(Topic ID: 228824)

What EM pin should I get for my first one, and where to buy machines?


By gottliebgameroom

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 months ago by Runbikeskilee
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 6 months ago

    I am looking for a first pin, and need to know what a good first pin (EM only) is and where to buy.

    #2 6 months ago

    Check your local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, no use selecting a pin or two to look for as you may never find those local. See what the market has local to you. Maybe start with a single player game as those are a lot simpler to diagnose and track down issues. Make sure you look it over before buying and that it works. Don't buy a project for your first machine. I can find nice single player EM machines fully working around me for $300-$600 and up depending on title.

    #3 6 months ago

    thanks!

    #4 6 months ago

    I mostly agree woth above advice, except the dont buy a project part. My first pin was a 350 dollar project that I took down and completely restored- a two player late 70’s Gottlieb.

    IF you are a electrically/mechanically inclined individual that wants to get your hands dirty an EM is a wonderful playground. It will be frusturating as hell and you will probably call me an idiot at some point if you follow my path. But the reward is amazing and you will be forever on the look for your deasired game in any conditon- knowing you can bring it back.

    Take care in being honest about if thats for you. It could be a year before your game is up and running or longer (my latest two games have been being restored for over three years) and there will be many painful moments of sheer frusturation.

    If you historically have always paid someone to fix your stuff and are not naturally inclined to find information and teach yourself something new for a hobby (perhaps you get enough of that during the day- whatever) spend more than the above recommendation to get a reliable game and enjoy playing the hell out of it. It will eventually have a minor issue and if it was 100% before hand- it will be easy to diagnose here and fix yourself and you will get a very gentle introduction to game repair and maintenance.

    One thing for sure- you can identify a clean EM easily because they are so old they will all be dirty sticky messes unless someone went through it.

    My true buying advice- drive and inspect the first five pins you see advertised regardless of title or conditon. Learn what an EM looks like, learn how to pop the glass and get under the playfield (many selling dont know how or are uncertain) learn how to get at the backglass and the head. When you have seen 5 games and can inspect one and have a frame of reference- you will know when a clean one shows up and also have a vague idea of price.

    Beware- at least around here- on local adds most people price EMs insanely high- an EM priced anywhere over 1K should be either a top game or have had a very through going through and be clean and 100 %. FYI. New rubbers and LED bulbs is not a shop job.

    #5 6 months ago

    What's your location ? There are most likely people oh this fourm that might have a starter pin for you. Or check the market place. Good luck

    #6 6 months ago

    Check out this thread...not all games listed are 'projects'.

    Might even be some close to you.....

    Welcome to the addiction!

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/post-project-pins-for-sale-here-cl-ebay-pinside-and-others

    #7 6 months ago

    Go to a pinball show and buy one there. You'll have plenty to choose from and tons of options below $1,000, with your better options starting at around $500.

    I think buying a project for your first EM is a huge, gigantic mistake and not worth the 100 or 200 bucks you might save. Buy a nice working one.

    #8 6 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I think buying a project for your first EM is a huge, gigantic mistake and not worth the 100 or 200 bucks you might save. Buy a nice working one.

    Double this advice if you have a significant other who may not be happy about a machine taking up space for months as you work through it. I feel your first pinball purchase should be a solid machine that everyone in the family can enjoy. Then as things stop working as expected you can come back here, post questions, get help and work it out. It easier to say, "Everything worked but this one thing stopped working" and get help then saying nothing works and you are not sure it ever did. Plus you will have to start buying tools and specialty parts to test out solutions and it can get frustrating.

    Of course if you have been working with electronics and such your whole life and you have a basement full of tools that is one thing but for most people a fun first machine will be the best way to get started in the hobby.

    #9 6 months ago

    I totally agree with above and any post saying buy a working game and enjoy it. For the majority of people thats the best route.

    One issue with trying this an including an EM game as the target for purchase. The VAST majority of games on craigslist etc are non working or have problems (typically they are from grandmas basement). So be prepared to either pay top dollar from retail if you happen to live somewhere that has such a shop- or pay top dollar from a local collector that is selling a fully shopped game- those will be less frequently available.

    The EM market is absolutely chock full of projects. Yes they take time but if the goal is to get a game functional- one need not have a basement full of tools nor a life time of experience with them (fixing a game that is not mechanically broken typically requires a screwdriver and a schematic).

    Even if you buy a 3,000 dollar fully restored pristine title... somethings going to stop working at some point. Just beware paying a tech to fix games is expensive and very local. All pinball games break- usually three hours before the guests are coming (in my experience )

    Good luck!!

    #10 6 months ago
    Quoted from rufessor:

    I totally agree with above and any post saying buy a working game and enjoy it. For the majority of people thats the best route.
    One issue with trying this an including an EM game as the target for purchase. The VAST majority of games on craigslist etc are non working or have problems (typically they are from grandmas basement). So be prepared to either pay top dollar from retail if you happen to live somewhere that has such a shop- or pay top dollar from a local collector that is selling a fully shopped game- those will be less frequently available.
    \!!

    This is true. I buy (or used to) EM games all the time off CL. They are all "work perfectly!" but the majority are basically projects. It's not all used car salesman stuff, but the fact is johnny q. homeowner really has no clue about well his game is or isn't working. This is true for ALL games but probably the most so for an EM. If it turns on and lights up, it's working as far as most people are concerned.

    #11 6 months ago

    I don't know your age, but since you're looking for an EM, maybe you remember a particular title or two that you once enjoyed on location. Just about every title you can think of is available somewhere. Also, depending on how much you want to spend, you may be able to find a completely shopped and working machine locally on Craigslist or other online markets. I have a totally shopped and working single player Gottlieb wedgehead on CL now, but it's tentatively sold.
    The good news is, there's a lot of games out there for sale, from totally shopped and working, to major projects. I don't know your level of repair aptitude, but if you can wield a screwdriver, and have a reasonable understanding of basic electricity, you can pretty easily find project machines; some needing only basic cleaning, new rubber rings, and a new ball, and some needing a bit more. Do some online research first.
    Hang out here for a while and see if there is a title or two that rings your bell (pun not intended). What's your general location?

    #12 6 months ago

    DC-Metro area.

    #13 6 months ago

    You're 200 miles away from Pinfest. Wait, and then go to that show. Seems like a decent place to pick up an EM.

    #14 6 months ago

    There should be plenty of games available in your area. As with anything else in life, you just have to decide what you want. The first thing to consider is if you want a single or multi-player machine.

    #15 6 months ago

    Without knowing the OP's interest, skills, motivations, etc. I'd agree that starting with a working game that you've actually played is probably the better route. However, I also agree with rufessor:

    Quoted from rufessor:

    IF you are a electrically/mechanically inclined individual that wants to get your hands dirty an EM is a wonderful playground. It will be frusturating as hell and you will probably call me an idiot at some point if you follow my path. But the reward is amazing and you will be forever on the look for your deasired game in any conditon- knowing you can bring it back.
    Take care in being honest about if thats for you. It could be a year before your game is up and running or longer (my latest two games have been being restored for over three years) and there will be many painful moments of sheer frusturation.

    For the small minority who are interested in how things work, like to figure things out and/or learn new things, get a great deal of satisfaction in bringing things back from the edge, aren't hankering to play right away, etc., buying a working game will likely just put off the urge to buy a project of some kind for a while. It's a big hobby with folks of wildly varying interests in the hobby. If you need to play and don't want to mess with it by all means buy a working game. But if you're more motivated by the challenge and personal gratification of a project, you won't be disappointed.

    /Mark

    #16 6 months ago

    You can't go wrong with a Gottlieb wedgehead. I agree with check your local craigslist first, but if there is a specific title you're looking for it doesn't hurt to ask if anyone is willing to sell. I have a few machines from my collection of 30+ Gottlieb's that I'd consider letting go.

    If there is a machine you find not in driving distance theres always STI for shipping

    #17 6 months ago

    Too bad the York (White Rose) game room show has just passed. It is relatively close to DC and there were a number of EMs for sale this year in the free play area, some of them even at fair prices.

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