(Topic ID: 126928)

What do you like/want in a pinball machine?

By shimoda

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 43 posts
  • 37 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by scooter
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    #1 4 years ago

    I want to be specific here. With Stern cranking out 2-3 pins a year and now seeing some interesting new features (the 'flipper' slings on WWE, the BSD-esque ball trail on KISS) I'm curious about what features people here like to see the most on machines. This isn't about wanting finished code (we all want that) but physical features of a playfield.

    I've got a few friends that don't like machines without pop bumpers, for example. Others prefer games with more than two flippers. Therefore I'm posing this question as a way of sizing up what features people like on games. Since this isn't a best-of feature I won't be adding a poll.

    What I like in games - spinners, orbits (including horseshoes), ramps, diverters, and drops (linear, side-by, single, I like when drops open to reveal a path or lock like Cyclone or IJ). Some of my favorites games have one or the other of these but I find myself often enjoying games that have many or all of these (including with three or more flippers). Maybe I just like lots of features. While I'm not against bumpers I'm okay if a table doesn't have them. Frankly it seems that some games they are there more to slow things down or to feed bonus or feature lanes. I'm okay with that, but actually like designs where if there are bumpers they can be used to keep the ball alive (going back to EM days here thinking of low placement like Jumping Jack / Jack in the Box).

    I like a game to have two ramps and even at that I prefer certain ramp 'feels' to others. Flash Gordon, for example, has two ramps but they feel less like ramps than say the ramps in Ironman, even though they are indeed ramps. I like that FG has spinners, but the placement of them quite often interferes with smooth ball movement.

    What I'd like to hear about here are not only which features people like/dislike in games AND why - preferably with examples of the why. I'm currently working on taking a used playfield someone sent me (Cyclone) and filling in a couple holes to add paths and features I think could fit that layout but that aren't there thus part of the inspiration for the thread.

    Would also like to hear what some people think of as the best implementation of a playfield feature. Examples, the spinners on Meteor and Galaxy, love the placement and scoring potential. Spinning disk, love this on Tron.

    #2 4 years ago

    Shaker, shaker, and more shaker.

    #3 4 years ago

    I like spinners (or just one is fine), pops that aren't contained, and drop targets. I don't really care for fluff features like the magnet trick that is on KISS premium/LE, but can appreciate what they bring to the complete package.

    #4 4 years ago

    Two inch flipper bats is what I look for now.

    #5 4 years ago

    I would like to see some of the ideas of early Bally SS games incorporated into modern games. Things like having inline drops hiding a ball lock and more physical ball locks in general(Fathom), outlane gates where you can save your ball (Centaur), having a captive ball hit inline drops (Centaur), dangerous pop bumpers in the lower lane guide area (Beast Lair on Paragon), return of zipper flippers (Medusa), spinner sounds that escalate the more you hit them (Flash Gordon), games that taunt and ridicule you (FG & Centaur), etc. It seems like after the mid 80's pinball design got a lot more conservative and most pins now feature fan based layouts. Would love to see some of these ideas from the past brought back!

    A game like Centaur or Fathom with a modern rule-set, ramps, and a DMD would be rad!

    #6 4 years ago

    How about one with some of everything? Don't think theres a pin to date with a bit of each known feature- spinners,bumpers, kickbacks, cannon/shooter, drops,magnets etc.
    Always cool to see the new innovative stuff too.

    #7 4 years ago

    Spinners, drop targets, under-PF tunnels, un-contained pops, callouts, physical ball locks, ramps (and more ramps!). I'm not a fan of kickbacks because the lanes are designed to be insta-drain if they are not active.

    I would like to see more machines without a fan layout although I know why they are so popular.

    #8 4 years ago

    Unlike some sensitive men here...

    I like boobies, guns, cars, monsters & various types of ill shit

    #10 4 years ago

    I love mini/separate playfields, whether it's half the game like BK2K or small and simple ones like WoZ. Shadow, TZ, AC/DC, Family Guy, give me a less fun, tiny version of pinball on your pinball game and I'm all over it.

    #11 4 years ago

    Physical ball locks, I like to see what I have achieved , and what still needs to be done

    Banks of drop targets, see above

    Pop bumpers that I can flip flop into, I hat haveibg to flip a ball up a corridor, let it cone down a lane, bounce around in the pops, and exit down the same way each time

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Fun to play.
    LTG : )™

    Exactly what I was going to say Lloyd. I don't care about the features of a specific game, I want it to be fun!

    And that comes in all shapes and sizes. My collection is all over the map. I've got stubby flipper EM, slap you in the face modern games, complex rules, simple rules, new, old, whatever. But every one of them is fun to play for me. And when that wanes, out they go to be replaced with something else that is fun then.

    #13 4 years ago

    A challenge!

    #14 4 years ago

    Physical ball locks have been mentioned so it made me think of saucers in general. Whether they are the locks mentioned in Fathom (really cool integration of drops and a lock) or like Mata Hari or other older games (seems like they were used lots in older games) they are a nice feature I hadn't even thought to add to the list.

    I like the specific game mentions.

    #15 4 years ago

    Its all about the sounds and music for me especially during multiball/ jackpot. Just turn the volume to zero and see how dull and lifeless the machine becomes. I could rattle off a bunch of examples but I don't think I need to in this instance.

    I also like computer controlled color changing LED's in the GI to give different modes different color schemes like AC/DC Prem/LE. It can change the entire look of the game in an instant.

    And gotta have a ball save for the first 10 seconds at the beginning of each ball or at least the option of turning it on or off.

    #16 4 years ago

    Chimes, Bells, Lots of Drop Targets, really, Lots of them.

    #17 4 years ago

    original themes with awesome call outs!

    #18 4 years ago

    I'd like 2 sets of rules, I believe JD has this where you can start a game that's pure Multiball or something.

    Just think if there were two sets of rules, you could get more enjoyment out of a game. For example on XMLE there is options with stacking on or off. There could be more options, or even an optional entire new rule set.

    Like if ST was like it is (normal rules) but there was a lightning rule version that plays more like IM where it's easier to complete, but maybe the modes un-light when you drain a ball so it can become more of a one ball short game. Maybe the whole object is to light one mode three deep with a super JP as a reward (that's it but the progress does not save between balls). In some way using the existing mode rules but changing the master code it might not be too difficult to tweak much like some options in the menu (on/off can make a game play differently).

    The key is there is two sets of rules for one game. One can be a simple rule set not necessarily super deep but more intense quick game. If a game plays super long like SM or LotR maybe it's more of a 'hurry up' mode that is set just on 90 seconds per ball (ball drains at the end of 90 seconds) but is aimed for maximum points not necessarily looking for a long quest.

    #19 4 years ago

    Great thread. Without going into detail, I like games that share most elements of early solid states, and not the elements of moderns. I'm a short ball time kind of guy. I prefer my games flat, fast, and full of risk.

    #20 4 years ago

    Cool sound effects. Voices are a plus, if well done; if not they're a huge drawback. Background sound a plus; even though I love the very early SS machines, the addition of background sound was a huge step up.

    Cool light show, including attract mode, of course. Does not necessarily have to include flashers.

    Toys are completely unnecessary. One or two ramps at most, like Sorcerer or DE Simpsons. Two or three multiball a plus. Extra flippers doesn't hurt but isn't a must.

    Must have a cool graphics package. To me this can save a slightly boring game; on the flip side, a crappy graphics package kills an otherwise decent game. I consider my pins like artwork that you can play with. Photo art = bleccch!

    A pin with something unique about it is also a huge plus.

    Most important, just gotta be fun to play, that's what it all boils down to.

    #21 4 years ago

    Too many to list, but items like the following definitely adds to a game

    Custom art
    physical ball locks
    shot variety
    A game within the game. It can be done with entirely different playable levels like HH/BH or even like the EM types where you ladder a shot to upper flippers, an area accessible only by a certain shot.
    And then something unique not found in any other game

    #22 4 years ago

    Drop Targets and/or consecutive Drop Targets.

    #23 4 years ago

    Gobble holes.

    #24 4 years ago

    Ok, fine.

    I'll pick one of my "12 must have" elements in pinball.

    Sweepable Drops.

    I must be able to, with the perfect shot, knock the entire bank of 3 or 4 drop targets down with a perfect shot, or backhand shot. (See Nine Ball, Seawitch, Fathom, Space Shuttle, etc.)


    #25 4 years ago

    I like hand-drawn art, magnets under the playfield that change the path of the ball, captive balls, spinners, drop targets, Player controlled ball diverters,, painted backglasses, upper flipper, (left or right).

    1 year later
    #26 2 years ago

    Still relevant as we move into 2017, and probably forever in pinball design.
    Stern for example finally has come to the conclusion that cheap artwork, makes a game look thrifty.

    - More games with computer controlled drop target functionality with memory such as EBD and Fathom
    - Timed drop targets such as BK and BK2K
    - All manufacturers need to stay away from Photoshop artwork, it almost always poor quality, many times is not well integrated, and looks like heads are sticking out of playfield, know the importance of hand drawn artwork
    - Moderated shot design so games actually can to smoothly move from one shot to another, this is game flow, and ramps are not necessarily a requirement to achieve this goal, only good layouts.
    - Themes that are creative, not necessarily licensed, with a respectable ruleset, but are not required to be so deep that each game requires 3 hours to play a single game.

    "The actual term fun is subjective in pinball or any amusement device, however game shot flow design is easily identified. Code improvement does not fix poor game designs."
    - TBK

    #27 2 years ago

    Now you're thinking.

    #28 2 years ago

    Lots of habitrails and good music and sound effects. I would trade in a dmd for a alphanumeric display if I got awesome sound.

    #29 2 years ago

    3 bank drop targets. 1 or 2 ramps. 3-5 physical locked balls. Good "theatrics" before the multiball. Big party after scoring the jackpot. Make it hard. Add a few modes and a gimmick, done. The early 90's were a good time for pinball. NO: photoshop, bash toys, air balls.

    #30 2 years ago

    Good music.

    Good artwork, like xxBKxx mentioned, screen caps from tv shows are just the suck.

    Good lightshows for significant events (HS2 jackpot and super jackpot come to mind).

    Video modes are optional but if there is one then amalgamate it into the game objectives (eg: freeing doctors in DW)

    Skill shots that require actual skill (eg shoot for the trunk in TOM), not just advance lane until the light is under the ball drop.

    Clear view of all playfield targets and toys, it sucks when features are hidden from view of the player.

    I like conditional mini pf / games that are tucked away until activated, like in Doctor Who, Pinbot, Mousin' Around.


    Fun ramps and wireforms - ones that playfully wiggle, zig zag, loop, etc. Ie, not just a straight up, over, straight back down.

    #31 2 years ago

    Stationary targets behind drop targets – EBD, Medusa, EBC.
    Ball lock/path behind drop targets – FG, Fathom.
    Remote controled drop targets – EBD, Xenon.

    Shots only accessible w upper flipper – Embryon, FBII.
    Shots behind upper flipper – SM.

    Hidden ball return lanes (from upper pf to flippers) like Spectrum, Black Belt.

    Physical ball lock that allows for stealing locked balls in multiplayer games – Fathom, FBII, Xenon.
    Even better: connected physical ball locks like in Vector.

    Collect bonus shots.

    Outlanes that allow you to nudge draining balls back into play

    #32 2 years ago

    I want all Wizard modes to be fun, worth tons of points, and have something interesting to see if you manage to finish it.

    #33 2 years ago

    Drops and third flipper

    #34 2 years ago

    Metal ramps - MET
    Great light show
    Toy targets hidden under playfield - trolls in MM

    #35 2 years ago

    3 flippers, drop targets, spinners, back-handable ramps, complete code at release plus updates every 2 months till fully polished, pop bumpers that actually create some randomness, 3 tier code at minimum (modes/storyline, multiballs, collecting diamonds/ghosts/walkers), more player controlable feaures (button controlled divertor, magnet, lock), both physical and virtual ball locks, clean shots that are fun to hit, full immersion of theme with good sound and light show.

    Does not seem like too much to ask for

    #36 2 years ago

    Finished deep code

    Something that is fast, fun, and challenging

    #37 2 years ago

    I would like to see an interactive hologram,return of subways and since we have LCD now would like to see a video mode of virtual pinball!

    #38 2 years ago

    Cool subject , shows that we all want something different in some aspects, and same in others. Must be why we argue about games play-ability and acceptance when a new one comes out
    In no particular order :

    Drop Targets- multiple sets ,quick visual of what needed to complete set task
    MUST HAVE Hand drawn art - no photos of anything ( GB & AS is my style)
    Dark colored pf, purple , green, blue . especially purple ! ( Chrome ball on dark background,looks kick-ass too) No all yellow pf's please.
    Ramps, easy ramps from lower flippers, and a more difficult upper flipper ( ES fault ramp) ( ST warp ramp) I like clear plastic ramps over metal ones. Better visually and lights from under.
    Ramps that return to inlanes - love flow and like to see ball cross pf to opposite side
    3 or 4 flippers, across pf shots only that flipper can hit ( TZ piano or camera shot),
    Ramps, did I mention ramps?

    #39 2 years ago

    I love clean, simple playfield layouts like on many EM games. But, I also love deep, creative rulesets. I'd love to see a new game done in a 70's Gottlieb style that incorporates these elements (DMD, but less playfield clutter and deep rules) at a reasonable price.


    #40 2 years ago

    a Fast Scoring mode ..... I love when each switch hit awards the same points (my fav being Ironman's version). Give me exciting music, loud sound effects, lots to see on the DMD, ability to raise the value, etc. Fast scoring to me is a must.

    #41 2 years ago

    Good, fast flow to the game with lots of ball movement (see: ToM)

    'Mystery' targets that give a random award when they are hit re: SS, Cyclone and so many others. Of course this ties into the code aspect as well; for that matter, all elements of the game that are random (the game should be a bit different each time it is played). See: WPT and the random cards the player is given when they hit the ramps, there is no way to predict it

    Sub-playfields give the player a more rounded experience, it is like getting 2-3 pinball machines wrapped up into one

    Entertaining video modes (Williams IJ), hopefully these will develop nicely with LCD's!

    Strong sound effects- this has been a lost 'art' since the days of '70s and '80s pins

    #42 2 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    complete code at release plus updates every 2 months

    #43 2 years ago

    I like mini-play fields too

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