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