Pinball Machines For Sale

What Makes a Good Pinball Machine Great?
It’s a very simple question, but the response would be different depending on who you ask. So, the answer to what makes a good pinball great is entirely subjective. The best person to answer that question is you!

That said, there are a few features that most people can agree help make a pinball machine great. These features include:

Theme – This is usually important. The theme is what a player sees at first glance. If the pinball has a theme they like, say The Walking Dead for example, then that person is already hooked. Just walking up to the machine and giving a touch to the buttons, checking out the translite, watching the playfield light up is enough to draw that person in. They’ve already made a connection to the game.

If someone hates sci-fi, then they probably wouldn’t want to play a Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars pinball machine. While Stern pinball does make great machines, those examples just wouldn’t speak to someone.

Sound – Sound is another big feature that weighs heavily on the scale of importance in pinball. Imagine if you played an Aerosmith pinball machine or a Metallica pinball machine and the speakers were dinky little things. How much of a slap in the face would that be? Imagine having a pinball modeled after one of the greatest bands in rock history only to barely hear your favorite songs!

An Example
Again, in this example, Stern Pinball creates these games and puts a lot of effort into creating a sound system to drive home the joy. Stern Pinball themselves says that, “Experienced players will recognize a more engaging overall game experience and quickly appreciate the enhanced illumination effects and higher quality sound.” If one of the largest and oldest manufacturers of arcade game quality pinball machines is taking progressive steps to make sure their sound system is the best it can be, you better believe that it’s important!


Rule Set / Shot Layout – A pinball is not just a silver ball getting batted around a pinball machine. In every pinball game, there is a set of rules or challenges to overcome. Take for example The Lord of the Rings pinball.

The Peter Jackson film franchise is very popular. Stern Pinball’s The Lord of the Rings pinball machine is equally popular and for good reason. It may seem easy upon first glance, but you would be mistaken to think that. To reach the final mode of the game, you have to play through 3 different multi balls, play through all game modes, collect all the “Gifts of the Elves,” play “There and Back Again,” and destroy the Ring of Power. Only after completing basically everything you can does the final game mode become accessible. It is said to be one of the most difficult wizard modes to achieve, but as with any game, the challenge is the fun.

Uniqueness – Some pinball machines simply stand out because they implement a unique ruleset, have a different or interesting build or are collectable.

The Lord of the Rings pinball machine by Stern Pinball is pretty unique in its ruleset. That’s one thing that makes it stand out to enthusiasts.

Great American Pinball’s Indiana Jones and Scared Stiff are rather unique in that they have been built into a custom cabinet. The Indiana Jones that we’ve built is a replica of the same pinball game built by Disney’s Imagineers in Disneyland. The case mimics the crate used to house the Ark of the Covenant in the famous ending sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Last, some games are simply collectable because a few models have been made. Stern Pinball produces their pinball machines at different price points. Their high end models are usually signed by the creators and have special features not available in the other models and have specialty artwork. Stern Pinball adds these features only to their high end models so they become a bit of a collector’s item. This collectability is one aspect that makes the pinball machine unique.

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Playfield Features – Some of the playfield features of a pinball machine also add to the enjoyment of playing pinball.

For example, a game like Funhouse has the big Rudy head in the playfield. This is a nice target with which players can interact with.

Another pinball game with a similar feature would be the New Guardians of the Galaxy by Stern Pinball. Players get to interact with a large Groot head. A player can open his mouth by hitting it three times and then locking a ball in his mouth. Adding two more balls will start Groot Multi Ball.

Ghostbusters is another pinball game with unique features. There is the Slimer toy that floats around the playfield waiting to be hit by a pinball. Your pinball can also hit the Scoleri Brothers drop targets.

Stern Pinball’s Star Wars has an LCD screen included in the playfield, which is rather unique when compared to many other pinball games.

These unique playfield features are what makes a game interesting, different or new. Pinball manufacturers are constantly working to create a pinball that pushes the boundaries of what has previously been known in the world of pinball. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that we can expect the world of pinball to change drastically while new technologies are developed.

Flow – The flow of the pinball can also be described as how fluid ball travels in the game. Some people prefer a pinball to always be in a state of motion, always looking out for a trick shot and always nudging the game to make sure the pinball lines up just right. Others prefer to take their time and place the pinball shots exactly where they want after almost meditating on each shot. Here, there’s no right or wrong answer. This choice if just left to preference. Really, you should just pick a pinball game that has the right level of action you want.

Some Great Pinball Machines
Theatre of Magic – This pinball ranked number 18 in Pinside’s list of Best Pinball Games, Theatre of Magic is a game that has captured the imaginations of many flippers. Bally made Theatre of Magic in 1995, but it’s ease of play and prominent features has made it a classic pinball to own.

Attack From Mars – Some pinball machine are so popular that even after they run out of production, they get remade. Attack From Mars from Chicago Gaming Company is one such game. The original game was released by Bally. Since Bally doesn’t produce pinball machines anymore, Chicago Gaming Company obtained rights to the game and produced Attack From Mars remake. They now produce one of the most popular games in pinball. Team that with Chicago Gaming Company’s Medieval Madness Remake and Chicago Gaming Company holds the rights to some of pinball’s greatest games.

Star Wars – This pinball is relatively new. Stern pulled out all stops with this one too. It’s got an extra large LCD screen that gives very clear instructions to the game modes as well as a smaller LCD screen that’s located on the playfield. The smaller screen also has instructions, but it is a bit more interactive. You can shoot for it to try and hit the Tie Fighters, or you can slap the LED Action Button to fire at the enemy!

One of the most popular franchises in history might be Star War pinball. And you can get yourself a piece of that history too with Stern Pinball’s Star War Pinball machine.

Lethal Weapon – Lethal Weapon was never really ranked very high as a must own classic pinball. That said, it’s won a cozy spot in the hearts of many pinball enthusiasts. Lethal Weapon’s humor and action is what has made it such a popular franchise (even prompting a television spinoff). This classic pinball machine, much like Murtaugh, is sure to never retire.

Really, any list of great pinball machines can be rather long winded. Maybe that is why Pinside has created a list of the top rated 100 Pinball Machines. Sometimes we need a way to whittle down the best from the good.

Choosing the Right Pinball Machine for You
Really what we emphasize at Great American Pinball is getting a pinball that you will love. Looking at the Pinside Top 100 might be a nice place to start your pinball search, but by no means is it canon. What you really want to do when choosing your own pinball is think about what you are going to want in your home or place of business. What pinball theme or franchise do you like? What kind of pinball player are you? What expectations are you coming to pinball with?

Let Us Help You Choose The Right Pinball Game
Searching for a pinball is one of the fun aspects of owning a pinball machine. At Great American Pinball we encourage you to come visit our pinball showroom. We have between 30 and 40 different pinball machines waiting for you to try out. From new pinball to classic pinball, we have a wide selection. Our pinball stock changes constantly too. So many people contact us to sell games or trade up for a new pinball game.

Making Sure You Get a Great Pinball Game
Great American Pinball does have new stock, but we also do our best to acquire used pinball machines in great condition. We are proud to come to your home or business to drop off and set up your pinball machine for you, because we know that the pinball you purchase is a great game in great condition.

We encourage you to come check out our showroom. We’ll be happy to show you our current stock of pinball machines and arcade games. You will actually be able to play our new pinball games from companies like Stern Pinball and Chicago Gaming Company pinball, as well as look through our stock of used pinball machine.

We’re also looking forward to building our relationship with American Pinball, creators of the new Houdini Pinball Machine.

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