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Pizza West, A Great Pizza and Pinball Place

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Pizza West Pinball Lineup
Pizza West Pinball Lineup

If you live in KC or are traveling in the area, you owe it to yourself to head on over to Pizza West to eat some pizza and play some pinball. It’s one of the great combo places you can go to in the US.

First off, the pizza. You’ll have to check with their website, but they have lunch and dinner buffer a lot during the week. You can get anything you want on the buffet, from cheese pizza to dessert pizza. And they’ll even make you custom pizza for the buffet if you request it. It’s some of the best pizza in the KC area along with Minsky’s.

Then comes the pinball. They’re constantly rotating games through there, everything from classics like Firepower to new games like Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. And every third Saturday of the month they have their monthly pinball tournament. It’s a $5 entry and counts towards the IFPA rankings.

The operator of the pinballs runs the website kcpins.com. He’s been operating them for years there. I actually sold him his first pinball machine years ago, a Batman Forever. Fun game but kind of limited on the ruleset.

Games range anywhere from 25 cents to 75 cents, depending on the age of the machine usually. So like Flash Gordon from 1980 might be a quarter, Star Wars from 1992 might be 50 cents, and Guardians of the Galaxy from 2017 might be 75 cents.

Knub’s Pub

If you’re looking for more pinball, you only have to go a 1/2 block away down to Knub’s Pub. Kcpins.com also runs the 7 games there. Last time I was there, they had Medieval Madness, Lord of the Rings, Black Knight Sword of Rage, etc. It’s pretty small though and not as easy to play when it’s crowded. But it’s better if you’re out having a drink with some older friends, while Pizza West is a lot more kid friendly.

Hopefully you’ll come out to support Pizza West and Knub’s Pub, two of the best locations in the KC area for food and pinball.

Best Super Chexx Bubble Hockey Mods

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Arcade mods have become rather huge the last few years, especially in pinball with 3d printers becoming a big thing. I’ve rounded up a list of the coolest Super Chexx mods I could find below to give you some ideas for your games.

Chexx Goal Mods

Goal and player mods are by far the most popular things to mod. One of the best goal mods was posted a few years on instructables. Basically, he used some nails, red paint, and some netting to make authentic miniature goals. They’re probably the best Chexx goals you can make at this point in time. The link is below:

Chexx real goal mod

Pretty awesome overall.

This next guy made a goal light and better lighting under the scoreboard. Unfortunately, it’s a little over the top for most people as it requires a substantial amount of wiring and soldering.

Chexx goal light and rink lighting addition

Wish it wasn’t so complicated. I personally just updated my original Chexx lighting with this:

Chexx lighting mods

If you own an original chexx, it’s pretty easy to upgrade your lighting with an LED bulb. I did this here:

Chexx LED lighting upgrade

It’s the easiest thing you can do to get more lighting in your game. The original bulbs also have problems with causing too much heating in the electronics above, causing them to eventually fail and the plastic to warp.

There’s actually an ebay seller now that sells an LED board for the Super CHEXX games, it’s here:

Boston Pinball on Ebay, Super Chexx lighting mod

It’s a pretty nice LED board. I haven’t personally tried it though, so I can’t vouch for the improvement.

Chexx player mods

Besides lighting and goal mods, the player mods are the most popular items. Most people pick up NHL players directly from ICE themselves. The only disadvantage to that is that the players don’t actually have names and numbers, which most people kind of want. I actually made a page on how I added names and numbers to chexx players here:

Adding Names and Numbers to Chexx players

In addition to this, there are a couple people who custom paint players for money. These custom painted players are far beyond what ICE offers, but they’re also way more money, so you kind of get what you pay for here. Typically custom players are slower than the ICE players as they require. I haven’t used this place below so I can’t comment on how good they are personally, but the results pictures are great.

Custom Chexx and other game players at Party Pucks

They’re probably the best option right now if you want something a little more higher end.

There’s also a Chexx mods place online that’s selling a custom scoreboard, boards, etc. However, they haven’t responded to any of my emails, so I’m hesitant to recommend them based upon communication (because if you have a problem and they won’t respond, you’re kind of screwed). If they reach out to me at some point, then I will update this. I believe I saw one user online who had bought the scoreboard and was happy with it, but that’s all I’ve seen so far.

Have Pinball Prices Peaked?

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For the past 20 years, in somewhat of an odd phenomenon, pinball prices have been going up across the board. There are very few other items that you can buy where they continuously go up year after year, allowing you to buy and and play for a year and then get your money back.

I’ve been noticing that the market appears to be stagnating the past 6 to 12 months outside of a few titles like Indiana Jones, Twilight Zone, Addams Family, etc…titles that aren’t likely to be remade anytime soon. The remakes appear to be slowly dropping in value as well, leading to their lowest values yet. New games aren’t holding their values particularly well either, which leads to my question, “Have Pinball Prices Peaked?”.

Lack of Room?

It kind of feels like all of the machines made over the past few years are finally filling up everyone’s game rooms, leading to less demand overall. And the prices haven’t slowed down either, pricing out a lot of people in the hobby.

I know that I personally haven’t been buying much. I used to buy a game every few months or so but now I only buy one like once a year at most. Biggest reason is that the prices have gotten too high on the newer games and most of the time the software isn’t complete on them either. Who wants to spend $5k to $9k on an incomplete game? Evidently a lot of people based upon the past 5 years, but I think people are getting a little smarter with they’re buying (finally, lol). Also I don’t have any additional room either, I have to sell something to buy something.

Too much supply?

What I’m afraid may happen is that the supply from all the new manufacturers may start to overwhelm all the buyers, leading to big price drops on new machines. This in turn may put downward pressure on all games. The hobby has essentially flourished the past 20 years based on the steady appreciation of games. If that were to change, then you might see large collectors start to liquidate some of their warehouse holdings. There are a lot of people that just have 100’s of games in storage due to their appreciating nature.

Of course, this might also be just a short blip and prices may continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Prices have risen way past what I thought anyone would pay already. I’m personally pretty comfortable at the $5k and less level. At that level, it doesn’t feel super expensive, and any value lost would be minimal.

The 8k barrier

Where I don’t want to be at is the $8k and above level. It feels like that’s the line where games can’t really hold their value well above. Anything that’s been above that line has tended to drift back down below it due to lack of buyers. I think it’s the Medieval Madness line. Before all the remakes, all kinds of games were hitting $8k and above. When the Medieval Madness remake came, it kind of set the ceiling to $8k on about everything. I think that’s because since Medieval Madness is the gold standard for collectors, if a game is over $8k the collector will just buy a MM remake instead. Hence setting the price ceiling.

I know that personally I’d just buy a Medieval Madness if I was going to spend $8k on a machine. At least I’d know it was going to be in demand forever.

I think the biggest bargains right now are the Stern Pro’s from the past few years. Most of them are in the $4k to $5k range and the software is now complete on most of them. There are quite a few in that category that I wouldn’t mind owning someday. I wish that they had gotten the real voices for Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy, that would have made those games so much better.

What do you think will happen to pinball prices? Add your comment below!

5 Best Pinball Books

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Mr Pinball Price Guide
Mr Pinball Price Guide

Finding the best pinball books can be tough. A lot of them are old and out of print or hard to find. I’ve tried to make a list of the 5 best pinball books for collecting, pricing, and repairing your pinball machine. For the person just starting out who is buying games, I’d definitely recommend the Mr Pinball Price Guide below. Although people who have been buying for a while won’t really need it, it’s a very handy guide for those who run into games to buy that they’re not entirely familiar with.

The prices aren’t 100% accurate but they’re close enough to give you a baseline at least. The other books below are good for general pinball knowledge and history. I’ve include Amazon affiliate links to the ones that are actually available there, sometimes these books go out of stock and don’t come back for a while (if ever). So if you’re wanting a copy of some of these books, I wouldn’t wait forever as you never know when they’ll go out of print for good.

#1) The Pinball Compendium: 1982 to Present

The Pinball Compendium series has been described by most as the best overall pinball book today. The 1982 to present edition is the most popular edition, but note that ‘present’ is actually 2011 and not today. It has a lot of interesting facts and background on all of the games made during that period.

#2) The Pinball Compendium, 1970 -1981 (Schiffer Book for Collectors)

Similar to the first book mentioned above, this one is just from a slightly earlier time period.

#3) The Complete Pinball Book: Collecting the Game & Its History

This book has a lot of fans but like the Pinball Compendium is somewhat out of date with newer titles. It’s also not a complete book like the books above, rather it picks and chooses its games.

#4) Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball

Unlike the other books, this book is about competitive pinball and all that goes along with that. The author was a top player before dropping out due to lack of time. The book details his attempt to rise back up the ranks.

#5) Mr Pinball Price Guide

The definitive guide for pinball prices, it’s major issue though is that they never seem to produce enough of them. Most of the prices are good for ballpark estimates on average machines. Most collectors use pinside.com for prices but this is a good alternative to have.

Hopefully this list of the 5 best pinball books has helped you find the book you were looking for. Unfortunately a lot of the other books are out of print and hard to find, at least these are still available. Most of the out of print ones though are also pretty outdated, so they may not be as useful as the newer books either. For instance Roger Sharpe has a book that he did in the late 70’s which is one of the original pinball books. It’s hard to find now though, and there are better options available currently. As a book though that captures a moment in time, it’s great (Roger Sharpe is the man who made the shot that helped get pinball legalized in New York in the 70’s).

Rarest Pinball Machines

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What are the rarest pinball machines? I’m going to go through a list of 11 of the rarest pinball machines ever made. If you see one of these for sale on a garage sale, you’d better scoop it up fast! Also check out my Best Pinball machines for home use page if you’re searching for a game for your home.

  1. Pinball Circus. This game made by the late Python Angelo was a ground breaking multilevel pinball machine in an arcade standup cabinet. It never made it into production though. Only 2 known but there were rumors of up to 6 made.
  2. Kingpin. The last game from Capcom before it closed its doors, 9 were made before the company folded.
  3. King Kong. Data East supposedly made 9 of these before deciding not to go ahead with production.
  4. Thunderball (10)
  5. Krull (10)
  6. Varkon (90)
  7. Star Light (100)
  8. Punchy the Clown (103)
  9. America’s Most Haunted (150)
  10. Pistol Poker (200)
  11. Big Bang Bar (205, though like 183 though were made 10 years after Capcom closed with the parts left over).

There are a lot of other rare games not on this list but most of them are not true games. Like ‘Aaron Spelling’ was just retheme, as was ‘Richie Rich’ and the Michael Jordan game. Data East did a lot of rethemes for cash in the early 90’s, turning a lot of lethal weapon 3’s mainly into custom games. While cool, they aren’t on quite the same level as newly developed games that were produced in very low numbers.

Of the rare games, America’s Most Haunted is the only one made in the past 20 years. Spooky Pinball decided that in order to motivate people to buy their initial machine they needed to limit production to 150 games. It worked, and now that game is one of the rarest. Value hasn’t coincided with its rarity though (yet).

Most valuable pinball machine?

From the list above, Pinball Circus would probably bring the most money if one were ever to come up for sale. However, that has never happened so the value is mostly speculative. Kingpin and King Kong though have been said to go for as much as $50k, though there isn’t much evidence to back that up besides word of mouth. Of the games regularly sold on Ebay, Big Bang Bar was the one that regularly was bringing 20k+. However recently the threat of a Big Bang Bar remake has made its value decrease quite a bit. Kingpin is also supposed to be remade, so most likely King Kong will have the highest value of any game sold in the next few years.