Buying a NIB pinball machine – the pros and the cons

Buying a new in box (NIB) pinball machine is a pretty exciting experience; especially if you’ve never been through the process before. Recently, I purchased my first NIB pinball machine, and I thought that I’d share some of my experience and lay out the pros and cons that I’ve observed when it comes to buying a pinball machine in this manner.

My story begins with the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown, that was held in Denver, Colorado in late April. There were plenty of games that I had my eye on coming into the show, but AC/DC was something that I just had to try for myself. I’m not much of a fan of the band, but the constant praise that the game has received has always made me curious to try the game out. My first night at the show, an AC/DC Back in Black Limited Edition was the first game I played. Initially impressed, I started wandering the floor after that first game, but quickly found myself wanting to go back for more.

Over the course of the next couple of days, I logged a crazy amount of games on the three different AC/DC machines (one BIBLE and two Premiums) at the show. I saw JJ, from Game Exchange at the show, and we began talking about what sort of price he could offer on the game. My mind began to churn and I started thinking about my collection and what titles I could let go to fund my first NIB purchase.

My AC/DC Premium, ready to be unboxed.
My AC/DC Premium, ready to be unboxed.

Two days after getting back from Denver, I had sold my Simpsons Pinball Party and my White Water, two fantastic games, but two I was willing to let go to raise the money I needed. The next day, on my lunch break, I phoned up Game Exchange and placed my order. Two days after that, the AC/DC Premium was dropped off at my home. It happened quickly, and it was a good thing, because I was burning up with excitement to get the game into my home.

After unpacking the game with the help of a friend, we set it up in my garage and gave it a couple of hours of continuous play. The game played beautifully, and I moved it down into the game room a couple of days later. I’ve even woke up early on a few days to put in some time before work to supplement the nights I’ve stayed up late. I’m hooked on the game, and I’m more than happy with the purchase.


AC/DC Premium pinball machine
Unpacking my first NIB game, an AC/DC Premium

So it’s a good story, but there are still pros and cons to consider when springing for a NIB game. Since buying the AC/DC Premium, several people have asked me if I would repeat the decision given another chance. I would, but I do recognized that buying a new game does have drawbacks. Let’s dive in.

The pros of buying a NIB pinball machine

  • As the original owner, the game will arrive in pristine condition
  • You’ll receive a warranty and free tech support on the game
  • It’s easy to document the HUO status of the machine
  • Aside from high end restorations, nothing plays like a fresh NIB game
  • Before the game ever receives any significant play, you can put protectors in place
  • With simple maintenance, the game should be relatively trouble free

The cons of buying a NIB pinball machine

  • In most cases, you’ll need to ship it in. If you don’t, you’ll pay taxes
  • As soon as you open the box, the game loses a few hundred dollars in value
  • Unless you’ve had a chance to play the game first, a NIB game is a big money gamble based on faith in the designer/manufacturer
  • Generally it means sacrificing pins from your lineup or limiting purchases in the near future
  • Brand new games don’t have years of community tweaks, mods, and fixes for common errors
  • If you’re concerned about the value of your collection, NIB games can fluctuate in pricing a lot more than older titles will

If you’re a serious pinball collector, I think that at some point in your life you should try and experience a NIB pin purchase. It’s not cheap, so you may have to save, stretch, or even sell some games to make it happen, but there’s some sort of magic that you feel when you cut open that box and set up a machine for the first time since it left the factory floor.

I always let my wife have the first game when I get a new pin...NIB included.
I always let my wife have the first game when I get a new pin…NIB included.
AC/DC Premium got put into the "Lawlor Room" area of my lineup.
AC/DC Premium got put into the “Lawlor Room” area of my lineup.

Have any experiences of your own to share, be they good or bad? We’d love to hear them.


Pinball March Madness 2013

It’s time for Pinball March Madness again! Last year we gave out some nice prizes for winners in our bracket contest and everybody seemed to have a good time, so it’s back for 2013. Below is the download link for your official 2013 Pinball March Madness bracket. You can edit this using Excel (or OpenOffice which is free), or you can print it from your web browser and fill it out by hand.


If you want to participate in the contest, you’ll need to either print and fill out your bracket and scan or take a CLEAR photo of it and email it in, or you can edit the file and save a copy of it and send it back. All submissions should be emailed to pinballpodcast [at] You have until Tuesday morning at 10:00am EST to get your entries in. Fill your brackets out with your picks to win.

We’ll award the winning bracket with a nice prize, which will be announced later.


Voting will start on Tuesday and run through the end of the week for the round of 64. After voting ends on that round, the next round will begin. When voting opens, I’ll create a new thread on Pinside, RGP, and KLOV to announce it, and you can discuss your picks there. Last year Twilight Zone was our winner, let’s see if everybody still agrees that it’s the #1 machine or if something else will rise up.

Download link for the bracket:

Good luck, and have fun.

The Pinball Podcast Episode 16 – The One Where We Don’t Mention Maverick

It’s been a longer layoff than normal, but we’re back with episode 16. This month we spend more time on listener feedback, comments, and questions, and we think it made for a great show. Here are the show notes:

  • What we’ve been doing in pinball
  • The PIN at CES

  • Code updates for X-Men out, Transformers supposedly still coming

  • Spooky Pinball is gearing up to produce games? ‘Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave’

  • Stern’s re-run of Tron teased

  • ColorDMD releases for Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Leaks confirm that Stern is developing Star Trek

  • rancegt’s pins graded by price and rating: Value for MoneyGrade 4Grade 3
  • Feb 22-24 – Rose City Pinball in Portland AND Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo
  • Feb 28 – March 2 – Ohio Pinball Show
  • Featured Five – Hardest Fixes in Pinball
  • Featured Machine – Revenge From Mars
  • Featured Virtual – Attack From Mars and Genie on The Pinball Arcade, Momonga on iOS, Star Wars coming to Zen Pinball
  • Product Review – Rottendog White Star Board
  • Listener Feedback
  • Listener Q&A

Near the end of the show, we ran into some technical problems that cut recording off a bit. Luckily we were wrapping up, but in case you’re wondering what happened, now you know. Thanks for listening, and make sure to catch up with us on Facebook, Twitter, or by emailing us.

Two charts, one truth

So I have family in town right now and we’re supposed have a pinball party tonight. Yesterday I had issues with Lord of the Rings, The Simpsons Pinball Party, White Water, Attack From Mars, and Twilight Zone. Yeah, they came in a big fat cluster. As I worked on what I could (I’m shorthanded on some parts for some repairs), I got to thinking back, and I realized…

Both of these happen. Every time.

PinballVisitors PinballBuyers–Jeff



The Pinball Podcast Episode 15 – Naughty and Nice in Pinball

Episode 15 to close out 2012!  Now with 10% less horrible Thanksgiving-themed pop songs!

Thanks for listening, everybody. Remember to chime in on our Facebook page, shoot us a mention on Twitter, or drop us an email at pinballpodcast [at]

The Pinball Podcast Episode 14 – Thankful for Stuff and Things

Episode 14 is upon us, and it’s our most rambling show yet!  Side note: we have not figured out how to reply to messages sent via this site.  So, we’re not trying to be rude by not replying, we’ll figure it out eventually.

We both made big lists of our favorite backglass art, here’s a list of links so you can view them for yourselves.
Don’s favorites:

Thanks for listening, everybody. Remember to chime in on our Facebook page, shoot us a mention on Twitter, or drop us an email at pinballpodcast [at]

The Pinball Podcast Episode 13 – One Year of Exceptional Mediocrity

The top five tools segment was suggested by Mike Goss, but we forgot to give him credit on the show!  Thanks, Mike!  And thanks to everyone for listening!  See you in a month!

The Pinball Podcast Episode 12 – There Are Some Jerks Out There That Don’t Play Pinball

Episode 12 show notes (for posterity).

Thanks for listening!  More pinball talk to come (at some point) every month!


The Pinball Podcast Episode 11 – The One That Should Have Got Away

Episode 11 was marred by production issues and drowsy hosts, but it’s free, right?

Thanks for listening, everybody. Remember to chime in on our Facebook page, shoot us a mention on Twitter, or drop us an email at pinballpodcast [at]


The Pinball Podcast Episode 10 – Trolling the Greats

Episode 10 is here and we celebrate by talking smack about some of the greatest games in pinball. We promise it’s (mostly) fair, however. Enjoy the show!

EDIT: Tom Vandenberg is NOT the owner of MSA, but is a big MSA enthusiast and vouches for the owner as being a ‘nice guy’.  Sorry for the mix up!

Thanks for listening, everybody. Remember to chime in on our Facebook page, shoot us a mention on Twitter, or drop us an email at pinballpodcast [at]