(Topic ID: 288815)

The Center Post Dilema


By Tonup69

70 days ago

Topic Heartbeat


Topic Stats

  • 46 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 68 days ago by arcademojo
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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Topic poll

“The Center Post Dilema”

  • Yes - It's OK To Add A Center Post When Justified 3 votes
    6%
  • No - You Don't Need One 23 votes
    43%
  • It's Your Game - Do What You Want. 28 votes
    52%

(54 votes)

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#1 70 days ago

So, I've been thinking a lot about putting a center post on my 1961 Aloha. Before you start hemming and hawing about how there are no outlanes and I'm lucky to even have flippers, let me tell you why. First of all, I love this game, but even I am frustrated that you only get a few shots at hitting the ball at best - the gap it just too big. How do I know? Well, I did some investigating. You know what I found? A lot of modified Gottlieb pinballs from this same era (1961-66). Yes, I found photos of Aloha with center posts added Aloha (resized).png but I also found Gaucho's with side posts (not center) Gaucho (resized).png Oklahoma Oklahoma (resized).png Rack-A-Ball Rack_A_Ball (resized).png and, yes, even Slick Chick - which already has bumper extensions under the flippers Slick_Chick (resized).pngSlick_Chick_Center (resized).png What does all of this mean? It means a lot of other people think the gap between the flippers in the early 60's Gottlieb machines was WAY too big! The other reason I am considering it is more practical - I like playing pinball and would like to play each ball longer (so would my friends who play this game). So, here is the moment of truth. Do you think it's ok to add center posts to games with a large gap between the flippers on these early machines? Please use the poll options to answer and post your photo with a center post if you have one.

#2 70 days ago

That gap would be a big source of frustration to me and I would absolutely add it, the object of pinball is to enjoy what you are playing and this would go a long way. The other option would be to replace the flippers with longer ones if you didn't want to drill a hole in the PF.

#3 70 days ago
Quoted from Tonup69:

So, I've been thinking a lot about putting a center post on my 1961 Aloha. Before you start hemming and hawing about how there are no outlanes and I'm lucky to even have flippers, let me tell you why. First of all, I love this game, but even I am frustrated that you only get a few shots at hitting the ball at best - the gap it just too big. How do I know? Well, I did some investigating. You know what I found? A lot of modified Gottlieb pinballs from this same era (1961-66). Yes, I found photos of Aloha with center posts added [quoted image] but I also found Gaucho's with side posts (not center) [quoted image] Oklahoma [quoted image] Rack-A-Ball [quoted image] and, yes, even Slick Chick - which already has bumper extensions under the flippers [quoted image][quoted image] What does all of this mean? It means a lot of other people think the gap between the flippers in the early 60's Gottlieb machines was WAY too big! The other reason I am considering it is more practical - I like playing pinball and would like to play each ball longer (so would my friends who play this game). So, here is the moment of truth. Do you think it's ok to add center posts to games with a large gap between the flippers on these early machines? Please use the poll options to answer and post your photo with a center post if you have one.

At first I thought no way you should use a center post ever as I was thinking of my mid 70s EMs. Then I saw the pics of your older machines and the huge gap and thought do what you want.

#4 70 days ago

My BankABall had one at some point before I acquired the machine. Haven't got around to filling the hole yet. That gap forces me to nudge around the hazards that cause the SDTMs. There definitely are some very short ball times, but that's ok to me.

BaBpostHole (resized).jpeg

#5 70 days ago
Quoted from tomtest:

That gap would be a big source of frustration to me and I would absolutely add it, the object of pinball is to enjoy what you are playing and this would go a long way. The other option would be to replace the flippers with longer ones if you didn't want to drill a hole in the PF.

Longer flippers just don't look right on these early EMs. I'd rather drill into the playfield.

#6 70 days ago
Quoted from Tonup69:

Longer flippers just don't look right on these early EMs. I'd rather drill into the playfield.

I’m in the “don’t mess make permanent modifications” crowd. The machine has survived this long without being defiled. Why not just search for one with the post already added.

I’ve also seen people who make creative plastics that add onto the lane-guides and hold the post over from the top. It’s like a triangle from the left and right lane guides to the top-down center post.
Hard to explain but it’s a great way to add a center post without permanent damage.

Another suggestion is to remove the tiltbob and nudge all you want!

These games weren’t meant to have long ball times. You gotta remember how games and playing have evolved over the decades as our taste has evolved.

#7 70 days ago

God no.

#8 70 days ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

I’m in the “don’t mess make permanent modifications.
Another suggestion is to remove the tiltbob and nudge all you want!

My vote goes to this suggestion first. I have removed the tiltbob on my Paddock and Triple Strike. Not necessarily drain monsters by any means, but nudging goes a long way keeping a ball alive and makes them more fun to play.

#9 70 days ago

I have Aloha, and have added a center post. There said it.

I have so much respect for artwork and game integrity, but after much indecision I put in the post, and have been more than happy ever since. My EM purists buddies, admitted the game sucks without it. it's your machine, that was made on an assembly line not some holy relic.

IMO this game isn't much fun to begin with, It's brutal, even with out the out lanes. I mostly keep the machine to go with my other Hawaii themed games, and my wife is from Hawaii. After putting in my post i saw the plastic piece someone made for Ghostbusters, where a clear plastic piece screws above and over the flippers with an upside down post on it... Had i though of that I may have tried that first.

PM if you have any questions...

#10 70 days ago

Opps...

#11 70 days ago

I would say no. There a million other pinball machines out there just buy one with a smaller flipper gap.

#12 70 days ago

Do it if you want. The hole in the playfield won’t affect play if the next owner doesn’t fill it.

The post from above described by pinballdork seems like a good idea.

#13 70 days ago

It's your machine. You can do whatever you want. If adding the post makes the game better for you, go for it.

Not surprisingly, on this forum you are going to be communicating with a lot of collectors who love vintage EM machines and want them to survive. So we are going to want you to protect your machine from harm, which is reasonable. What will vary greatly from one person to another is where that line is for what "protecting your machine" actually means.

Here is my personal list of criteria regarding that goal, in order of importance:

1. Keep the game out of the landfill.
2. Get the game working the best it can.
3. Respect the original design, and keep the game as original as possible.
4. If you do make mods to the game, make them as reversible as possible.

So from my perspective, if you add a post between the flippers, the only thing that makes that mod "non-reversible" is the new screw hole in the playfield. But as YeOldPinPlayer says, that can be filled in by a future owner, so it is in fact, reversible. It's not as trivial to un-do as some other mods, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a lot more reversible than fishing the game out of a landfill.

- TimMe

#14 70 days ago

Only game I had with a gap I couldn't get used to was Crosstown, aggravating. When I look at pics now it doesn't seem that bad but it had side drains too, not just one gobble hole. I would never add a post to a game but don't see anything wrong with doing what you want with your game.

#15 70 days ago

For folks unfamiliar with Aloha. The center hole just below the pops is a gobble hole, and eats a good number of balls blasted down from the pops above. Adding requested pic.

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#16 70 days ago

I don't understand why you think that game needs a center post. Yeah the gap is wide but there are no outlanes! I don't find games like that particularly difficult to play, they are fun and you can just set the slings super sensitive to keep the ball moving up.

Tons of old games are like that, no need to butcher it.

#17 70 days ago

Your machine, your choice.

#18 70 days ago
Quoted from pinballdork:

Adding requested pic.

Beautiful artwork!

I notice this game has the notorious "cover-it" rings sold by Wico Corp back in the day. These were stick-down vinyl rings that go around pop bumpers to hide damaged wood veneer on the PF. We tried a couple of these on our location games, but we didn't really like them very much. They were actually die-cut from a consumer product called Con-Tact Paper, which was a vinyl stick-down shelf liner sheet that had a variety of printed images on the face of the sheet, including a few different "wood-grain" images. So your machine was already modified by the operator, as so many vintage games are before they finally get into the hands of a collector.

Having restored many, many playfields, I can attest that safely removing those cover-it rings takes more work than filling in a screw hole and blending the fill spot to match the surrounding artwork. And that's not even including the work to restore whatever damage you find to the original PF veneer underneath those rings.

- TimMe

#19 70 days ago

I'm just giving my opinions on a game that serious EM guys that came to play didn't enjoy before the post. They are much better at nudging than me, and would walk away shaking their heads saying "I wonder what Wayne Neyens was thinking"

I agree the gap doesn't look that bad, but some how with those slings and the side lanes somehow would rocket the balls down the center or in the gobble hole, which eats as much as outlanes And i think 'butcher' is a bit much. LOL. Cheers!

TimMe I tried looking under those pop stickers and yeah I was thinking that would be a mess to remove. Thanks for confirmation and the info on them.

#20 70 days ago
Quoted from Lhyrgoif:

Your machine, your choice.

He asked our opinion!

#21 70 days ago

Put the post in and enjoy it. The Manufacturer would probably recommend the same to operators receiving complaints from players.

#22 70 days ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

He asked our opinion!

Yep, and I gave him mine

#23 69 days ago

If the game isn't fun to play what happens?? No one plays it. I love old EM games but hate those huge gaps. I would put a center post in day one.

#24 69 days ago

There's playfield pics on IPDB from 2 different people. One has post and one doesn't.
Its all good!!

#25 69 days ago
Quoted from arcademojo:

If the game isn't fun to play what happens??

You sell it and replace it with a game you enjoy playing?

#26 69 days ago

No - play as designed!

#27 69 days ago
Quoted from pinballdork:

For folks unfamiliar with Aloha. The center hole just below the pops is a gobble hole, and eats a good number of balls blasted down from the pops above. Adding requested pic.
[quoted image]

I like where you put it. Been debating that in my head - i.e. cover the Gottlieb symbol or not. Truth is, that is the most logical place for it. I'm afraid it would block shots if I put it over the "Aloha" writing in the yellow area. Looking around the web (and you really should - I'm not the only one with this problem on early 60s machines) I found that a few people on a few games had to cover the symbol as well to add a center post. Just how it goes.

#28 69 days ago

Use a bigger ball

#29 69 days ago
Quoted from phil-lee:

Put the post in and enjoy it. The Manufacturer would probably recommend the same to operators receiving complaints from players.

Excellent point! In the restoration world I have experience with pinballs, Jukeboxes and vintage motorcycles. In all cases, you will come across people who are absolute factory purists. For example, the 1971 BSA 650 was a color that could only be described as baby puke green. Triumph twins suffer from notoriously bad electrics with can be FIXED by upgrading to an electronic ignition and eliminating the Zener diode/selenium rectifiers. By the same token, design defects in a game that will forever be "factory" versions would be fixed or improved upon by owners if players didn't like particular aspects of the game. Taking the factory design as the word of GOD is a mistake, in my opinion. The workers, designers and managers at the factory did not necessarily opine on the minutia like we do on every game - they made mistakes sometime. We have the opportunity to fix those.

Frankly, there are too many games I found in a brief search today (please see my first post) for this to be just my personal issue. I think the gap's too big and it makes the game less fun - I love the look and sound of this game. I even love the game play of this game, with the bonus roll over and the gobble hole. I just don't like the gap.

#30 69 days ago

Can you make a non permanent solution that holds itself against the apron ?

#31 69 days ago

Williams Whirlwind came from the factory with a post below the flippers. Wonder if that is how Pat Lawlor originally designed the game, or on testing was it discovered that there were too many SDTM balls and typical players needed a little occasional save. I own a Whirlwind and am very glad that post was installed, even though it only helps me about 5% of the time. Pinball games were designed as money making machines, but not all games had a fair balance between fun and profit and some are notorious drain monsters. I have seen many games with an added post to improve the fun factor since the game no longer has the job of making a profit. I have no objection to adding a post to increase the fun factor in a game. People talk about disabling the tilt mechanisms, but that was not how the games were designed, so is shaking a game that would have tilted on location much different in theory than reducing drains between a rather large gap between flippers? Yes, one method is more obvious than the other, but they are both changing the original setup of the game.
As Jimmy and Steve say with each order: "Enjoy Your Games"

#32 69 days ago
Quoted from Tonup69:

In all cases, you will come across people who are absolute factory purists

I went this way with Barbour boat restorations. OEM is cool until it doesn't work. We do not want museum examples (at least I don't, at one time thought I did).
Williams Merry Widow had such grand outlanes and flipper gap it was unplayable. I struggled with it and finally sold it, letting the new owner know.
Over half of these EM machines will eventually be thrown out if enough time passes. Only a select few will wind up preserved in proper museums (even those get sold).
Fix them, play them. Customize if needed.
I use Bally or Gottlieb chimes in Williams games, they sound better.
I've walked in the Purist shoes and they are uncomfortable, grandiose feelings that what you are doing is timeless and larger than life, you are a "Caretaker" for a precious item. Gotten past it for the most part.

#33 69 days ago

Go for it. People defile games all day long, changing shit around including "custom" rethemes. This hardly seems like a big deal.

#34 69 days ago

Be guilt free EM man, no matter what you decide. Hopefully you can live with yourself either way.

#35 69 days ago

Play Better!

#36 69 days ago
Quoted from nicoy3k:

Can you make a non permanent solution that holds itself against the apron ?

Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

I’m in the “don’t mess make permanent modifications” crowd. The machine has survived this long without being defiled. Why not just search for one with the post already added.
I’ve also seen people who make creative plastics that add onto the lane-guides and hold the post over from the top. It’s like a triangle from the left and right lane guides to the top-down center post.
Hard to explain but it’s a great way to add a center post without permanent damage.
Another suggestion is to remove the tiltbob and nudge all you want!
These games weren’t meant to have long ball times. You gotta remember how games and playing have evolved over the decades as our taste has evolved.

Already brought it up!
Here’s the GB floating center post mod.
https://www.pinballlife.com/ghostbusters-upgrade-kit.html

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#37 69 days ago

I wouldn't do it, ever. Game was designed without it, and it would stay that way if I owned it. Like Levi says, there are NO outlanes!

#38 69 days ago

I vote...NOOOOOO. No outlanes. I had a Bally Bus Stop that had a huge gap between the flippers. It would drain often. Part of the design.

BUT- its yours! If you find that a post in the middle makes you happy, then by all means. Its better than never playing the game.

#39 69 days ago

This is pretty funny. Looks like even the VIRTUAL pinball guys have added a center post!

#40 69 days ago

There are tons of EMs that have operator adjustable post positions,
Normal, Liberal, Conservative
as well as operator adjustable score features.
To center post or not is just another operator adjustable option.

#41 69 days ago

If I were to add a center post,
I would add it just below the D.Gottlieb & Co banner in the red section,
so as to not block the Gottlieb name,
and use an extra thick and extra bouncy rubber ring.
Or maybe use a mini post instead.

#42 69 days ago

Another vote for "I wouldn't but it's your game and you should do whatever makes it more fun for you."

If you're going to, I'd definitely look into a solution along the lines of that Ghostbusters mod. It's far from the end of the world, but a post screwed into the playfield will definitely effect your resale chances if/when the time comes.

#43 68 days ago

And now, for my big finish, you can witness the desecration of my sacred Aloha pinball machine (which I love, by the way). Thanks for the input. I was pushed over the edge by the zelots who refuse to ever modify any pinball machine in any way. I am not of that camp (in anything - you should see my 1964 Triumph Desert Sled). This was NOT a museum quality machine, and now it still isn't.

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#44 68 days ago

Postscript - I counted four saves that were related to the center post (5-ball game). This modification actually makes the gobble whole more of a player in the game. I like that.

#45 68 days ago

Look fine and the purple looks good. Enjoy.

#46 68 days ago

That's the way the game should have been designed from the start.

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