I believe the last EM I played in the wild was at some ice cream shop in the Strip District of Pittsburgh a few years back, but I don't remember if it was a quarter a game or more. I might have popped in two quarters if it was 50 cents a game and wouldn't have thought twice about it. Maybe even four quarters if it was something I was eager to play (and had the quarters on hand).
Quoted from Isjack:
In having a couple early games out for 6 months at a quarter per play with the matches/replays off I got zero complaints and a ton of thank you's.
I do though remember my frustration on this machine when on my first or second game I reached a score in which I should have won a replay and didn't. That was the last game I was willing to play. I assumed that the ice cream scooper person wasn't the person maintaining the machine and so didn't say anything about the fault (as I suspected it was a problem with the machine or inability of the staff to keep the machine working as it should and not an operator choice to prevent replays from being awarded). Winning replays is part of the fun and although I'd be willing to spend more than a quarter on a nice EM, I'm not sure I'd be so enthralled in playing a machine knowing that the operator is preventing the awarding of replays or that the machine is not working as it should.
I assume that operators have figured out the sweet spot for amount to charge and settings for replays--disabling them just sounds wrong. Isn't the slogan that goes with pinball machines something like have settings that make it fun and challenging for the player while keeping the game rewarding for the operator? Or at least I think I read something like this...
Good luck metalguy in figuring out what is best for you!