Monopoly would be the first game I had purchased sight-unseen. As many of you know from reading other areas of my site, I have a list of personal favorites. Each game means something to me in a personal way. Therefore, buying a game I have never seen, played, or touched before is a "no-no".
The problem is I had always wanted to buy a New-In-Box game one day. It had been a desire of mine since I began collecting at age 16. Even though I always felt you could get two used for the price of one new, it was the experience that I wanted of owning a game never touched by anyone else but me (and the people who pieced it together of course). With Bally/Williams gone in 1999, I never thought there would be anything worth dishing out the cash NIB for. However, that was about to change.
My opinion of Stern Pinball, Inc. at this point (summer 2001) was positive. I was glad that at least one pinball company was around to make new games and that it was a dedicated company such as Stern. I had enjoyed their recent contributions and felt they were getting better with every release. In fact, their latest machine at the time, High Roller Casino, was a blast. I had enjoyed it on location for a while and considered buying one used. Unfortunately, nothing in their line-up of games (or any under the previous names of Data East or Sega) excited me enough to fork over the money for one NIB.
Then the rumor spread all over the "pinball newsgroup". It began simply as, "Pat Lawlor (the ex-Williams designer of some of my favorite machines like Addams Family, Funhouse, etc.) was doing a layout for a new Stern game". If anyone could breath new life into the current state of pinball, it was the big "L".
As the rumor was confirmed and more information about the game unfolded, I became even more intrigued. We found out that Monopoly would be the license of choice. Monopoly was a license that Williams was going to originally use years ago. However, they later changed it to Safecracker. In my opinion, Monopoly is a perfect license: well known, well liked, and popular with a wide variety of people.
The hype and excitement began to grow as it
was announced that many other goodies would enhance this project even further.
Not only was Pat Lawlor Design doing the initial layout, but Lawlor
himself contracted the help of other famous pinball experts. He
dragged along Chris Granger who re-adjusted the current Stern soundboard. He also grabbed John Youssi, an
artist who has designed some of the most beautiful and eye-catching games of
all time. All of this, mixed with their promise that Monopoly would have
re-examined flippers (with more control and strength) and a deeper rule-set
than previous Stern offerings wet the mouth of every collector on the
I realized that this was the perfect game to buy in order to reach my NIB dream. Nothing that Pat Lawlor has ever designed disappointed me. Even though I knew this was still going to be within the limits of the Stern budget, I had high hopes. I also wanted to make my NIB move now because of the future state of my pinball hobby. I wasn't sure if I would have moved into an apartment in 2002, thereby putting my collection on hold. I also didn't know where the future of pinball was headed and whether we would have many NIB games left to even choose from.
After much deliberation, I decided to begin saving for my first NIB game. I pre-ordered my machine from Pinballsales.com as soon as my cash was together. The game arrived in December 2001. Was it worth it?
My story continues with
information and pictures from my
previous Monopoly game HERE