(Topic ID: 241035)

Why pinball is prospering


By timarnold

33 days ago



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  • Latest reply 27 days ago by TRC73
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    21
    #1 33 days ago

    Every day the pinball hobby is getting bigger and better. New factories building big boxes full of wires. More pinball shows every weekend. Locations opening up with machines as a side show or even as a big tent attraction. Here at the Pinball Hall of Fame tourists are flooding over the Canadian border with pockets full of their worthless iron quarters and asking "Is it always this hot?'
    In 42 years of operating I have NEVER seen conditions this good.
    As Gary Stern says 'The future is so bright, you have to wear stupid looking white glasses!"
    Why?
    Simple!
    www.thedodo.com
    Look at the cute little puppies and then go play pinball!

    #2 33 days ago

    ...and away we go.

    #3 33 days ago

    Happy that your business is doing well and you are around for many more years to come. The resurgence in pinball is great. Many choices these days and parts being available is the best. Only downside would be some of the prices that come with all the good.

    #4 33 days ago

    I just randomly decided to get into pinball a week ago, no machine yet. I'm 33 years old, but I've never played them in the arcades because they took my quarters too fast. I'm not sure what age group is responsible for this resurgence though.

    #5 33 days ago

    I see an interest of all age groups discovering and rediscovering pinball right now personally. People finding out you can own these for your home and fortunately for any new techs there is a lot of business. If you have an establishment you are probably asked almost everyday about buying or can you come fix something. Companies are putting out parts and games. It is a great time for sure.

    #6 33 days ago

    Oh and people that own may tend to be older and have a more established income.

    #7 33 days ago

    Pinball is fun. Lot's of sensory feedback and requires enough physical effort to feel alive without actually working out.

    24
    #8 33 days ago

    That’s good to hear it went from failing last week to prospering this week

    -1
    #9 33 days ago

    Such a silly claim. Wait for the next recession coming any time now and then watch the carnage. Only Stern will survive and possibly one boutique.

    #10 33 days ago

    Unless it turns into an inflationary recession, then pinball machines will nominally cost as much as your high scores on these things.

    #11 33 days ago

    WTF, stop drinking and typing tim. Remember it is failing!!!!

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/why-pinball-is-failing

    Treat my customers better? Nope

    #12 33 days ago

    Was at your place today, saw you there but didn't say hi as you were busy working. Everyone in our party had a great time, thanks for keeping all those machines going and we are looking forward to a big new place.

    #13 33 days ago

    The women that are flooding this hobby....they are the future, and the future is bright.

    #14 33 days ago

    Wednesday must be dollar medicinal night in Vegas.

    #15 33 days ago

    Way to jinx things.

    #16 33 days ago
    Quoted from Flipper_McGavin:

    Unless it turns into an inflationary recession, then pinball machines will nominally cost as much as your high scores

    note01 (resized).jpg
    #17 33 days ago

    I often think of Pinball like other Luxury markets.....Nothing that we "Need", but something we "Want".

    For Pinball, especially New Top games or HEP, they are at top dollar.
    Ive seen the upper end sales doing very well in demand to new Pinball owners.....they need a new toy, and
    they have extra cash to spend.

    The "Middle" range, seems to be bit stagnant, other than quality and in demand titles.

    So Extra wealth....(have to start with having some in the first place), has fueled a lot of new buyers, first time buyers.
    I see this in the Jewelry Industry. Flat in the Middle, and only the More expensive, is holding up the industry.

    Thankfully, when games are on route, more people get exposed, and get to put the phone down for a bit,
    and play.

    Funny how a quarter on the glass use to hold ones game place seems so long ago....

    #18 33 days ago

    When you a do a home service call on The Getaway pinball and and the owners 11 year old son asks if it has L2 software in the game thats a good sign.

    Modding has definately been a catapault for home owners as well as leds.

    #19 33 days ago

    I think that the underlying desire is for people to connect again, face-to-face, in truly social ways. We've been smothered in "social" media (surely, a misnomer) for about a decade now and I think people are just finding it meaningless and depressing. Unlike video games, pinball can't be easily replicated in your living room so it is a fun excuse to get out and hang out with others. It melds accessibility with a high skill ceiling extraordinarily well, as well as brings together technology (of various sorts) and creativity in ways no other entertainment form does or can. Seeing a "world under glass" is much different than staring at pixels on a screen -- And, here's the best part -- I think there is HUGE potential in pinball not being realized yet because it is still a little bit stuck in a certain set of design patterns. Once some fresher minds start making games, I think we're going to see some really cool out-of-the-box (creatively) stuff. Pinball design strikes me a bit like Congress -- it's in desperate need of a generational shift That's not to say what is being made today isn't incredible, just that I think there's a little room for "back to the drawing board" style design.

    #20 33 days ago
    Quoted from timarnold:Every day the pinball hobby is getting bigger and better. New factories building big boxes full of wires. More pinball shows every weekend. Locations opening up with machines as a side show or even as a big tent attraction. Here at the Pinball Hall of Fame tourists are flooding over the Canadian border with pockets full of their worthless iron quarters and asking "Is it always this hot?'
    In 42 years of operating I have NEVER seen conditions this good.
    As Gary Stern says 'The future is so bright, you have to wear stupid looking white glasses!"
    Why?
    Simple!
    www.thedodo.com
    Look at the cute little puppies and then go play pinball!

    Kids, don't do drugs. Otherwise this is what will happen when you turn 64....

    14
    #21 33 days ago

    I'm 34 which is the bottom end of the hobby's demographic but I think I have a unique perspective. I believe there are 3 factors driving the hobby at the moment.

    Demographics: I grew up in mostly a digital culture, I can vaguely remember the analog world from my childhood in the early and mid 90's. There is something inherently romantic about a world where physical items move around and cause something to happen. Digital things are perfect, designed to be perfect but they lack a kind of tactile humanity you can smell or see. The resurgence of vinyl is an example of the digital generation looking for something which is imperfect and physical. I've lifted the playfield to my Tron for friends and their brains have exploded with wonder... horrible to clean up by the way...

    Disposable Income: In the last few years those of us in their 30's and early 40's have moved into the market because we have more disposable income. Granted we're carrying more debt and have started careers later in life. That being said, some of this generation have made it though in good shape ahead of others. In addition, those in their 50's have had more of their children moving out of their homes and on their own which has freed up money to spend on hobbies.

    Economic Cycles: Lastly, we're at the top of the economic cycle. We don't know we're on the downward trend until we're already mid way down the cycle. We're definitely closer to the next recession than the last which goes to say, things are good and people are spending on silly things vs. being fearful and not spending.

    #22 33 days ago

    This may seem counter-intuitive, but I also believe the internet has enabled the resurgence somewhat. For me personally, when I stumbled across the IPDB about 10 years ago and saw pictures of the games I played back in the 70's and 80's - I was flooded with sentimental memories. It was like I could almost smell the arcade again, and was the spark that ignited my interest in pinball again.

    Then, I searched some more and found a local distributor (www.joystix.com) ...purchased my 1st game, and I was 100% hooked. Part of the fun of this hobby for me is repairing/fixing/restoring older games, and the ability to find parts and technical help is critical. I've heard horror stories about how it was before the internet.

    So yes - I agree 100% that a large part of the pinball appeal is it's non-digital nature - but have to give some credit to the digital age for it's resurgence as well.

    #23 33 days ago

    I still stand by my original assertion from the other thread.

    All hail the Willy Wonka Hippy Pirate King!

    #24 33 days ago

    So why is pinball prospering? The Las Vegas heat?

    #25 33 days ago
    Quoted from davidlldennis:

    I'm 34 which is the bottom end of the hobby's demographic but I think I have a unique perspective. I believe there are 3 factors driving the hobby at the moment.
    Demographics: I grew up in mostly a digital culture, I can vaguely remember the analog world from my childhood in the early and mid 90's. There is something inherently romantic about a world where physical items move around and cause something to happen. Digital things are perfect, designed to be perfect but they lack a kind of tactile humanity you can smell or see. The resurgence of vinyl is an example of the digital generation looking for something which is imperfect and physical. I've lifted the playfield to my Tron for friends and their brains have exploded with wonder... horrible to clean up by the way...
    Disposable Income: In the last few years those of us in their 30's and early 40's have moved into the market because we have more disposable income. Granted we're carrying more debt and have started careers later in life. That being said, some of this generation have made it though in good shape ahead of others. In addition, those in their 50's have had more of their children moving out of their homes and on their own which has freed up money to spend on hobbies.
    Economic Cycles: Lastly, we're at the top of the economic cycle. We don't know we're on the downward trend until we're already mid way down the cycle. We're definitely closer to the next recession than the last which goes to say, things are good and people are spending on silly things vs. being fearful and not spending.

    I'm 35. There are a lot of us collecting/playing/fixing and even younger. I believe the state champ last year isn't even 18, and we have INCREDIBLE players in Florida!

    #26 33 days ago
    Quoted from davidlldennis:

    In addition, those in their 50's have had more of their children moving out of their homes and on their own which has freed up money to spend on hobbies.

    Or in my case, moving back in when their life goes to shit and they need to start over with less than desirable circumstances.

    #27 33 days ago

    I was just at the PHOF two weeks ago.
    I played the new Stern Munsters premium at the trade show.
    Put my initials on it, go to PHOF a few days later and there it is with my initials on it still.

    It is nice to see you get all the new titles in right away.

    #28 33 days ago
    Quoted from MeNaCeFiRe:

    I'm 35. There are a lot of us collecting/playing/fixing and even younger. I believe the state champ last year isn't even 18, and we have INCREDIBLE players in Florida!

    28 checking in. I've been into pinball about 4 years and have rotated probably 20 machines in that time.

    10
    #29 33 days ago
    Quoted from timarnold:

    Every day the pinball hobby is getting bigger and better. New factories building big boxes full of wires. More pinball shows every weekend. Locations opening up with machines as a side show or even as a big tent attraction. Here at the Pinball Hall of Fame tourists are flooding over the Canadian border with pockets full of their worthless iron quarters and asking "Is it always this hot?'
    In 42 years of operating I have NEVER seen conditions this good.
    As Gary Stern says 'The future is so bright, you have to wear stupid looking white glasses!"
    Why?
    Simple!
    www.thedodo.com
    Look at the cute little puppies and then go play pinball!

    Last week you were doomed. This week you’re a millionaire. I can’t wait to see what happens next week

    13
    #30 33 days ago

    I partly credit Farsight’s Pinball Arcade and Zen pinball for creating great gateway-drug digital versions of pins for people to fall in love with from the comfort of their mobile devices and home PCs.

    #31 33 days ago

    I can only add that I hope Tim is right with this. We are about to place a significant bet that he is.

    Hello from Bastrop TX where we have been actively looking for commercial space to open our own pinball themed museum type event space/recreation center for over a year. May have more to share soon, we are close to signing a lease for our first space. Stay tuned!

    #32 33 days ago

    I think the better question is

    "Why did pinball die back from 99-2010?

    #33 33 days ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I think the better question is
    "Why did pinball die back from 99-2010?

    Is 1999 when the last of the mall arcades started to finally give up and close their doors forever?

    #34 32 days ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    "Why did pinball die back from 99-2010?

    Console and PC gaming. Pinball actually died around '93 but it took awhile for the whole body to stop flopping around.

    I was at the local barcade last night and I was the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Tons of younger players today.

    #35 32 days ago

    Now to rebut Tim's position... is Tim. You're awesome, man!

    #36 32 days ago

    Pinball isn’t dead.

    It just smells funny.

    #37 32 days ago

    I think we are in the golden age of pinball.

    Blink and you might miss some of it. (On a tread mill, but that is the gist of it for me.)

    The golden age!

    #38 32 days ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Console and PC gaming. Pinball actually died around '93 but it took awhile for the whole body to stop flopping around.
    I was at the local barcade last night and I was the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Tons of younger players today.

    1993 was right in the middle of the fighting game explosion. And established arcades were doing well. It wasn't the 80s with games in nearly every store... but it wasn't dead at all in 1993. It was raging back

    #39 32 days ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Console and PC gaming. Pinball actually died around '93 but it took awhile for the whole body to stop flopping around.
    I was at the local barcade last night and I was the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Tons of younger players today.

    Plus there were 100,000 games out between all the manufacturers. Ops could not keep buying a new game each month.

    #40 32 days ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Console and PC gaming. Pinball actually died around '93 but it took awhile for the whole body to stop flopping around.
    I was at the local barcade last night and I was the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Tons of younger players today.

    I would say 1993 is still early for the death of coin op. Ultimately the torch was passed early 2000 in my estimation. There are many factors but one that does stick out to me is the lack of innovation on the coin op side. Later an even deeper hole was the fact that coin op never included online play or I online leaderboards at the cab. Now some of that is finally changing. There is truly some creative people entering our industry and it is awesome to see Stern be at the forefront of this evolution in their hiring. I had some incredible discussions with Gary and John at MCG about how to keep us trending upward. They understood my points of emphasis and ultimately agreed that pushing the envelope only helps grow the scene on location and in the basements of enthusiasts everywhere. Not that things can't change again but I like the leadership at all the manufacturers we currently deal with.

    #41 32 days ago

    Things were getting really bad in September, 1984. I started looking for a job when the route operator I worked for made us take a $75.00/week pay cut. Pins had died earlier but now video games were tanking. I got out in June of '85 and never looked back.

    Granted, Funhouse and Addams Family came out after and helped pinball move ahead as video games struggled. But it was no way for me to make a decent living at that point. Most of route op days former co-workers who I still see all moved on into automation/robotics, automotive / transportation careers and did well. One guy who stayed in it survived, but barely.

    #42 32 days ago

    Pinball is prospering because it is bad ass and addictive. Play ball !!

    #43 32 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Pinball isn’t dead.
    It just smells funny.

    Haha...Zappa FTW

    #44 32 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    1993 was right in the middle of the fighting game explosion.

    I'm talking pinball. Look at sales numbers - after TZ it was all downhill.

    #45 32 days ago

    Stern, price, collectors, and nostalgia. As much as people hate Stern, operators are making money, people are playing, leagues are thriving, and more people are interested. I am by no means a Stern fanboy, but without Stern I don’t think pinball would have survived. For that I am grateful (despite the current cost cutting situation). I applaud Jersey Jack and Spooky for making some incredible games, but ultimately they are intended for the private collector which is still a great thing for the hobby. I plan on buying a TNA, Wonka, and BKSOF this year. I am 36 and love where this niche passion is heading. The more people that are getting into collecting, the more it drives prices. Spend your money the way you want. I’m tired of people bashing companies and their choices. It’s all working and more companies are willing to throw their hat in the ring. It’s all good for pinball. One of my best friends told me about 8 years ago that, “owning any pinball machine is better than not owning a machine.” I truly believe that with the right friends and good drinks that it’s better than just about anything you can buy for your game room.

    #46 32 days ago
    Quoted from Spagano314:

    Stern, price, collectors, and nostalgia. As much as people hate Stern, operators are making money, people are playing, leagues are thriving, and more people are interested. I am by no means a Stern fanboy, but without Stern I don’t think pinball would have survived. For that I am grateful (despite the current cost cutting situation). I applaud Jersey Jack and Spooky for making some incredible games, but ultimately they are intended for the private collector which is still a great thing for the hobby. I plan on buying a TNA, Wonka, and BKSOF this year. I am 36 and love where this niche passion is heading. The more people that are getting into collecting, the more it drives prices. Spend your money the way you want. I’m tired of people bashing companies and their choices. It’s all working and more companies are willing to throw their hat in the ring. It’s all good for pinball. One of my best friends told me about 8 years ago that, “owning any pinball machine is better than not owning a machine.” I truly believe that with the right friends and good drinks that it’s better than just about anything you can buy for your game room.

    I help maintain 51 games on route for the past 5 years. Pinball would be just fine without Stern. In fact their games (post 5k+ pricing) are rarely the best or even good business choice for operation.

    #47 32 days ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    I'm talking pinball. Look at sales numbers - after TZ it was all downhill.

    Pinball was a route operation at the time.. and the arcades were on the upswing. So I disagree with your statement that they died and just took time to stop flopping around. Peak of sales with TAF and TZ had a lot to do with the specific titles, not just the industry trend.

    It's why Alvin G was able to start in 91. Why Sega still bought in as late as 1994 and capcom even later. Arcades were still seeing their second big surge on the backs of SFII, etc. If it was already dead in 1993... none of those people would have bought in AFTERWARDS.

    The consoles were the big blow.. the seed was set with the SNES/Genesis generation... but they hit high gear with the PSX in 1994. From that point on, the home consoles would be kings and the arcades retreating. That also coincides with the steep drop off of WMS production that really took a hit starting in 1995. Warcraft and RTS got big too right around 1995 with games like Command n Conquer.

    I'd pin the knockout punch in 1995.. and it stumbled through on intertia through 96 and into 97 until the operators themselves just couldn't buy the games to float WMS. The 2nd tier producers had all already given up because they didn't have the sales interia and distribution WMS had so they collapsed quicker.

    By 1996, the FPS craze had heated up on PC gaming.. we got quake, and in 98 we got half-life. The one-two blow of 64bit gaming, and the rise of FPS and RTS on PC were the end of the neighborhood arcades.

    #48 32 days ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I help maintain 51 games on route for the past 5 years. Pinball would be just fine without Stern. In fact their games (post 5k+ pricing) are rarely the best or even good business choice for operation.

    I agree with you, but if the continuation of the hobby didn’t exist; would parts, playfields, cabinet decals backglasses/translites and ramps continue to be produced? Just 5 years ago it was almost impossible to find anything for “B and C” level games. Now you can get parts for just about anything. Companies have realized there is money to be made on 30+ year old games. I don’t think that would have happened if there wasn’t a demand post 2000+ pinball. In 2001 if I were to sell a routed Fathom do you think someone would have paid $5,000+ knowing that parts were unobtanium or do you think that the reassurance of knowing the parts are there have driven the price? Sure, the cost may be worth exponentially more for a huo machine that’s 25 years old, but if you truly could only “restore” the machine without manufacturing your own parts or paying an extreme premium, it could have changed the entire industry.

    #49 32 days ago

    Why is everyone feeding the troll with these long responses?

    2049365E-0035-40B7-9A65-F97842D7E363 (resized).jpeg
    #50 32 days ago

    I was watching my favorite sports team on the video box and the magic magician that speaks about my favorite team like he’s also watching said pinball. So I looked it up and was like neato torpedo. Now here I am.

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