(Topic ID: 220339)

What is the best way to grow pinball?


By pin2d

9 months ago



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  • Latest reply 8 months ago by BrianBannon
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    There are 164 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
    #1 9 months ago

    What do you think is the best way to grow the pinball hobby? Ways to include hardcore pinheads, casual pinball people, and attract those new to pinball?

    51
    #3 9 months ago

    The best way to grow it is to do what YOU like in pinball and not shit all over people who like pinball for different reasons.

    I'm a good tournament player, and I generally enjoy the tournament scene. I also like collecting mid-level to cheap games, working on them, buying them, selling them, flipping them, trading them etc.

    So that's what I do. I play in tournaments, I put my own spin on booth commentary when I get a chance, and I've put together some modest tournaments as well as participated in putting on a large (and possibly annual) show at NYCPC. I'm part of the buying and selling community and I sell retail to many first-time buyers. Hundreds of homes have a pinball machine because of me.

    Other people do other stuff best. Some make mods. Some buy or sell high level stuff. People restore. People run bars. People have websites. People do podcasts. People go out to local bars and play in leagues, or just drink and play pinball with their friends. Generally, it's all good.

    There are some people who are convinced they are the only ones who have figured out why pinball is fun, and everybody else who does something different are at best misguided or at worst "ruining pinball." There are people out there who just HATE tournament pinball and I can't for the life of me understand why. I've been in pinball for 16 years, and for over 10 of them I didn't give a wet fart about tournaments. I never noticed the tournament scene AT ALL and had literally no opinion on it all as it had zero effect on my life or participation in the hobby - so I just don't understand that.

    I don't really think anybody is ruining pinball. there's a very select few people who I view as parasites who contribute nothing, but I don't think they are actually detrimental to the scene.

    The best way to grow pinball is contribute in your own way, as little or as much as you want.

    #4 9 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    The best way to grow it is to do what YOU like in pinball and not shit all over people who like pinball for different reasons.
    I'm a good tournament player, and I generally enjoy the tournament scene. I also like collecting mid-level to cheap games, working on them, buying them, selling them, flipping them, trading them etc.
    So that's what I do. I play in tournaments, I put my own spin on booth commentary when I get a chance, and I've put together some modest tournaments as well as participated in putting on a large (and possibly annual) show at NYCPC. I'm part of the buying and selling community and I sell retail to many first-time buyers. Hundreds of homes have a pinball machine because of me.
    Other people do other stuff best. Some make mods. Some buy or sell high level stuff. People restore. People run bars. People have websites. People do podcasts. People go out to local bars and play in leagues, or just drink and play pinball with their friends. Generally, it's all good.
    There are some people who are convinced they are the only ones who have figured out why pinball is fun, and everybody else who does something different are at best misguided or at worst "ruining pinball." There are people out there who just HATE tournament pinball and I can't for the life of me understand why. I've been in pinball for 16 years, and for over 10 of them I didn't give a wet fart about tournaments. I never noticed the tournament scene AT ALL and had literally no opinion on it all as it had zero effect on my life or participation in the hobby - so I just don't understand that.
    I don't really think anybody is ruining pinball. there's a very select few people who I view as parasites who contribute nothing, but I don't think they are actually detrimental to the scene.
    The best way to grow pinball is contribute in your own way, as little or as much as you want.

    Well said Levi.

    #5 9 months ago

    My opinion: Operating + local leagues.

    -KG
    www.ATLpb.com

    #6 9 months ago

    Heaps of fertilizer and water. But the real secret is Don't plant them too deep.

    #7 9 months ago
    Quoted from king-pin:

    Heaps of fertilizer and water. But the real secret is Don't plant them too deep.

    Omg NO WATER! These things multiply like in the movie Gremlins.
    -Mike

    #8 9 months ago

    Electrolytes

    #9 9 months ago

    Dress them up, pimp them out, do whatever you can to make them a neon glowing nightmare with xmas tree ornaments hanging from them...seems the natives love it.

    #10 9 months ago

    Makers of pinball like Stern fostering the creation and participation in leagues and pinball events.

    Operators keeping pinball on the street in the face of some challenging economics.

    People in the tertiary pinball business like Levi keeping up the number of playing machines going around.

    Players getting out and playing locations. And, following the "treatment of machines" thread, not destroying them and making them a money sink so the operators can keep them on the street. This is that thing we can all do, even those of us without pinball at home.

    Introduce young people to the silver ball. Listen to old pinball people like Steve Ritchie in interviews. They'll say the problem is there's a generation that grew up not caring about pinball. But then we have world champions who are 13-year-olds.

    Accepting a legitimate place for video/virtual pinball. It's not and never will be a physical pinball machine. But for newcomers to pinball it's a way to get into it. For people like me, it's a way to better learn rules to games, including those I don't "like" at first flip. Then I go out and seek locations with those games, which helps operators and proprietors of pinball locations keep pinball on the street.

    I hate to use a tired word like "synergy" but there's an element of that when it comes to these points.

    #11 9 months ago

    The curmudgeon in me thinks it's already growed enough, dagnabbit! Ain't prices high enough already?

    #12 9 months ago

    A great way to grow pinball is to have new locations open that feature pinball to the kids of today. Keep the prices low so more people get to have fun. I’ve got a local arcade I help out at where all the machines are on free play and lots of people that are new to pinball get to experience. Only way to grow this hobby is get the casual fans to play. A casual fan can hopefully turn into a collector and even possibly a competitive tournament player.

    #13 9 months ago

    Routes

    #14 9 months ago

    In today's current pinball climate, I vote for putting more machines on-location in bars and/or arcades. Runner-up choice: running tournaments or leagues in your local area.

    #15 9 months ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    Electrolytes

    It's got what pins crave !

    #16 9 months ago

    Have pinball everywhere. When there a game in every public place like it was in the past.

    The more shows the better.

    Have lots of quality coverage of events big and small that have lots of money pumped into them for ads and production of the broadcast.

    That being said, pinball is tiny. I doubt it gets bigger than just being a fun niche hobby. Would be amazing if it became really big, but I just don’t see it happening. It’s just not easy enough to get access to everyone easily.

    #17 9 months ago

    pinball seeds, lots of sun and plenty of water

    #18 9 months ago

    I used to want to grow pinball.. I mean it’s great so why shouldn’t everyone be into it? Now, though, I kinda wish it would go back to a fringe hobby. It used to be sooo much easier to find and afford a pin. Of course, I don’t get wrapped up in all the new stuff. It’s a great time if your into the new tech. I personally like the stuff that was in an arcade at some point in its life. I suppose someone will downvote this... but there are negatives that come with making something mainstream.

    #19 9 months ago

    I don't think anyone seriously sees pinball going back to its short-lived high of the 1990s, where over-the-top toys and other novel technology quickly reached a point of no return, where designers like Pat Lawlor could do no more. It was only in that short segment of time that a game like Twilight Zone would get put to market. And it definitely would not reach the peak of the late 1970s, when solid-state was emerging and video games had not yet taken over. Video games have minimal maintenance in comparison to pinball, and it's been looked at as a loss-leader in general for operators since then because people were interested in playing.

    One thing that's different now is free-play venues are becoming a relative norm to paying per-game with tokens, though there are places that still charge per game for (usually) new releases. This is a good way for a new player to learn to play, without risk of burning through balls doing nooby stuff and getting frustrated about losing their money and quitting the game. You take the bad (i.e. people camping on the most popular games) with the good, but this is something that's very good.

    Quoted from OHMI_Arcade:

    I used to want to grow pinball.. I mean it’s great so why shouldn’t everyone be into it? Now, though, I kinda wish it would go back to a fringe hobby. It used to be sooo much easier to find and afford a pin. Of course, I don’t get wrapped up in all the new stuff. It’s a great time if your into the new tech. I personally like the stuff that was in an arcade at some point in its life. I suppose someone will downvote this... but there are negatives that come with making something mainstream.

    Williams System 11 era is pretty much the childhood-pure form of pinball for me. I think of something like High Speed or Taxi the way people from a generation earlier thinks of EMs. I can play for high scores as much as I can play to further some storyline and deep code. Not everything has to be complicated. But for me there's a nostalgia factor worked in there with it that's lost on a 21-year-old who goes into a barcade and his first pinball was Stern Star Wars.

    At the same time, the lack of complicated stuff in these older games are perfect for people new to owning and maintaining pinballs. There's simply less to go wrong in Gorgar or Space Shuttle than there is in Star Trek: TNG or any game made this century, some sparse Stern designs notwithstanding. So demand goes up with them as they do for DMD-era games.

    It sucks for people trying to get into the pin collecting hobby now, but it beats the game dying out completely and games getting tossed for nothing and forever. At the very least they have the status of a collectors item with a fixed number in existence, rarely exceeding 10,000 and often far short of that. You figure there were a lot of tables parted out, scrapped, thrown away etc.

    #20 9 months ago

    Not something I am into but branding seemed to work well for the Supreme Machine -- didn't the games sell out in about six seconds to people that probably did not even know pinball existed?

    I don't know if other brands have the same loyal followers though. . .

    #21 9 months ago

    Expose as many youth to the game as possible, nieces nephews whoever doesn't run away from me at a get together lol. I think there is a pinball gene or something cause it seems like some people cant get enough of it and the rest look at us like we're crazy. Honestly though I always played the video games when they first came out and never really liked pinball either so go figure?

    #22 9 months ago

    social media influence is where it’s at....

    #23 9 months ago

    Pinball today is possibly just too concentrated in specific areas such as barcades and museums to go mainstream. Pinball could possibly garner more exposure by being placed in venues that people visit on a frequent basis. Like the grocery store, mini-mart, the pizza parlor, bars... all the places you used to be able to find pinball...

    I've been to a quite a few bowling allies, bars and even arcades without pinball out where I live. It makes me wonder if its just a lack of willing operators or possibly a lack of sites wanting pinball on location.

    Also wouldn't hurt to have more competion in the market. The more machines being produced usually means more affordable options. This all equals more opportunities for homes and business to host pinball.

    #24 9 months ago
    Quoted from WolfManCat:

    Also wouldn't hurt to have more competion in the market. The more machines being produced usually means more affordable options.

    In pinball this has been proven the exact opposite.

    As more companies have appeared prices have risen quickly and steadily.

    #25 9 months ago

    Pinball seed.....real seed!

    pasted_image (resized).png
    #26 9 months ago

    Eradicate the closed shop hierarchical based clique that has become entrenched in the Australian pinball scene over the last 5 plus years and transition to the open broad based egalitarian models adopted by every other pinball playing country on the planet.

    After being involved in the local pinball hobby for over 25 years and having travelled overseas many times for pinball events I can say without question that having a local hobby scene which is based on a clique centric, pecuniary interest driven hierarchy is undoubtedly a handicap that is holding us back from real growth of new entrants at a tangible measurable level compared to other countries.

    #27 9 months ago
    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Eradicate the closed shop hierarchical based clique that has become entrenched in the Australian pinball scene...

    Much like a game a good game of Risk, Australia is a little over valued for the end game

    #28 9 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Much like a game a good game of Risk, Australia is a little over valued for the end game

    There's a lot of big fish in a small pond mentality down here, that's for sure.

    #29 9 months ago

    Pinball is a hard all around. The best anyone can do for this hobby is help people who are interested in it.

    #30 9 months ago

    There is a brand new shiny Aerosmith at a local bar. No one plays it. It just sits there in the corner blinking away, while 50 - 60 people sit in the bar ignoring it, they don't even know what it is. When i play it i feel uncomfortable, like people are staring at me thinking what is that weirdo playing with that toy doing. However, there is something magical and retro cool about a barcade, with 20 -30 pins and a bunch of 80's video games. It attracts people of all ages, from kids to millennials to older folks. A barcade has a cool retro feel and it is "acceptable" for people who normally don't play pinball to play pinball. It is clear that there are a lot of newbies really enjoying pinball in barcades. Just a single pin in a corner of a bar doesn't work. I've been to lots of bowling alleys with pins in terrible shape and have seen kids start a game and walk away when it doesn't launch the ball or gets stuck somewhere. That is a huge turn off and probably a permanent loss of a player. I think barcades are the only place where pinball can really thrive, and the owner has a passion to take care of all the pins and keep them working.

    It seems like a single pin in a bar or Walmart just isn't going to work any more.

    #31 9 months ago

    get your kids into the hobby. that's a sure way to continue interest. bragging here: my son just won his first tournament at Pintastic.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #32 9 months ago
    Quoted from TKDalumni:

    social media influence is where it’s at....

    Someone has to crack the nut of how to generate "social currency" from pinball.

    ie: Starbucks writing your name badly wrong on your cup has gotten them millions of social media posts, since people post the picture with a "wtf" comment. Little do they know they just promoted the brand.

    #33 9 months ago
    Quoted from Blake:

    get your kids into the hobby. that's a sure way to continue interest. bragging here: my son just won his first tournament at Pintastic.
    Thanks
    Blake

    Nice!
    Over here you gotta earn that online gaming time by taking out the GC. (kidding )
    4FC87DE1-95FC-4D8A-9C01-37C784F2FD08 (resized).jpeg

    #34 9 months ago
    Quoted from Vino:

    Nice!
    Over here it’s no online gaming until they take out the GC. (kidding )

    LOL love it. My son is the first person to let me know I had a sub par game and I smile when he does as it reminds me that he has a strong understanding of the game. Really does make for a fun gameroom at home and an even better time at shows like Pintastic.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #35 9 months ago

    Have new people over to your house for pinball parties with at least 20 people. I used to have 3 a year, but many pinball projects have gotten in the way the past 2 years. Time for at least one before year's end. Yes, bring your kids.

    #36 9 months ago

    It is a great question and many good answers but.....................

    On my way from Kansas to Texas 3-4 times per year I always stop at Cactus Jack's in Oklahoma City both coming and going. For those of you who don't know CJ's has about 30-40 well maintained pins. If not for CJ's I would not know MM, CC, ATM, STNG, DH, WW, etc.

    CJs' also has a large space with video games of one sort or another.

    Usually, when I stop I will have the entire pin room to myself. And the video room is empty.

    CJs also hosts parties. On my last weekday stop about two weeks ago and party for 3-4 vans of little kids was being hosted. The video game room was full of very actives little boys and girls. I watched all of this youngster action for a couple of minutes and walked down to the pinball room and had all of the pins to myself.

    It leaves me wondering at what age these little kids will grow up and get interested in pinball or if they ever will.

    #37 9 months ago
    Quoted from cottonm4:

    It is a great question and many good answers but.....................
    On my way from Kansas to Texas 3-4 times per year I always stop at Cactus Jack's in Oklahoma City both coming and going. For those of you who don't know CJ's has about 30-40 well maintained pins. If not for CJ's I would not know MM, CC, ATM, STNG, DH, WW, etc.
    CJs' also has a large space with video games of one sort or another.
    Usually, when I stop I will have the entire pin room to myself. And the video room is empty.
    CJs also hosts parties. On my last weekday stop about two weeks ago and party for 3-4 vans of little kids was being hosted. The video game room was full of very actives little boys and girls. I watched all of this youngster action for a couple of minutes and walked down to the pinball room and had all of the pins to myself.
    It leaves me wondering at what age these little kids will grow up and get interested in pinball or if they ever will.

    ive had regular gaming parties at our home arcade for the last 3 years. I can say about 80 % of the people who come are not collectors. the kids of those 80% seem almost intimidated by pinball compared to a video arcade machine. With that said, if you start playing with them and stick by there side providing tiny very obvious easy bits of info along the way to make there gameplay more enjoyable and fruitfull they will continue to play. Works for the kids ages 4-10 but really works well for kids 10 and up.
    If you just start the pinball game with them and don't share anything I think its to foreign for them and they go back to what they know....video arcade games. And I'm not hating on video arcade machines as I own more then 20.

    thanks
    Blake

    #38 9 months ago

    I try to promote Pinball by bringing my portable virtual rig to every party I go to.

    It always sparks cool pinball-related discussions, even among those who do not play my rig.

    20180602_171107 (resized).jpg
    -1
    #39 9 months ago

    I understand the want to grow avocados, tomatoes, or even marijuana, but who really gives a shit if pinball grows or not?

    But if you must, take all your life savings and take a second out on your house and buy as many overpriced machines as you can, and watch the makers of these games bank accounts grow.

    #40 9 months ago

    Pinball has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. We were dying on the vine and enjoying $2500 TAFs and $800 JDs not that long ago. The hobby sparked huge and swelled to what it is now. Mission accomplished.

    #41 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I understand the want to grow avocados, tomatoes, or even marijuana, but who really gives a shit if pinball grows or not?
    But if you must, take all your life savings and take a second out on your house and buy as many overpriced machines as you can, and watch the makers of these games bank accounts grow.

    you forgot "mortgage" in your sentence. I care. The more it grows the better small business owners who own arcades, parts, wholesale, retail, advertising, and any other coin op business that rely on the interest of the general public will do. Might make it tougher for the hobbiest or collector to get great deals on these machines but its much better overall.

    Thanks
    Blake

    #42 9 months ago
    Quoted from Blake:

    you forgot "mortgage" in your sentence. I care. The more it grows the better small business owners who own arcades, parts, wholesale, retail, advertising, and any other coin op business that rely on the interest of the general public will do. Might make it tougher for the hobbiest or collector to get great deals on these machines but its much better overall.

    OK. Then start theming pinball games to appeal to a wider audience including younger people like they do with video games and such. And quit all this "what 40 year old movie or band will be the next pinball theme" bullshit.

    #43 9 months ago
    Quoted from kevmad:

    There is a brand new shiny Aerosmith at a local bar. No one plays it. It just sits there in the corner blinking away, while 50 - 60 people sit in the bar ignoring it, they don't even know what it is. When i play it i feel uncomfortable, like people are staring at me thinking what is that weirdo playing with that toy doing. However, there is something magical and retro cool about a barcade, with 20 -30 pins and a bunch of 80's video games. It attracts people of all ages, from kids to millennials to older folks. A barcade has a cool retro feel and it is "acceptable" for people who normally don't play pinball to play pinball. It is clear that there are a lot of newbies really enjoying pinball in barcades. Just a single pin in a corner of a bar doesn't work. I've been to lots of bowling alleys with pins in terrible shape and have seen kids start a game and walk away when it doesn't launch the ball or gets stuck somewhere. That is a huge turn off and probably a permanent loss of a player. I think barcades are the only place where pinball can really thrive, and the owner has a passion to take care of all the pins and keep them working.
    It seems like a single pin in a bar or Walmart just isn't going to work any more.

    I think this is an agreeable statement - making pinball a reliable destination activity promotes a social atmosphere and makes "going out" more appealing than just staying in.

    #44 9 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    OK. Then start theming pinball games to appeal to a wider audience including younger people like they do with video games and such. And quit all this "what 40 year old movie or band will be the next pinball theme" bullshit.

    I heard a lot of love for Gaurdians of the Galaxy at this years pintastic. My son (6) was super pumped to play ghostbusters (he knows of the cartoon), new star wars (watches the new movies), x-men, gaurdians of the galaxy, super Mario mushroom world, Spider-Man, and probably a dozen more titles I cant remember. I know they are not all new but most were within the last 10 years.
    I agree that sometimes the themes seem like a stretch but I'm guessing they must have some metrics to support them determining what licenses to go for and I'm thinking they are looking at bank accounts. Kids although important to get them playing, don't have the money. parents do and that's why they lean towards the 40 year old and his or her nostalgia.
    Thanks
    Blake

    #45 9 months ago
    Quoted from Blake:

    ..but I'm guessing they must have some metrics to support them determining what licenses to go for...
    Blake

    The metric is who can afford to dump 5-7k on a toy? Certainly not Johnny paper route. Besides he's probably more interested in buy over priced bricks and sneakers..

    15
    #46 9 months ago

    Lower the price.

    #47 9 months ago
    Quoted from ArcadiusMaximus:

    The metric is who can afford to dump 5-7k on a toy? Certainly not Johnny paper route. Besides he's probably more interested in buy over priced bricks and sneakers..

    you must have stopped reading heres the rest of my post: "but I'm guessing they must have some metrics to support them determining what licenses to go for and I'm thinking they are looking at bank accounts. Kids although important to get them playing, don't have the money. parents do and that's why they lean towards the 40 year old and his or her nostalgia."
    Thanks
    Blake

    #48 9 months ago

    I think pinball is big enough and has grown to as big a level as you could have ever hoped for these days. I highly doubt it's capable of much more. Remakes of some "classics", multiple manufacturers, plus a few decent shows and tournaments all seemed impossible to me when I got into this hobby in 04. Especially when you consider (as was noted already ) how bad the hobby was 10 to 12 years ago.

    The growth or future of pinball is something I don't really think about or honestly even care about at this point in my life. I don't do tournaments or go to shows anymore. Pinball doesn't need me and I dont need pinball. But if somebody wants to crack a few beers and play a few games at home or location, I'm down for it.

    #49 9 months ago

    I always try to shrink pinball.

    The more people interested, the higher the prices rise & the more idiots I have to contend with.

    #50 9 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    the more idiots I have to contend with.

    That's what you get when a bunch of people that have only handled money and never any hand tools take on complicated electronic and mechanical devices.

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