YOUR YEAR IN PINBALL

Story dated 18th January, 2001

Here are your views of the year 2000 and Pinball News. Keep them coming in!

Here in the United States the pinball market as almost all of you know is in a state of massive decline.

I live in Phoenix, Arizona which was the home of the Wild West Pinball tournament a few years back. The promoter of that event, Dann Frank, actually services my own pins. But on the rare occasion that I do come across a pinball machine, the condition is generally so bad as to be unplayable.

I was at a dealer here last week that sells machines from a retail location - Huge selection of games (TOM, Creature, Twilight Zone, Flintstones, Scared Stiff, Addams Family + many more). But the games were in horrible shape generally, even though they were set out for walk-in customers who might buy them for their homes. This dealer was asking an average of $4000. per pin, and is apparently getting those prices.

However, I think the internet and some dealers on the east coast offer pins that are actually fully shopped, and at better prices. A decent Bally/Williams pin seems to ! go for $2000 or so.

I own four pins myself, and keep them lined up (to my wife's dismay) in our living room. As most know, the home market is RED hot here in the United States, and I believe that the future of this hobby lies with home enthusiasts who are buying pins in droves on sites like E-Bay and through coin op distributors ridding themselves of their route pins. The prices for pins here has skyrocketed, especially for 1990+ pins in good condition. I love the fact that all my pins work perfectly, and all features work as they should. This is almost never the case if you find a pin at a bar or arcade.

I played the new Stern machines some months ago, and was disappointed at the poor sound quality and game play overall. But I have the greatest respect for Gary Stern, and wish his team much success in capturing that elusive mix of Bally/Williams magic that made their games so awesome and approachable for the expert and the novice alike. Pat Lawlor's new pin with Stern should be a breath of much needed fresh air.

Pinball in the United States has has moved to the collector & home market, and the pins that go there will receive much better care and upkeep than they ever did on a route.

I love your site, and thanks so much for providing a reliable and very professional place for pinheads to keep up on the hobby!

I've been following your site for a while now, and I think it is the most interesting one in the web. This your site is really a news-site, which makes it so superior. That's the way to do it!

Now, when I read some of these messages I thought that is pinball really doing that bad in Europe? [And in Australia] (Ed- See below)

Cheer up, in Finland its not.

Pinballs are still quite popular here in Finland. Of course not as popular as they used to be in a decade ago, but still. Usually they are located in pubs, bars, hamburger restaurants or gas stations. And people are playing them, too. In general, slot machines are grabbing the biggest piles of players' money,marks, but pinballs are doing far better than videogames.

I live in a small town, population about 30 000-35 000, and for a pinball player my town is a good place to live, and play. We have nowadays seven pinballs around the town. They are: Star Wars Trilogy, two Medieval Madnesses, Indy 500, NBA Fastbreak, Star Wars Episode One and a Tales of the Arabian Nights. They are all in a good playing condition and quickly repaired.

Of course one could hope that machines should be changed more often, but I'm okay with this.

A month ago one game, Mario Andretti was replaced by Arabian Nights. So, at least in my home town pinball is doing OK, especially considering the population. I think the situation is the same in Finland generally. Hopefully it is.

A reader from Australia hopes that pinball will return to his/her country. Hopefully it will happen already this year. In my opinion, [and this is my opinion] it has never left Finland.

First of all, thank you so much for publishing over the net so many interesting articles about our common interest;pinball machines.

I am a French pinball fan, I personally have 2 games from Williams, Earthshaker and Bally's Twilight Zone. As for the French market, that Gary Stern described as more important than the US in terms of volumes, I feel at my own scale (and without having any will or intention to hide the reality) that the market is stable. Pinball operators look reluctant to purchase some of STERN's production models but since this is the only way for them to get new games, there is no other alternative.

STERN's gameplay is not as reliable and attractive as Williams' used to be. The design is more basic. I would describe their games as big toys, the sounds were sometimes as sophisticated as a Nintendo's gameboy, the mechanical sound is "cheap" and gives you the impression to play with some pieces of plastic.

Casual player is still unaware of the big difference it makes since Gottlieb and Williams are gone. None of them is paying attention to the brand name written on the backglass. However, real players keep playing real values from Williams/Bally that is to say WPC games.(Theatre of Magic / Medieval Madness/Addams Family)

Only real players noticed there was a shortage of new pinball. Pinball 2000 is not a platform designed to satisfy real pinball players and keep them attracted. In this sense, maybe Williams took the wrong direction.

STERN's latest games are played for an average of one month when they are brand new and then people do not play them. Except South Park maybe, STERN's games appeal tends to fade very quickly for various reasons. They may attract casual players or young players who will play these games like any other pinball but the pinheads will keep playing Williams Bally. I am one of them.

I keep praying for Gottlieb, Williams and even Capcom's revival. I sincerely hope that the coming of designers from Williams into the STERN team will change things and that STERN will start producing pinballs for adults. It seems that STERN has everything in hand to become a real leader now, let's hope they will grasp this opportunity and produce some pinballs as good as Williams' WPC generation models.

Your web site is a nugget for pinheads. Keep updating for us, you did a great job through this year.

I live in Australia, and have done for the past 30 years. I have seen the pinball industry go up and down over this time.

The last 12 months, for me anyway, has been very sad for pinball players. It seems the industry has died, and to find a pinball machine on-site anywhere is becoming increasingly rare. A number of major industry players have either closed down, or have trimmed back their operations dramatically, especially with the onslaught of PC games and DVD technology.

I sincerely hope pinball makes a resurgence, especially in this country. It is a unique medium, and cannot be duplicated elsewhere. I've seen some great PC pinball games, but it doesn't come anywhere near playing the real thing!! I'm an optimist....pinball will return!!

Excellent web site by the way! I visited it on it's first day of opening in my quest for Pinball information.
Keep up the good work with Pinball News, I didn't realise there was people out there with the same passion for pinball as me. I am now looking to buy my own table as I didn't know you could get them as cheap as they are.
You have a great site. Keep rolling
Here in the USA I spend a lot of time surfing around the various pinball related sites. Yours is by far the most comprehensive especially when it comes to industry news. Thank you for not letting this hobby die out and for putting the time and energy into your site. I'll be checking in daily from here on out.
I have just come across your site for the first time and I am very impressed.
Thank you very much! You really have a splendid (link) page! With the graphics etc.
Great site - AND maintained - keep up the good work.
I'd just like to say that I love the site and visit it regularly,but I'm particularly pleased with the feature on playing techniques.
Thank you for your site. It's a great source of information on Pinball, and I'm kind of fond of pinball.
Like your site. Keep at it.
I've been following your website now for a while, and I think that it is the most interesting pinballsite in the net.
You have the best pinball related site on the web. I've written you before. I can't believe how quickly you get the jump on hot news.
I like your news letter it really keeps us fanatics in touch with the pinball market!!!
Keep up the good work. Are you going to notify people when new things are
added to the site, or do we have to visit every day? *
Nice website!! Very up-to-date and easy-to-understand. I will visit your site regularly to find out what's going on in this wonderful business. Would it be possible to send me a short e-mail when something new is on the site? *
Congratulation to your very good and very topical pinball-website. I visit your site often since I found it so three or four month ago. Keep up the good work, a happy new year to the whole staff.

 

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