Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:
Do you remember reading about or weighing in on whether boutique manufacturers are causing competition for Stern and also whether they are causing JJP or CGC heartburn? Well, maybe the soft data can tell us something. This is the interesting part ... unceremoniously dumping of tea leaves onto a wooden floor and sweeping of them into an orderly pile.
Evidently we have had five pins in past ten years which have been judged and selected by enthusiasts to be the best pinball machine made excluding the Big3 Stern/JJP/CGC. If these games were truly standouts and if they checked all the boxes, then reviewing sales might be a good way to look deeper. I will list manufacturer, game, sales figures and current status of the manufacturer.
American Pinball - Houdini - ceased production and retired game after shipping 1,000 games. Company currently producing OF and working on others.
Heighway Pinball - Alien - ceased production and retired games after shipping 180 games. Company was dissolved after bankruptcy.
Dutch Pinball - TBL - ceased production after shipping 50 games and nearing end of a court case with contract manufacturer. Company has been technically insolvent for years and running on fumes.
Spooky Pinball - TNA - ceased production after shipping 800 games. May be vaulted after current pin and Company is going strong making 1k games every year.
Spooky - ACNC - in production and shiping #200 /1500. Company is going strong.
A great "reality" post......
I've only played AlienLE and TBL out of these, so my vote barely counts. Alien was way more fun and appealing to me than TBL, and unfortunate more couldn't have gotten out along w the company achieving legitimacy, furthering the development. Amazing game......none of the others interest me much....