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Pinball Machine Buyers Guide


When trying to work out which electronic pinball machine to buy, consider :

* Do you want the more classic, single ball play, simple electronic or chime sound effects and a basic rule set?
(If so then you are probably looking at a late 70's, early 80's game).

* Do you want something with extra features like, 2-3 Multi-ball Play, better sound effects, higher scoring, Some Ramps, but still simple game play and rules?
(If so then you are probably looking at an early to late 80's game).

* Do you want something with extra features like, 3 Multi-ball Play minimum, higher end stereo sound effects, higher scoring and dot matrix display, plenty of Ramps and shots to make with more complex game play and rules?
(If so then you are probably looking at an early to late 90's game).

* Do you have young children who will use the game?
(If so you then you may need to think about the choice of game theme and it's content).

The above is just a general guide but, like me you might find a mixture of all three has it merits! It is common these days for a PINBALL household to have more than one, thereby keeping it interesting and requiring less change outs over time.

Another thing you might consider, if the game/s you are going to buy will be a real feature in your home then spending a few more dollars to get nice examples would be even more worthwhile.

Lastly, what will you do if something goes wrong with your game? Even though the games are commercial grade and were designed to handle a lot more plays than you can dish out, at some point they will need something done. Are you the type of person who will tinker and want to learn how to perform simple maintenance or will you need to source/engage someone nearby who can help you?


If you are new to the pinball scene and are looking at purchasing a game be aware that the value of a game is often gauged on :


For example a game at the high end of the condition/quality scale can be commonly valued at 10-25% more than a poorer example.
Area's to compare are : (in order of importance)

1. Playfield ware, fade, playfield plastics, ramp and other fixture damage.
2. Backglass / Translite aging/damage, fade.
3. Cabinet ware, fade, crazing and damage
4. How close is the condition of the circuit boards and wiring to their original. Make sure you check for acid damage from the backup batteries to the main board.
5. Score Displays, if it or they are failing, this can be an easy fix but usually requires some decent $ so that needs to be taken into account.
6. Legs. Pinball legs can really set off or bring down the appearance of a game and if you need to replace them, this can add $ also.

Keep in mind that for most of us, if we are keen on a particular example of a game, it would normally be worth paying a little more to get a nice example of that game.

If there are not many examples of a game generally available the opposite might be true, that having a low quality game to play is better than not having it, while you are waiting for a better one to come along. In my collecting experience, I have often ended up owning and enjoying 2-3 examples of a particular game while I wait for the ultimate one to come along.

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