Old account.. New use.

uncivil_enginee

Bashful Neophyte
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Posts
14
I created this account years ago to browse the forum. I never expected to use it for anything other than that. However that has changed.

Ive been around the coin-op community for years. I got my start in the 1990s when I was an arcade attendant during my college years. My primary interest over the years has been pinball machines, but give the crazy stupid prices as of late, I am starting to branch out into video games. I am the Uncivil Engineer over on pinside if you want to check out some of my restoration projects.

I am hoping to get my hands on a big red 4 slot MVS this week, and then a new restoration project for me will begin.
 

Tripredacus

赤裸裸的汽車&#
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Posts
5,002
The only thing I do on pinside is post scores.
 

Catoblepa

Marked Wolf
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Posts
225
My primary interest over the years has been pinball machines, but give the crazy stupid prices as of late, I am starting to branch out into video games.

That's my story too, and that's exactly what I did a couple of years ago... the last pin I've bought is Indy - the Pinball Adventure, then I've completely gave up on the other machines I was looking for (there aren't many, thank God). Way too expensive, and even more when you take into account the spare parts and game specific items... I've seen DMD prices literally double in just a few years, it's crazy. Well, I love restoring pins with my brother and I still have a huge backlog, so they'll keep me busy for years to come (sometimes you have to stop collecting and get to work on what you already have). ;)
 

oliverclaude

General Morden's Aide
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Posts
7,556
My primary interest over the years has been pinball machines, but give the crazy stupid prices as of late, I am starting to branch out into video games.

But isn't it like saying my primary interest has been motor gliding but cause to stupid prices, I'm starting to branch out into hot air ballooning ;).

Individual price increase may even be higher with video games, like ten to twenty times higher than the original retail price. For a piece of plastic holding a rom, which you can play in so many other forms for free these days. Talking about hot air... And if you meant switching to vintage arcade cabs, then isn't that roughly the same ballpark as pins? Anyway, you got me curious, it would be cool if you could lay out some price comparisons.
 

Catoblepa

Marked Wolf
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Posts
225
But isn't it like saying my primary interest has been motor gliding but cause to stupid prices, I'm starting to branch out into hot air ballooning ;).

Individual price increase may even be higher with video games, like ten to twenty times higher than the original retail price. For a piece of plastic holding a rom, which you can play in so many other forms for free these days. Talking about hot air... And if you meant switching to vintage arcade cabs, then isn't that roughly the same ballpark as pins? Anyway, you got me curious, it would be cool if you could lay out some price comparisons.

Don't wanna answer for uncivil_enginee, but if you're talking AES, (high profile games like Metal Slug), it's clearly the most absurdly expensive hobby in the arcade world... at least pins are very complex machines, true works of art, full of specific assemblies that were sometimes created, patented for a single game and never used again - not some plastic cases with a couple of boards and a label. That said, if you go the MVS route, collecting Neo Geo is still very affordable.

Just remember I live in Italy, and here we had tons of machines, before some shady companies started sweeping them and exporting them in the USA and Australia; when I started collecting pins, an Indiana Jones was around 1200, 1300 EUR - and it was on the expensive side, same price range as Twilight Zone and Addams Family. My Fish Tales was 350, Doctor Who and The Getaway 500, Tales of the Arabian Nights 800 (yeah, I got very lucky with that one), Cirqus Voltaire 2300. When I bought my Monster Bash for 2100, I thought it was a LOT of money. Now it's between 6000 and 8000, depending on the condition. Back in the day, they offered me a Medieval Madness for 3000 EUR and I laughed in their face... now I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I've seen one selling for 15.000.

You can't find any game, even the crappy ones, under 1300, and we're talking about machines in very bad conditions; if you're a player, and not some hoarder, you can't leave them like that, or you won't have any fun playing them. A normal restoration can cost you between 1000 and 2000 EUR, and I'm only talking about the cost of parts (have to buy a couple of new plastic ramps? 400 EUR, easily). And if you have to replace some board, prepare to spend much more. Also, you can be sure something will eventually break: pins are very demanding machines, they don't stop sucking your blood after you've bought them, you often must keep throwing money at them. In comparison, arcade cabs are child's play.
 
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uncivil_enginee

Bashful Neophyte
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Posts
14
The rising price of pinball machines has been both a blessing and a curse. It's been a blessing because there are now more reproduction parts available than ever before. For popular machines, you can get complete cabinet decal sets, along with new playfields and plastics. I have done a few machines where the original machine basically just were donors for their wiring harness and some of playfield mechs (case in point, my Sorcerer).

The curse (obviously) are the prices that machines now command, especially out here on the west coast. It used to be that you could get an 'A' game (like Twilight Zone or Fish Tales) or around $3k to $4k. Now a junker TZ will get at least $6k, and its hard to find a Fish Tales for less than $4k. I love Williams system 11 games, and just a few years ago you could pick up nice examples of games like Pinbot for $1500. Now those same games are fetching over $2k. Heck, even the bad ones like Millionaire are now getting close to $2k.

I feel the pain on projects. I think the days of warehouse raids are long over here on the west coast of the United States. Real estate has gotten too expensive for someone to hang onto a building full of junker machines anymore. The last few projects I have picked up were the 'friend of a friend' type. Finding them through the usual sources like Craigslist are a thing of the past I think.
 

theMot

Moterator.
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Posts
6,609
You want to save money? You ain’t ever gonna be a big tymer in the neo scene thinking like that.
 

oliverclaude

General Morden's Aide
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Posts
7,556
Don't wanna answer for uncivil_enginee, but if you're talking AES, (high profile games like Metal Slug), it's clearly the most absurdly expensive hobby in the arcade world... at least pins are very complex machines, true works of art, full of specific assemblies that were sometimes created, patented for a single game and never used again - not some plastic cases with a couple of boards and a label. That said, if you go the MVS route, collecting Neo Geo is still very affordable.

Well said, I agree with every part of your comment. Collecting video games might be cheaper, but what you're actually paying for, i.e. "some plastic cases with a couple of boards and a label" makes it far more ridiculous than current pinball price-tags. The only real advantage is space: you can't have as many pins as those plastic cases stored in your basement.

The curse (obviously) are the prices that machines now command, especially out here on the west coast. It used to be that you could get an 'A' game (like Twilight Zone or Fish Tales) or around $3k to $4k. Now a junker TZ will get at least $6k, and its hard to find a Fish Tales for less than $4k. I love Williams system 11 games, and just a few years ago you could pick up nice examples of games like Pinbot for $1500. Now those same games are fetching over $2k. Heck, even the bad ones like Millionaire are now getting close to $2k.

Thanks for your price review. Sounds familiar for any NGH collector.
 

Catoblepa

Marked Wolf
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Posts
225
Well said, I agree with every part of your comment. Collecting video games might be cheaper, but what you're actually paying for, i.e. "some plastic cases with a couple of boards and a label" makes it far more ridiculous than current pinball price-tags. The only real advantage is space: you can't have as many pins as those plastic cases stored in your basement.

You're right, space is really the Achille's heel of every pinball collector ;) (I'm lucky enough to have 25 machines in my "mancave", but it's more like an apartment fully dedicated to my hobby); and of course there's the "lazyness" factor... if you're not rich enough to have your personal repairman, you're gonna have to get your hands dirty and at least learn how to use a soldering iron, sooner or later, even if your machine has just been restored by a professional. Collecting Neo Geo games, especially AES, is horribly expensive but once that cart is on your shelf, you can basically forget about it and relax.
In my opinion, the incredible price surge in the retrogaming world was really helped by youtubers like the Angry Video Game Nerd, or Pat the Nes Punk... people saw those shelves full of carts and suddenly got nostalgic - "oh, yeah! I shouldn't have thrown away my Atari 2600... that looks cool, I want to display something like that". And since you can just sit on your chair and click on "buy it now" on ebay - you don't have to hunt for your stuff on the yellow pages, make friends with grumpy arcade operators, pick up a 300 pounds object and somewhat load it inside your Fiat Panda, wait for the critters that live inside the cabinet to move home, clean it, dismantle it... - money becomes the only discriminating factor.
 
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