Wow, great feedback everyone, thanks a bunch. I happen to live close to the Pacific Pinball Museum, and I get out there sometimes, but I've been meaning to make a "resarch trip" where I'd play a few titles I'm interested in owning.
As Chosen_S said, I'm probably rushing things. I've only had Taxi for 5 days. But I might get hit by a car tomorrow, so I better keep going! Just kidding, there is probably much to gain from being a bit more patient. Being new to purchasing pinballs, I don't have a great idea of how often machines on my wishlist come up locally. Am I going to wait 1 year for a Whirlwind or 1 month?
I actually really enjoy single-level games, but they are a more difficult sell to everyone else in my family. I love old drop-target EMs and early solid states. I was bummed when the Paragon deal fell through. These types of pins seem to fit my budget pretty well too. Someone mentioned Eight Ball Deluxe, and I like that game on Pinball Arcade at least, someone is selling a very nice one for $3.5k in these parts. Maybe two pins to keep the masses happy and then my third one can be in rotation and just be the most hardcore straight-pinball machine I can find.
One thing my wife mentioned is that it would be nice for our next machine to have more than 2 flippers. I would like that as well, I'd like a nice side shot into a loop or some targets or something. A game with modes is also something we'd like to explore one day. A licensed theme with great callouts and music is also something I want to try. All these things point towards Jurassic Park I suppose. X-Files only has 2 flippers, but it has the other things mentioned. T2 also only has 2 flippers, but it does have a cannon! A T2 with upgraded sound sounds awesome, but man Jurassic Park with good sound must be soooo great!
I would love every system-11 and early DMD suggestion so far I think. Those are the machines I remember in the pizza parlors growing up. X-Files and Jurassic Park came a bit later and I don't remember them, but I love the media they are both based on.