Pinball Machines

There are many good reasons to look into buying a modern pinball table. You might, for example, want something that will be the centerpiece of a game room. On the other hand, you might prefer something that will make your arcade stand out. No matter what the reason, a great pinball table can be a fantastic asset.

Figuring out what makes a pinball table great can be tough, though. You obviously want something that's fun to play. You'll also want something that's got a theme that will bring more players to the table. That's why it's important to take a look at tables like those listed below, each of which combines those two important factors.

Top 5: Pinball Machine Reviews

1

This relatively recent addition to the Stern line-up is absolutely one of the best modern pinball machines on the market. Not only does it play very well, but it has a host of good gimmicks. The theme, though, often reals like the real selling point.

Deadpool is the highest-grossing Rated R film of all time, and it's also one of Marvel's comics. The table combines both versions of the characters for an entertaining experience. It's got plenty of little easter eggs included, which is great for comic fans.

Stern Pinball Deadpool Arcade Pinball Machine

Of course, it's the game-play that should be the star. Luckily, Deadpool really delivers on that front. It's got a host of different modes that require varying levels of skill, all of which are quite entertaining. Almost anyone can find something to enjoy here.

What you're really looking at is, above all else, a great table. It's got plenty of different targets and ramps, along with some truly great skill shots. It also has some entertaining electronic displays, which are great for keeping eyes on the machine.

Outside of playability, you also need to look at the basic 'wow' factor. A table that features a popular character is already great, and Deadpool is still red-hot. This table also features a number of other X-Men characters, making it a reliably fan-friendly addition to any room.

Stern Pinball Deadpool Arcade Pinball Machine

Even if this wasn't a licensed table, it'd still have a great design. The unique katana return will catch eyes, as will all of the other bells and whistles. This one is a real winner.

This is clearly not the cheapest table you're going to find, but it's more than worth the asking price. The simple fact that it still receives so many electronic updates means that it's got a lot of life ahead of it. It's an investment that will keep on bringing in new players for quite some time.

PROS

  • Great license.
  • Fun for all skill levels.
  • Very playable.

CONS

  • Requires big initial investment.
  • A little overloaded with gimmicks.

2

Everyone loves the Beatles. They're a timeless group, and there have been plenty of different machines modeled after them. The absolute best, though, is this Gold Edition machine.

The Gold Edition is definitely all about nostalgia. It throws players back to the fifties, with everything from Ed Sullivan introductions to video clips. It's a must-play for fans of the group.

Stern Pinball The Beatles Arcade Pinball Machines

Perhaps surprisingly, the table even includes a few licensed Beatles hits. This is something that definitely attracts players and will even keep fans playing a bit longer. It's surprising to see full songs added to a table, but they work well here.

All of the Beatles nostalgia additions would be great on their own, but that's not all that this table includes. In fact, the table itself is really enjoyable even without the extra electronics. Like much of what'd you expect from Stern, the table really stands on its own.

Stern Pinball The Beatles Arcade Pinball Machines

There are a number of standard features here, of course. The drop targets, spinners, and skill shots are all par for the course. The magnetic additions are really nice, though, and even the more basic features are done well enough that you can overlook the fact that they're similar to what you'd find in so many other tables.

Taken together, what you get from this table is a thoroughly modern presentation combined with some really classic play elements. There are only a few things here that you won't see in many other tables, but the presentation really makes everything pop.

Stern Pinball The Beatles Arcade Pinball Machines

If you're looking for a solid table with Beatles flair, you're not going to beat this one. It manages to satisfy many audiences at once, making it a perfect addition to any collection. If you want to tap into Beatles nostalgia with your pinball table, this is definitely the table for you.

PROS

  • Great Beatles presentation.
  • Magnetic elements are fantastic.
  • Superb sound quality.

CONS

  • Some of the play elements are a little generic.

3

Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the world of pinball. A great way to do this is by getting a classic gaming cabinet. This will allow you to cash in on the nostalgia factor while still entertaining players.

The good news is that Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga are both still hits. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you probably still know and love both games. In fact, given the glut of newer games on the market, you're probably fonder of these games than ever before.

Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Class of 1981 Arcade Gaming Cabinet

Luckily, both of the games stand up. They still take a sense of skill and timing to beat, which makes them perfect arcade choices. It's hard to look at anything in either game that feels 'cheap' or unfair, making them perfect for most players.

The best part of the cabinet, of course, is that it includes two games. That's two for the price of one, and it adds an element of player choice that might otherwise be lacking. In the right space, it absolutely can provide the same utility as two machines.

Priced very competitively, this isn't quite a bargain machine but it won't break the bank as much as some other two-in-one options. It also includes two of the greatest arcade games of all time, so it makes a good investment.

In short, this machine is a perfect addition to a game room or to a small arcade. It takes up less space than a pinball machine, so it is also a good addition if you're just looking for something else to add to a gaming space. Give it a shot if you love classic arcade games.

PROS

  • Two fantastic arcade games.
  • Very reasonable price.
  • Solid performance on both games.

CONS

  • Not attractive to non-retro players.

4

Some of the best pinball tables being produced today bank heavily on nostalgia. They take older licenses and add some incredibly modern game-play elements, making something special. One of the best examples of this is Stern's Batman '66 table.

This Batman '66 table is a really great combination of license and play elements. Most of what's going to attract people will be definitely come from the theming, of course, but what will keep them there comes from the play elements.

Stern Pinball Batman '66 Premium Arcade Pinball Machine

On the presentation side, you definitely have the bona fides that you'd expect from this caliber of table. Plenty of great visual elements, of course, many of which are centered around the screen. There are also authentic sound elements that call back to the show, including voice lines from Adam West and Burt Ward.

All of the theming in the world can't help, though, if the game isn't good. The good news here is that the play elements are fantastic. Quite a bit of what you'll see is par for the course in high-end Stern machines, but it's all laid out in a way that feels natural and, more importantly, fun.

Stern Pinball Batman '66 Premium Arcade Pinball Machine

The machine also lifts that great crane mechanic from The Dark Knight, which was one of the most fun mechanics released in recent years. The combination of old-school fun and retro really shines here. It's a good example of using a license to its fullest.

In short, this table manages to do everything right at once. Though the theming is definitely one that banks on nostalgia, it will still bring in plenty of players. If you're looking for a good centerpiece game, this one is for you.

PROS

  • Excellent sounds.
  • Includes The Dark Knight crane.
  • Very colorful and fun.

CONS

  • A number of the play elements are fairly basic.

5

Star Trek has a long and storied history in the pinball world. The license has been used for amazing tables and a handful of tables that weren't so great. Luckily, this one definitely falls into the former category.

Based largely on Star Trek Into Darkness, this table features a number of high-tech elements that are sure to keep players glued to the table. The centerpiece is a huge model of the USS Vengeance, which dominates the playfield. With magnetic locks and LED lights, this table embraces its sci-fi heritage.

Stern Pinball Star Trek Pro Arcade Pinball Machine

The bells and whistles are great, but what's even better is how playable this table feels. It's great even for new players, but pros will have even more fun. It's got a great skill curve that will always make players feel like they have gotten their money's worth.

Another good marriage of style and substance, this Star Trek table is great for fans of the series and pinball in general. Though the theming is a bit on the old size, this still feels like a thoroughly modern table.

PROS

  • USS Vengeance model is amazing.
  • Feels very high-tech.
  • Great skill curve.

CONS

  • Theming is a little old.

Top Pick

If you're looking to buy just one table from this list, you'll definitely need to think about for whom you are buying. If you want a general-audiences table, go with the Beatles.

Stern Pinball The Beatles Arcade Pinball Machines

If you want something that's great for pinball fans, Batman '66 is hard to beat.

Stern Pinball Batman '66 Premium Arcade Pinball Machine

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pinball Machines Hold Their Value?

Yes! Pinball machines - and especially popular machines - hold their value well. There is an enormous collector community, so high-end machines tend to appreciate in value.

Why Are Pinball Machines so Expensive?

Pinball machines are expensive due to a perfect storm of pricing issues. There are few manufacturers, licenses tend to be expensive, and most are full of proprietary technology. All of these factors work together to keep prices high.

Do Pinball Machines Increase in Value?

Tables with popular licenses that are kept in good shape tend to gain value over time. The fewer tables made with a certain theme, the more likely the price is to rise. There is, however, never a guarantee that a table's price will go up or down.

How Much Does a Pinball Machine Weigh?

As you can imagine, pinball tables vary in weight due to a number of factors. Some tables weight as little as two hundred pounds, while others can hit the three-hundred fifty-pound mark.

Final Verdict

No matter which table you choose here, though, you'll walk away with the winner. All of them combine great theming and even better play. Though there's no perfect pinball table, all five of these manage to come very close to hitting that mark. If you need a pinball machine, you should absolutely check these tables out.

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


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