In my travels as a pinball tech I've seen machines from every manufacturer, both used and more often than not these days new in (or just out of) box. This post has been coming for quite a while, but I just can't hold my tongue any longer. In my opinion, there are no pinball manufacturers currently building games that are at an acceptable quality level that justifies their $6K-$12K price point.
I realize I'm not going to make many friends with this post, but I'm tired of the same horrible out of box experience over and over again. Manufactures need to step up and address their continuing issues or they're going to run out of customers to burn.
The Good- Stern gets it done. Game announced, game produced, game ships. Everything done far quicker and way more efficiently than anyone else.
The Bad- Seems like the same thing over and over for the most part. Many games feel like they're cookie-cutter efforts and could just as easily been any other theme.
The Ugly- Never ending node board issues. Why is Stern still having node boards fail three years into Spike? It would make sense if there was a one-off issue with a specific game, but node boards have failed on every game from the first to the current.
My Hope- Start making games that have playfield toys that actually interact with the ball. I got excited about Metallica, Sparky and The Hammer had actual ball interaction. It's been mostly non-existent since. Black Knight looks promising, but I need more time on it.
Jersey Jack Pinball-
The Good- Gorgeous games that are very different from each other.
The Bad - JJP has the worst quality control of all the manufacturers. I have yet to unbox a JJP game that is playable as intended out of the box, and it's always due to numerous missed QC issues. Low quality control is completely unacceptable, especially since JJP is far and away producing the priciest games.
The Ugly- Announce games WAY before they should be announced. Delivery time for games after announcement is painfully too long.
My Hope- JJP steps up and corrects the horrific QC. It shouldn't be mandatory to have a tech visit for unboxing a game.
Chicago Gaming Company-
The Good- Now have a good starting price, and they're building solid games.
The Bad- QC isn't the best. Among many other things, I've had to rewire lights out of the box because they didn't light the proper insert.
The Ugly- Registration issues. I've seen games that have playfields that should never have been put into games they were so bad.
My Hope- They continue to bring their price point down, forcing other manufacturers to compete harder.
The Good- They are making great strides in everything they're doing. The quality difference between America's Most Haunted and Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle is night and day. Spooky takes honest feedback to heart, making changes needed to make their product better.
The Bad- Parts quality. This may simply be the state of today's pinball parts, but Spooky games seem to have premature parts failure more often than other manufacturers.
The Ugly- Rob Zombie
My Hope- They continue to improve and listen to constructive feedback.
Can't give a good, bad, ugly, with absolutely nothing produced except press releases. They need to manufacture something or stop distracting everyone.
The Good- Solid games that look good and are fun to play.
The Bad- Horrible themes. Time to produce something someone cares about and has intrinsic route draw.
The Ugly- Strict warranty. They're not building brand loyalty and doing their customers a massive disservice not covering known issues, even if outside of warranty time frame. They should use the auto industry as a guide; if a recall is issued then the issue gets fixed whether the original warranty is still in effect or not.
My Hope- They come up with a theme that actually resonates with
someone not on the payroll.
Quality Board Work - In Home Service
borygard at gmail dot com