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Looking for a tabletop pinball suggestion or two.

tabletop pinball

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#1 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:36 PM

In all my years, I've never owned a tabletop or free-standing toy-grade pinball machine. I'm sure I've passed on many hundreds in the thrift shops, but now I think I actually want one.

Which should I get?

Do any have more complex gameplay than just 'hit the bumpers'? Are there any with bonus games--like "hit that one bumper" or even something like a ball saver? Are there some with better lights and sound than others? Maybe scoreboard animation or match games? Or going really nuts, do any of these have ramps, or flippers that my fingers don't directly move? What are some of your favorites?

I really like the look of the zizzle 3/4 freestanding pinballs--but I missed the boat on those by a solid half decade. I think my budget is leaning more toward tabletop right now anyway.

Edited by Reaperman, Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:59 PM.


#2 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:36 PM

Doing a bit more research, this is the best I can find. Tomy sold it with a few different themes (I'd probably go for 'astro shooter'). Has anybody seen a better tabletop?

I like the mechanical score with highscore, lights/sounds and ramps. They seem to run $50-70.


Edited by Reaperman, Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:38 PM.


#3 Taskmaster99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:42 PM

Did a google search and all I can find are not very high rated. Junk to say the least.

#4 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:39 PM

It seems a few "zizzle style" pinball machines are still around.
Kind of "medium grade" 3/4 scale pinball.
The store selling it wants *WAY* more than I'm willing to pay, though. Seems to only be common in the UK.
I'd probably go $150 for such a machine.


Edited by Reaperman, Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:50 PM.


#5 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:20 PM

Believe me, You wouldn't go $150 for such a toy after seeing, feeling and playing it. ;)

That American Pinball tabletop you linked would be a better buy, but may as well start with one of these... I have one and it's cool for what it is. :lol:

http://rover.ebay.co...=item51a9d10b00

#6 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:24 AM

Didn't one of the Kitchen brothers design a cool pinball tabletop during the 70s? I got a electronic Pool called Bank Shot from him.

#7 KidQuaalude OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:57 AM

I have an 'Astro Shooter' and its little brother the 'Atomic Arcade Pinball'. Astro shooter/american pinball is the best out there that I've seen/played (at least there are a few shots that are tricky and provide big score) but if you have the space I'd recommend skipping buying one of these and save up for a proper machine if you want pinball.

#8 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:20 AM

I have an 'Astro Shooter' and its little brother the 'Atomic Arcade Pinball'. Astro shooter/american pinball is the best out there that I've seen/played (at least there are a few shots that are tricky and provide big score) but if you have the space I'd recommend skipping buying one of these and save up for a proper machine if you want pinball.

Space is the kicker with a 1700sq ft condo with an MVS and two pachinko machines already--the wife would probably start slowly poisoning me. She actually likes pinball too, but I don't think either of us like it $1000-3000 worth. That's a lot of quarters--2000-6000 games worth.

I've also been looking at homemade lego pinball tables--building one of those is tempting since I have most of the parts for it (minus the electronics) but I'd probably wind up with something that weighs 50 lbs and isn't half as good as Astro Shooter. I really think I like that one. Ramps are cheap--why don't more of these little tables have them?

In an era where complex processors and color screens are being inserted into magazine ads, it's amazing that we don't have a machines this size that are much more advanced. Something with multi-ball, bonus games, local tournament mode, timed score attack, codes for sharing your score online, etc.

Edited by Reaperman, Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:49 AM.


#9 KidQuaalude OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:15 AM

Proper pinball is always going to be expensive to buy/produce (due to the amount of indivual parts used - typically thousands) so I dont think you will ever see tabletop machines as you described but I'd love to see one. I also dont really think a market exists for such a thing to be honest. People who play pinball casually (in bars etc) are probably quite happy playing 'The Pinball Arcade' on their iPads/PS3s/etc and the hardcore own one or more real tables. If you want one bad enough, you'll find space. I have a pinball machine in my place and I have a lot less room than you! ;)

#10 brojamfootball OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:11 AM

Definitely get the American or Astro Shooter, also available in the rarer Pirate Treasure artwork package.
Finest "toy" pin ever made.

#11 Taskmaster99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:25 PM

Here is a Tomy American for sale:

http://www.amazon.co...ds=tomy pinball

Not sure what your range is. After watching videos....I also would go with American, Atomic or Astro Shooter.

#12 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:01 PM

Here is a Tomy American for sale:

http://www.amazon.co...ds=tomy pinball

Not sure what your range is. After watching videos....I also would go with American, Atomic or Astro Shooter.

For any tabletop I'm not looking to spend over $50 shipped. I can certainly wait until I find one for that price--I'm in no real hurry.

There is also a 'Price is Right' and 'coca cola' variant of the american pinball machine too--I'm looking for the oddballs and hoping to snag one on an auction. I seriously doubt these would go above $50 in a pure auction environment.

Edited by Reaperman, Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:02 PM.


#13 Cammy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:19 AM

Toy pinball is one of my favourite hobbies. I wish I lived in America where there were a lot more machines available, but I think I've done alright living in Australia and keeping my eye out for bargains. My hobby started when I was given a little tabletop Star Wars pinball machine. It's about the size of the smaller Tomy machines, but nowhere near as complex, there are no intricate mechanics inside, just some flashing lights, sounds and the score dial. I still fell in love with it, and soon found some other, generic versions of the same machine with space and racing car themes. I soon moved onto free-standing pinball machines which are my current obsession. I've been wanting to start a blog site to review the different ones that are available so I've been doing research for years. I'll get around to the reviews eventually, but until then here are some hints and pics. The most advanced home pinball games in terms of game modes and accurately recreated parts are the Zizzle machines, which use solenoid-powered bumpers and flippers, have special modes and games with specific targets and timing just like real arcade pinball machines. They unfortunately only have a backlit LCD score display so it looks a little harder to read than the generic LED ones. There were four models released, two Marvel Super Heroes machines and two Pirates of the Caribbean machines. The second generation were improved and much more preferable to the original ones, and I think look better too, especially with the new lighting. There was a fifth model in the works but Zizzle went bust before it could be produced. Years later the "Star Galaxy" appeared, which looked like a hybrid of a Zizzle machine and a regular, budget pinball machine. Some design improvements and additions have been made but the machine doesn't contain the Zizzle's computer, so all the targets just add to the score and there aren't any special modes, just like a regular, budget model.

Anyway, here are the pics:

Posted Image

And the unreleased prototype of the most awesome and appropriate one of all, Atari Arcade Classics pinball :(

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

And the more recent Star Galaxy machine:

Posted ImagePosted Image

I wish I had one of these machines! Any of them, the Zizzles or the Star Galaxy, although if I had a choice I'd get the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End machine, it's the most beautiful home pinball machine ever made in my opinion. I have read that they can all be a bit faulty over time, and require maintenance just like real pinball machines, so that might be something to prepare for. The cheaper, electronic machines with mechanical flippers don't tend to break down as easily, but they do still get faulty so it will be handy if you can solder and operate a screwdriver.

Oh, and here's my YouTube playlist of home pinball videos: http://www.youtube.c...F15607FAEFD9889

Edited by Cammy, Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:34 AM.


#14 Cammy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:40 AM

The best machine I can find on eBay at the moment is this one: eBay Auction -- Item Number: 221195171346

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

These ones are pretty basic though, they're smaller than most free-standing models but do sometimes come with legs. It has Darth Vader on it though, which I think is so cool!

This is a video of the exact same machine, but with a different theme and smaller backboard design:



#15 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:56 AM

The best machine I can find on eBay at the moment is this one: eBay Auction -- Item Number: 221195171346

These ones are pretty basic though, they're smaller than most free-standing models but do sometimes come with legs. It has Darth Vader on it though, which I think is so cool!

This is a video of the exact same machine, but with a different theme and smaller backboard design:

I've looked at those, and I like that they have a ramp--but the one thing that kills those for me are the passive bumpers. Active bumpers pretty much pushes me toward a Tomy-designed machine or a mid-grade.

Here's another Tomy design with a more complex playfield. In addition to sonic, there's a Radio Shack version with a generic space theme. It might be a little too gimmicky for me, but I sure wouldn't pass on a deal for one. No highscore, but multi-ball 'on demand' is possible. I think most of these only have a single ball, right?


Edited by Reaperman, Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:58 AM.


#16 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:15 PM

The upright Zizzles are the way to go, but they are definitely out of your price range. However, if you want to shell out the money, you are going to have something that is going to be more complicated from a rules and gameplay perspective, so you will likely get more enjoyment out of them in the long run.

@Cammy--thanks for doing that write-up. I didn't realize there were two (older) versions of both the Marvel and Pirates tables! Very cool.

#17 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:28 PM

Alot of them are pretty chincy. I had 5 of those things when I was younger, and some do not hold up well.

http://www.mariomayh...smb-pinball.jpg These ones are pretty crappy. I had the Mario one, and some outerspace one. They're fun when you're 6, but once you're older, you end up breaking the thing.


There are some pretty solid ones you'll find, like the ones Cammy showed.

but the real problem is, most of the themes surrounding these things are pretty crappy.

You aren't going to find anything this awesome as a tabletop:





That's why you should just get the real deal! :D Just find one your wife likes, and ditch one of the pachinko machines! :D

#18 BigO OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:29 PM

I had one of the Tomy "Atomic Arcade" machines when I was a kid. I can see having them as collector pieces, but the game play isn't so enthralling.

Despite the theme being the generationally now obscure "Roy Clark", I have a cocktail table pinball machine that I like. It takes less space than a full size machine and doubles as an extension of my electronics work bench in a pinch. Maybe you could talk your wife into letting you have one of those.

I've seen a lot of activity in the homebrew pinball machine space on the 'net in the last year or two. If you have time on your hands, maybe you could take the lessons from those builds and build a scaled down machine yourself.

#19 Cammy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:34 PM

All of the ones I've played have one ball, apart from the Sonic one I can't think of another with more than one. I actually found a better machine than the Darth Vader one, it's the newest design I've seen going around and it comes in a few different colours and themes. It's also bigger than the other one, roughly the same size as my Star Wars and Batman free-standing pinball machines. This is a red Transformers one, it has ramps and other special features: http://rover.ebay.co...4d068a639a#nogo

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_C0AZGFpLc

Edited by Cammy, Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:36 PM.


#20 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:56 PM

thanks to this thread I am wanting a Tomy Astro Shooter, and also going back to my pipe dreams about my three favorite tables (Addams Family, G n' R, TMNT)

#21 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:15 PM

got me a Tomy American Pinball for $40 (w/ box & power supply but no legs or manual) . the kick-out on the left was malfunctioning but after taking it apart and tinkering with it for a couple hours, it now runs fine. somehow i managed to magnetize one of the bumpers and it sucks the ball right to it. that will eventually wear off. every hit it takes scrambles the polarity more and more. it's true. i read it online. bonjour.

#22 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:30 PM

Tonight I won a Vader tabletop like the one Cammy has... I'm curious to see how it plays once it arrives. At least it looks cool :D

That Marvel Zizzle and the Star Galaxy have also caught my interest, although there's only a Marvel on eBay right now and it's listed for over $2K...

#23 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:12 PM

The first of my "toy pinballs" arrived today... Tomy Atomic Arcade Pinball. I hadn't seen one in many years and didn't remember how they played, but this thread made me curious.

My expectations were low... however the play is massively better than I expected (or vaguely remembered). The playfield is simplistic yet provides classic and entertaining pinball with active bumpers and a bell sounding for points. I played it for about 45 minutes and then my wife had her turn. She loves it.

What an awesome toy. But with the play noise and the whirring motor, I recalled why my parents wouldn't let me have one 30+ years ago :D

20130325TomyAtomicArcadePinball.JPG

#24 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:20 PM

anyone following up on this thread should check out http://www.irpinball.org/ where you can download simulated tables of various tabletops (like Atomic Pinball), LED handhelds (like Parker Bros Wildfire), and more.

#25 onthinice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:04 AM

Those are all really cool! I have one close to the Tomy model. Played it all the time. I collect Coleco tabletop arcades also. A few years ago I picked up a Family Guy Pinball. Complete with Stewie insults.




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