Quoted from pezpunk:
it's a decent chunk of change but it's not like you can do it over and over. you have to hit the beta quadrant ramp an increasing number of times to activate it. it's not remotely imbalanced compared to a decent Borg Multiball. yes, it's a memorizable video mode that's boring once you memorize the pattern, and sure it's worthwhile to go for, but it's not imbalanced score-wise. you can't repeat it over and over unless you are flawless at repeating the beta ramp dozens of times.
edit: went and looked it up. here are the number of times you have to hit the ramp to light the video mode: 3,9,21,27,33,39,51,57,63,69,81,87,93,99
so to get a billion out of the video mode (equivalent to a good Borg Multiball with a little bit of a jackpot built up) you have to hit the beta ramp 51 times. if you can make that ramp 51 times in one game, you deserve to win. yes, it grants you artifacts too, but those are only beneficial if you actually manage to go through all seven primary missions and make it to Final Frontier, which is certainly not an easy thing to do even if you are timing out the modes. if the strategy you are employing requires making it to the Final Frontier wizard mode, i don't think that counts as an "exploit".
It's no exploit. It's a small amount of points you can get along the way, and the artifact will pay off in FF (IF you get there, and someone who thinks sttng has "scoring exploits" probably don't get there too much) but it's no easy exploit. You can also disable the ability to get video mode on launch in the setting very easily that's a minor adjustment. It's a very balanced scoring game and you can play for FF or multiball or both for big scores which makes it a great player. Excellent software that avoids the "timeout and move on" trap of many other games of the era.
Sttng is a great game all around. It's also a $3500-4500 game ALL DAY LONG in nice shape - as proven by sales on pinside and at shows all the time - and people trying to price pump this title aren't fooling anybody. They made a shitload of them (last title to go over 10,000), the theme isn't top of the heap for many, and it's difficultly (see any joe kiss bitching thread) and reliability issues scare many people off.
I just sold a nice one that had minor issues for $3300 here on pinside and it took a week with tons of obnoxious lowballers before a good buyer who saw the value pulled the trigger.
Great game. Great value. $3500-4500 (and that's being very generous on the high end) all day long. You want to slap some powder coat, tacky LEDs and cheesy mods all of it be our guest but don't think it's gonna push your game up into new stern price territory.