Category Archives: Pinball For Sale

The Dangers in Buying a Pinball Machine

If there’s anything that makes me angry in this world, both as a consumer and as a business person, it’s scammers.  I’m not just referring to the people in foreign countries who lure you into a “get rich quick” scheme, I’m referring to the local scammers here in the United States – and some of them like to sell or “repair” pinball machines!

Buying a pinball machine is like buying a car, minus the “Lemon Law”.  If the game doesn’t work as advertised, and the seller refuses to make good, small claims court may be your only venue for recourse – but then, the question will likely arise about whether or not you did your due diligence as a consumer before you purchased the game. 

I’m currently repairing a game for a gentleman who purchased it from an ad on Craigslist.  Reportedly, the game was advertised as running fine and was for sale for $800.  The gentleman also paid a neighbor $100 to pick the game up in their truck.  When the game arrived, it didn’t even have a plug on the power cord!  So far, he’s into GAME 1 for $900 for a non-working game.

He wanted to get his new game working, so he went back to the internet to find someone in the Boston area who repairs pinball machines. He found one – this “repair person” came up first on his Google search.  The “repair person” came by, looked at the gentleman’s game and told him he’d be better off “parting it out”, meaning sell the backglass and playfield (on ebay) and throw the rest of the game in the trash.  He might get $600 for the parts.  This “repair person” charged the gentleman $75 for little more than his advice.

The gentleman wanted a working pinball machine, so he asked the “repair person” if he had any games for sale, which he did.  The “repair person” charged him $600 for GAME 2 (which was $200 over book value for an “average copy” of this particular game), and delivered the game shortly thereafter.  Total investment between the two games so far: $1575

The “repair person” sold GAME 2 with just a 30-day warranty.  Shortly after the 30 days was up, GAME 2 broke and needed to be fixed.  The “repair person” didn’t want to service the game, and referred him to a “younger kid” who worked “for less money”.  The kid came, fiddled around with the game, got it “working” again, and charged the gentleman $50. Total investment: $1625

Tired of dealing with the first “repair person” the gentleman called a second person, a friend of mine, and asked him to look at both of his games. 

Dave does fabulous work.  His restorations are top-notch and, like me, he stands behind his work!  When he arrived, he noted that GAME 1 had numerous mechanical problems (this was the advertised “working” game), and was in need of a heavy overhaul.  Dave’s schedule was chock full for several months, so he suggested that the gentleman speak with me about GAME 1 and turned his attention to GAME 2.

Dave repaired several outstanding complaints on GAME 2.  Total investment now: $1750 – book value for both of his games in average, working condition, but only one game was working and the other still needed a heavy overhaul!

I spoke with the gentleman and we agreed upon a time for me to pick up GAME 1, and overhaul it.

When I arrived to pick up GAME 1 and bring it to the shop, the gentleman asked me to look at GAME 2.  The right flipper had stopped working.  I don’t normally carry parts with me on a pick-up call, but since GAME 1 and GAME 2 had similar flipper assemblies, I scavenged the needed parts off of GAME 1 before packing it into the van, and told the gentleman that GAME 2 would still need some work to make it play like new – but for now it’s working.

So, we’ll have more to discuss as GAME 1 gets overhauled.  However, the moral to the story is to buy from reputable people!  Just because someone comes up on a Google search, or because something’s for sale on Craigslist doesn’t mean it is as advertised! 

If the AD says the game is working, have the seller make sure the game is set-up and playable before you get there.  Look at the game and play it.  Watch the points count up when a target is hit.  Do the bumpers “punch” the ball around the table, or does the ball just get “coaxed” around by the bumpers and flippers?  A good, well maintained pin will play very lively. Even old pins will play lively when tuned up properly!

Then, look inside of the game!  When all of these games were made, they were wired in a professional-looking manner.  Maybe you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, but if the wiring looks “unprofessional”, you likely have a problem that will cost you more money down the road! Pinball manufacturers did not use wires with alligator clips. If you see games with “jumper wires” inside, the game was not repaired properly. Does the game come with a warranty?  Will they give it to you in writing?

Just because someone comes up first on a Google search, does not necessarily mean they are a reputable person – they just paid money to be first! When you hire someone to work on your game, speak to them; ask them questions.  Do they sound like they WANT to work on your game, or are you annoying them?  Do they warranty their work?  If so, for how long?  Will they give it to you in writing?

For myself, I warranty the games I sell for one year, for all parts and labor except for circuit boards (then the warranty is manufacturer’s warranty for new boards, and whatever the warranty is that I get from the board rebuilder if you choose to go in that direction).  I prefer to replace old, worn out parts with brand-new ones.  Sure it costs a little more in the short-run, but it’s a better product in the end!

My goal is to see your game play like the day it first came off of the assembly line!  All of my customers are satisfied customers, because if they call for help, I get to them ASAP.  Also, I prefer to build a long-term relationship with my customers, and most of them are repeat customers!


1976 Gottlieb Card Whiz – SOLD!

Since we seem to be having some temporary difficulty with our website, we’ll use the What’s New section to announce our latest game for sale:  Gottlieb’s Card Whiz!

Card Whiz is NOT a restored game.  It’s what we call a “player” game.  It’s playfield is a little rough looking (as you can see in the photos), but the game is solid, it plays great, and has been thoroughly gone over by our experienced staff.

This is a really fun game, and is rated on the Internet Pinball Database as a 7.8 out of 10.  Incidentally, Card Whiz is a two-player game, and it’s four-player identical twin, Royal Flush, is currently the third highest rated EM pinball machine on the IPDB! 

 It has nine drop targets which represent playing cards.  In order to score bonus points, you need to “make” certain “hands” as specified in the BONUS section in the lower playfield.  This is a fun and very challenging game, as ball control is difficult to maintain.  The drop targets, positioned at an angle, tend to send the ball toward the outholes – requiring a quick bump on the game or a quick move with the flippers!

Why haven’t we restored Card Whiz?  Quite simply, the amount of time required to restore Card Whiz’s playfield would make this game cost thousands of dollars when we sold it.  It’s a great playing game as is, and none of the imperfections on the playfield detract from the gameplay in any way.  The playfield has been cleaned and waxed, and the game has been thoroughly tested and plays great.  This particular pinball machine was in a pinball tournament in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 17th, and received very high reviews from several of the players there.

Card Whiz comes with a 90-day warranty on all parts and labor for anyone within a 1-hour ride from our shop, local area delivery and set-up. 

If you don’t mind a game with a few minor “imperfections” then you and your family can enjoy a comparatively inexpensive pinball machine for years to come!

Gottlieb Card Whiz: $700

If you have any questions, or would like to purchase Card Whiz, either E-mail us at AtlanticPinball@gmail.com, or call Scott at (781) 727-7800!


Another Game Goes to a Good Home…

Our Bally Freedom was purchased late last week, and was delivered safe and sound last night.  Just because you missed out on Freedom, don’t worry, we’ll have more quality vintage pinball machines appearing online very soon.

We still have a Gottlieb Top Score pinball looking for a good home.  It’s playing like 1975 all over again, and is a fun, fast game.  It’s one of those games that keeps you coming back for more!

We’re having trouble keeping up with the building demand for our pinball machines, so when a game you like is available, grab it before its gone!


Good Clean FUN in your Own Home!

Atlantic Pinball refurbishes and restores vintage pinball machines for use in your home or business. We feature primarily the “electro-mechanical” pinball machines from the 1960s and 1970s. Maybe you remember some of these games from the past?

When we’re at shows and events, the most common comment we hear is about how people love the sounds and feel of our games. Honest to goodness bells and chimes ring from inside the cabinet. The blinking lights and the thumping of the bumpers add to the experience of playing a real pinball machine; everything that video pinball can not duplicate!

One of the other comments we receive is that our games play very fast. Well, we advertise that they play “like new” and they do! Back when these games were new, they played fast with quick and snappy flippers, and pop bumpers and sling shots that sent the ball flying across the table! You won’t find games like THIS on Craigslist or E-bay, and they certainly won’t give you a one-year warranty on parts and labor!

If you see a game on our website that interests you, and you’d like to see it in person, give us a call, or send us an e-mail. We’ll be happy to meet you at our shop in Weymouth, Massachusetts. You can even try the game for yourself.

While a pinball machine can class up your Man Cave or Game Room, it can also captivate and entertain kids of all ages for hours, and it’s good clean family fun too!


Save $$$ on Pinball Machines at JP Rocks and Rolls Event this coming Sunday!!!

On Sunday, November 6, 2011, we expect to be featuring two pinball machines at “JP Rocks and Rolls”; Gottlieb’s Top Score, and Bally’s Freedom.  Both games are playing great and ready to be moved into your home!

Both games will be set up and ready to play.  Try them out and see if you like them!  Buyers at the JP Rocks and Rolls event will save $200 on the regular price of either machine.  Both machines include delivery and set-up, and a one year warranty on all parts and labor.

So, come on down and visit us at the event!  For more info on the JP Rocks and Rolls event, go to: jprocksandrolls.com


We Don’t Just Sell Pinball Machines!

As we close in on the date for the JP Rocks and Rolls event, we have other things happening here at Atlantic Pinball, namely doing a rehab on a privately owned game.

We were contacted by a customer who had a pinball machine which they purchased some time ago.  The game had become non-functional and no one in the house knew how to repair the game.  They contacted us, and right now their pinball machine is in our shop being serviced.

So far, we have the game running again, and as of right now we have the playfield completely stripped and cleaned in preparation for a couple of coats of wax.  Next, we will be reconditioning the thumper bumpers, and rebuilding the flipper assemblies with all new parts and coils.  We’re even updating some of the wiring on the game too!

When it’s done, we’ll be returning their game to them working and ready to run – and done on a budget!  Should they ever decide to do a full restoration of their game, they’ll already have most of the mechanical work done already!

This is one of the places where Atlantic Pinball can help you out with pinball machines which you already own.  If you have a game that needs some TLC, give us a call or send us an email.  We’ll be happy to talk with you and help you get your old game playing like new again!


JP Rocks and Rolls!

On November 6, 2011, we will be in Jamaica Plain at the JP Rocks and Rolls event.  We are expecting to have at least two of our games at the show, a Gottlieb Top Score and a Bally Freedom.  Both games are in the final stages of testing before being made available for sale.

If you have never seen our games, please stop by the event and visit us.  The games will be operating and set for free play, so you can see the quality of our work in person!

For more information on the event, go to: jprocksandrolls.com


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