(Topic ID: 115926)

What's the attraction with EMs?


By Blackbeard

4 years ago



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  • 372 posts
  • 128 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by RobT
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There are 372 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 8.
#1 4 years ago

Serious question, and I know "to each his own", but what is everyone's draw to EMs?

Personally I feel they're slow and boring to play. Just too old school compared to modern solid state pins.

What do people who collect EMs find so cool about them? (this isn't a smart-ass thread either)

37
#2 4 years ago

Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

#3 4 years ago

Im 25 and love ems so growing up with them isnt a factor for me.

The art, chimes/bells, and the simple rules, and brutal gameplay is what draws me to them. I was scared of the maintenance, but after tinkering with a few it doest scare me. They are just a ton of fun for not that much money. Yeah, some can be slow, but if you rebuild the flippers and give it a decent pitch they can be mean.

A buddy of mine is clear coating my Vulcan playfield right now, and I expect that game to be pretty darn quick.

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#4 4 years ago

It's the ultimate determinant of raw skill over knowledge in the vast majority of cases. There are many times on a DMD with complex rules that people with skills do not make the cut because they don't know that the scoring is horribly unbalanced or something.

With an EM, it's *usually* pretty bloody obvious... light the spinner and rip it, hit the drops, light all the cards, don't drain.

#5 4 years ago

Solid question. Aside from the artwork and some unusual layouts I don't see the draw, either. Vast majority of people I've met into EMs are older and grew up with them, so there is some nostalgia attached to them, I'm sure.

15
#6 4 years ago

The art, real art opposed to Stern Photoshop

Simple game play, I don't want a game to last 45 minutes, I play pinball to have a bash, hit some targets and maybe get a winning score

It is what I grew up with. At the time my parents let me venture furtherthan the front gate, iI discovered pinball. This was the mid 70s so u discovered pinball at the night of the EM period and the start of solid state
Also remember that the makers were bring out a new title every second mmonth , so there was always something new to play

#7 4 years ago

I always wanted a woodrail and picked up a project recently. I like the nostalgia factor, the representation of a time long ago. This one I picked up was made before I was born...and I am 49. It's fascinating to me the way they are designed - how they did rudimentary computation using just relays and switches. Since it is a flipper game there is still that skillful interaction the player has to do to manage the ball. Sure it is a slower game, and there is a much lower score objective, but it is still entertaining in it's own way. I can appreciate it just like chess, Jenga, and even still fishing.

Slower games are a welcome departure from blasting my way through intense games like modern pins, first person shooting games or high speed driving games.

#8 4 years ago

I'm gonna go with "I'm not old enough for EMs". I play a game or two at a show, but usually walk away when my ball is slowly dinging around at the top and nothing fun is happening

#9 4 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

The art, real art opposed to Stern Photoshop

Amen brother!!!

Pinball was at an all time high in the 70s.Some great playing ems out there.Keep trying them at shows until you find one you like.

15
#10 4 years ago

My cousin is a retired MLB player, spent a good 15 years in the majors and was known for his precise batting and infield skills. I'm not gonna lie, he likes bling. His cars are fast and shiny, his house is technologically advanced. He likes new shiny things. When he came over to play pinball for the first time I expected him to gravitate towards the newer Sterns or B/W DMDs. He tried them but eventually walked away and spend most of the night playing EMs. (Slick Chick, Cross Town, Fireball, etc.) but his absolute favorite? It was a Chicago Coin Beatnik. He was challenging people to games all night. I was shocked and asked him what he liked about it and the older 2" flipper games. He said he liked the precision that absolutely every shot required. He wasn't just flailing away racking up points, he was earning every shot. He identified the challenge and was up for it.

Thankfully, they're not for everybody, but I definitely love them.

15
#11 4 years ago

They are fun. When set up right they play great. Just like SS or DMD machines not all of them are fun but alot are.
I think some people are closed minded (im not insulting anyone or meaning to here) about playing woodies or later EMs. People don't think they can be fun and thats that. No more chances cause of course, if you play one thats not fun they all must be that way. Either that or they have played such ill set up machines that they are tainted by the experience alone.

The art is always nice, and the rules are more straight forward. Look at something like Bank A Ball. Get the pool balls 1- 15. Its incredibly frustrating when you cant simply get 15 ball shots. Then it becomes addictive replaying multiple to try to reach the goal. Very similar to trying to get all the madnesses in MM. No difference except for the shots are ramps and Tina Fey is whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

Go out. Find a nice collection of someone on the board and get some games in over a few beers. You'll understand then

--Jeff

#12 4 years ago

EMs are super fun! You just need to learn how to appreciate them. I didn't at one point either.

I'm 37, didn't grow up with them, I didn't even play pinball as a kid. So no nostalgia. I like modern games, I play my METLE more than anything else right now, so fast and deep is cool with me.

And yet my Abra Ca Dabra and Sky Jump are awesome. And sometimes they hit the spot in a way that a Stern or Williams/Bally game doesn't. They are more mellow, but that doesn't mean they're easy. And you know, when I'm at a show I don't really dig playing them that much either. It's not the right environment for me maybe.

I think if you find a nicely set up 70s wedgehead with some good rules, challenging shots, and a lot of drop targets and you really try and play it to get a good score and pay attention to the game you might find a new appreciation.

They're also really beautiful to look at, so much more style than modern games. I LED all my solid states, but keeping my EMs incandescent is a great reminder of how nice a glowing filament can look. I do use some LEDs in hidden spots sometimes to enhance a color, but only in subtle ways.

#13 4 years ago

Art, nostalgia factor, and they can really be an "equalizer" play-wise with other competitors.

The question is the same as asking why anybody in their right mind would buy a 1969 Camaro Z-28 over a brand new one.

#14 4 years ago

For me EMs are part of history and my history with so many fun times to remember congregating & socialising around the machines. But they also represent an era of mechanical & artistic excellence so reflect a much broader perspective than the pin itself. But above all that they are just such simple fun to look at and, of course, to play and this remains the case.
Finally, I like to be known 'for what I leave: rather than for what I do' so because pins were such a focal part of growing up as a teenager it is important to me leave an EM legacy for my grandchildren.

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

Serious question, and I know "to each his own", but what is everyone's draw to EMs?
Personally I feel they're slow and boring to play. Just too old school compared to modern solid state pins.
What do people who collect EMs find so cool about them? (this isn't a smart-ass thread either)

I don't like them for my home collection. I like ramps, toys, music, voices, sound FX, light shows.....but I'll play them at pinball shows because you can't really hear individual game sounds anyway - and they're different and interesting and have cool artwork. I think most who collect them actually grew up with them and have fond nostalgia...or they're tournament players who like everything.

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

The art, real art opposed to Stern Photoshop
Simple game play, I don't want a game to last 45 minutes, I play pinball to have a bash, hit some targets and maybe get a winning score
It is what I grew up with. At the time my parents let me venture furtherthan the front gate, iI discovered pinball. This was the mid 70s so u discovered pinball at the night of the EM period and the start of solid state
Also remember that the makers were bring out a new title every second mmonth , so there was always something new to play

I am on Pete's boat, with the difference being I did not grow up with them. I remember my first games playing as a young kid was Whirlwind, Addams Family, and Elvira and the Party Monsters on route.

#17 4 years ago

I never played an EM until I got into competition pinball..I'm 34 in June this year....so..played my first EM around...um.... 31.

Quoted from Rarehero:

they're tournament players who like everything.

I don't like everything...there's definitely stuff I hate. Haunted House on solid states, Stern NBA on DMDs, and Out of Sight (NO RESETTING DROP TARGETS BURN IT IN FIRE!!!!) on EM's....

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I think most who collect them actually grew up with them and have fond nostalgia...

Never played an EM until 2 years ago. If I had room I would have a dozen of them.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

I don't like everything...there's definitely stuff I hate. Haunted House on solid states, Stern NBA on DMDs, and Out of Sight (NO RESETTING DROP TARGETS BURN IT IN FIRE!!!!) on EM's....

Every era, I meant. Cuz you never know what's going to be in a tournament...you have to know how to play every style of game.

#20 4 years ago

i like the sound of the machine, the clic clic clic, bell, chime, the art, the vintage look.

i used to have one, now i'm looking for another.

#21 4 years ago

The art is a big part of what I love about early Gottlieb EMs.

The bells, chimes, and general clicking and clacking give the games a really satisfying feel.

In terms of gameplay, I'll agree that some are boring, but not all or even most of them. Probably the most fun I ever had playing pinball was the first time I ever played Fireball. Not long after that, Fireball was the first EM in my collection.

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Every era, I meant. Cuz you never know what's going to be in a tournament...you have to know how to play every style of game.

I'd say I definitely prefer EMs, but you're right..I'm not going to complain about a tournament just because it's primarily one or the other. In three years, we've had exactly one tournament that was strictly EM (okay, except there was a REALLY nice Bobby Orr, but that's practically an EM..) and that's what really got me hooked was that nice collection of varied games.

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#23 4 years ago

What's the attraction? If you have to ask you probably wouldn't understand.

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from mot:

The art is a big part of what I love about early Gottlieb EMs.
The bells, chimes, and general clicking and clacking give the games a really satisfying feel.

At Arcade Expo this weekend, my girlfriend really liked the EMs. She thought the art was amazing and liked the CLICK-CLICK-CLICK reset of the reels when you started a game. Her grandfather had an old EM game (she can't remember what it was called...but it was a western/cowboy theme), and the EM games brought back nostalgic feelings.

#25 4 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

Personally I feel they're slow and boring to play.

I take it you missed Expo 2014

#26 4 years ago

Most of the EMs that I own are way more challenging than their modern counterparts, have better art and sounds, and are way more collectable as well, if that is what you are into.

#27 4 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

I take it you missed Expo 2014

If I lived closer than 9 hours away, perhaps I would've made it.

#28 4 years ago

As some have said - EM's are about precision. Shots need to be thought out. Miss by a little, and you're likely to drain (machine was designed that way!). If a game is dialed in, it can be frustrating or rewarding, but usually unforgiving.

If you read the rules, and play to win, it's easier to understand. If you just bat the ball around, you're not going to get it, because there is not the visual/audible sensory assault.

In college, I had a pinball friend that hated GTL Pro Pool. He would get the WOW lit for extra balls, and miss most times and drain the ball. I had monster games. Finally, he figured out that I banked the ball off the side rubber to hit the WOW. The shot was easier and had less risk. His games improved immensely. Common sense said hit the target head on. Pinball logic said no.

But, as you say, some won't ever get it. Many don't have the patience to learn something new.

#29 4 years ago

There's just something about the chunk-chunk-chunk-clatter of the reels. That, and it's just more fun to try and catch a ball coming out of exposed pop bumpers than it is to recover from a magnet fling or a brick off of a ramp entry post. YMMV.

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#30 4 years ago

And you can't do this with a modern game.

128165-i.jpg

#31 4 years ago

- they are what i grew up playing...
- they simple, yet hard, at the same time...
- when i was a kid, i dreamed of owning my own machines...
- i can fix them...

i'm an em guy through and through... i have tried to like "modern pinball", and to me, it is a completely different game, and i don't really care for it... i'll feed some money into one if i happen to come across one (it is pinball, after all) but if there was an em sitting next to it, i'd put my money in the em...

#32 4 years ago

I mean really, what's not to love?

261721-i.jpg

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

And you can't do this with a modern game.

128165-i.jpg 35 KB

Is that the first prototype of the Pingulp?

#34 4 years ago

Art. history and addictive gameplay.

If you like games like IM, BSD etc then a well set up em should appeal. They can play real quick. And they have bags of 'one more game' appeal.

If you like games like LOTR they may not appeal so much.

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from Pincrawler:

Is that the first prototype of the Pingulp?

No, but this might be.

101250-i.jpg

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Art. history and addictive gameplay.
If you like games like IM, BSD etc then a well set up em should appeal. They can play real quick. And they have bags of 'one more game' appeal.
If you like games like LOTR they may not appeal so much.

I love IM and BSD...but part of it is the music/sounds/lights/features. If I play those games with the sound off and flashers plucked out....I wouldn't like them as much.

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#37 4 years ago

I've owned quite a few of the DMD pins. Thanks largely to Odin and his great collection of EM's, I started to really appreciate how fun they could be. One of the things that I love about any pin is if it has that strong "just one more game" pull to it, that makes you want to play the game again as soon as it's over.

EM's have that in spades. As others have said, the rules are usually pretty simple to understand with easy goals. Simple to understand...difficult to master. I also appreciate the shorter ball times. My Sure Shot, set on 5 ball play, kicks my ass on a regular basis. Those 5 balls won't last as long as a 3 ball game on Iron Man.

Since you don't have music, call outs, a DMD, etc., the games are more pure in terms of concentrating on the silver ball. I do love the sound of the chimes/bells too.

I'm really glad that I've discovered how fun EM's can be. It's like another world of pinball...and the bang for the buck in terms of fun is extremely hard to beat for the price of admission.

#38 4 years ago

EM's are what pinball is really about -raw and simple - you see what you get. No wizard mode - no DMD display distracting you - just plain & simple pinball.

I think there is something to be said about every era of pinball but if you play early SS and EM machines and take them for what they are they are more fun than modern machines. Slower - yes, lazy little flippers on some earlier EM's - for sure. But pinball machines don't have to be super fast or flashy to be fun.

But the best part about EM's & especially earlier SS machines is the art. There is nothing like the art on late 1970's and early 1980's pinball machines.

Any true pinball collector should own at least one or two EM's and 3 or 4 early SS machines to round out their collection - assuming they have space for a dozen or so machines.

If you only have room for a couple machines buy what you love but if you have room for 8 machines or more own 75% what you love and 25% from other eras and you will enjoy the hobby much more.

#39 4 years ago

Where do I start? Art, smell, sound, nostalgia, simplistic rules, originality, themes, skill set, fun factor, easy to shop out and the people who own and collect them are generally cruisy people!

#40 4 years ago

A lot of people's only interaction with an EM is at show with low line voltage and no pitch. You'll get that floaty ball thing going with lethargic flippers. That's not a good barometer for the Em experience.

#41 4 years ago

And to those who think they are easy, try getting all 7 numbers lit on Buckeroo.
It's the 60's Valinor

#42 4 years ago

you have to play restored EMs. at shows you generally don't get that. time is the enemy, and most people just get them working, but don't really restore them. All new flipper and pop bumper parts are a must, to replace 40 year old parts. a nice smooth playfield (often require clear coating) helps a lot. then you're playing an EM that was how it was meant to be when it was new. most people don't do these things.

come to the Ann Arbor pinball showcase in May. you may just change your mind on EMs!
http://www.vfwpinball.com

#43 4 years ago

Easy to understand, difficult to master, that's what makes a good EM!

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

try getting all 7 numbers lit on Buckeroo.
It's the 60's Valinor

I'll take your 7 numbers and raise you to 10 on Big Daddy.

#45 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'll take your 7 numbers and raise you to 10 on Big Daddy.

Wow, if Big Daddy is harder than getting those 7 numbers, I need to play one

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Wow, if Big Daddy is harder than getting those 7 numbers, I need to play one

Come on down! I had a Buckaroo and I know what you mean, but the outlanes are just so wide and brutal on Big Daddy that if you get either 1-5 or 6-10 to light the special you are doing pretty good. You can also collect numbers by hitting the drop target, but that can result in a ricochet STDM. But I do love it!

-12
#47 4 years ago

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

Thanks largely to Odin and his great collection of EM's, I started to really appreciate how fun they could be.

Thanks Rob! I've got two more on the way. Stop on by and we can find out how easy and boring they are.

Universe.jpgTradeWinds.jpg

#49 4 years ago

oooo.... i want that "tradewinds"... that is downright purty...

#50 4 years ago

No idea. The only EM I've ever played that I liked was Joker Poker... arguably the best EM ever.

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