(this was in response to someone calling this behavior anti-social...)
Quoted from gweempose:
Have you seen teenagers these days? They will sit there texting each other when they are right in the same room.
To be totally fair, that is being about as social as they can be. Maybe not with the people that are right there, but they are communicating with *someone*.
Every generation looks at the next generation and goes, "Oh my god, they are going to destroy the world!" and pegs it on something different, and every generation turns out all right. We were all supposed to be destroyed by video games, I don't think we're that bad.
Anway, to reply to the first poster's question, I have predicted something like this for years, but a lot of people didn't believe me. I'm about the same age as most of the people on this site tend to be, but when I started collecting (age 19), there weren't really many other people my age around. Everyone complained that the kids just didn't "get it." I suggested they did, it's just that they didn't have the room or the money (or the foresight) to buy machines at that time. I have always been super-careful with money, so I had a little here and there to start buying them... and I also had the luck of having a business that got a storage space that I could plop games I couldn't put anywhere for the day I got a bigger space.
Now, let's look at the reasons...
Quoted from jimjim66:
1. Video pinball, has exposed pinball to a new market and people are now actively seeking out the real pins to play and own.
I don't think this is overly prevalent. It may be that those people are more likely to drop coin in if they see a machine on route, but while a few people get reminded and want games, pinball compilations are not unique to this generation or last generation, and I think that it's a relatively negligible amount of people that play it and then decide they need to buy a $15k MM.
2. Man caves and game rooms are more popular than ever and pinball is something that just fits for these.
I don't think that they are, there was a huge game room boom in the early 2000's just before the poker boom. The economy made these all fade a little bit, and while people do still have them, it isn't the biggest driving factor. Also, those people tend to get one or two machines, not 4 or 56.
3. Since people grew up with arcades, and now most are gone, that generation has grown up and has disposable income, so now is the time to recapture those memories.
Ta-da. I was 13 when Jurassic Park literally changed what I thought of arcades, and I spent from age 13 to past my 20s playing in arcades regularly, mostly pinball. When I first got into Jurassic Park, I remember telling my parents that one day I'd own one, and them sort of dismissing it.
I've now owned my JP for over 5 years and it will never go anywhere. I like it just as much as I did when I would dump all my money into it on route and my parents would suggest that I stop doing that...
4. Pinball shows are bringing in new people.
*Somewhat*. The majority of pinball shows bring in people who already know and care about pinball, they don't necessarily open it up to new people. A *few* shows out there bring in new blood, but the crossover appeal for most of them isn't there. It's not like someone who doesn't like pinball is going to go, "Ooo! A pinball show! I'm IN!"
I know that there is some of this happening though because I know a number of people that realized they could own machines thanks to the Midwest Gaming Classic, and have started their collections because of that show when they only collected video games before... but I can't say I know anyone who goes to Expo for instance and says, "Hunh. What's this pinball thing?"
5. More parts and distributors are getting more pins operational.
Well, more supply means less demand usually, but I think that what has happened is it has become less of a risk to buy a pinball machine because you have parts to keep them working now. Just as a couple for instances, when I started collecting, you could get TZs all day for like $1200ish. I know that multiple times I passed on them at that price and lower because I didn't much care for the game. Why were they so cheap? Because things were ALWAYS broken in that game, and unless you bought like two and combined them, you would have issues.
Now you can buy one, and if something breaks you can buy a new part that is generally better than the old parts to put in and leave the machine working for years. It's not that more machines are becoming operational, it's that more machines are able to stay working.
What you have is the perfect storm I think of the people who are the right age starting to get some disposal income to spend on buying a few machines, and the fact that there are now parts to insure that they continue working without needing tons of ability to repair them. Finally, it doesn't hurt the market that NIB prices have risen significantly over the past couple years. People can say whatever they want about how MM is easily worth $15k or whatever, but when your top of the line SM machine cost $3900 NIB, it was much harder to justify a machine at nearly four times the cost of a NIB one. Now, with NIB machines costing upwards of $7500 regularly, it's much easier to say, "Well, I like MM twice as much as any other machine, $15k really isn't that bad of a price!"
I, unlike a lot of people, do not think that the bubble will burst on a lot of these so-called "A list" machines for a long, long time -- but I also really doubt that there will be a similar crazy price increase on the "B/C/F" list machines any time soon. The machines that have inflated like crazy were the route monsters that people found, fell in love with, and could keep finding years later (most of the A list is still on route within 15 miles of me). Those who are looking to get a pinball machine like they used to play don't want that Judge Dredd that they played once before it was pulled because no one played it, they want that TAF or MM that they played every time they went on vacation for 10 years straight... That didn't happen with the B/C/F list.
I fully believe, actually, that the reason that RFM specifically isn't worth triple it's price is because the PC issues it had meant they didn't last on route long. Had they been out there longer, I think they would have really developed their own following...
All right, that was WAY too deep and it's WAY too late to be thinking that much!