by Mitch Gerson
By now, I’m sure most of you have read Part 1 of my article about Pachislo machines. And, I’m sure some of you have already asked yourself what’s the point of owning a slot machine for home use?
You’re not really winning anything...and you’re not really gambling, so again: what’s the point?
Well, I have to say, my wife said the same thing to me until she saw my newest love— “Metal Slug,” the Pachislo Machine. Owning a slot machine is actually a lot like owning an arcade machine. There’s just something fun about having a commercial arcade machine in your own home. (Hey, you have to admit, Mame™ on a PC is cool…but Mame™ in a cabinet with authentic arcade controls in a full sized cabinet — that’s bliss!)
In this article, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on my two new slot machines — Metal Slug by SNK and Tekken by Yamasa & Namco (joint effort), the vendor, Stealth Home Amusements, that I bought them from and a great little company called Specialty Stands that I found who specializes in beautiful hand built stands for Pachislo (and US slot) machines.
STEALTH HOME AMUSEMENTS — THE VENDOR
I accidentally came across my Metal Slug Pachislo machine when strolling around EBay. I have admired Pachislo machines in the past always saying someday, someday….but when I saw the EBay auction by Stealth Amusements for the Metal Slug machine I put in a bid. It turned out that I won that machine and I paid for it in full. The very next day I got a FedEx shipping/tracking email that allowed for me to track the delivery progress.
Before I even had time to check with FedEx online…only about 3 days later, my machine arrived at my home in a HUGE box. Unfortunately, in my excitement I never took any photos…but suffice to say it was a big box. The box was clearly marked—this end up; fragile etc…but, as you would expect, it was delivered upside down.
But, Milt Cohen (the owner of Stealth) clearly has seen the tricks that the FedEx guys sometimes pull and I have to say I was very happy to see that the box was actually only an outer box! The actual slot machine was in a smaller box inside the other box and protected by a nice layer of foam.
I removed the foam (custom cut and fitted by the way to securely hold the inner box in place) and pulled out the inner box. Inside was my new Metal Slug machine, which was protected in a large clear plastic bag.
I have to say, I didn’t know what to expect, because Stealth’s website boasts that they thoroughly clean the machine inside and out, that the machines are top quality, etc. etc…but you know what? It’s all true!
I was amazed that the machine had ever been used at all. To my eye, it looked virtually brand new felt that I got a true EBay bargain for the $330. I spent, which included shipping, 500 free NEW tokens and an additional 500 new tokens that I had added to my order. These beasts weigh over 80 lbs and the 1000 tokens easily added about 10 lbs or so. But he charged me a flat shipping rate of $70. So the actual machine with extra tokens ran $260. But, keep in mind, I won this on his EBay auction, so your actual final cost may be more (or if you’re lucky possibly less!).
I was now the proud owner of a full sized commercial slot machine!
Let’s see? What else did Stealth include? In the box I received a full booklet describing the basics of Pachislo machine operation (ex. how to reset odds, part call out, how to turn it on etc.); a set of brand new bulbs and as mentioned above 500 brand new gold tokens to get started. In addition, he added in a couple of stickers inside the machine in English explaining reset procedures and marking where to find the volume controls.
By the way, he also sells a computer chip (which you have to install) that will allow you to use a Pachislo machine just like a standard Vegas slot. The chip causes the reels to automatically stop like standard slot machines. I personally think stopping the reels is fun, but it is an option you may wish to look into.
Overall, I have to say, Stealth is everything Milt promises on his website (both his regular and EBay stores). So I can say, after spending almost $900 with him in 2 weeks (I bought 2 machines back to back and more tokens), that I’m very, very happy as he came through with flying colors as a vendor.
OK. Enough love…what about the machines?
Metal Slug Pachislo Review
I bought Metal Slug out of my obvious love for video games (hey, that’s why you’re reading this on Retroblast, right?) and the fact that the machine has a beautiful 10" high-res color LCD screen in the top center of the slot machine. The screens plays custom “scenes/animation” from the Metal Slug video game created exclusively for this slot machine. The video “reacts” and changes depending on how well you’re doing in the game.
The machine itself has really neat “military” look to it (at least to me it does) and is covered in tons of lights, multicolored LEDs and lit reels (that have LEDs hidden behind the reels themselves) to further add to the amazing light show.
This machine is a Type – B machine (please see my prior article for details on A/B machines) and requires a “max bet” of 3 tokens at a time (you cannot adjust this). The coin slot is a “speed loader” and allows you to drop in approx. 20 tokens at a time so loading it up with the maximum of 50 tokens only takes a few seconds. If you try to load anymore than 50 credits, the machine automatically ejects the excess tokens. This appears to be standard on all Pachislo machines.
FUN FUN FUN. What more can I say? Once you get the reels spinning the machine is literally a dazzling light, video, and sound show that you’re going to love.
Once my wife made her first spin she, too was hooked. There’s something exciting and hypotonic about the visuals and sounds that this machine pumps out. She seems to hate all things retrogaming related, so I was surprised at her enthusiasm with the slot machine. But, this is so different from a regular arcade game that you really have to try it yourself to appreciate it
The odds, which are “house” selectable (meaning this is set inside the machine, not by the player), run from 1-6, with 6 being the easiest to “win” (or for you Vegas folks the “loosest”). Obviously for home use, you want to win more often than not…and thankfully on 6 this machine usually hits a big bonus in about 100 rounds or less (this generally seems to take about 20 minutes or so to hit).
Once you start the reel spinning, upon pressing your 3 skills stop buttons you’ll have the opportunity to win a replay, extra tokens or go into a Big Bonus or Regular Bonus round. Big Bonuses pays out a lot of tokens (sometimes up to 350+), regular bonus pays out approx. half of that.
Even on the lowest volume the machine is LOUD. Keep in mind; these machines were mean to be played in casinos competing with other machines. Personally I love it. The music is straight out the Metal Slug game series and you’ll recognize every tune, sound effect and video.
There are hacks on the web that show how to add a standard volume controller (and kits for that matter) as most of these machines only have a slider switch that adjusts between low, med and high volumes. (Editors note: Stealth sells a volume control kit that will allow you to lower the sound levels — my wife practically demanded this upgrade after the first week with our new Pachislo!)
The game video that plays out above the reels is really kind of an anime version of the original game characters. Interestingly in the background behind the main character your playing with you’ll see various “prisoners” and other items from the Metal Slug series pop up looking exactly as they do in the original arcade game. It’s fun to see them acting out their animations in the background — you have to have an eagle eye to see them. They pop up at random, but it’s fun to see them as a surprise during game play.
The speakers are very powerful and consist of 2 stereo speakers to the left and right of the screen and one on the back of the machine that seems to kick in to add additional volume/bass when you hit a Big or Regular Bonus.
The 10" LCD itself is beautiful. It’s very sharp and slightly angled toward you so you get a great view without it being too in your face. There are also 4 additional buttons that surround the LCD marked A, B, C and D. Essentially these buttons allow for you to control the screen read out which shows payout stats for the machine (including recent wins/losses) and other related items. They seem more like a gimmick than necessary but they are fun to play with nonetheless.
Another neat feature is that when the machine is in “attract mode” it goes through quite an impressive light show that looks great in a darkened room. No sounds emit from the machine when in attract mode which makes it perfect to just leave it on for the ambiance it provides in a game room.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON METAL SLUG
What can I say? The machine is a ton of fun. In particular the dazzling light and sound show you are rewarded with when you hit a Big or Regular Bonus is really entertaining. The machine is studded with super bright-multicolored LED’s that run in all sorts of patterns and color schemes when you hit a jackpot. In particular a feature I like is that the payout tray is lined with metal (some machines have plastic trays)…and even though it’s only tokens…and even though you don’t win anything…it’s a really exciting when you hit a big bonus and your tray starts getting filled with hundreds of tokens.
Ahh…the sound of the tokens hitting the tray is just tool cool.
On an overall scale of 1 to 10, I have to give Metal Slug a 9.