(Topic ID: 226379)

Why Did Pinball Die In The 1990s?


By sataneatscheese

1 year ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by xTheBlackKnightx
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    There are 213 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 5.
    #101 1 year ago
    Quoted from viper001:

    I find myself in the startling position of being in disagreement with you on this one, which may be a first for me. We operate an arcade in our soft serve ice cream restaurant which is very busy during the summer season. We typically have run around 10 or so pins at a time and I can tell you there has never been a title in that room that has made more than the 2 PB2K machines. And honestly the worst thought of title (STE1) out earns everything else. And we have had some A list stuff pass through, games that are worth triple on the collector market and they still don't compare to the coin drop on STE1.

    Personally I think if WMS had stuck around to make more titles it could have been a game-changer for pinball. We will never know now.

    However, this is not 1999. Point I was making as Lloyd did earlier is game prices were going up in a relatively stagnant economy. I'm not sure what the P2K game cost new, but they had to cost more to make than the regular games. While some of the other machines were being blown out at fire sale prices.

    Players like myself had gotten used to seeing one regular game after another with more features and other entertaining elements that kind of peaked when MM came out. It was always like , OK what can they do next? The follow up games from them were spotty with games like CV and CC being almost unplayable because of code issues and whatnot.

    I played the P2K games, but it was always "nice, but when will we see the next real pinball machine?" It never happened from Williams, and I went on a surfing safari anyway, so was totally unaware at the time that pinball had almost died, as it had done this before and I wasn't really into researching it at the time. And there were still new routed games to play like South Park, but not as many places left to play them.

    #102 1 year ago

    I think pinball really reached its peak popularity in the late 1970's and 1980's but most of the best pins came out in the 1990's. I remember going to arcades and there was mostly pinball machines and over a few years time it became mostly video arcade machines, and the generation after me slowly lost interest in playing pinball. i would go in an arcade 20-25 years ago and it was all video, there might be a couple of pins that would be mostly unplayable.

    #103 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    However, this is not 1999. Point I was making as Lloyd did earlier is game prices were going up in a relatively stagnant economy. I'm not sure what the P2K game cost new, but they had to cost more to make than the regular games. While some of the other machines were being blown out at fire sale prices.
    Players like myself had gotten used to seeing one regular game after another with more features and other entertaining elements that kind of peaked when MM came out. It was always like , OK what can they do next? The follow up games from them were spotty with games like CV and CC being almost unplayable because of code issues and whatnot.
    I played the P2K games, but it was always "nice, but when will we see the next real pinball machine?" It never happened from Williams, and I went on a surfing safari anyway, so was totally unaware at the time that pinball had almost died, as it had done this before and I wasn't really into researching it at the time. And there were still new routed games to play like South Park, but not as many places left to play them.

    You are correct. They added significant cost and weight to devices operators didn’t want to buy anyway.

    #104 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I'm not sure what the P2K game cost new, but they had to cost more to make than the regular games.

    As I recall. A game like MM about $3600, P2K about $4200. Plus $2400 for kit to make it a SWE1. $6600 in a dying industry.

    LTG : )

    #105 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    As I recall. A game like MM about $3600, P2K about $4200. Plus $2400 for kit to make it a SWE1. $6600 in a dying industry.
    LTG : )

    I agree with all the comments. But as has been said before, PB2K will forever be judged on the only 2 games that made it to production. All the cool features (particularly the game/cabinet swapping) might have taken off in an environment where the production lasted longer than 18 months. As I remember WMS had no problems selling either title, folks were initially receptive even with the price increase.

    #106 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    As I recall. A game like MM about $3600, P2K about $4200. Plus $2400 for kit to make it a SWE1. $6600 in a dying industry.

    LTG : )

    How much did South Park cost? That thing, even today I hear, is and was a quarter eater.

    #107 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    So 7-11 killed pinball.
    Well, it's a new angle I'll give you that.

    Come to think of it, Taxi was removed around the time they introduced the Double Gulp!

    Coincidence?

    (The Super Big Gulp (44 oz.) appeared in 1986; the Double Gulp (64 oz.) in 1989)

    #108 1 year ago

    An article from Oct. 1999 pretty much sizes it up

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/28/technology/pinball-line-closing-down.html

    The Williams and Bally machines are being retired in part because of the success of the company's line of slot and video gambling machines.

    ''Ultimately, it comes down to how much these games earn,'' said Kevin Verner, chief operating officer of WMS Industries. ''Even 10 years ago, a successful game could sell 10,000 to 15,000 units. We haven't sold 15,000 units in a long time.''

    #109 1 year ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    Spot on ! I played JJPPOTC last week at a location, the sound could barely be heard, and it really killed a lot of my excitment, after watching a bunch of live videos.

    The sound at FREE GOLD WATCH shouldn’t be low on POTC. I just turned it up. Done by the silkscreen crew during the day. Feel free to nail that bell and ask them to crank it next time. Apologies!

    #110 1 year ago

    If this has already been covered I apologize, but the versatility and cost of not just arcade cabs but the boards was likely a huge factor. As an operator, you could (and can still today) buy a board or a kit and essentially pop it into any cabinet you want. Tempest stop earning for you? Buy the major havoc board and marquee and toss it into the same cabinet. Turn that game into something else in a year and rinse and repeat for fractions of the cost of what it would take to rotate the newest pins out at that pace.

    Just today I saw an "Atari Street Fighter" on the local CL that was a SF in an Asteroids cabinet that was painted all black.

    Obviously this wasn't the only reason but pins just weren't and still aren't this versatile and cheap where you dont have to buy a whole game everytime you need something fresh.

    #111 1 year ago
    Quoted from Vino:

    (The Super Big Gulp (44 oz.) appeared in 1986; the Double Gulp (64 oz.) in 1989)

    "The Super Big Gulp (44 oz.) appeared in 1986; the Double Gulp (64 oz.) in 1989; the X-Treme Gulp (52 oz.) in 2001; and finally, in 2006, came the Team Gulp. It holds 128 ounces—one gallon—of soda."

    #112 1 year ago
    Quoted from DennisDodel:

    "The Super Big Gulp (44 oz.) appeared in 1986; the Double Gulp (64 oz.) in 1989; the X-Treme Gulp (52 oz.) in 2001; and finally, in 2006, came the Team Gulp. It holds 128 ounces—one gallon—of soda."

    7-11 had me hooked on these monster cups pre super big gulp I think.

    Not my picture.

    image (resized).jpeg
    #113 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    How much did South Park cost? That thing, even today I hear, is and was a quarter eater.

    I never bought one when new. Still a good earner today.

    LTG : )

    #114 1 year ago

    Sounds like a 'chicken/egg' question regarding the death. Did the industry do something to kill pinball (P2K, killing off WMS production, no innovation) or did something culturally kill the industry.

    I think it is clear that consumers had moved on to new things by the mid-90s. P2K was a 'Hail-Mary' to attempt to cauterize the bleeding.

    Even with the current Renaissance it is clear that most average consumers do not have a taste for pinball. This is why the "Fremont Street Arcade" cannot keep pins in their arcade even though that operator tried hard to do it. Eventually he realized his visitors would rather use a candy crane.

    At the GameWorks near me I just sit and drink a beer and the kids run by the four pins and swipe their cards and keep running. It's remarkable if they plunge even one ball. The start buttons just blink... I can sit there and drink beers and play free pinball all day. Eventually I'm worried they will remove the pins to make a better return on that expensive retail floorspace.

    The coin-pusher deducts more credits off their game card than the pinball machine does. Sadly, that demonstrates where pinball sits.

    I do not predict it to get any worse though; it should sustain as a thriving boutique industry.

    #115 1 year ago
    Quoted from DANGERTERROR:

    The sound at FREE GOLD WATCH shouldn’t be low on POTC. I just turned it up. Done by the silkscreen crew during the day. Feel free to nail that bell and ask them to crank it next time. Apologies!

    Oh thanks ! I was so happy to play POTC and already so wowed by how many pinballs you have there, not mentioning their great condition that I didn't want to sound like a spoiled brat !

    #116 1 year ago
    Quoted from benheck:

    Pinball could die again if they don't stop making dinosaur themes like Munsters and Grandpa Rock Bands.

    Not could its just a matter of time, I just don't see the kids of today buying or even going out to play pinball. Video games will be so advanced by the time they are 30/40 that pinball will be ancient history. I know u pinball geeks of which I am one would like to think otherwise but in my opinion its unavoidable.

    #117 1 year ago
    Quoted from jawjaw:

    Even back in the 90's, I don't recall seeing that many pins.

    Most arcades had at least one .... And it was almost always broken.

    #118 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mitch:

    Why would they it was the worst form of music. Terrible quality.

    Not sure if you were alive and just don’t remember but tapes allowed you to listen to what you wanted to in your car or while walking around. You could also make your own mix tapes instead of waiting for K-Tel to release the perfect mix on vinyl. It’s convenience far surpassed it’s lack of quality. Unless you were playing LPs in your Caddie or something not sure how you would do better.

    #119 1 year ago

    I remember going to chuck-e-cheeses about 1980 for my birthday party. There was a ‘79 playboy in the pin lineup.

    Can you imagine the complaints today??
    Never happen today

    #120 1 year ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    Doom was a game changer, but Wolfenstein 3D was what started it for me. ID software RULED!
    I remember playing Wolfy 3D on my 386DX-40 back in the day, then DOOM came out & I had to play it in a tiny shrunk down screensize to get it to play at a decent frame rate. Finished it though... them's were the days!

    Yeah I played wolf3d in middleschool, very educational.

    #121 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    So 7-11 killed pinball.
    Well, it's a new angle I'll give you that.

    The Southland Corporation threw out pins once their scientific analysis determined they made ore money per square foot renting/selling Videos

    #122 1 year ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    Not could its just a matter of time, I just don't see the kids of today buying or even going out to play pinball.

    Almost every single pinhead I know did not grow up playing pinball - that includes guys like me in our 40s. We all came to it later.

    There’s a few old cuckers but it’s mostly people in their late 20s, early 30s at league now. None of them ever played location pinball.

    Ops stopped operating pins because video was easier, people stopped playing pins because there were less of them, plus vids were more compelling at the time. Feedback loop, pinball dies out for 20 years.

    #123 1 year ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Almost every single pinhead I know did not grow up playing pinball - that includes guys like me in our 40s. We all came to it later.

    You're probably right, but I started at 9 years old in Denver at Celebrity Lanes. I loved electronic stuff, mostly from my R/C interests and pinball was the coolest thing around.

    #124 1 year ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Almost every single pinhead I know did not grow up playing pinball - that includes guys like me in our 40s. We all came to it later.
    There’s a few old cuckers but it’s mostly people in their late 20s, early 30s at league now. None of them ever played location pinball.
    Ops stopped operating pins because video was easier, people stopped playing pins because there were less of them, plus vids were more compelling at the time. Feedback loop, pinball dies out for 20 years.

    I definitely think pins are more of an adult thing. Video games are much more attractive to kids. Easier to understand, more interactive, and less skills involved. Pins are not much fun if you drain all the time and cannot get anything going. Rules get complicated and most novices are just focused on keeping the ball from draining. My kids rarely play but will play video stupid phone video games all day. I don't get it but have to say I was the same back when I was young.

    #125 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    So 7-11 killed pinball.
    Well, it's a new angle I'll give you that.

    Here in the Midwest 1980s-1990s 7-11 really served as the community arcade. This is where everyone gathered to play.
    There was a corner convenience store that usually featured 2 pins and 1 arcade, or 2 arcades 1 pin or just 2 machines.
    I would go get a Big Gulp, couple comics and play until I had to turn back around and ride home.
    Even when I got older same crowd would huddle around the MK2, KI or SF games and play for quarters. There would be
    some WPC era pin on location that would rotate out every couple months.

    For most of us in the Midwest getting to a mall, chuck cheese or other destination required mom and dad.
    Convenience store just require a lot of foot power and hustling neighbors for lawn mowing or raking jobs.

    Clerks pretty much summed up our culture.

    We would pay pinball with all the cops when they came in for a break. Sometimes they'd try to work intel out of us.

    When we got old enough to drive we would cruise to all the billiards and play there but 7-11s were always close by.

    I think 1991-1994 7-11 and convenience stores stopped letting operators move machines in. Think ownership may
    of changed hands and Clerks culture stopped. You'd find more offshore operators who didn't want us pesky kids there.

    Maybe there was local ordinances. Regardless no more games at 7-11.

    #126 1 year ago

    We had no 7-11s here,but luckily we had a bunch of arcades. I remember every once in awHile my parents would drive us to the next town to get a slushie.

    #127 1 year ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Almost every single pinhead I know did not grow up playing pinball - that includes guys like me in our 40s. We all came to it later.

    There’s a few old cuckers but it’s mostly people in their late 20s, early 30s at league now.

    Thats a good thing and I hope it doesn't die but I wouldn't put my money on its survival in the long run.

    #128 1 year ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    Thats a good thing and I hope it doesn't die but I wouldn't put my money on its survival in the long run.

    Survive? I'd lay money on that. There is enough of an influx into the community that it's not going anywhere anytime soon. It will certainly outlive me.
    Thrive? Depends on what you mean. I think it's arguably "thriving" now.
    Rise up to its former glory? Probably not.

    #129 1 year ago
    Quoted from ThatOneDude:

    Survive? I'd lay money on that. There is enough of an influx into the community that it's not going anywhere anytime soon. It will certainly outlive me.
    Thrive? Depends on what you mean. I think it's arguably "thriving" now.
    Rise up to its former glory? Probably not.

    Nobody cares about "former glory." None of us will EVER return to our "former glory," in that we'll never be stoned teenagers in the 70s and 80s again with low body fat, lots of hair, and zero obligations and enough free time and money to spend our days at the skanky arcade smoking cigs, goofing off with our friends, and trying to convince everybody we were getting laid. That shit ain't coming back for anybody or anything - it's a different world. It's 2018 now.

    Pinball IS thriving. It's kicking absolute ass, more than it has, ever, since I started collecting in 2002.

    The idea that "the bubble will burst," or some kind of reckoning is on the horizon that will blow up pinball like a nuclear blast is absolutely ridiculous and based upon nothing but wishful thinking by people who have managed to convince themselves that someday soon they can get a TAF for $1,500.

    AINT GONNA HAPPEN.

    Pinball is back. It's here to stay. It aint going anywhere for a very long time. The current model is sustainable in the hobby and the industry. It may change, there may be bumps one way or the other but the proclaimations of doom are laughable and have been making people look stupid for well over a decade.

    So hey, keep at it!

    #130 1 year ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Almost every single pinhead I know did not grow up playing pinball - that includes guys like me in our 40s. We all came to it later.

    No wonder this hobby and industry are going to hell in a hand basket.

    When I was growing up, pinball arcades are where all the cool kids and hot chicks hung out.
    601a6878c1904dd25b5f77f2818c4a02--arcade-games-pinball-games (resized).jpg

    #131 1 year ago
    Quoted from rai:

    In the cargument terms pinabll is the stick shift (manual transmission) among the automatic transmissions of the world.

    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    This makes even less sense than your average cargument.
    I’m trying to massage this into something coherent...uhh..I think EM games would be the stick shift in this equation?

    I was trying to say nowadays you have to go out of your way to buy a manual transmission car. Used to be standard shift was common but now it’s the odd duck. Something like 3-4% of cars are sold with MT in the US. Nowadays you have to go out of your way to find pinabll machines and they are not universally bought or appreciated like they might have been 20-30 years ago.

    People who like MT cars, like them because you have to move a lever and be engaged somewhat in driving a car. Now we have cars that can drive by themselves heck without even a drive in the car.

    So I was saying pinball folks like them because you have to do something physical, you are actually connected to the game experience (apologies to DI with it’s Bluetooth connect to try to woo the younger generation).

    To me a pinball machine is not about Bluetooth connection and even video modes are viewed as suspect.

    #132 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    No wonder this hobby and industry are going to hell in a hand basket.
    When I was growing up, pinball arcades are where all the cool kids and hot chicks hung out.
    [quoted image]

    Playing pinball with gloves, now that's fancy !

    #133 1 year ago

    I knew the geeks would pounce a little, all I said was that it won't last and I stick to it, 30 40 years and I think long before that it will return to people trading whats out there. R u guys really so optimistic that you can't see where home console/VR video games will be in just 10 years? Ah who cares anyway

    #134 1 year ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    Playing pinball with gloves, now that's fancy !

    Wouldn't want to get anything gooey on those lovely hands, now would she?

    #135 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    some kind of reckoning is on the horizon that will blow up pinball like a nuclear blast is absolutely ridiculous

    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    but the proclaimations of doom

    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Pinball is back. It's here to stay.

    Take it easy Levi its just a game.

    #136 1 year ago

    The 7-11 theory of the decline of western civilization. It has legs, this one.....

    -4
    #137 1 year ago

    The real issue is all of those games look the same. 2 ramps, a shitty orange display, irrelevant pop bumpers, two slings near the flippers, plunge to the right hand side. I know there are exceptions, but pinball is pretty boring after a few games. Been there, done it, flipped it. B/W dmd wasn’t the golden age, it killed pinball.

    #138 1 year ago
    Quoted from Msch:

    The real issue is all of those games look the same. 2 ramps, a shitty orange display, irrelevant pop bumpers, two slings near the flippers, plunge to the right hand side. I know there are exceptions, but pinball is pretty boring after a few games. Been there, done it, flipped it. B/W dmd wasn’t the golden age, it killed pinball.

    Damn. Gauntlet thrown down.

    #139 1 year ago

    I think pinball machine will still be around for another 20 years. However, my view at pinball is bit pessimistic. Since my family members have no interest in pinball machine. So I always told my wife how much I paid for in each pinball machine. Just in case something happened to me. She won’t exchange my whole collection for a washing machine and a dishwasher (Just kidding).

    #140 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Wouldn't want to get anything gooey on those lovely hands, now would she?

    I think that's a bandage you fuckin' perverts. She's like 14 also.

    #141 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I think that's a bandage you fuckin' perverts. She's like 14 also.

    So was I. The 70s had their own rules anyway that most now would not not understand.

    #142 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    So was I. The 70s had their own rules anyway that most now would not not understand.

    Yeah but you don't live in the past remember?

    So as it is you are a disgusting old man oggling a 14-year old.

    That is a great book though - really the only good pinball book ever put out in my opinion. Great writing and photos.

    #143 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Yeah but you don't live in the past remember?

    So as it is you are a disgusting old man oggling a 14-year old.

    I don't live in the past, I fondly remember it. It must have been a way better time to be growing up than it is now.

    And you can give your judgmental, holier than thou attitude a rest.

    #144 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I don't live in the past, I fondly remember it. It must have been a way better time to be growing up than it is now.

    People keep saying that but it's impossible for us to know because we're not growing up now. You just assume because even gets a trophy for everything g that it's bad... But maybe if you were getting the rewards you'd like it.
    When you guys where a young a picture like that was porn, that doesn't sound better.

    #145 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    I think that's a bandage you fuckin' perverts. She's like 14 also.

    Hard to tell if it's a bandage, and hard to tell if she is 14.

    Google found the picture, it's the cover for a song Little Debbie. The band is Surgery, so it could be a bandage (but that doesn't tell us anything about her age !)

    #146 1 year ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    People keep saying that but it's impossible for us to know because we're not growing up now.

    Well, I can think of quite a few things, and raising a kid you get a pretty good sense of what is different now, but for one we actually hung out at arcades and played pinball, which is what started this little conversation before it got sidetracked.

    #147 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Well, I can think of quite a few things, and raising a kid you get a pretty good sense of what is different now, but for one we actually hung out at arcades and played pinball, which is what started this little conversation before it got sidetracked.

    There are social scientists who are saying now that, kids are so protected now that they don't understand problem resolution. They need to have an adult fix everything for them, rather than fix it within their peer group. This is leading to big problems as this generation of kids grow up. It's a very interesting topic.

    amazon.com link »

    #148 1 year ago
    Quoted from tamoore:

    This is leading to big problems as this generation of kids grow up.

    Going on now.

    Look how many people asking for help here and get it and respond with "I don't know how".

    Basic stuff. Solder, use a meter, check continuity. And with so many resources to learn, even short videos on Youtube.

    When I didn't know something, I sat down and figured it out. I didn't ask for help. Didn't even think of asking.

    LTG : )

    #149 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Well, I can think of quite a few things,

    Yes and I can think of quite a few things the other way

    Quoted from o-din:

    and raising a kid you get a pretty good sense of what is different now,

    Raising a kid now? How old is your daughter...like 25?

    Quoted from o-din:

    but for one we actually hung out at arcades and played pinball...

    Indeed those were good times. Now you can't even put a drink near one of grind it too hard becasue they're all in diaper rubbers basements.

    #150 1 year ago
    Quoted from adol75:

    Hard to tell if it's a bandage, and hard to tell if she is 14.
    Google found the picture, it's the cover for a song Little Debbie. The band is Surgery, so it could be a bandage (but that doesn't tell us anything about her age !)

    Pic is actually from roger sharpe’s book Pinball! Highly recommended.

    Just don’t get anything “gooey” on the pages!

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