Friday, September 26, 2014

What Makes You Prefer One Machine Over Another???

So many many choices.......

Recently I was on Facebook and saw some polls on pinball enthusiast pages that dealt with the usual "What's your favorite game" or "What's the worst pinball game of the 1980's" etc to start discussions. It got me thinking, what DOES make for a good game, or a bad game? Pinball is a funny thing, because one person might love the game you find abhorrent and vice versa. What kind of factors cause that? 

Shots? Art? Lights? Sound?

And why is it that in our hobby, unlike many others, we pinball aficionados obsess over the smallest things. Game might shoot great, but dammit, they got that annoying 5 note loop track or the color of the playfield is yellow and not red and so it's sucky, while that other game next to it plays similar, but has some different sounds and rules and you think it kicks total butt. 

Terminator 2

A non pinball person would see T2 and ACDC and think it was the same game, or at the very least, would think it was made in the same year, but not us, obviously. We'd see both of those very differently, and we'd definitely price them and rate them very differently as well. Why???
Other hobbies/industries don't seem to be that particular. If I or most people go to buy a new car, my main concern would probably be that it drives. It's not a deal breaker if I can't get the car in dark blue when all they have is regular blue, yet in Pinball something like that can be a deal breaker. Are we just a picky bunch? Or is there more to it??? 

Let me know!!!!! Discuss what factors for you, cause a game to suck, or a game to be great! Comment below, here on the blog (make sure java script and cookies are enabled for your comment to come through) and for your trouble one of you will be randomly picked to win a kick-ass "STERN SHOP" T-Shirt, totally free, that I picked up while I was visiting the factory last month!!!


Next time we'll check out your replies. 
Until then!!!


DerpyTails said...

What makes a Pinball good is the gameplay for it, like ToM or BSD, what makes a Pin suck however is bad ruling and not doing a theme right, like LCA (I only like that Pinball for the music)

Anonymous said...

there are few aspects that make a great game to me...

1) the Theme and design: it's good when a machine has a nice artwork, cool sounds and music. It doesn't affect the gameplay, but it's just nice to experience it, especially when you play at home with the lights off. The best examples of such games to me are the Tales of Arabian Nights, where everything is just so f***ing nice :) or the Dracula, where the music itself can make you feel the chilly atmosphere...also the music-themed pinballs are great to play if you're a music lover :)

2) the Flow: propably the most importnant element, that keeps you playing the game and enjoying shots. You know, the games with lots of ramps, many targets, multiple combos etc, where you don't even have to hold the ball on a flipper - just shoot it and you're sure it gets somewhere :) Examples: Attack From Mars, Demolition Man, Dirty Harry. Anti-examples: Creature From the Black Lagoon :)

3) the ruleset and missions: if the game doesn't have a deep ruleset and all the missions look the same, it will get boring after a few games. There's got to be some challenge to keep you coming back and the missions got to be different, plus it's good when there are some additional features to discover whilst playing. Road Show is the best example of a such a game - you have loads of missions, you have the storyline behind them, but you also get many other things like the shop for instance, which show some importnance when you get further. I would also mention Star Trek - the new one from Stern can really make you coming back and back to it.

That's all from me. Cheers :)

Kevin Moore said...

Well for me, I tend to be drawn initially by the art, then how well the game plays. If you look at my collection, It's mostly mid 80's to early 90's Williams pins. To me those are the best, and I hope some of that Style comes back.

Kevin Moore said...

Well for me, I tend to be drawn initially by the art, then how well the game plays. If you look at my collection, It's mostly mid 80's to early 90's Williams pins. To me those are the best, and I hope some of that Style comes back. I tend to like a game with plenty of movement, I like lots of action, and not a lot of ball stopping shots.

Derk Biondi said...

I think the most important thing to me is how the table plays. If it has good flow, variety in the shots, or that certain "je ne sais quoi" that just makes the gameplay addictive, that is what is important to me. I don't mind if the artwork is ugly, beauty is more than skin deep. A lot of Stern machines don't have the prettiest art packages but they have some solid titles. A lot of people harp on AC/DC's art package but don't judge a book by its cover; AC/DC is a solid, tough as nails, and fun table but there is that big ol' ugly staring at ya! However, when you do well on it, it's just so much fun! If the table doesn't have the best sound, that's fine, I can throw on some headphones while I play. I just want a table that plays really well, everything just makes sense, all the shots and modes work well together, and I'm not just making the same shot over and over again, working towards a high score.

Joel Cohen said...

Software can definitely make what appears to be a cookie-cutter game, into a far better game. Comparing T2 & ACDC (T2DC?):

Both are very similar Steve Ritchie layouts, but AC's has a deeper ruleset, improved lightshow and cooler soundtrack. T2 is cannon all day. ACDC is far more varied.

Kevin Ryan said...

Over time is that pinheads have a "philosophy" that carries through their choice in game selection and preference in play. Sometimes this is carried to a hilarious extreme. Be warned, there might be some humor ahead … Now while there are many philosophies in pinball I have found the following four to be most common:

1) The "Take me back to my happy place" player. This is someone who at one time in their lives had a specific game or a certain vintage of games that made a strong positive impression on them. Quite often these players gravitate to a specific game or games made within a certain period of time by a specific manufacturer. For example, Gottlieb Wedgehead or System 11 specific collectors.

2) The Noob. These are the collectors who are just starting out in the hobby/ addiction. While they are usually the giddiest of big kids, they have not really found their philosophical voice yet. Most often they own 1-3 games and are never believed that they could own a pinball game, and now they do. Good for them!

3) The “Curator”. This type of collector is the type who will spend inordinate amounts of funds to have the “perfect” game. The most common types are the “A-listers” and the “Rare/ Low production” members who once collecting their museum pieces, rarely play them as they are “too valuable” to have their shooter lane tarnished. Another sub-culture of this type of collector is the “Modifier”. This breed of collector seems to add all sorts of trinkets and “toys” to their games to make them more personalized and enjoyable to them. Sometimes at the cost of disguising their tables from just about all recognizability to the uninformed.

4) The “Player” is the kind of collector who doesn't really care about who made the game, or how good it looks or when it was made. If the box has game in it... they want to play it. Sometimes these “beater” players strictly collect games that are cheap, that play as they should and just barely maintain them to operational functionality. More common now are the “tournament” players who expect exact and perfect performance from all aspects of the game. To the extreme you will find these players contesting “malfunctions” and going over the rules of the tournament with a fine toothed comb to make sure that their ability to win is as well defined, controlled and devoid of any enjoyment by anyone other than themselves.

If you know of any other definitions or pinball sub-cultures. I'm curious to hear about them. I hope you enjoy these definitions and find a bit of them all within yourselves. I know I certainly do as I fall mostly somewhere in the spectrum of the fourth definition. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

These are not in order, but they do represent what I enjoy in a pin.

1. Flow.
2. Callouts.
3. Potential to score big if I accomplish the goals of the game.
4. Look/Feel.
5. Challenge.
6. Fairness.

K Akseth said...

Definitely the "feel." You either understand that or yo don't. I tried to finish the board on Last Crusade, but the left flipper was ever so slightly off. The feel of the game was so good I chose to take the light flipper as a challenge. One day I will find another LD and finally clear the board.

Joshua Senzer said...

flow, flow and flow ... did i mention i like games that flow?

Scott Reppert said...

I would have to separate the "What Makes You Prefer One Machine Over Another?" question in to two categories: whether I am PLAYING a machine in a tournament or just out in the wild or if I am BUYING a machine.

For buying a machine it's a combination of theme, playfield design and how many were made. This point comes to light very well in two of the machines I have had in my collection: Rock! and Time Fantasy. The theme of Rock! caught my eye right off the bat since I have spent 36 years on the air as a radio personality. When I plunged the first ball and felt the flow of the game and experienced the way it played, I was hooked! Plus, the price was reasonable and it was not a game that you see everywhere every day.

Time Fantasy has a very low production run (under 850, I believe), plays amazingly in my opinion and...since I am basically nuts...I LOVE the "psychedelic snail" backglass! The price on mine was a little bit more, but it is a RARE machine...adding to all of the elements I feel make one machine to own preferable over another.

Now as for playing, I believe it just comes down to "what a person likes"...and that can vary by individual. Me? Give a perfectly working spinner and I'll be happy all day. Throw in some inline targets (ala Harlem Globetrotters) and I'm set! So for me, I want something that I can have fun playing over and over again OR CONVERSELY, keep banging at a game that I initially suck at in order to keep getting better. A good example would be Twilight Zone. I can't stand it because I can't play it worth crap. THAT'S a machine I would want at home in order to (a). get better at it and (b). not grow tired of it as quick.

So there you have it. I prefer the theme/playfield design/number manufactured if I am buying a machine and then features I like and lastability for a machine that I am going to be playing.

But, hey...when it comes down to it, aren't they ALL great in one way or another?