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OFF-TOPIC Pinball machines, anyone own? Recommended?

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MJ DeMarco

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Thinking about buying a couple pinball machines, but I never owned any.

Are they are pain in the a$$ to service? Do they break easily?

Does anyone recommend a particular version or theme?
 

ljean

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Thinking about buying a couple pinball machines, but I never owned any.

Are they are pain in the a$$ to service? Do they break easily?

Does anyone recommend a particular version or theme?
I have had four over the years. Pinside.com ranks the machines based on popularity. Mine have all been in the top 50. The newer machines will have fewer repair issues.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Thank you...

The newer machines will have fewer repair issues.

So when a machine says 2013, does that mean they were only made in 2013? Or that they continue to make them, but it was designed and engineered in 2013?
 

ljean

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Thank you...



So when a machine says 2013, does that mean they were only made in 2013? Or that they continue to make them, but it was designed and engineered in 2013?
They aren't high volume products so the year is the year. Some older, highly popular machines have been redesigned & reissued but there is no confusing the age.
 

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Are they are pain in the a$$ to service? Do they break easily?

I looked into getting some because I LOVE pinball, but ultimately decided against it because yes - they are essentially a maintenance hobby that comes with a game.

Pinball machines have an insane number of lights - they'll burn out at different times and need replacing.

Being a physical game, there is physical wear and tear on the playing surface that you'll need to monitor and repair as needed.

Check the electrical - it can be fine or you may wonder what's been living in there for years.

Are all the pieces there and in working order? Lots of machines have moving parts and special pieces that may be hard/impossible/expensive to source if missing or broken.

It's a good recommendation to check every single switch and feature in the game. There can be a lot of these - every single thing the ball interacts with should be checked and every one of those can break.

Personally, I'd still like to get one at some point, but I'm also into hobbies that require a lot of TLC. I'd really enjoy the maintenance side of things and would embrace the challenge and maintenance as part of the enjoyment of everything.

You can also hire this stuff out, so if you're cool just paying someone to come and fix whatever has broken, that basically fixes most of the concerns. Or you could take on the small easy tasks like light replacement and leave the electrical / larger repair jobs to the pros.

Also, keep in mind that you should look at a pinball purchase like a used car purchase - just because it looks good on the outside and will run for a few minutes doesn't mean it isn't a lemon waiting to die on you. Knowing what to look out for before you buy is a HUGE part of this hobby. You don't want to be the latest guy holding the bag on a bad cabinet.
 

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