn't work, and some various specifics and trivia related to that time in Gottlieb's history: https://soundcloud.com/user-465086826/episode-47#t=23:17
Thanks again everyone who weighed in on this, it was very helpful in trying to gather up what I could about Gottliebs of this vintage.

Never heard of the podcast before but gave it a listen. Very impressive and a nice listen. Great talk about the Gottlieb games with some very interesting information, nice back and fourth between the hosts and none of the usually snarky “Gottlieb Sucks” talk that often comes into Pinball podcasts.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from Matesamo:

Never heard of the podcast before but gave it a listen. Very impressive and a nice listen. Great talk about the Gottlieb games with some very interesting information, nice back and fourth between the hosts and none of the usually snarky “Gottlieb Sucks” talk that often comes into Pinball podcasts.

Glad you enjoyed the segment. We've been around a while but we're a fairly small podcast. Mixed gaming, so that won't appeal to everyone (we're probably 70% pinball and front-load that segment for convenience), but we do it for fun and I've wanted to do something like the street level for a while, but it took a while to gather everything up to a level I was comfortable declaring comprehensive. Everyone already knows all about Williams and why they were popular. I've always been interested in the less successful/less known stories, like Playmatic, Sega of Tokyo, etc. Harder for me to do ones where background materials aren't in English though.

As for Gottlieb itself, I don't have strong negative feelings towards them in part because I think it's better to just judge on a game by game basis (obviously Gottlieb's development cycle being so short compared to Williams means you'd statistically expect better games out of Williams, but each game is unique and should be judged on its own merits and flaws). Besides, shows are generally the only place I see Gottlieb games, so I have relatively limited experience with them (whereas it is easy for me to find a collector or a location with an "A list" Williams game).

#18 1 year ago

I just listened to the segment a few days go. There was some interesting nuggets of info there that I wasn't previously aware of. Nice job

A lot of folks do automatically dismiss this era of games, and it's nice to see someone take an interest in them and their history.

#19 1 year ago

Yes they are shorter in over all length, you really don't notice it though until you stand the game up on end. Gottlieb called it "street level" pins but in reality they were produced to save money on wood, weight and materials. Making the game a few inches shorter would not make an operator want to buy the game as they were waaayyy behind the times compared to Williams and Bally in the same era which were making far better games that people actually wanted to play. People only played those Gottlieb's at the time because the other games were filled with stacks of quarters on them. Gottlieb was very old school and felt they could compete with the old "less is better" thing. Turns out they weren't further from the truth and within ten years from the end.

John

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Yes they are shorter in over all length, you really don't notice it though until you stand the game up on end.

I did not catch that originally when I focused on the height of the cabinet. Comparing to my limited selection of other games, it is definitely the smallest in cabinet length, by approximately 3.5". Making note of that so I don't forget, thanks!

4 months later
#21 9 months ago

I have a 6 Gottlieb Street Level pins set up and can be played at Central Drive In Theater Norton Va 25273. All only 25 cents to try 3 balls per play.

8 months later
#22 39 days ago

Bumping up this thread. On several podcasts as of late, single-level, no ramp games have been referred to as "street" level. Is it fair to lump TNA, Beatles, Mafia, and the recently announced Tokyo Perfect Drift as "street" level? Or does it really not matter. To me, none of these games follow the cheaper, smaller marketing perception that Gottlieb was going for when they put out their branded "Street" level games into production. Does this bother anyone else? Probably just me

#23 39 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Bumping up this thread. On several podcasts as of late, single-level, no ramp games have been referred to as "street" level. Is it fair to lump TNA, Beatles, Mafia, and the recently announced Tokyo Perfect Drift as "street" level? Or does it really not matter. To me, none of these games follow the cheaper, smaller marketing perception that Gottlieb was going for when they put out their branded "Street" level games into production. Does this bother anyone else? Probably just me

"street level" was just a dumb marketing phrase that the guys who were running Gottlieb into the ground came up with to sell those crap games. Has no bearing on modern pin design or marketing in my opinion.

You save zero floor space by placing a TNA or Beatles in your location or basement.

#24 39 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Does this bother anyone else?

Eh, doesn't matter to me. Just because a game like Beatles or Mafia doesn't appeal to me, doesn't mean it won't appeal to someone else. It's nice to have those options though.

But I certainly wouldn't consider them street games, in the sense that Gottlieb was marketing towards. Mafia, Beatles, and TNA aren't any cheaper than a more complicated game, but then again, they're not being designed for the same market the Gottlieb games were being designed for, even if they theoretically have lower long-term operating costs due to their simplicity.

#25 39 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Bumping up this thread. On several podcasts as of late, single-level, no ramp games have been referred to as "street" level. Is it fair to lump TNA, Beatles, Mafia, and the recently announced Tokyo Perfect Drift as "street" level? Or does it really not matter. To me, none of these games follow the cheaper, smaller marketing perception that Gottlieb was going for when they put out their branded "Street" level games into production. Does this bother anyone else? Probably just me

No, it bothers me too. I've posted/responded to episodes that do this before (hopefully politely!) that I disagree when people treat "street level" and "single level" as synonyms. Because it was a Premier thing, in the purest sense I do think it mandates four basic pillars:
1) Single level
2) Cheaper to build (and ideally to buy)
3) Simpler (in terms of requiring less operator intervention)
4) Smaller

Now, for me personally, I'm willing to compromise a bit on #4 (because the space saving was relatively minimal), but on a technical level all these pieces should be in play.

TNA, Beatles, and Mafia all violate #2, and Beatles possibly #3 as well. Not sure on Tokyo Perfect Drift yet. Sales price proposed is under a Stern Pro. Maybe.

Games that I'd consider being non-Premier street levels would be Harley-Davidson (the Bally 1991 version, which was made in response to Silver Slugger), and maybe Breakshot (was meant to be a throwback, classic style... but if it wasn't cheaper or simpler to maintain it should be disqualified).

Premier wanted their street games to be sold for less than full-featured games. It was a core part of the strategy (that distributors ignored). It's really not ground any present manufacturer seems to be examining, except perhaps deeproot. But, given how it went for Premier, that isn't particularly surprising (their sales fell under the street level run and improved after they returned to the full-featured approach).

TL;DR: Yes, it bothers me too. "Single level" is the term for games without ramps and/or multiple playfields. "Street level" is a term for a specific marketing strategy and games that adhere to that philosophy.

Edit: Oh, it looks like I never linked the article I wrote a year ago on street level in this thread. I decided to do that after recording the podcast episode so that it could all be written down and easier to access. So, you can always read that to know my full thoughts on it: https://www.pinballnews.com/site/2017/11/16/the-history-of-street-level-pinballs/

#26 39 days ago

I've been tempted to refer to them as street level, but the fact is that the games specifically marketed as street level were only Gottlieb games during a certain period of time with specific attributes.

No other manufacturers before or since have actually had "street level" games like Gottlieb made them.

There might be references/comparisons to those games, but these games (and all other rampless single-level games) are in a slightly different category.

#27 38 days ago

I'm pretty sure that when they refer to single level games as street level, that they're doing it thinking that the two are synonymous. I guess without knowing that street level was purely marketing by one specific company, anyone could easily and mistakenly use the two terms interchangeably. In a way, it's almost insulting to refer to games like TNA and Beatles as street level; that they were built to be less than full-featured and cheaper. Again, I'm sure it's purely unintentional but it just bothered me and I wanted to "bump" up the topic, since were are seeing more single level games come to market.

#28 38 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I'm pretty sure that when they refer to single level games as street level, that they're doing it thinking that the two are synonymous.

I agree. Both words sound somewhat similar, and I also think that most people don't know what exactly was meant by "street" (I didn't), and perhaps assume the main playfield is the street and thus single-level pins are just street level, rather than relating to the type of operating location.

In my job, we regularly deal with legislative bills. These often have what is called a "fiscal note" attached (describing the financial impact if the bill became law). I know a LOT of people who call them "physical notes", which is totally wrong, but they sort of sound the same and the mistake just continues to exist (and, I suppose, people think of the notes being printed and thus existing physically... maybe?). So this sort of thing happens.

#29 38 days ago

Barry Oursler told me a number of times that he designed Harley Davidson on the proviso that it was going to be a cheaper game to sell, and was pissed when that turned out not to be the case (since Williams design staff bonuses were based on units shifted). Management must have looked at how distributors handled Silver Slugger and thought 'well sod it, they're going to mark the game up to normal price anyway so we might as well pocket the difference ourselves'.

#30 38 days ago
Quoted from DennisK:

maybe Breakshot (was meant to be a throwback, classic style... but if it wasn't cheaper or simpler to maintain it should be disqualified)./

Breakshot was supposed to be the first in a line of cheaper games from capcom. The driver board is indeed simplified, single lamp matrix for example. It was cheaper to build, less mechs, single level, no backbox gi, but thing is it was not a premiere. Premiere = street level Capcom = Classic (seriously, it go pull up the flyer)

#31 38 days ago
Quoted from dung:

Breakshot was supposed to be the first in a line of cheaper games from capcom. The driver board is indeed simplified, single lamp matrix for example. It was cheaper to build, less mechs, single level, no backbox gi, but thing is it was not a premiere. Premiere = street level Capcom = Classic (seriously, it go pull up the flyer)

Thanks for the details. I was more getting at taking the principals of Premier's "street level" series and seeing if any other games might have gone for something that would have met Premier's definition. So, while I knew Capcom was doing their own thing with a classic line, I was curious if that line checked all the boxes that if Premier were to do it they'd have called it a street level (if that makes sense).

Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

Barry Oursler told me a number of times that he designed Harley Davidson on the proviso that it was going to be a cheaper game to sell, and was pissed when that turned out not to be the case (since Williams design staff bonuses were based on units shifted). Management must have looked at how distributors handled Silver Slugger and thought 'well sod it, they're going to mark the game up to normal price anyway so we might as well pocket the difference ourselves'.

Interesting. Well, I guess due to the deliberate pricing decision it would not have qualified as a "street level" by Premier's measurement. I've never actually played this game. I remember hearing in an interview Roger Sharpe saying he thought it was a good game except for the decision not to go with standard-sized flippers on it.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
Wanted
Machine - Wanted
Seattle, WA
$ 8.00
Cabinet Parts
RPGCor
From: $ 50.00
Gameroom - Decorations
Pinball Art Prints
From: $ 99.00
Lighting - Under Cabinet
Rock Custom Pinball
$ 39.95
$ 19.95
Apparel - Women
Pinball Wheezer
$ 39.95
Playfield - Protection
Little Shop Of Games
$ 18.99
Eproms
Matt's Basement Arcade
From: $ 15.00
$ 19.95
Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
ULEKstore
$ 24.00
Playfield - Other
Pin Monk
$ 69.99
Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
Lighted Pinball Mods
$ 5,799.00
Pinball Machine
Operation Pinball
$ 48.00
Cabinet - Other
ModFather Pinball Mods
$ 10.00
Cabinet - Decals
Docquest Pinball Mods
$ 1,000.00
$ 22.00
Cabinet - Sound/Speakers
ModFather Pinball Mods

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside