(Topic ID: 195845)

What pins were the biggest earners in the 90's?


By DBLM

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 31 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by LTG
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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    #1 3 years ago

    When I was a teen, my family ran an arcade from 92-95 where we had some pins, 28 pool tables, and about a 100 or so redemption and arcade games. As much as I loved pinball, our area was not a good market so we moved most of them out for bigger earners. Incidentally, Taxi did well for us, but nothing compared to the pool tables, redemption, MK, MK2, SF2, Lethal Enforcers, etc. What were some of the best earners on route during the 90's? We always heard from our games partner that the licensed Data East games like JP, LW3, and even Hook were good earners, but I don't have first hand knowledge.

    #2 3 years ago

    The ones with flippers is my guess

    #3 3 years ago

    South Park was huge.
    I'm guessing TOM was a big one too.

    #4 3 years ago

    An individual machine's earning potential is probably reflected by it's production numbers.

    #5 3 years ago

    I would think The Addams Family wins this one.

    #6 3 years ago

    TAF by a mile. Nothing else even comes close.

    #8 3 years ago

    Paging ltg

    #9 3 years ago

    Curious to hear what operators were experiencing during that time. I had heard TAF, TOM, T2, JP and other licensed DE games were strong, and heard that South Park did great when that came out as well. In our case, we had MK1 and MK2 doing north of a grand a week each for a period of time, and some of the redemption machines were earning a few hundred a week each as well. For us, the calculus became how we could maximize revenue per square foot, which is why the pinball machines besides Taxi went.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from AlbanyTim:

    An individual machine's earning potential is probably reflected by it's production numbers.

    I would say in most cases yes. I'm pretty sure games like TZ and STTNG were crap earners (due to reliablity issues) that sold in big numbers because of the designers' previous work.

    Other games have inflated numbers for other reasons...Popeye sold like 6,000 units right? I heard Williams was forcing them on ops who wanted to buy the latest Mortal Kombat lol.

    #11 3 years ago

    My guess would be TAF and AFM.

    #12 3 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I would say in most cases yes. I'm pretty sure games like TZ and STTNG were crap earners (due to reliablity issues) that sold in big numbers because of the designers' previous work.
    Other games have inflated numbers for other reasons...Popeye sold like 6,000 units right? I heard Williams was forcing them on ops who wanted to buy the latest Mortal Kombat lol.

    I think you are right on the head. Don't confuse what are good or sought after games with what the earners were. Our routing partner (they provided the games, we provided the location, and split earnings 50/50) would bring in games that I thought were crap but they earned. I remember games like the big 6 player Xmen doing bad in our location but the smaller version of it doing much better.

    I can validate the MK story. At one point, we reached out directly to Midway to see if we could buy MK2 directly from them. There was such a demand on the game from a fulfillment perspective that they were allocating games to their big partners and did have provisions that you had to take other games. It just did not make sense to us. Its funny to think how many times MK2 has paid for itself over the last 25 years.

    #13 3 years ago

    I looked at Funhouse as a once in twenty year pin. A couple years later Addams landed and was awesome. A couple years later AFM took over. Then almost two years later MM crushed them all.

    LTG : )

    #14 3 years ago

    Lloyd, thanks much for this insight. Curious, what were pins that are highly sought after now that were bad earners?

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from DBLM:

    Curious, what were pins that are highly sought after now that were bad earners?

    I heard CV takes the cake on that front

    #16 3 years ago
    Quoted from DBLM:

    Curious, what were pins that are highly sought after now that were bad earners?

    For me Cirqus Voltaire was the worst. Scared Stiff didn't do well. Twilight Zone has always done good for me. White Water wasn't here long either.

    LTG : )

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I looked at Funhouse as a once in twenty year pin. A couple years later Addams landed and was awesome. A couple years later AFM took over. Then almost two years later MM crushed them all.
    LTG : )

    And what's earning now? You had said Dialed In was kicking ass I believe?

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from TecumsehPlissken:

    I heard CV takes the cake on that front

    I didn't have one when it came out. I bought one around 2002ish.

    No sh*t. That thing broke my heart to see it doing a couple bucks or less a week. I had the purple wings on the head, beautiful condition. High wire thing dropped the balls correctly.

    LTG : )

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from DBLM:

    Lloyd, thanks much for this insight. Curious, what were pins that are highly sought after now that were bad earners?

    I heard that OPs were throwing out Twilight zones back in the day.

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    And what's earning now? You had said Dialed In was kicking ass I believe?

    During the winter months I had MM, MMR, WOZ, Hobbit, Walking Dead, all battling for first place. Dialed in has crushed them including my AFMLE.

    LTG : )

    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from fisherdaman:

    I heard that OPs were throwing out Twilight zones back in the day.

    Ops were throwing out EVERYTHING back in the day. Old pins were considered useless in many cases. We'd all cringe if we ever knew the REAL total of perfectly decent games that have been trashed over the years by ops.

    #22 3 years ago

    Any word on how the DE/Sega games did during this time? I heard JP did particularly well due to the theme.

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I didn't have one when it came out. I bought one around 2002ish.

    really that's even more interesting ....... I heard a story about them being sold NIB for fire sale prices at the time because it did so poorly on location

    #24 3 years ago

    Well, South Park was a Sega and it crushed in earnings. But generally, Sega had crappy licenses and didn't earn a lot of repeat business.

    You never saw Data East games, except GnR and maybe a Tales from the Crypt, on location. This would be late 90s.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from DBLM:

    Any word on how the DE/Sega games did during this time? I heard JP did particularly well due to the theme.

    Yes, the Ball Eating Dinosaur was a novelty that the public really liked (although mechanically, it tended to be a pain for us operators).

    As I remember it, Many Sega/Data East games would earn well but only for a short period of time. One reason I would contribute to this would be the fact that Gary always wanted the player to be able to go multiball by last ball if they hadn't already reached that goal. So, there was not much to force them to drop more coin to try to accomplish that goal via the playfield features.

    #26 3 years ago
    Quoted from TecumsehPlissken:

    really that's even more interesting ....... I heard a story about them being sold NIB for fire sale prices at the time because it did so poorly on location

    Yes, I passed on NIB CVs for $1800 (about $1500US) at the time. Also I though $4K for a MM was highway robbery. I did eventually pony up $3K for AFM though given how difficult they were to find since they were an earnings monster.

    #27 3 years ago

    What I did see a lot of was Gottlieb System 3 games, mostly Freddy and Cue Ball Wizard with the occasional Wipeout. Those did quite well.

    #28 3 years ago

    I bought some pins from an old op last year(MM, FT, TAF, demoman) he said i should have called a few weeks earlier, just dumped a DESW and funhouse. I have a really nice Funhouse at a decent location, still out earns any pin around it, even newer sterns.

    #29 3 years ago

    Location, location, location.
    Best pinball Gottlieb Rack'em Up.

    #30 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    For me Cirqus Voltaire was the worst. Scared Stiff didn't do well. Twilight Zone has always done good for me. White Water wasn't here long either.
    LTG : )

    Lloyd, were there any good earners that were sold off due to being hard to maintain?

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from lordloss:

    Lloyd, were there any good earners that were sold off due to being hard to maintain?

    Never.

    LTG : )

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