What do you think killed pinball machines?

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Tdarcos
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What do you think killed pinball machines?

Post by Tdarcos » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:44 am

Let's face it, pinball as a form of entertainment has all but died. With only one manufacturer in the world - Stern - continuing to make them, it pretty much indicates that the pinball market is essentially a specialized niche interest class as opposed to what it used to be, something practically anyone could spend time playing on in public, as they were in lots of places.

I suspect most of the interest (to the extent there is any) remaining (except for die-hard or hardcore enthusiasts such as some of the members of this BBS) is in hard-to-reach and not-wealthy countries, mostly in Africa where most people can't afford expensive entertainment such as personal computers and video game consoles.

I believe that pinball tends to be an entertainment medium that speaks to a less-affluent audience, or to the older audiences of the past where there were fewer choices of entertainment available.

The ready, easy and inexpensive access to very high quality video games with strongly immersive interactive capability has made lesser entertainment choices such as physical devices passe and dated. I can remember the arcade games of my youth, most of which are nowhere to be found except in specialized "retro" arcades or museums.

Remember baseball? It was a two player model, you had two people, one throwing pinballs at the other who was trying to press the button to have your "bat" strike the ball and hit it into the outfield, and if you did your mechanical man popped up out of the board and circled to one or more bases. If your man reached home it disappeared back into the board and you got one point. Clearly, you didn't have 1,000,000 or even 1,000 point games in that.

Remember the helicopter on a wand? You moved a helicopter around a circle where you had the side mounted cat's whisker strike specific metal posts by flying up and down to make an electrical connection and get points.

I think it's like what has happened in the gaming world, while you can still find old fashioned mechanical "one armed bandit" slot machines, the newer machines provide more choices and more functionality such as video slots including more complicated games such as poker have become much more popular (and more lucrative for the device owner.)

Some older games, like Ski-ball, are still around because of the "greed" factor, if you got high points you got tickets you could redeem for prizes.

But most of the mechanicals and similar devices have faded, replaced by video games in many (if not all) cases. A lot of these, including most pinball machines, essentially became obsolete as much more intense entertainments became available for people to play, especially at home where they bought the item once and didn't have to go out to play nor throw quarters in the machine on a near-constant basis.
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Post by pinback » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:52 am

Pinball died because the goddamn ball kept getting stuck.
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Post by AArdvark » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:34 pm

You have to post a picture of the helicopter on a wand thing. It's not jogging my memory at all.



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Post by Flack » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:37 pm

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Post by Jizaboz » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:49 am

Hahaha god damn it, Flack


Yeah, I have no idea what this helicopter thing is you speak of, Paul. I do remember the baseball games though. An arcade at Myrtle Beach I used to go to had like 10 or 20 of the things lined up. I'd play them every time at least once despite all the modern games around because I thought they were fun.

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Post by Flack » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:54 pm

OH, helicopter on a wand! I thought you wanted a picture of a wang on a helicopter. MY BAD.

Here you go:

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Post by AArdvark » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:05 pm

Crap, I haven't seen one of those since the arcade at Seabreeze burned down.

The drones killed that machine. Why fly inside a box when you can fly wherever now.


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Re: What do you think killed pinball machines?

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:35 pm

Tdarcos wrote:Let's face it, pinball as a form of entertainment has all but died.
Not really, no. People make a living working in pinball.
With only one manufacturer in the world - Stern - continuing to make them
Wrong. Jersey Jack Pinball released Wizard of Oz in 2012 and there are companies in Europe also still making new ones.

It pretty much indicates that the pinball market is essentially a specialized niche interest class as opposed to what it used to be, something practically anyone could spend time playing on in public, as they were in lots of places.
I don't think that you are backing any of this up with quarter drop, by the way.

I suspect most of the interest (to the extent there is any) remaining (except for die-hard or hardcore enthusiasts such as some of the members of this BBS) is in hard-to-reach and not-wealthy countries, mostly in Africa where most people can't afford expensive entertainment such as personal computers and video game consoles.
You think that pinball machines, which retail for anywhere between $5500 and $10,000, are doing well in Africa.

Africa.

I believe that pinball tends to be an entertainment medium that speaks to a less-affluent audience, or to the older audiences of the past where there were fewer choices of entertainment available.
So pinball on location is dying, you're saying that all that's left is the hobbyist that buys them directly, and you're saying that poor people get them.

The ready, easy and inexpensive access to very high quality video games with strongly immersive interactive capability has made lesser entertainment choices such as physical devices passe and dated.
Are they scratching the same itch? Is pinball equivalent to skeeball? To arcade games? Is pinball becoming "passe" because people have an Xbox at home? People go to restaurants even if they know how to cook at home, don't they?

I can remember the arcade games of my youth, most of which are nowhere to be found except in specialized "retro" arcades or museums.
And in barcades all over the country and in individual collector's homes, but sure. Museums. What museum were you thinking about?

Remember baseball? It was a two player model, you had two people, one throwing pinballs at the other who was trying to press the button to have your "bat" strike the ball and hit it into the outfield, and if you did your mechanical man popped up out of the board and circled to one or more bases. If your man reached home it disappeared back into the board and you got one point. Clearly, you didn't have 1,000,000 or even 1,000 point games in that.
The mechanical game you describe is not a pinball game, nor does it have really anything in common with pinball.

Remember the helicopter on a wand? You moved a helicopter around a circle where you had the side mounted cat's whisker strike specific metal posts by flying up and down to make an electrical connection and get points.
OK, apparently the topic has changed.
I think it's like what has happened in the gaming world, while you can still find old fashioned mechanical "one armed bandit" slot machines, the newer machines provide more choices and more functionality such as video slots including more complicated games such as poker have become much more popular (and more lucrative for the device owner.)
You're saying that you used to be able to see things that weren't pinball games, but now you can see pinball games?
Some older games, like Ski-ball
Skeeball.
are still around because of the "greed" factor, if you got high points you got tickets you could redeem for prizes.
This is a feature of them, but I don't think skeeball is anywhere near as prevalent as pinball, but what do I know.

But most of the mechanicals and similar devices have faded, replaced by video games in many (if not all) cases.
Yes, all of those kickass software-based skeeball games did a number on the real thing.

A lot of these, including most pinball machines, essentially became obsolete as much more intense entertainments became available for people to play, especially at home where they bought the item once and didn't have to go out to play nor throw quarters in the machine on a near-constant basis.
Obsolete means they had a function that was surpassed by newer technology so that's not the right word.

There used to be a lot more manufacturers of pinball. Williams authorized a design called Pinball 2000 which integrated video with pinball. The first game, Revenge From Mars, did fine, but the second one was tied to the awful "Phantom Menace" license and when only about 3,500 units sold, Williams shut down their pinball division.
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Post by Flack » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:59 pm

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Post by pinback » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:12 pm

Do NOT fuck around with Jonsey about Skeeball. He's in a LEAGUE.

AUDIENCE:

FUCKING

LAUGHS.
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Post by Tdarcos » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:07 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Tdarcos wrote:A lot of these, including most pinball machines, essentially became obsolete as much more intense entertainments became available for people to play, especially at home where they bought the item once and didn't have to go out to play nor throw quarters in the machine on a near-constant basis.
Obsolete means they had a function that was surpassed by newer technology so that's not the right word.
No, it's the exact right word. The function of a pinball machine was / is to provide entertainment, That functionality is now pretty much a niche factor these days. The entertainment factor that pinball machines filled was replaced by video and computer games.

I mean, it's like I'm sure you can probably still buy a slide rule, but electronic calculators and computers killed them. I learned how to use one and you could buy them in a Woolworth's or any store that sold office supplies. Actually, I just looked it up. A plastic slide rule I could buy from a 5 & Dime circa 1975 for maybe $2 can be found on Amazon.Com, made in Germany, for $950.00.

So I stand by at least that part of my opinion, that the purpose of pinball machines was to provide entertainment and it has become obsolete in most cases, same as the slide rule is obsolete in most cases as a means of doing calculations.

I will say that I had no idea that pinball machines cost as much as a new car, so, again, except for enthusiasts and specialized locations they're pretty much obsolete, replaced by other, more engaging entertainments.

Note that people still play slot machines (the greed factor, I guess) so despite the fact they're of the same sort of age as pinball machines they're still in use, probably because the gaming industry can get Congress to make internet betting illegal.
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Post by The Happiness Engine » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:23 pm

Tdarcos wrote:No, it's the exact right word. The function of [A HOOP AND STICK] was / is to provide entertainment, That functionality is now pretty much a niche factor these days. The entertainment factor that [A HOOP AND STICK] filled was replaced by video and computer games.

Hrm yes. Well, I can't argue that.
Note that people still play slot machines (the greed factor, I guess) so despite the fact they're of the same sort of age as pinball machines they're still in use
Says the man who is unaware that video slots have replaced every mechanical slot machine to the point that mechanical slots are actually a special attraction at "The D" (really) in Vegas.

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Post by Flack » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:28 am

Tdarcos wrote:The function of a pinball machine was / is to provide entertainment, That functionality is now pretty much a niche factor these days. The entertainment factor that pinball machines filled was replaced by video and computer games.
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Post by Tdarcos » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:02 pm

The Happiness Engine wrote:
Tdarcos wrote:Note that people still play slot machines (the greed factor, I guess) so despite the fact they're of the same sort of age as pinball machines they're still in use
Says the man who is unaware that video slots have replaced every mechanical slot machine to the point that mechanical slots are actually a special attraction at "The D" (really) in Vegas.
Says the man who never read what I originally wrote in the initial message:
I think it's like what has happened in the gaming world, while you can still find old fashioned mechanical "one armed bandit" slot machines, the newer machines provide more choices and more functionality such as video slots including more complicated games such as poker have become much more popular (and more lucrative for the device owner.)
Clearly, I pointed out that mechanicals are very rare, and what I said was that the one armed bandit has been around in one form or another at least as long as the pinball machine, but the slot machine is still around. And it's because of video machines and increased functionality resulting therefrom.
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Post by AArdvark » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:32 pm

I want to hear more about pinball in Africa. Can you think of any Toto lyrics that apply?


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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:58 pm

Tdarcos wrote:No, it's the exact right word. The function of a pinball machine was / is to provide entertainment, That functionality is now pretty much a niche factor these days. The entertainment factor that pinball machines filled was replaced by video and computer games.
Obsolete is not the right word because it's function isn't to "provide entertainment." That's a blanket statement that I am going to argue with.

I was intentionally being dickish in the rest of my earlier reply, but I will be FOR REALS here.

There's two objectives of a pinball machine. Maybe three:

1) To earn enough money to pay for itself and then generate profit for its owner.

2) Be a collectible entertainment device. (Like how I got my Tron pin.)

3) Be an "attraction" that, while not making money for the owner, gives people a reason to buy drinks or whatnot at an establishment that has one.

#2 ain't obsolete because hobbyists are still buying them.

#3 isn't an obsolete function because barcades are everywhere.

Newer pins are unlikely to make their money back to where they are a good use of space, but there's plenty of old ones that do make money for their operators.

I will say that I had no idea that pinball machines cost as much as a new car, so, again, except for enthusiasts and specialized locations they're pretty much obsolete, replaced by other, more engaging entertainments.
The price is insane, though, I will give you that. I got a $6000 tax return a few years ago and used $5500 of it for the Tron pin. The thing is, though, Stern (the manufacturer) employs a lot of people. I like that they exist. For me to ever buy a new one, it would either have to have a theme that appealed to me AND was a great pin (a Red Dwarf pin, a When Gravity Fails pin, a Murder of JonBenet Ramsey pin) which is unlikely to ever happen.

Although Jersey Jack said they are going to make one designed by Pat Lawlor next year, so who knows. It's more likely I'd sell the Tron and use that as seed money for Lawlor's pin.
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Post by Tdarcos » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:32 am

Tdarcos wrote:
Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:Obsolete is not the right word because it's function isn't to "provide entertainment." That's a blanket statement that I am going to argue with.
Well, let's see how far you can get.
Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:There's two objectives of a pinball machine. Maybe three:

1) To earn enough money to pay for itself and then generate profit for its owner.
Will this happen if the customers are not entertained by the pinball machine? If the device is dull or does not provide an interesting experience to the customer, i.e, be entertaining to them, will they spend money on it?
Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:2) Be a collectible entertainment device. (Like how I got my Tron pin.)
Do you think collectors buy pinball machines - other than because someone they know would buy it from them at a profit - unless they also wanted to play with the machine, i.e. to be entertained by it?
Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:3) Be an "attraction" that, while not making money for the owner, gives people a reason to buy drinks or whatnot at an establishment that has one.
Again, will customers come to a place simply because it has a pinball machine, or are they coming there to play the machine, i.e. to be entertained by it?
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Post by Flack » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:38 am

Well, there's one that posts here from time to time...
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