Want to save a lot of bucks buying a pinball? Look for a “player’s” game, not a “collector’s” game.
Collectors worry about numbers of plays, scratches on the cabinet, “orange peel” effects on the playfield, “ball swirl” marks. They ask, “Is it home use only?”
I suggest asking instead: “Is it fun?”
Always remember: You don’t play the paint. A little wear around scoops, inserts, or a few cracks in the paint can bring down the value, sure, but it generally doesn’t affect play at al.
Massive damage to the paint, or a completely worn out playfield, could seriously affect play. And it’s OK to worry about cosmetics. But it can become an obsession, and it’s not worth it.
Related, You don’t play the cabinet. It is crucial that the cabinet is square, and also important that it keeps out pets, spilled drinks, and dust. Does it matter if the cabinet is faded? Well, sure. It affects the value. If ugly enough, it can annoy one’s spouse.
My Kings of Steel has some cabinet damage. Is it obvious? Not really, because it is cleverly hidden by Black Knight 2000 and High Speed..
That said, I have games where I would swap the playfield, or touch up the cabinet. There is heavy damage and it would improve the cosmetics. But there’s a cost to these, both in money and time. It’s OK if they are not cosmetically perfect.
It’s a pinball machine – not a shrine. – “Shaggy”