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Buying pinball machines


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57 replies to this topic

#1 of 58 Wade

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Posted May 07 2004 - 04:52 AM

I have a couple questions about buying pinball machines. 1) What are some good things to consider when shopping for a pinball machine? 2) Are there any good Internet resources for pricing and places to buy pinball machines?

I've always wanted to own a machine or two but had to wait until I had the room to put them in. I believe I've narrowed the list down to these older personal favorites:

Gorgar
Black Knight
Terminator 2 Judgment Day
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Gorgar and Black Knight are two machines I played the most as a young teen. The Black Hole is another machine from this time that I would consider as well. Terminator 2 and Star Trek are two awesome machines that my friends and I would play at the local bars. We would either play for bucks or beers and the play would usually last well into the early morning hours.

I know a couple of these machines will be expensive but I'll gladly pay the price if it's something I really want and it's in good shape.

Thanks,
Wade

#2 of 58 Shane Martin

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Posted May 07 2004 - 04:57 AM

Wade,
Say Hello to Mr Pinball

My friend has bought and sold around 30 machines and has about 10 in his house including the Star Trek you mentioned. I've seen them go for $1,500-$2,000 on average depending on condition. I had a chance to buy a dirty one for $800. I would have had to clean it thoroughly, rebuild the flippers on top of replacing a few other things. I passed and I'm regretting it.

The best place to look is around locally. Check with local operators and find out whats not being used and what they want to sell. We've found awesome deals this way. There are also pinball auctions in various places all over. There was one in Dallas and Kansas City a while back. They also have random gaming auctions all over the place if you check the newspaper.

Good luck its an expensive yet fun hobby to get into.

#3 of 58 Evan S

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Posted May 07 2004 - 05:31 AM

Do a search, this topic was recently addressed in after hours if I am not mistaken...there were quite a few informative posts on which machines to buy, how expensive they are, maintenance required, etc.
searching for that elusive, "perfect" sound.

#4 of 58 Wade

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Posted May 07 2004 - 05:56 AM

Shane, Thanks for the link. It looks like there's some great information there. I'll check it all out a little later. I'll start by looking locally. I would rather buy a machine this way rather than some online auction place or classified ad. I know these can get expensive but I think it's well worth it. I've always been into pinball more than video games so I know these would get a lot of use.


Evan, I did search before posting. The only topic that came up was this ONE. That originator of that post was specifically asking about machine recommendations. I did bookmark some of the links posted by Lary for future reading.

Wade

#5 of 58 Shane Martin

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Posted May 07 2004 - 06:22 AM

Wade,
If you buy online, there is a service called Forward air that will ship them if you crate them up or it gets crated and sold to you. I think they sell crates too.

The price is roughly $100 for a 350-400 lb machine. The Star Trek is a wide body so its extremely heavy so get a few friends Posted Image

I know I've built alot of muscle helping a friend move them up and down his stairs Posted Image

A machine you might find and should buy if its cheap enough is Adams Family. That game is awesome!.

#6 of 58 Wade

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Posted May 07 2004 - 06:32 AM

Shane,

How easy are these things to move up and down stairs? I'm thinking about putting these in our upstairs loft but I'm concerned about our stairs. The stairs aren't a straight shot. They go up half way to a landing then turn 180 degrees for the other half. are these shipped in pieces (legs and back removed)?

I do remember the Addams Family machine. This one has a lower playfield if I remember correctly. There is another one from the 80s that has a lower playfield that I used to play every day at lunch. For the life of me I can't remember the name of this machine. I really want to find out to because I remember it being pretty addicting and fun to play.

Thanks,
Wade

#7 of 58 Shane Martin

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Posted May 07 2004 - 07:14 AM

Quote:
How easy are these things to move up and down stairs? I'm thinking about putting these in our upstairs loft but I'm concerned about our stairs. The stairs aren't a straight shot. They go up half way to a landing then turn 180 degrees for the other half. are these shipped in pieces (legs and back removed)?
Get the following:
1. Friends Posted Image
2. Some Muscles Posted Image
3. A socket Wrench
4. Some "saw horses" from Home Depot.

Use the Saw horses to hold the machine until you put the legs on. You will remove the legs when you move it around. Just 2 bolts per leg. There are a couple bolts in the head area that you remove and boom the head comes down for easy moving.

It's pretty easy really but its tough to move it upstairs w/ 2 people unless you guys have eaten your Wheaties Posted Image
Quote:
I do remember the Addams Family machine. This one has a lower playfield if I remember correctly. There is another one from the 80s that has a lower playfield that I used to play every day at lunch. For the life of me I can't remember the name of this machine. I really want to find out to because I remember it being pretty addicting and fun to play.
It has one playfield. This is probably one of the best games and it is regarded as the machine that gets the most play. I personally prefer Star Trek over it but my favorite is Medieval Madness($$$$). These are all Williams machines or Bally. Stern makes them now and has made an awesome Lord of the Rings game. It runs about $4k.

Posted Image

#8 of 58 LarryDavenport

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Posted May 07 2004 - 07:37 AM

Check Ebay. Last year a friend of mine got a mint condition, sit down Spy Hunter (admittedly not a pinball machine) for $300. The seller was in the same town as us (Seattle) so shipping wasn't an issue (we rented a truck and picked it up ourselves).

http://search.ebay.c....sortpropertyZ1

#9 of 58 JohnS

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Posted May 07 2004 - 07:49 AM

You have heard of IMDB.com right??

Well there is one for pinball machines.

www.ipdb.org

We just sold a Black Knight here in our store.
fun game.
But we just got in the fun baby Pac-man pinball/aracde game

But I prefer Medievil Madness(lots of sexual enuendos)

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#10 of 58 LarryDavenport

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Posted May 07 2004 - 08:53 AM

Cool link! Is there a DB of pre-Space Invaders/computer generated arcade games? I remember, before there was Space Invades, there were "video games" at my local grocery store. Some were driving games similiar to Pole Position but not computer generated, ditto a cool submarine game.

#11 of 58 Wade

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Posted May 07 2004 - 10:29 AM

Medieval Madness appears to be a popular game but I don't ever remember playing it. I'll have to make it to the local arcades and give this one a try.

That is a cool link. Xenon is another machine I forgot about until seeing it in that database. I still can't find that one from the 80s that I played every darn day. It's bugging the crap out of me.

Shane, Thanks for the moving and setting tips.

Larry, There are a lot of machines listed on Ebay, but I've never purchased anything from there before. I would be worried about making such a big purchase there and end up getting screwed. Not to say that wouldn't happen to me here locally.

Wade

#12 of 58 Bob-N

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Posted May 07 2004 - 10:37 AM

My last fav when I was into pinball was Twilight Zone. It was a wide body and was a great machine IMHO.

Spy Hunter, another fav when I was growing up. $300? Man, I'm jealous. Wife wants a Centipede machine so when we build onto the house, the search will be on.

#13 of 58 Eric_E

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Posted May 07 2004 - 11:20 AM

Larry:

Such a database for video games does exist:

The Killer List of Videogames

I've never failed to find info on arcade games I've researched there. It goes all the way back to Computer Space.

It's actually part of the International Arcade Museum, which has a Pinball section as well.

#14 of 58 JohnS

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Posted May 07 2004 - 12:22 PM

We also sold a Twiglight Zone pinball machine last month, pretty fun.

Besides the Baby Pac-man, we have a Dirty Harry pinball game. very amusing.

Midevil Madness is great
it uses such phrases as "Is that a sword in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?"

"Your sword is SO big"
"I'm getting hot up here"
"save me..now..now...now(in an orgasmic tone)

Playing the MM pinball machine freaks you out, when you playing it for the first time, because it surprises you on how sexual it gets.

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#15 of 58 Shane Martin

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Posted May 07 2004 - 03:40 PM

Twilight Zone is easily one of my favorites. The game is extremely amazing(and freaking heavy!).

Another neato game is Circus Voltaire. Its one of the few games with a warning label on it because of the strobe multi ball. The playfield turns black and the lights go out except for strobe lights. It's a circus theme game and its pretty amazing as well.

The new Lord of the Rings is pretty amazing too.

#16 of 58 Wade

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Posted May 18 2004 - 09:55 AM

Since may last posting I've been living on rec.games.pinball, ebay and Mr. Pinball to find out all I can. Also been going to the Internet Pinball Database quite a bit. I've realized there are a lot of games that I had forgotten about and some I wish I could play.

I'm tempted to buy a new machine to start then possibly buy an older shopped one later. The LOTR looks like a winner along with the Simpsons Pinball Party. I need to find a place in town that has both of these machines so I can give them a try. I don't think I would be disappointed with either one after all the comments I've read regarding them.

I could see this being an expensive Hobby. Some of the older machines that I want go for top dollar on ebay and Mr Pinball. I need to get hooked up here locally. Maybe then I'll be able to get one of the older machines for a reasonable price.

Wade

#17 of 58 Sam Posten

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Posted May 19 2004 - 02:32 AM

Here's a good question!

What would you consider the most fun pinball machine that you can get (relative to other machines) for cheap?

As much as I'd love to have a star wars, or kiss or Twilight Zone, I'd like to start my basement off with something thats not gonna cost me $3k....

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#18 of 58 Shane Martin

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Posted May 19 2004 - 04:14 AM

Posten,
What's cheap($$ wise to you)?

As I've seen about 30 or more machines float thru a friends house, I've played most of them and have a decent idea of what they are worth and which ones will get you the most excitement.

I know WhiteWater is a nice machine and can be had for $1k or less(if you want to clean it up). There are a few more machines in that price range that are of the same vintage.

Bride of Pinbot is a nice machine. My friend paid $400 for his and cleaned it up for less than a hundred or so in parts. As long as you stick to Bally, WIlliams, and Stern(bought Williams) then you are safe for the most part. 95% of their games are great IMHO. Sega OTOH are mostly trash.
Quote:
I'm tempted to buy a new machine to start then possibly buy an older shopped one later
Learn to shop it yourself. You will save ALOT of money. I do mean ALOT.

Finding machines locally is your best bet I've found. Lots of great deals and mostly folks don't know what they have or what they are worth. Look for local arcades and find out what provider they use. Often times you will find it is a small operation and he might have a few laying around doing nothing because they are broke and the guy won't fix it. Those are your best deals.
Quote:
The LOTR looks like a winner along with the Simpsons Pinball Party.
LOTR is pretty amazing. Simpsons isn't so good.

#19 of 58 Nathan*W

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Posted May 19 2004 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
How easy are these things to move up and down stairs? I'm thinking about putting these in our upstairs loft but I'm concerned about our stairs. The stairs aren't a straight shot. They go up half way to a landing then turn 180 degrees for the other half.
PIVOT! Posted Image
 

#20 of 58 Sam Posten

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Posted May 19 2004 - 02:56 PM

Under $1k or so, cant see spending even that on one machine.

Been reading through the Mr. Pinball classifieds, looks like I could get something like Sorceror or Dragon for well under $1k, even cleaned up, and that would suit me fine theme wise but I've never played either of them...

Sam

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