AOH :: PINBALL1.FAQ|
Frequently Asked Questions about Alt. Pinball, File 1 of 2
If you have any comments, additions, or suggestions for this posting,
please contact the editor, Andy Oakland, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the first half of the collectors' FAQ for rec.games.pinball, giving
pointers (both on-line and on paper) for more information about the world
of pinball, and explaining how to buy your own pinball machine!
The second half of the collector's FAQ includes helpful techniques and parts
suppliers for keeping home pinball machines up and running.
==================== On-Line information sources ======================
Check out the "Pinball Archive" at "http://pinball.cc.cmu.edu/" and by FTP,
"ftp://pinball.cc.cmu.edu/pinball/". This contains rule sheets, poll results,
and other information, including a further collection of pinball links.
It's maintained by Kevin Martin, email@example.com.
There's the "Pinball Pasture" Web site, maintained by David Byers.
It's located at "http://www.lysator.liu.se/pinball/".
The URL for the "Pin-Wizard" Archive, covering league and tournament
info, is "http://www.glue.umd/edu/~dstewart/pinball/"
Pachinko machines (a Japanese relative of Pinball) are described in a
commercial page, "http://www.resultsdirect.com/pachinko.htm"
Greg Dunlap, firstname.lastname@example.org, maintains a list of pinballs that people
want or have for sale. "http://www.tezcat.com/~gdd/pinball.html"
The TILT arcade chain has a home page at "http://www.lm.com/~tilt/"
Two Bit Score Amusements, a pinball repair shop, has a Web page
Steven Craig (email@example.com) maintains an up-to-date list of
pinball machines and their owners (the PAPS list), so that other net'ers
can find people who have a specific game. He posts it to rec.games.pinball
monthly, or you can email him for a personal copy. If you have recently
bought a machine, he'd be happy to add you to the list!
Also, the FAQ editor (that's me!) has finally joined the Web! You can
find my personal web page at "http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/sao/home.html".
=============== How do I buy my own pinball machine? ===================
Frequently Asked Question number one: "How do I buy a machine?"
Buying a pinball for home use has a lot in common with buying a car: It is
a big investment, the item requires proper care, and the business is filled
both with honest, decent people and sleazeballs.
=============== Decide what sort of machine you want ==================
Games available for home purchase fall into three categories: Used electro-
mechanical, used solid-state, and new (all new games are solid-state). Which
is right for you depends on what you want, how much you're willing to spend,
and whether you ever intend to sell or trade the game.
Think a bit about why you want a game. If you want it to play, chances
are that you want a solid-state game. They play faster, and the software
has features that could take you some time to uncover.
If you're looking for something to tear apart, down to the bare wood, and
build back up again (only better), buy an electro-mechanical. Doing the
fix-up on a solid-state game wouldn't be as fruitful--At some point,
you'd be staring at an IC-laden circuit board, and that's way beyond
cleaning contacts and tightening springs.
Aside from knowing why you want a game, you should zero in on which game you
want. The market is fat with choices, and there is a fair chance that,
if you look in the right places, you can eventually find what you want. But
you can't go into the market saying, "Oh, just find me something you think
I'll like." It goes deeper than issues of color and whitewalls or no: You
will fare best if you have a wish list of games you are interested in.
How much will it cost? It depends on the popularity and rarity of the
game, the condition of this particular machine, and whether or not you live
in California. (Not a joke ... Prices run higher in The Golden State!)
A semi-functional older solid-state machine can be had for as little as
$100, while a new game fresh from the factory runs about $3500. Typical
price for a game that's seen a couple years of use would be $400-$1000.
An electro-mechanical game can run anywhere from $150 to $750, with
real collector's items (like Humpty Dumpty) significantly more.
If this is your first machine, it's highly recommended that you get a working
one! Picking up a cheap junker may be tempting, but you'll never get it
going without experience, specialized equipment, and a stock of spare parts.
Try to buy from someone who'll deliver it in working condition, and stand
behind it for a while. Ask for references!
======================= Go looking for one =========================
The path a pinball machine travels typically looks like this:
Manufacturer--->Distributor--->Operator--->Collector or junkyard
Unless you have very deep pockets, you won't be buying your machine
from the manufacturer or distributor. Operators are the ones who
put machines out in the field and maintain them...They're usually
willing to sell used machines once they stop pulling in the quarters.
Go to your favorite machine in the field, and ask who owns it. If the
location doesn't, there's probably a sticker on the machine pointing you
to the operator. Another way to find operators is to hit the Yellow Pages,
and call up the companies listed under "Amusement Devices." First ask
them if they sell machines for home use, then ask for the specific machines
you're looking for.
Part II of this faq also includes pointers to several sources for
used pinball machines. These are typically large operators.
You can also buy machines from collectors. In fact, this is pretty much
the only way to go to find an Electro-mechanical. You probably aren't
going to find an EM in the field, or with an operator.
For both EM's and solid-state machines, the little ads in periodicals like
Game Room are an excellent source of leads. (See list of periodicals
below) Also, you can try to find something locally. Buy every newspaper
you can, including the little "nickel ads" type, and check the classifieds.
Keep doing this for months. Takes time, but good deals occasionally pop up.
You can also find a "broker," a sort of super-collector in business
to buy up old used games, fix them up, and resell them. Again, you can
reach these people through publications like Game Room Magazine
Also, believe it or not, check with a dart supply store! I know of two
in my area (Boston) which sell used pins, and at least one Norwegian
======================= Publications =========================
There are many periodicals good for getting background information
on the pinball world, and for contacting other collectors. The first
two, pinGame journal and Game Room Magazine, are probably the best ones for
those interested in home games.
31937 Olde Franklin Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Written by pinball collectors. Includes info about new games in
development, as well as articles on finding, reconditioning, and playing
older games. Subscription includes one free classified ad per month.
Often includes cool plastics and flyers.
$30/year for US, $34/year Canadian, $63/year European(air), $74/year
Pacific Rim (air), $36/year Pacific Rim(surface). Sample issue $3.50.
Game Room Magazine
1014 Mount Tabor Road
New Albany, IN 47150
A monthly hobbyist publication, covering pinballs, slots, jukeboxes, Coke
machines, neon, etc. High proportion of advertising. Lots of pinball
articles, now that they've picked up the Pinball Trader subscribers.
$24/year for US, $30/year Canadian, $48/year European(surface),
$84/year European(air), $52/year Pacific Basin (surface), $92/year
Pacific Basin(air). Sample issue $3.
81 Carrar Drive, Watchung, NJ 07060
Bimonthly just getting started, written by fans and collectors, many of whom
are r.g.p. regulars! Includes reviews of new games, articles about pinball
and pinball players, and a national high score list.
$18/year for USA, $28/year for Canada/foreign. Sample issue $3.
17844 Toiyabe Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Bimonthly, editted by Dick Bueschel. I haven't seen an issue, so I can't
make any comments here. Any suggestions?
$48/year for US, $57/year for Canada.
PO Box 24970, New Orleans, LA 70184
Thick, slick trade journal, mostly aimed at arcade owners and operators.
Provides uniformly glowing reviews of the latest games. Covers crane
games, kiddie rides, etc., as well as video and pinball.
$60/year US & Canada, $150/year overseas
P.O. Box 2550
Woodland Hills, CA 91365
Another monthly trade magazine with the same content as Play Meter.
$60/year, sample issue $5.
4401 Zephyr St., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-3299
A quarterly covering all collectible coin-op machines. $28/year.
The publisher, Donald Hoflin, can be reached via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distributors Research Associates
197 S.W. 20th Way, Dania, FL 33004
The DRA Price Guide lists "average" prices of games, jukeboxes, and
vending machines that are actively traded on the distributor level.
Note that this does not include games more than a few years old.
$75/year for 4 skinny issues and 4 even skinnier updates.
Canadian Coin Box
NCC Publishing, 222 Argyle Ave., Delhi, Ontario N4B 2Y2 Canada.
$38/year, sample issue $3.50.
P.O. Box 2426, Rockville, MD 20852
A bimonthly hobbiest publication. Covers antiques and coin-op collectables.
======================= Manufacturers =========================
Sega Pinball Inc. (Includes Data East)
1990 Janice Avenue
Melrose Park, IL 60160
toll free: 800-kickers
Premier Technology (Includes Gottlieb and Mylstar)
759 Industrial Drive
Bensenville, IL 60106
toll free 800-444-0761
Williams Electronic Games Inc. (Includes Bally and Midway)
3401 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
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