(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
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders

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There are 372 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 8.
#101 4 years ago

EMs can be really fun when set up and maintained correctly. At some of the shows I've been to it looked like the EM games present were just put there to have a game there, but no-one bothered to level them. Obviously that's no fun to play.

I've played some restored EMs and was amazed by how fast they were. Love the random ball movement and the fact that they look easy to play and turn out difficult to master. Just shoot all 12 switches on the playfield to light the corresponding number and I end up trying again and again.

Last year I discovered the Gottlieb EMs when visiting PHOF in Vegas. Prior to that I was more familiar with Bally and Williams EM games. Played away $30 in quarters in one afternoon and had a blast Also played mostly EMs at the NW show and CAX last year.

The fact that technology wasn't that advanced, compared to modern day games, is something that I like. The game had to appeal right from the start. Plus that these games were pretty complex with all the relais, score motors and such, but that's more under the hood complexity.

#102 4 years ago

The biggest thing for me in EMs is I love ripping spinners and hearing the chimes ring.

#103 4 years ago

For me, it reminds me of my childhood back in the 70's. My parents would frequent Suffolk Downs in Boston, Ma. And they had a arcade.
The guy who ran it used to put credits on a machine and I was on cloud 9!
Just hearing the clanging of the bell of EMs brings back memories.
Guess it's like playing an Atari 2600.

11
#104 4 years ago

I had only a mild interest in EM's until last summer when a guy gave me his Williams Aztec to fix. The game had been sitting in a barn for over 20 years. In the 20 plus hours I spent cleaning and adjusting I learned to appreciate how they work. I also learned to love a smooth running stepper too.

I performed what I would call a quality shop job. And the owner loved it. I set the playfield switches really close so it was incredibly sensitive and very fast. He paid me in two 70's EM's from the same barn. Thirty or so hours a piece later they were done too. One I sold to a guy in Michigan who remembered playing it in college. The look on his face when he played it was still the best experience I've had in this hobby so far. It's something I'll never truly feel because, as a child of the 80's, I played arcade games. Pinball just wasn't on my mind then. Now it's on my mind every friggin' day!

The other I currently have set up to play. "EM's are slow". "EM's have the same three pop bumper arrangement". Not always and I'd strongly argue that the three pop bumper arrangement has been the standard of every Stern game in recent memory. I got a game from 1958 waiting to be fixed in my garage that has five "active" pop bumpers all near each other. Somehow I doubt it will be a slow game when I'm done with her.

Anywho, that's just how I feel and here's a short vid on that other 20 plus years barn dwelling EM that I've kept. Slow? Um, no.

#105 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Of course you get people that claim that they require the ultimate skill etc. I guess people need to convince themselves that there is some reason to like them. EM's only existed because technology didnt exist to do better.

I would love to see you play against a top of their game EM player.

#106 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Every EM is the same stupid game. Put 3 pop bumpers in the center on the flattest possible surface with a bunch of misc targets and some crappy targets and add some chime sounds and you have a winner. Need another game? Change the artwork a little and call it a totally *different* game. I imagine EM's might work well to gut out for a virtual pinball cabinet. Or maybe you could lay some padding on them and use them for a bed. Who knows.
Of course you get people that claim that they require the ultimate skill etc. I guess people need to convince themselves that there is some reason to like them. EM's only existed because technology didnt exist to do better.

Yeah right

Here is Gigi with 14 pop bumpers.

Try getting 5 advances on this game! As hard as any modern day wizard mode.

Playfield.jpg
#107 4 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

This looks like a simple case of PINBALL envy. Isn't that a commandment, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours pin.

a commandment that i break all the time...

#108 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Every EM is the same stupid game. Put 3 pop bumpers in the center on the flattest possible surface with a bunch of misc targets and some crappy targets and add some chime sounds and you have a winner. Need another game? Change the artwork a little and call it a totally *different* game. I imagine EM's might work well to gut out for a virtual pinball cabinet. Or maybe you could lay some padding on them and use them for a bed. Who knows.

"Stupid" ?? You haven't played many EMs I guess or maybe you just sucked at them because they were hard. When the first SS games came out with ramps and different levels I hated them but I have come around to accept that they just have a different style of play. Compare some of your new Sterns to older ones, you will find that some aren't much more than changing the theme, adding new figurines and translite/backglass ... there is limited space and once a good flow is established there isn't much else you can do (EM, SS or DMD alike).

Quoted from markmon:

Of course you get people that claim that they require the ultimate skill etc. I guess people need to convince themselves that there is some reason to like them. EM's only existed because technology didnt exist to do better.

Wow sounds like you are trying to convince yourself that paying $5-7000 for a modern pin makes sense just because it is newer tech(doesn't mean a better play experience). My Aztec takes skill to hit some of the targets without going straight into the sidedrain and I don't get 2-3 "do overs" like these newer machines. I was very surprised by the number of easily earned extra balls you get these days. IMO an EM was designed first of all for OPs to make money, players enjoyment was secondary and that makes them a bit more challenging.

Technology didn't exist ... duh... but it was the best technology of the time, someday your DMD will be "old school" too. I played pinball in the 70's and drove some of the hottest stuff on wheels back those days ... my Lexus IS is just as fast as any number of big block chevys from those days but I wouldn't want to change the driving experience of a big screaming V-8 just because it isn't the newest tech. You think we should we "gut out" those original muscle cars and modernize them just because they aren't the latest tech?

Top 10 reasons I have EMs

10: Purchase price is low
9: Enjoy that I get to tune them occasionally to keep them going
8: Variety of game play ... you can find a pin with pretty much anything from simple to busy playfields depending on what you want in the line up.
7: Memories of days past
6: Purchase price (did I mention that they are cheap?)
5: Artwork and colors - nothing compares to the older artwork ... it is art, newer machines not so much
4: Sounds and smells (ozone from the arcing) spinning score reels, spinners, chimes, no annoying voice overs
3: Cabinet knocker ... nice and loud so people look and know you won a game
2: Simple easy to understand rule sets, I don't need a YouTube video to understand them

Number 1 reason I like my EMs:
SPECIAL WHEN LIT , where has the good old red special light gone? I REALLY miss that

#109 4 years ago
Quoted from dtown:

Slow? Um, no.» YouTube video

Um, yes.

To each, their own...that's one of the things that makes this hobby great.

#110 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)

For me, I was only about the new stuff when I first got into collecting. Wanted to play DMD only. Over time after you played nearly every DMD on the planet. Then you expand to alpha numeric. Then early SS. Start to appreciate the rules for earlier games. Then EM's. Many EM's are a lot more fun than one would expect. Rules are a lot of fun on a lot of them. When people are over, the EM's are usually the games where, everyone wants to "play just one more" because the scores are usually very close and you usually lose by just a hair. Drives people to want to keep playing together. You have to play a lot of EM's, and you have to play them enough to really understand the rules. Over time and years of collecting/playing, you will appreciate them more.

My favorites are

Super Soccer- Has backbox bonus balls that you build up and max out, but can cash in on the playfield so you can reload. Very fun rules and one of my top 20 favorite games

Sinbad- Has an ordered drop target system, that not only increases your multipliers but lights your top lanes. While trying to build bonus. Fun layout and fun rules.

travel time- Game is has a timer (no set balls to play). You play to try and build up time. many things on the playfield stop the clock, but lots also start it again. Unique setup which I like.

#111 4 years ago

I do like the drop target poker-style games from the 70s. But maybe I just liked them in the 70s before the faster stuff came out. Not really sure...

#112 4 years ago
Quoted from pinworthy:

Number 1 reason I like my EMs:
SPECIAL WHEN LIT , where has the good old red special light gone? I REALLY miss that

It's still there, but it's stuffed down in the corner, in one of the outlanes, and no one gives a crap about it since the games are on free play.

On evenings when I'm too exhausted to think, I can play my EM to relax. My DMDs all need some concentration to play.

#113 4 years ago
Quoted from pinworthy:

someday your DMD will be "old school" too.

I think it already is.

#114 4 years ago

If you don't love or at least appreciate EMs,then you dont really love or appreciate pinball.

If you hadn't had a chance to play:East coast Silverball Museum

Central:Clays place/show

West coast:Pacific Pinball museum/show.

#115 4 years ago
Quoted from herg:

It's still there, but it's stuffed down in the corner, in one of the outlanes, and no one gives a crap about it since the games are on free play.
On evenings when I'm too exhausted to think, I can play my EM to relax. My DMDs all need some concentration to play.

Yeah OK, there is a special but the placement and color makes a difference ... all the LEDs and "bright" color palettes kill the distinction and current playfields are so busy it gets lost ... it isn't "special" anymore.

For me it is the Pavlov effect ... I see that red round light on an EM and my heart races and palms sweat

#116 4 years ago

Great write ups on EMs.

Are there written rule sets anywhere, even if very short?

What's the up keep on them with all the relays, etc. in comparison to a dmd upkeep?

#117 4 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

Great write ups on EMs.
Are there written rule sets anywhere, even if very short?
What's the up keep on them with all the relays, etc. in comparison to a dmd upkeep?

- usually the rule set is simple enough that the printed card on the apron is more than sufficient...

- i don't know anything about the upkeep on a dmd, but once you have properly shopped an em, it generally will not require any tinkering with relays, etc. AS LONG AS YOU PLAY THE GAME CONSISTENTLY... the number one key to keeping an em "behaving" is to play it often... sure, occasionally things "stop working" and need to be fixed... but not on any kind of regular basis...

a properly shopped and consistently played machine should give you very few, if any, issues...

other than that, it's just "normal" pinball maintenance... rebuilds of wear parts like flippers, cleaning and waxing of the pf, and so on...

#118 4 years ago

yup, EM's will play forever as long as you keep playing them at least every 3 months.

#119 4 years ago
Quoted from Atomicboy:

The biggest thing for me in EMs is I love ripping spinners and hearing the chimes ring.

Plus one!

#120 4 years ago

Really going to try to spend a little more time with some EMs at the Ohio Show in March.

#121 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Of course you get people that claim that they require the ultimate skill etc

Yep! Try to roll over the game with 2 inch flippers.

#122 4 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

Yep! Try to roll over the game with 2 inch flippers.

true dat... i have NEVER rolled my "royal guard"... and i've only gotten close once (and choked like a dirty stinkin dog on the last ball)...

#123 4 years ago

royal guard is a good time. I wish there was a 4 player version out there. If there was, i'd be looking for it.

#124 4 years ago
Quoted from pinworthy:

"Stupid" ?? You haven't played many EMs I guess or maybe you just sucked at them because they were hard. When the first SS games came out with ramps and different levels I hated them but I have come around to accept that they just have a different style of play. Compare some of your new Sterns to older ones, you will find that some aren't much more than changing the theme, adding new figurines and translite/backglass ... there is limited space and once a good flow is established there isn't much else you can do (EM, SS or DMD alike).

Wow sounds like you are trying to convince yourself that paying $5-7000 for a modern pin makes sense just because it is newer tech(doesn't mean a better play experience). My Aztec takes skill to hit some of the targets without going straight into the sidedrain and I don't get 2-3 "do overs" like these newer machines. I was very surprised by the number of easily earned extra balls you get these days. IMO an EM was designed first of all for OPs to make money, players enjoyment was secondary and that makes them a bit more challenging.
Technology didn't exist ... duh... but it was the best technology of the time, someday your DMD will be "old school" too. I played pinball in the 70's and drove some of the hottest stuff on wheels back those days ... my Lexus IS is just as fast as any number of big block chevys from those days but I wouldn't want to change the driving experience of a big screaming V-8 just because it isn't the newest tech. You think we should we "gut out" those original muscle cars and modernize them just because they aren't the latest tech?
Top 10 reasons I have EMs
10: Purchase price is low
9: Enjoy that I get to tune them occasionally to keep them going
8: Variety of game play ... you can find a pin with pretty much anything from simple to busy playfields depending on what you want in the line up.
7: Memories of days past
6: Purchase price (did I mention that they are cheap?)
5: Artwork and colors - nothing compares to the older artwork ... it is art, newer machines not so much
4: Sounds and smells (ozone from the arcing) spinning score reels, spinners, chimes, no annoying voice overs
3: Cabinet knocker ... nice and loud so people look and know you won a game
2: Simple easy to understand rule sets, I don't need a YouTube video to understand them
Number 1 reason I like my EMs:
SPECIAL WHEN LIT , where has the good old red special light gone? I REALLY miss that

Don't forget number 11 the Code is Complete

16
#125 4 years ago

I've done the reverse progression with pin collecting. DMD --> EM --> SS. I know a lot of people don't 'get' EMs and they typically are the younger kids that are only attracted to blinky lights, music, speech call-outs and rulesets 600 pages long.

As far as the sheer engineering marvel these things are still amazes me. How anyone can figure out how to 'program' an EM ruleset with just wires, steppers, score motor cams, relays, etc. with no batteries or memory is nothing short of awesome. Once all the switches are cleaned and adjusted not much maintenance is required.

Here is a list of things that I like about EMs over SS or DMD games.

1. Short ball times. The great equalizer in tournaments when I have to play a top player.
2. Easy rulesets. I still have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to do in TSPP.
3. No battery leakage issues.
4. No switch matrix, PIA, 7402, ASIC crap to figure out.
5. No outgassing of displays, HV issues, etc.
6. They smell wonderful. Wish I could bottle that scent.
7. Code was complete when the game shipped. Novel idea.
8. During the zombie apocalypse, when the electromagnetic pulse from the great 3rd war makes all forms of electronic devices utterly useless, the EM will still be working...

#126 4 years ago

The difficulty. For example. We were playing a game of pin golf during league the other weekend, and the goal for Fast Draw was 65k. Everyone took one look at that goal and was like, "welp, we all might as well all write down max strokes for this hole." haha. Just love mixing it up with the old games. Some of them are really really fun, and the art packages are insane. So much time and effort went into those, and I just really have an appreciation for them. I don't think I will ever have more than a few in my collection, but I will never have zero EMs.

#127 4 years ago

as others have said, many are/were great games, fast and frustrating set up right... definitely fun.
not 'deep', more raw, you need your good ball control shots and nudges ON.

personally I'd rather play a mechanical slot machine than the video type. the mechanical ones can be set up to have meaner odds against you too, my older brother used to set them in Reno. its a lot the same with old EM pinball machines how they're set up. I remember same games at different locations where one was great and the other wasnt, same machine, they just felt different.

#128 4 years ago

Reasons #11 & #12:

11: Can play your own music while playing without the "Chinese Opera Effect" as any music you play goes well with CHIMES.
12: I'd rather read a short story than a novel. (EM quick games vs Looonnnggggg DMD ball times)

Quoted from pinworthy:

Top 10 reasons I have EMs
10: Purchase price is low
9: Enjoy that I get to tune them occasionally to keep them going
8: Variety of game play ... you can find a pin with pretty much anything from simple to busy playfields depending on what you want in the line up.
7: Memories of days past
6: Purchase price (did I mention that they are cheap?)
5: Artwork and colors - nothing compares to the older artwork ... it is art, newer machines not so much
4: Sounds and smells (ozone from the arcing) spinning score reels, spinners, chimes, no annoying voice overs
3: Cabinet knocker ... nice and loud so people look and know you won a game
2: Simple easy to understand rule sets, I don't need a YouTube video to understand them
Number 1 reason I like my EMs:
SPECIAL WHEN LIT , where has the good old red special light gone? I REALLY miss that

#129 4 years ago

I hope the ranks of guys who don't like EMs continue to swell.

Leaves more for the rest of us who know better.

13
#130 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Every EM is the same stupid game. Put 3 pop bumpers in the center on the flattest possible surface with a bunch of misc targets and some crappy targets and add some chime sounds and you have a winner. Need another game? Change the artwork a little and call it a totally *different* game. I imagine EM's might work well to gut out for a virtual pinball cabinet. Or maybe you could lay some padding on them and use them for a bed. Who knows.
Of course you get people that claim that they require the ultimate skill etc. I guess people need to convince themselves that there is some reason to like them. EM's only existed because technology didnt exist to do better.

This post is embarrassing for you, even though I'm sure that you don't realize it.

The ignorance shown here is astonishing. I'm sure a lot of people have taken note.

#131 4 years ago

A lot of people have mentioned chimes, but what about the bells?

#132 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

A lot of people have mentioned chimes, but what about the bells?

yep. My dipsy doodle only has bells.

#133 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

A lot of people have mentioned chimes, but what about the bells?

.

Quoted from RobT:

I do love the sound of the chimes/bells too.

#134 4 years ago

Another thing is it's not in everyones budget to spend $5000-$8000 on every new pinball machine that comes out. Or dump thousands down on pre-orders for machines they may never see.

But most of all EMs are fun.

#135 4 years ago

Hear the sledges with the bells--
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells--
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

--E.A. Poe

#136 4 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

This post is embarrassing for you, even though I'm sure that you don't realize it.
The ignorance shown here is astonishing. I'm sure a lot of people have taken note.

While Markmon's rant is extremely insulting and ignorant (yet expected with his lack of social skills) - statements like this are also insulting and ignorant:

Quoted from too-many-pins:

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.

Quoted from jackofdiamonds:

If you don't love or at least appreciate EMs,then you dont really love or appreciate pinball.

If someone doesn't like a particular era or style of game - you have no right to tell them they're not a "true collector" or they "don't really love or appreciate" pinball. That's some judgmental BS right there. If you like ANY pinball, you like pinball. If you collect ANY pinball, you're a "true collector".

#137 4 years ago

I'm not a huge fan of EM's for single player but for multiple players they are the best!

I love to compete (casually) and on an EM it's usually much more competitive "closer scoring" games. You always feel like you have a shot to pull out the win on your last ball. Plus the games tend to be much shorter so you can get a lot of games in and keep track of who's ahead. "Okay you're up 3 games to 2....lets go again".

On a DMD usually one person runs away with it and then the other players are just waiting for that game to end so maybe they can have a shot in the next one.....and they wait......and they wait.

Don't get me wrong, I love DMD games the most.......but head to head EM's can rock.

#138 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

While Markmon's rant is extremely insulting and ignorant (yet expected with his lack of social skills) - statements like this are also insulting and ignorant:

.

Quoted from jackofdiamonds:

If you don't love or at least appreciate EMs,then you dont really love or appreciate pinball.

Actually I don't agree that the above statement is insulting or ignorant.

He says that if you don't at least appreciate EMs, then you don't really appreciate pinball. I don't think that means that you have to love EMs, but how could someone not, at a minimum, appreciate them and still be a lover of pinball? Hell, the mechanical genius of these games is more than enough to appreciate, even if you don't like how they play. The artwork can most certainly be appreciated by anyone.

Except Markmon apparently.

#139 4 years ago

+1

Quoted from Astropin:

I'm not a huge fan of EM's for single player but for multiple players they are the best!
I love to compete (casually) and on an EM it's usually much more competitive "closer scoring" games. You always feel like you have a shot to pull out the win on your last ball. Plus the games tend to be much shorter so you can get a lot of games in and keep track of who's ahead. "Okay you're up 3 games to 2....lets go again".
On a DMD usually one person runs away with it and then the other players are just waiting for that game to end so maybe they can have a shot in the next one.....and they wait......and they wait.

#140 4 years ago

At least Rarehero is coming around.

#141 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

At least Rarehero is coming around.

Nah, I'm about the same. Would never own one, but will play them elsewhere.

#142 4 years ago

>>What's the attraction with EMs?

Cheap?

#143 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Would never own one, but will play them elsewhere.

That's what I mean! Come take the Big Daddy challenge. It's waiting for you. Aurich put up over 800 pts. Can you do better?
159490-i.jpg

#144 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

That's what I mean! Come take the Big Daddy challenge. It's waiting for you. Aurich put up over 800 pts. Can you do better?

159490-i.jpg 44 KB

Jesus....that Big Daddy is Cherry!

#145 4 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

EM's only existed because technology didnt exist to do better.

Man that's like icing on the cake right there. Makes me wish I could "favorite" posts, although I would probably only "favorite" ones I thought were horrible.

Anyway, yes, technology didn't exist to do better. And you know what? Today's pins exist for the same reason. At some point people will be playing spaceball where the ball moves in 3d under the glass and they control magnetic attractors and repulsors with their minds. And those people will be wondering why everyone thought fanned-out flowball games were so great.

#146 4 years ago
Quoted from Astropin:

Jesus....that Big Daddy is Cherry!

Oh yeah!
159639.jpg

#147 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

That's what I mean! Come take the Big Daddy challenge. It's waiting for you. Aurich put up over 800 pts. Can you do better?

159490-i.jpg 44 KB

i fully plan on making it there someday and taking the rotordave challenge.... i WILL roll that machine, even if it takes me weeks!

#148 4 years ago
Quoted from ccotenj:

i WILL roll that machine, even if it takes me weeks!

I've done it twice.

#149 4 years ago

Rolled it? Or lit the "1"?

#150 4 years ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

yep. My dipsy doodle only has bells.

bells rule... i love bells even more than gtb chimes...

some machines have the best of both worlds, a nice big 5" bell and chimes...

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