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Thread: Minimalist Gotltieb EM list

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    Minimalist Gotltieb EM list

    Iím really enjoying Fireball and El Dorado and look forward to future EMís. It seems unlikely that theyíll ever come in the numbers approaching the SS and DMD games, and so it is even more difficult to get some sort of concensus from polls or otherwise on the best ones to make.

    I had previously tried to think of the top five or ten EMís (mostly Gottliebís) that I would want but that seems unrealistic. Putting aside my top choices in some case my goal was to come up with the minimal set of Gottliebís to cover various types of play. This list may not include everyoneís number one choice, but hopefully is representative of GTB EMís and falls within most peopleís top few choices to get the most well rounded combination. Iím sticking with Gottlieb as I am very familiar with the history and play of their games, and have limited knowledge of Bally and Williams EMís (or the others, for that matter). Fireball was one Iíd played and would advocate, and Iím glad we now have it. So this is more an exercise in trying to come up with the smallest list to represent the greatest variety of Gottlieb EM's both in terms of playstyle and popularity.

    The Gottlieb EM minimalist set of tables:

    Four Tables:

    Royal Flush: El Dorado is a great game with lots of drop targets, and while I donít think itís a good idea to have all these selections be drop target games, Royal Flush is a great game, balanced for competition, and should be represented. Royal Flush (along with El Dorado) cover the drop target fix, and so I leave out 2001/Dimension and some others to ensure different styles.

    Atlantis: In my mind, I always go back and forth on whether I would choose this or Centigrade 37 if I had to choose one over the other. I settled on Atlantis because not only is it a great game, it was another produced in various incarnations (before as Lawman/Sheriff) and provides a different style of play with no return lanes. There are so many good choices in the 70ís (Abra Cadabra, Fast Draw, Surf Champ, etc.) but since we canít have them all, I would use Atlantis and Spirit of 76 to cover these various playfields, though it is an imperfect solution.

    Kings and Queens OR Sing Along/Melody: A roll-over classic would be a good complement to the 70ís drop target styles, and Kings and Queens is a great player and iconic. Both it and Sing Along/Melody have the four kicker hole feature. I think K&Q is the more classic game, but some might argue the other is a better player. However, in that case, Iím not sure whether the replay (Sing Along) or AAB (Melody) would be the superior choice.

    Slick Chick: A bumper based game. I love the play on this one and itís different from other pinball. The gobble hole is good to have represented on at least one game and is balanced by the lack of outlanes. The ruleset is clever and challenging and supposedly one of David Gottliebís favorites. Some might argue for Gigi if talking about bumper based games. Ones mileage might vary, but I found that I always want to go back and play Slick Chick again but while I think Gigi is very cool and clever, after you explore the initial novelty of it, it doesnít just draw you back in as much. I love 60ís Gottliebs and there are many other great choices (Crosstown, North Star, World Fair, Ice Show, etc.) but for early to mid 60ís, I think Slick Chick is the best choice. Some have said that the playfield of Sing Along/Melody is kind of a combination of Kings and Queens and Crosstown/Subway, which might be another point in its favor).

    Those would be my choices for top four, with a fifth being Spirit of 76 which would cover a number of tables from the mid to late 70ís that have no slings and instead the four in-lanes and a slightly slower pace of play (though a tough choice among many good options). I would love to see Majorettes (an add-a-ball game never made as a replay) but am probably in the minority on that one as it is too different) and so I tried to make a small list that may not have everyoneís (nor my) number one choices, but hopefully falls into the majorityís top five choices when it comes to Gottlieb EMís.

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    That's a very good list and I enjoyed reading your reasons for selecting them. My top five Gottlieb EMs would be 1970's heavy. That is my absolute favorite EM era. My 5 would be something like this.
    1. Atlantis or Centigrade 37 - Would love both, but that seems greedy. Probably have too much in common to have both of them.
    2. Surf Champ/Surfer - Love the Layout and love the shots it makes you hit.
    3. 300 - Bowling themed pins are always fun to me. Bowling and pinball are linkined in my head. I'd prefer Strikes and Spares or Triple Strike, but we are sticking to Gottlieb for this thread.
    4. Buccaneer/Ship Ahoy - One of my favorite spinner shots ever. Love the simple rule set of lighting all the lights on the wheel. Easier said than done.
    5. Joker Poker - One of my all time favorite drop target games ever. Though I wouldn't mind Royal Flush in its place. Royal Flush is probably 5a for me.

    Some other of my favorites that just miss my top 5 are; Vulcan, King of Diamonds, Sing Along, Abra Ca Dabra, Quick Draw, Jumping Jack, Sky Jump, Volley, and about a dozen more. Gottlieb really knew how to make EMs.
    Last edited by Kolchak357; 02-24-2016 at 04:47 AM.

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    Moderator Jeff Strong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolchak357 View Post
    4. Buccaneer/Ship Ahoy - One of my favorite spinner shots ever. Love the simple rule set of lighting all the lights on the wheel. Easier said than done.
    That spinner shot is truly one of the best in all of pinball.

    Great lists, gentlemen.

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    Senior Member wolfson's Avatar
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    I`ll take the lot !!!looks like we`ll get 2 EMs every season,any chance of 4 a season or is that stretching everyones friendship?

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfson View Post
    I`ll take the lot !!!looks like we`ll get 2 EMs every season,any chance of 4 a season or is that stretching everyones friendship?
    I think we will be very lucky to get two per season. But feel free to dream about more. I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolchak357 View Post
    I think we will be very lucky to get two per season. But feel free to dream about more. I do.
    ----
    I sure do dream (constantly) of all of us getting 2 or more EMs a season
    eh.

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    Would add Four Million BC to that list. Probably my next favorite EM to play next to Fireball - and somewhat similar in what it offers: zipper flippers, 3-ball multiball, kickback, nasty outlanes, and a similar Odin ball hole scoring. Plus it has a pretty good ramp skillshot.

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawley View Post
    Would add Four Million BC to that list. Probably my next favorite EM to play next to Fireball - and somewhat similar in what it offers: zipper flippers, 3-ball multiball, kickback, nasty outlanes, and a similar Odin ball hole scoring. Plus it has a pretty good ramp skillshot.
    The OP was limiting it to Gottlieb pins. But I agree, Bally Four Million BC is fantastic. I love the playfield and backglass art as well on that one.

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    Senior Member karl's Avatar
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    Great lists from all!

    Mine does not differ that much but here it goes.

    This is my list If we keep it to Gottlieb games. It is damn hard to choose only 5. So many good ones in the 70'

    1. Joker Poker (used to own it but sold it because of all the restoration money tied up i Bally games but having it in tpa would be great) - A great shooter and different from all other games
    2. Surfer - So much to offer
    3. Jungle Queen - The hunt for monkeys brings a new dimension to the fun of drop targets
    4. Centigrade 37 - No list without that famous right side Gottlieb layout used in so many games. Love the looks on this one, but 300 or Atlantis is almost tied with this.
    5. Buccaneer - Just because I trust Kolchak and Jeff (and I love spinners)

    Runner ups: Jack's open, Volley, spirit of 76, Big Brave,(not played it but looks good) and Royal Flush
    Last edited by karl; 02-13-2016 at 11:59 AM.

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    Senior Member Zorgwon's Avatar
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    1977 Joker Poker
    1976 Royal Flush
    1977 Lucky Hand (Jacks Open)
    1974 Big Indian/Brave
    1967 King of Diamonds

    Main problem of KOD is the lack of reset once you got the cards

    KOD Retro which has a ROM but Farsight probably doesn't have the emu
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHmqNRCjHDM
    No matter where you go there you are

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolchak357 View Post
    The OP was limiting it to Gottlieb pins. But I agree, Bally Four Million BC is fantastic. I love the playfield and backglass art as well on that one.
    Ah. Oops.

    Then I'd add Strange World to the mix. It's got lovely 50's sci-fi themed art. Somewhat simple rules - basically hitting each 1-4 shot to raise the rollovers. But I recall it being a fun table at the Tom Taylor tour.

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Another Gottlieb I'd like to mention is Hit The Deck. It's a low production machine that I've only seen once. Someone brought a beautiful example to the York pinball show 2 or 3 years ago. I only played a couple of games on it, but I was totally sucked in by it. I haven't played it enough to place it in my top five, but I did want to mention it. Don't know if Farsight could even find one.

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    Senior Member dave950lam's Avatar
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    The 5 I'd like to see:

    Quick Draw/ Fast Draw - it's drop target variation is different.

    Jumping Jack/ Jack in the Box - Many don't like this one, but I think it should be in TPA. Ten drop-targets to hit and they reset if you knock 'em all down.

    Top Card - Button targets galore and the opportunity for bumper action

    Spirit 0f '76 - Alternating saucer payoffs

    Big Brave/ Big Indian - Vari-target.

    Honorable mentions go to Grand Prix (Roto-target), Sky Jump, Drop-a-Card,

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    Senior Member MontanaFrank's Avatar
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    I'll be minimal:

    "Fast Draw or Quick Draw" is my one Gottlieb I would like to see.

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    Senior Member Snorzel's Avatar
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    Great thread. Being optimistic I feel we get 2 more EM 2 packs who knows after that. They have Jive Time and Ace is High available to pair with, unless they plan to use the rest of the El Dorado reskins too. I think we might have to think even more minimalist, what are the best 2? A hard question. I will try to come up with my top 5 G's, love you guys lists so far though
    Last edited by Snorzel; 02-14-2016 at 10:27 PM.

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    Senior Member Snorzel's Avatar
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    Anyone know why ipdb top 10 EM list is so drastically different than it was just a short time ago?

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    Senior Member Zorgwon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snorzel View Post
    Anyone know why ipdb top 10 EM list is so drastically different than it was just a short time ago?
    It was always changing like mad. Some years ago Central Park and North Star were top. Now we have 2001. I guess that some people are pushing their pins.
    No matter where you go there you are

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    Senior Member Gorgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snorzel View Post
    Anyone know why ipdb top 10 EM list is so drastically different than it was just a short time ago?
    I think that there aren't as many reviews for ems as there are for ss tables, so when a new review comes in, it will drastically change its position.

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    Senior Member Snorzel's Avatar
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    Some how this diminishes the legitamacy of the list for me same with pinside. I guess picking the best will always be subjective but the SS rankings are much more stable.

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    Moderator Jeff Strong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgar View Post
    I think that there aren't as many reviews for ems as there are for ss tables, so when a new review comes in, it will drastically change its position.
    You nailed it.

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    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    You could get an idea by checking the production numbers. The most popular and often best EMs sold more units. You can also check current resale values. The better EM pins often sell for more $, although how rare or common a pin is can also dictate price.
    Of course the best thing to do is to head out to an arcade (if you can find one) or a pin show (again, if you can find one) and play a bunch of EMs. The rules are usually easy to understand and you can get a good feel for a pin pretty quickly. Better to know first hand if you like it, rather than take the word of someone else.

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    Senior Member k88dad's Avatar
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    Big Brave gives a nice challenge by partially hiding the drop targets behind the Vari-target.
    Spirit of 76 is too important to pinball history to be left out.
    Royal Flush and Joker Poker are both great takes on the card theme. Most units of Joker Poker were SS, since it was right on the tail end of the EM era. Oddly, Royal Flush has the better gameplay, by including the jokers.
    Jet Spin has both a Vari-target and a long shot to a Roto-target at the very top of the playfield.

    My non-Gottlieb pick would be Aztec with great layout and gameplay.
    Oops! Too much English.

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    Senior Member Snorzel's Avatar
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    Gottlieb had so many great EMs its hard to choose they were truly the pinball kings in those days.

    If I had to pick just 1 it would be Centigrade 37. The art the gameplay the shots its all there.

    I would not be disappointed one bit if we got any of the others you guys suggested.
    Fast Draw, Royal Flush, Atlantis and Surfer make my top 5.

    The best Gottliebs I have played are Sky Jump, Ship Mates, Top Card, Spirit of 76', Jungle Queen and Jacks Open. I want something I have never played in TPA but would love any of these too. I really want Ace High again now

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    Senior Member Snorzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorgwon View Post
    1967 King of Diamonds

    Main problem of KOD is the lack of reset once you got the cards

    KOD Retro which has a ROM but Farsight probably doesn't have the emu
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHmqNRCjHDM
    This KOD retro looks amazing. You can see in this video that the targets do reset when complete on the updated version
    http://youtu.be/iItJaMj2NWk
    Farsight should definitely look into this one. Any future releases to look out for from Retro Pinball? I didnt find anything

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    I'll have to try Buccaneer next week in Vegas at the PHOF. I don't remember it last time I was there, might have missed it - but it's on their listing of games.

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