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 Post subject: Pinball
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Pinball is the greatest sport known to man. I wasn't always a disciple of the silver ball, but Midwest Gaming Classic got the ball rolling. Around March of every year, a big retro game convention rolls through Southeastern Wisconsin and some huge vendor hall is filled with retro arcade games and pinball machines set to free play. Unfortunately the vendor hall is packed and you have to wait to play most of the machines.

Regardless, I live in Minneapolis now, and this is a pinball heaven. All sorts of classics and new machines around me to play. Medieval Madness! Funhouse. Taxi. Twilight Zone and the Addams Family. In my area, I have some 70+ machines to be played. spread out over 4 locations.

Where can you play pinball? Well, here are two sites to locate machines near you:

http://pinside.com/pinball/map/where-to-play

http://pinballmap.com/

Why pinball? Well, arcades are neat and all, but honestly, it's pretty easy to play retro arcade games and the like on your PC/whatever system using emulation. Pinball, not so much. Yeah, the premise is hit a ball into some target blah blah blah points, but there are all sorts of minigames and objectives with-in the game that adds a level of complexity. And while there are videogame approximations of pinball, they don't really replicate the mechanical aspect or the lightshow from a true machine, and the ball doesn't ever really behave the same.

Any other pinball lovers around here? It's a bit of a dying art. As of right now, in the US, only Stern in the Chicago area is regularly producing new tables, and some New Jersey company just released a Wizard of Oz table that looks flashy but is kind of boring to play.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:36 pm 
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I used to rent a studio space in the late 90s/early 00s with a few friends, and we had this machine (it was in the space when we rented it):

Image
(note: that photo is just one I found online, not the actual one we had - ours was "gently used.")

Lots and lots of fun, but it broke pretty regularly. My wife has always wanted the Guns N Roses machine (we found it at a hotel once, and never again). I always loved the Starship Troopers machine. Bad ass.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:13 pm 
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I'm a pinball lover myself. I'm pretty good at making a single quarter last about 10-15 minutes or so. When I take my boy to Chuck E. Cheese, my first stop is the lone pinball machine over by the skeeball machines. I never need more than a dollar to get me through the whole time we're there.

Since finding an actual pinball machine is getting rarer by the minute, I've looked into various video games that offer simulated or "video" pinball experiences.

Pinball FX (2) is the biggest one. The tables are varied and plentiful but too fantastical (meaning they do things no pinball machine would actually be capable of doing) to sufficiently scratch that pinball nostalgia itch. Plus the physics feel a little too unnatural -- a problem with most video pinball games but it seems a tiny bit more pronounced here. Plus, any input lag you may have with your TV feels more noticeable with this game. Overall, it's still an excellent game. It gets periodic updates with newer tables. The latest Star Wars-themed tables are actually pretty cool.

The other big one is actually a series of games by Crave Entertainment -- Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, The Gottlieb Collection, and The Pinball Arcade . As you may have guessed, these offer simulations of actual classic arcade pinball machines produced by the major pinball manufacturers throughout their history. These are the better games IMO as they offer a more pure pinball experience. The tables are pitch-perfect recreations of familiar and classic machines right down to the primitive sound chips. The physics are spot-on and I detected no input lag of any kind . Although, they do lack the sheer variety of Pinball FX with it's periodic DLC. Still, playing these games you can almost feel yourself in an old arcade somewhere with Tron and Donkey Kong cabinets buzzing and bleeping nearby.

If you can't locate an actual pinball machine nearby, both of these games will definitely do in a pinch.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:53 am 
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I haven't played any in a bunch of years (so my memory is hazy), but PinMame was doing a pretty good job recreating real tables.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:31 am 
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Downhuman wrote:
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, The Gottlieb Collection, and The Pinball Arcade .


We have these for Wi, and they're pretty amazing. Apart from feeling the board in your hands, they replicate the experience really well. I love pinball, and since I was a bit too old to get into home video games (I was almost 5 years post-puberty before they got any good), and I never got into arcade video games, I spent countless hours playing pinball at the arcade.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:19 am 
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Downhuman wrote:
and The Pinball Arcade .


The Pinball Arcade helped get me interested in specific machines. It's pretty good at giving you an idea of how a machine plays, but playing it out in the wild is a totally different experience. I'm pretty lucky that I've been able to find pretty much all of their "modern" machines around me on location, barring Tales of Arabian Nights (I really want to give this one a go!) and Space Shuttle. Unfortunately my PS3 crapped out on me and I'm waiting for the PC release to play these again.

I haven't really gotten hooked on Pinball FX2 yet - I bought some tables, but they feel goofy to me.

The worst machine I've played: Hercules - it uses a pool ball for a pinball and it's sluggish and not fun. But it's a huge machine so you have to play it anyways.

Photo is taken by me, not of me:


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:25 am 
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Chris Knight wrote:
I used to rent a studio space in the late 90s/early 00s with a few friends, and we had this machine (it was in the space when we rented it):

Image
(note: that photo is just one I found online, not the actual one we had - ours was "gently used.")

Lots and lots of fun, but it broke pretty regularly. My wife has always wanted the Guns N Roses machine (we found it at a hotel once, and never again). I always loved the Starship Troopers machine. Bad ass.


I love the backglass art on that.

If you come to Minneapolis, I'll play you on Starship Troopers. I'm not too good on that one with it's goofy little flippers.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:48 am 
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I tried Pinball FX 2 on Steam, but it has too much lag on the flippers. The pinball game that came with Windows XP (or was it 98?) nailed the flipper timing, and was actually pretty good.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:06 pm 
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I would throw down on those Pinball Acade DLC packs, except for the fact that they are THIRTY FUCKING DOLLARS. I mean, I completely understand the time/work/licensing fees that goes into translating these into a game, but holy shit, so much money.

However, I would gladly pony up the cash if I were guaranteed at some point they were able to somehow unlock the cold, dead heart of the Raul Julia estate and get the Addams Family table into their roster.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:23 pm 
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JFelix wrote:
I would throw down on those Pinball Acade DLC packs, except for the fact that they are THIRTY FUCKING DOLLARS. I mean, I completely understand the time/work/licensing fees that goes into translating these into a game, but holy shit, so much money.

However, I would gladly pony up the cash if I were guaranteed at some point they were able to somehow unlock the cold, dead heart of the Raul Julia estate and get the Addams Family table into their roster.


You can buy table packs for $4.99 and just get the ones you want. I assume you're on the PS3.

Addams Family, supposedly, is going to be a kickstarter project in the future. If you come to Minneapois, I will play you on a genuine Addams Family table. But I suck at this table.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:23 pm 
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Basically, anyone visiting me in Minneapolis is going to have to play some pinball.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:39 pm 
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brian wrote:
You can buy table packs for $4.99 and just get the ones you want. I assume you're on the PS3.

Pinball's perfect for the Vita on breaks during work.

I know they have the Ala Carte DLC as well, but I want a variety, too. Though I might break down and get that Twilight Zone table, eventually. I'm kind of waiting for a PSN sale. If they get a sale down to half price, I'd probably dip into a pack for $15.

brian wrote:
Addams Family, supposedly, is going to be a kickstarter project in the future.

Last I heard, the possibility of the Addams Family table hitting The Pinball Arcade were at zero due to the Raul Julia estate being super anal about any and all likenesses being sold. If they somehow manage to wrap everything up and do a Kickstarter, I'd definitely plunk down enough of a donation to get the table, at least.

brian wrote:
If you come to Minneapois, I will play you on a genuine Addams Family table. But I suck at this table.

EVERY pinball game located in Portland in 2013 is a rundown nightmare and, for some reason, still costs $1 to play. Last time I tried my hands at the Addams Family game a couple years back, the left flipper didn't even work.

It was a sad, sad day.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:55 pm 
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JFelix wrote:
Last I heard, the possibility of the Addams Family table hitting The Pinball Arcade were at zero due to the Raul Julia estate being super anal about any and all likenesses being sold. If they somehow manage to wrap everything up and do a Kickstarter, I'd definitely plunk down enough of a donation to get the table, at least.
EVERY pinball game located in Portland in 2013 is a rundown nightmare and, for some reason, still costs $1 to play. Last time I tried my hands at the Addams Family game a couple years back, the left flipper didn't even work.

It was a sad, sad day.

So just spend the few hundred to visit Minneapolis and we'll have a choice of two locations with Addams Family. One is a bowling alley with 40 machines, the other a billiards place with 16 or so pinball machines and the place smells like dog urine. But like I said, I suck at this machine. And Twilight Zone.

And while that was the word when it came to having this table released on Pinball Arcade, Farsight just wrapped up their Terminator 2 table kickstarter and said they have their sights on Addams Family next. Maybe they'll just airbrush Raul Julia out, or maybe the license isn't as crazy as popular internet fandom would have you think.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:05 pm 
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I went to a shop that sells pinball machines (and they had a ton) but the ones I wanted that were listed on the site weren't ready for sale yet. Blah. Some fun ones though. Almost bought a cheesy table called Secret Service for $750, but I realize that it would be tough to unload on someone else in a hurry if I needed to.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Chris Knight wrote:
The pinball game that came with Windows XP (or was it 98?) nailed the flipper timing, and was actually pretty good.


I used to play the shit out of that one, too. It looked like hell but actually had pretty decent physics.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Brian, when you were in NJ, did you go to the pinball museum?

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Yeah! I wasn't quite the fan back then because of my limited exposure (again, not that many machines by me and growing up, I was terrible and spent my money on arcade videogames instead), but my All Tomorrow's Parties pass included free admission. If I head back that way again, I'd definitely give them some money.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:35 pm 
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My wife and I are both pinball fans, my wife more so than me. Last Christmas, I bought her a Stern Lightning pinball machine. Growing up, my family always had pinball and assorted arcade machines in our rec room but I'd forgotten how much I missed them until I started playing my wife's machine. This particular machine is insanely challenging. My best score tops out at 450K, while my wife has managed 600K.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:00 am 
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Nice!

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:22 am 
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It's funny to see this thread when just Saturday we found out about this place in Santa Ana.

We haven't gone yet but we will soon. I really want to do the VIP tour and play the 30's and 40's machines.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Nice!

The Nip It listed on that site is kind of fun, there's some alligator/ball catching action. I've never seen your machine before, Cary. I'm not too familiar with a lot of machines that predate the mid to late 1980s. There are some neat machines before that though, though I usually like them more for the art than anything else.

There's an actual retail location near me that is called The Pinball Warehouse - I went and checked it out. I had a list of 3 or 4 games I wanted to buy and they had listed on their site, but none of them were ready to be sold. Boo. They still had some 40 machines out for sale, but I wasn't in love with any of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:23 pm 
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The machine I'd most love to have is the Creature From The Black Lagoon table.

Image

This is the best image I could find of one from straight on, but it's a beautiful piece. The gameplay is great also (I played one quite a bit while in college). They go for about $3,000 which is beyond my price range by about $2,999 right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:30 pm 
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I was playing Creature yesterday at a place called SS Billiards. The owner is well known in the "scene." If you have any pinball questions, any at all, he'll tell you whatever you wanted to know and then some.

I'm not that good at Creature, but it does have a lot of charm.

And honestly, $3000 doesn't seem like that bad of a price for that table with all that's going on with it. Lots of toys/music/things going on. Definitely a nice chunk of change, but with a good machine, I think they'd be easy to sell without losing any money on it. An old boss of mine owned one and said he wouldn't dream of selling it.

Though I more like the idea of having 1 machine and rotating it out for a different one time to time.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:32 pm 
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And Cary, if you find yourself in Minneapolis for some odd reason, you know what we're going to be doing.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:59 pm 
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I saw a shemale playing pinball - she used the paddles, bumpers, and her hips.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:08 am 
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My dream machine? That's easy:

Star Trek: The Next Generation. Pure insanity.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:51 pm 
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There's a Taxi pinball machine near me for sale at $1500, will someone talk me out of it?


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Come on, all pinball machines are basically the same stuff with different art. Maybe a ramp in a different spot or something.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:20 pm 
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There are objectives in the games. In Taxi, you have to pick up your customers in a certain order by making certain shots. I like the theme in Taxi - the music is good, the art is simple, and the playfield is open and unobstructed, but it's still difficult making some of the shots.

However, $1500 is a lot of money. As a general philosophy, I think it would be easy to flip this machine should I need the cash. However, it's still a lot of money.

I also set my budget at $1,400 and while $100 isn't a ton of money, it's probably best to stick to the budget.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:10 pm 
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brian wrote:
There are objectives in the games.

Today I Learned.

If this is the case, I am foolish. Disregard me. Again.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:29 pm 
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Well, some games you just bump shit around and things happen.

Well designed ones have an end goal in mind, with a story or objective. You can keep going after meeting the objective, and unlock different modes and keep going for a higher score.

Click the image below - today I earned the rank of Master Magician (1st place!) on Theatre of Magic at a local pub. I should be proud. $2 in the machine got me an incredibly long amount of playing time (I think well over an hour but I wasn't really paying attention) - I took up 3 high score spots and every time I did so or hit a certain score, I got a bunch of free credits. I made it a goal of mine to get good... at something this summer. I've sucked at pinball mostly, but this machine clicked for me. However, it's possible that the previous high scores were deleted and I shouldn't feel as good as I did.

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Basically Shoe, pinball is serious business.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:25 am 
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I played that Ripley's Believe it or Not table on the PS3. It was neat, but how am I supposed to read those messages popping up telling me what I accomplished when I have balls to hit?

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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:22 pm 
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Theatre of Magic. Not Ripleys. Also available on the PS3.

You sound like those people that are like "You mean I have to read the movie?" when watching a foreign film.

But you're right, it is difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Pinball
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Load up the Arabian Nights table and lose your fucking mind at the narrative of that motherfucker.

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