With the public nostalgia around all things retro, arcade games such as the classic pinball machine are making its way back to mainstream attention, and for some, into their homes. Fans of arcade games know that pinball is an excellent game that is a must-have for any collector. If you have a game room with enough space and you have money to spare, the thought of putting a pinball machine or table is probably one of your plans.
Figuring out the pinball table to add to your game room can be overwhelming. You need to find one that is reliable, durable, and long-lasting to provide you and your friends hours of fun. It’s also likely that you have a theme in mind.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Pinball Machine
Before you buy a pinball machine, here’s what you need to know:
If you’ve been looking for a pinball machine, you’re probably aware of how expensive it can be. It can be pricey because of pricing issues. There are few licenses and manufacturers that tend to be costly, and to add to that; most are full of proprietary technology. All these keep the prices high. Tables that have popular licenses that are kept in great shape will gain value over time. Also, the fewer the tables made with a particular theme – that means its more unique – the more likely it becomes more expensive.
Pinball machines vary in weight due to different factors. Some table weighs as little as 200 pounds, while others can be as heavy as 350 pounds. To ensure long-lasting use, go for something heavier.
The ruleset is where the ball times match the rule depth. It has to be equal or greater than the playtime, or else you’ll get bored.
Games with less use are generally more reliable, and games with less stuff tend to break less. The newer versions of pinball machines usually have fewer issues. It’s great to buy antique for collection and display purposes, but if you want to play with it a lot, get a new one.
If you’re going to put it in the game room, it needs to be something you’re interested in. You don’t want to buy a Medieval Madness pinball machine just because it’s highly rated, but it looks off with your game room.
Many pinball machines have accessories that allow you to customize your pinball experience. These include shooter knobs and rods, side armor, backbox toppers, and playfield enhancements. The accessories you pick will depend on your play preferences.
Check with the manufacturer’s instructions. Most often, if you buy online, it needs a little bit set up. Your box will come with a backbox folded down with legs removed. When you pull these out, there will be easy-to-follow instructions.
If you’re buying a pinball machine, you have to know how to maintain one. First things first: keep it away from dusty environments. As much as possible, it must be placed in an air-conditioned room to prevent mechanical issues caused by dust buildup. You may also need to monitor the rubber rings in the game for any sign of wear. If it’s worn out, you need to replace it with a new rubber ring kit. Not doing so will cause further damage to the machine.
Also, you need to have it waxed using pinball playfield wax-like Millwax. If your car needs to have its oil changed every 3,000 miles, your pinball machine needs to be waxed every 1,500 plays or every six months, whichever comes first.
Best Pinball Machines for your Game Room
Star Trek had a long history in the pinball world. Their license has been used for various pinball tables – some amazing, some not-so-great. But this particular machine definitely falls into the “amazing” category. The design of this pinball machine is primarily based on Star Trek Into Darkness.
This table features many high-tech elements that are sure to keep players hooked. The centerpiece comes with a huge model of the USS Vengeance, dominating the playfield. The high-definition artwork, classic musical scores, and the cosmic LED lighting will evoke a feeling of flying through space at Warp Speed. This machine includes three flippers, three lightning fast ramps, resettable memory drop targets, and many other features. It’s an excellent set for Star Trek aficionados.
- Feels high-tech
- Fantastic model of USS Vengeance
- Classic Star Trek musical scores
- LED lights
- Great skill curve
- Theming feels a little outdated
If you’re a music enthusiast, you most probably love The Beatles. This band is a timeless group, and there are many different kinds of machines modeled after them. One of the best pinball machines with a Beatles theme is this Gold Edition machine. This is a retro-themed playfield that’s all about nostalgia – throwing players back to the sixties with everything from video clips to Ed Sullivan intros. It features nine timeless hit songs from the era. It’s surprising to see a machine play full songs from a pinball table, but they work well here.
This table comes with several standard features, such as four flippers, 11 drop targets, eight stand-up targets, two opto-spinners, multiple skill shots, a ball-catching magnet, plus a magnetic spinning record disc in the center. The magnetic features work really nice as well. This is a must-have for a music enthusiast with a knack for arcade games.
- Great Beatles theme and presentation
- Features 9 timeless hit songs from The Beatles
- Fantastic magnetic elements
- Amazing sound quality
- Some play elements are generic
The Deadpool machine is a fairly new addition to the modern pinball machines in the market. Deadpool is the highest-grossing Rated-R film of all time, and it’s also a Marvel comics. This table combines both these versions of the characters for an entertaining experience. The gameplay of this Deadpool pinball machine delivers, as it got a variety of different Ninjas, vampires, and chimichangas that require different levels of skills – while all of them being entertaining. Anyone, no matter the age, can find something to enjoy.
The machine features iconic X-men characters as they battle against infamous villains. This table also comes with two stainless steel and wire form ramps that have a Katana sword ramp return. The latter is sure to catch eyes, as with all of the other bells and whistles. Every game features a three-bank drop target with a ball lock that guards a custom molded Lil’ Dead pool bash toy. Overall, the model features premium and distinctive hand-drawn art by a renowned illustrator. This is an excellent choice for Deadpool or Marvel fans and is sure to provide you hours of fun.
- Great Marvel license
- Provides fun for all skill levels
- Eye-catching Katana sword ramp return
- Super playable
- Needs a big initial investment
- Some may think it’s overloaded with gimmicks
If you simply want to buy your kids a nice pinball machine, you don’t need to spend thousands on a big one. This arcade pinball machine is fun for children – the game itself is already fun, but the addition of a gumball machine makes it even more delightful. With this pinball machine, players are to compete with themselves or friends and try to beat the high score to get a gumball dispensed to you as a special treat. Also, the maker of this machine, Dubble Bubble, is a premier company that makes chewing gums and gumballs.
This board has an automatic 4-digit LED digital scoreboard, double flipper controls, spring action bumpers, and electronic lights and sounds. Plus, it comes with a pack of 15 gumballs to get your game started!
- Great for kids
- Gives out gumballs as a prize for beating high scores
- Comes with batteries
- 4-digit LED scoreboard
- Electronic lights and sounds
Sounds can be too noisy