(Topic ID: 182974)

Tips For First Pinball Machine Purchase?


By jvivlemore

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 31 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by alveolus
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 2 years ago

    Hi Everyone,

    Some Background ... I am 34 and the pinball machines I remember as a kid were the licensed character ones with the moving parts and/or animations built into them. The last pinball machine I really fell in love with was the Pirates Of The Caribbean one while at a Chuck E Cheese with the kids. I became obsessed with it and finally scored the jackpot ticket worth 500. It only took like 3 visits and $3.00 in tokens. So worth it though.

    I recently sold a NBA JAM TE and Twin Cobra which I did some basic things on like replacing switches, cleaning the buttons, etc. Obviously these are all very minor and simple things as the cabinets were in great shape when I got them. I'm assuming pinballs are more complicated due to all the moving parts.

    Where should someone like myself start? I don't want to buy a pinball machine just to buy one so want to make sure it's one I want to keep. Ideally would love to buy one that needs little work and once I l earn my way around it potentially pickup a project. What can I expect to pay for the pins on my wish list below?

    In the meantime I'm going to start reading through this site and the forums to educate myself as much as possible.

    WISH LIST:
    Pirates Of Caribbean
    The Walking Dead
    The Simpsons
    Family Guy
    Jurassic Park
    Transformers
    Mustang
    Police Force
    Super Mario Bros.

    #2 2 years ago

    Welcome to pinside! Your best bet is to find some machines in an arcade and play them to see what you like. Where do you live? you can use this site to search for a place to play.

    Pinballmap.com

    #3 2 years ago

    Find a collector friend to go with you. He can help guide you so you don't get the first game at any cost fever.

    Then the hobby will be more enjoyable for you and you'll have more fun. Go to shows, meet people. All can be sources to help you.

    When looking at a game. First thing I check is the hard to clean places. If they are clean, the machine has been maintained. Also look at the boards. Repairs are okay as long as the right parts and tools were used.

    Don't buy problems for your first game.

    Unless you have unlimited money and like the smell of burning electronics, then drag home anything you want. It will be an adventure then.

    LTG : )

    #4 2 years ago

    Buy a cheaper SS machine fully working in well cleaned & repaired condition at a "fair" price. As stated above look the machine over closely for lazy cleaning or hacked boards & battery damage.

    The logic behind buying a cheaper title is you will not be as afraid to work on it when something goes wrong. (You notice I didn't say "if something goes wrong") If you own pinball machines you will be fixing them or paying someone to do it!

    Don't worry about getting something you love as your first machine - you will have plenty of time for that when you buy the second & third in a few weeks. Get a good quality "starter" machine" enjoy owning it and learning from your mistakes then go after more expensive titles. As the seller of the first machine we bought warned us "you will never stop with just one".

    #5 2 years ago

    Best tip/advice is if your planning on getting your first pin, make sure you have room for at least 2 more, these things multiply, FAST

    #6 2 years ago

    Look closely at the back glass. Is paint missing/flaking off? You will not be happy with a cracked or poor back Glass.There are many replacements available but not all. Expect to pay 200-400.
    Look inside the machine in the corners under the flipper area. Dark stains? Probably beer, the machine will develop a smell when it warms up (some people like this odor).
    Likewise a yellowish tinge to the paint/Clear plastics? Nicotine, people smoked and drank at that time period inside while playing.
    Does the play field in the front of the flippers have missing paint? Does the ball bounce around while playing? Restoring graphics and play field inserts can get expensive fast.
    An original machine thats dirty and original is better(in my opinion) than a hacked repair job and poor paint touchup.
    Most mechanical/electrical parts can be obtained easily. Broken plastics and ramps can sometimes be impossible to find. Interactive play field features (talking heads,gulping dinosaurs, play activated clocks,doors,etc) can be problematic.
    Several searches on Pinside really help,its all here if you can find it.

    #8 2 years ago

    Best advice I can give is that if you decide on a new release, don't "Pre-order" a pinball machine from anyone. Don't take the bait that if you don't pre-order, you'll miss out on the game. It's bullshit to pry money from you.

    #9 2 years ago

    Buy from a trusted seller. If ya got a buddy that's been in the hobby awhile take him along to go look at it. Projects are great as long as you've got Alotta spare time.. and be prepared to stick more into a project than you think you'll need to. Been there and been there. Upsid s to projects is of course gaining experience! Upsides and downsides on either side of the fence

    #10 2 years ago

    1. Go visit some show and play a bunch of titles to figure out what you like
    2. Don't overpay. The right machine for the right price will come around eventually. Patience is a virtue.
    3. Buy from either a reputable source or locally to check out the goods. You might want to inform yourself how to check out a machine and what to look for before you run out and buy a pile of junk. ... I learned the hard way myself.
    4. Spend a bit more to buy something nice rather than a beater.

    #11 2 years ago

    Suggestion number one: buy a walking dead pro
    Suggestion number two: make space for your next pin. It's coming sooner than you think.

    #12 2 years ago

    My first pinball was a NIB ACDC pro followed soon by a used JP. I was glad I had a new one cause as I had issues with JP to learn on I could always go back to a reliable pin. Followed soon by JD and HS2, it seemed like I was always fixing something. It was a great learning experience but was always nice to have a machine with no problems to play. That would be my suggestion. Get something new you like and a used one to learn maintenance on.

    #13 2 years ago

    A newish Stern is a good first pin. Any issues should be easy to fix. Only downside is cost. Like others said, you really should expect to get more than one pin. It doesn't take before you start doing some math and seeing how many pins you can get in the room.

    A new others frown upon it but getting the first pin from a retailer is not all bad. A reputable one at least. You pay a lot more but have some support and can be a good place to compare pins. I would just recommend not buying a pin over the internet. It's a gamble not only in getting what you expect but things can happen in shipping.

    #14 2 years ago

    Get it done fast. Desensitise yourself to the process. Move quickly onto the second, then before you know it you're an old hand.

    #15 2 years ago

    OP - You didn't say where you are from in your original post but I am sure if you post your location someone local to your area would be more than happy to help you with some of the "learning curve" when it comes to buying a pinball machine (or three). Depending on how deep your pockets are NIB isn't a bad idea but personally I prefer 5 one thousand dollar machines to owning a new $5000 machine. And finding new in the box for $5000 these days is likely a stretch anyway.

    To me baby steps is the way to go but it really just depends on the amount of cash you have that is available for a new toy. What ever you do DON'T buy a machine with anything but money you have. Using credit to buy something you can't afford to pay cash for is a bad way to start in this hobby!

    #16 2 years ago

    Your list has a lot of good starter pins on it for sure. Not sure which Simpsons you are interested in the original Data East or the stern Simpsons pinball party? Your list is almost in a descending price order if you bumped Mustang up two. Jurassic Park down one and and Super Mario up one. Yoski has great advice! With patience any pinball machine can come along in good shape and cheap. If you do your own maintenance you can almost always at least break even when you resell it. I have done this many times over the past couple years. I often find myself upgrading pinball machines that I've grown bored with to ones that are new to me. Good luck with your search.

    #17 2 years ago

    There is a super Mario for sale in NJ if your interested. I was looking at it too but I don't have room!

    #19 2 years ago

    I agree with the above. Don't buy a scrap heap as your first game just because its cheap. Buy from someone known within the community.

    Also, patience! For your first game, and especially AFTER you bring the first game. There's going to be a burning desire to buy everything and anything that pops up. Think to yourself: "Do I REALLY want this Street Fighter 2/Raven/Monte Carlo/etc., or has the pinball fever dream just obscured my judgement?"

    For every game you miss out on there's gonna be three more that pop up.

    #20 2 years ago

    Thanks for ALL of the feedback. Seriously, this has been a lot of helpful information especially the links. This will give me some reading and video material to digest as I browse online listings and search for my first pin. I've re-ordered my list according to the suggestion above of value from highest to lowest. Can anyone weigh in on what I would expect to pay for the machines on this list? I noticed newish Stern was suggested above. What is "newish" considered? Thanks again!

    Pinball Wish List:
    Pirates Of Caribbean
    The Walking Dead
    The Simpsons
    Family Guy
    Mustang
    Transformers
    Jurassic Park
    Super Mario Bros
    Police Force

    #21 2 years ago

    Machine - For Sale
    NIB - New in box (distributor/business) “Game #8 NIB $50k Located 62249”
    2 years ago
    Highland, IL
    50,000

    #22 2 years ago

    Jurassic park 2k-3k depending on condition. Some may be in the low 3s.

    Walking dead is considered a newish stern. Around 5k for a pro. Probably your best bet for reliability if you can afford it.

    The Simpsons data east or stern? The stern is newer higher rated an prob In the 4k range. The data east one around 2k-2.5k

    Pirates in 4k range. Maybe considered a newish stern.

    All prices can be more or less depending on condition. Pinside is prob the best place to buy because of the feedback ratings. If someone has lots of positive feedback it usually means they are good to deal with.

    Disclaimer: just an estimate on pricing. I did that just to give you an idea of relative prices between games. Check the pinside pricing guides to get a more accurate estimate.

    #23 2 years ago

    Thanks Mfsrc791. This gives me a good starting point so I can start saving. What would Police Force run me? I can't seem to find one for sale to get an idea on price.

    #24 2 years ago

    You can do a search under the machines for sale section to see what is in the archives. There may be another method but the search function is what I use the most.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/for-sale-police-force-williams-1989-1995#post-3356764

    The GAMES section of Pinside also gives estimated values, sometimes. It is also a good guesstimate... but like most things, condition is everything.

    GL

    #25 2 years ago

    Prices vary greatly by location. My suggestion would be to post your location and reach out to your pinball neighbors for help. That is the best way not to get screwed on your first couple purchases. I would bet 95% of us paid way to much for our first couple machines (me included). So if you do end up messing up just look at it as paying for school. But it is much better learning for free by relying on people in your local pinball community to guide you. I just wish I would have realized that before buying my first several machines!

    3 weeks later
    #26 2 years ago

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I will be living in Yukon, OK just outside of Oklahoma City in about 2 weeks. I actually visited this past weekend and played several pins on my list at a place called Cactus Jacks which had 30-40 different ones if I had to guess. Cool place but 75 cents per game adds up quick.

    #27 2 years ago

    Cactus Jacks is one of the best locations I've ever been to - their games are in fantastic shape and they have a ton of top-notch titles. You're pretty lucky to be in the neighborhood of a place like that!

    Once you've got a handle on how to get a few replays, your dollar goes a lot further on location! You can play an awful lot of dollar games on a pristine Monster Bash with a color DMD before you approach what it would cost to buy one.

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    Cactus Jacks is one of the best locations I've ever been to - their games are in fantastic shape and they have a ton of top-notch titles. You're pretty lucky to be in the neighborhood of a place like that!
    Once you've got a handle on how to get a few replays, your dollar goes a lot further on location! You can play an awful lot of dollar games on a pristine Monster Bash with a color DMD before you approach what it would cost to buy one.

    Agreed X1000 location pinball is CHEAP compared to owning.

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from tacshose:

    Agreed X1000 location pinball is CHEAP compared to owning.

    Unless you are able to sell your game for what you bought it for then it is essentially free

    #30 2 years ago

    Yeah. I will echo what was said about the condition. The Cactus Jacks building was definitely rough looking both inside and outside but the pinballs were in great shape or looked brand new. It's 10-15 at most from my house so will probably visit often. I'm by no means a pro player or go into a game with a plan. I just hit the ball and hope to last more than 1-2 minutes playing lol.

    #31 2 years ago
    Quoted from jvivlemore:

    Yeah. I will echo what was said about the condition. The Cactus Jacks building was definitely rough looking both inside and outside but the pinballs were in great shape or looked brand new. It's 10-15 at most from my house so will probably visit often. I'm by no means a pro player or go into a game with a plan. I just hit the ball and hope to last more than 1-2 minutes playing lol.

    Shawn here. I responded to your CJs thread as well. Our group is very helpful so make sure you join up on either the Facebook or Meetup(or both)site. Find me at the arcade and we can talk about prices and collecting.

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