OPINION: The ALP4K is its Own Worst Hardware Enemy

For those that have bought and enjoyed the Atgames Legends Pinball 4K (https://www.atgames.us/products/legends-pinball-4kp-the-addams-family-standard-edition-1), more power to you. I am happy for anybody that enjoys any gaming hardware and/or game, regardless my personal feelings.

In fact, if you really love your ALP4K, then might just want to read something else here now, because I’m bound to disappoint you with what follows.

If, however, you’re like me and still very much on the fence with buying the ALP4K, let me give you something additional to consider.

Let me also throw out the disclaimer that I was a wave 3 preorder of the original ALP (now known as the ALP HD), I still own one of those. I also encouraged my son to buy one several years ago. I am — and will always be — a fan of that product, even though it’s become dated to own one. This is what happens time and again in gaming: better hardware comes out and older hardware gets obsoleted. We have to accept this as gamers, even if it hurts sometimes.

That all said, now let’s talk about the ALP4K. Why if I was such a fan of the ALP HD didn’t I preorder one? Here’s the TL;DR:


That’s it. Really that simple. I don’t think 4K gaming should be at anything less than 120hz period. Especially in the case of virtual pinball.

Recently, I shared my disappointment with a YouTuber called Evil Genius Entertaiment and his opinion that lag in The Addam’s Family on the ALP4K was, his quote on video, “one thousand times better” when after I spoke with two different ALP4K customers that are also PGM members saying the opposite was true.

This happens too much with Youtubers in the gaming community. That stuff is being said, being offered to potential customers over game hardware and services that isn’t true. Gamers than make buying decisions on this misinformation or, if you want to be rude, outright lying. The companies don’t care, they are making sales. The YouTubers don’t care, they are getting clicks and views.

But we, the gaming consumer, care.

Over 9 months ago I pled my case in JDV/Evil Genius comments area that this ALP4K was going to have latency issues. That was before PGM Member and Twitch moderator Vader4633 and others played The Addams Family at the Pinball Expo in October 2023.

His full comment response is above, telling me “Let’s get a production model before we throw too much dirt on it.”

His video these comments were left on is linked below here for reference (he talks about 4k/60hz around 8:15 in the vid, if you want to fast forward there and labels it “kind of a bummer”). Readers can watch the entire thing to verify that I’m not taking any of JDV’s views out of context.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbbKnRIupPI Evil Genius calls 4k/60hz a “decent compromise” – sorry, and I don’t think this part is an opinion, it isn’t.

A decent compromise would have been 2K/120hz+. It would have been better than going part of the way to 4K and making it all the much more difficult software-wise to make this happen without lag for the underpowered processor (for superior 4K vpin experience).

Probably others more intimately familiar with the board ALP4K is using will jump on here and say this processor can do it, and I’m sure it can, but Atgames has been, my opinion, at best underwhelming with their programming prowess. They prove it time and again. Can those pinball programming wizards Zen make magic here? I believe they can, but it’s obviously not fast or easy to do or it would have been done correctly already.

Something I learned a long time ago with programming within hardware constraints is there is a huge difference between whether you can do something versus whether you should . Apparently Atgames haven’t learned this because they had this obsessive marketing need to slap “4K! 4K! 4K!” on underpowered hardware. The people that pay that price — and will continue to — are their customers. I feel for them, US. I do. Yes, this can be modded with a different monitor. Yes, you can bypass with OTG and a more capable, powerful expensive,PC, but then you’re driving up the base cost of this substantially and at some point financially it becomes a case of, “maybe I should have just built my own 4K VPIN to start with.”

The sad part is the stock games, the leaderboards the community, you can’t do any of that stock stuff unless you agree to the inferior stock product. This is the primary reason I didn’t preorder one of these. This is also the reason I still haven’t but — and this is a big BUT — the community is more valuable to me than the hardware … so despite the lag issues that have plagued the Zen games on the ALP4K since launch, I still might (and it’s like less than 5% chance, so a very tiny might) give into this at some point to be able to be part of the leaderboards and community when/maybe after all 16 skins are released and the price tanks to fire sale excess inventory.

Are you, or will you ever be a customer for the ALP4K? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “OPINION: The ALP4K is its Own Worst Hardware Enemy”
  1. Never will buy the 4k. 4k on a 32″ screen is nice, but willing to bet if you the same 2k and 4k monitors side by side, most won’t see the difference. Now, put 4k 60hz vs 2k120 or even 108op 120, very noticable. With that said, for the average person that just wants something that works and does t care about frame rates and resolutions, they will probably enjoy either model. If you are only in it for the zen stuff, I would probably say stick to console and PC.

  2. Todd and ED

    I think the more reasonable solution if you have some pinball experience but no skills is to buy a flatpack with your own monitors and pc and built it yourself or buy a fully prebuilt system for someone like Lab Arcades for a few thousand. You’ll get 1000x the quality piball experience vs AT Games “4K” junk.

    1. The biggest downside with a custom solution is little to no community. The leaderboards, tournaments around the system are part of the value of buying into Atgames. As mentioned in the article, this is pretty much the only real interest I continue to have in the ALP4K. Am not sure if this is, in great part, why MCAP bought one. Maybe he’ll leave a comment and let us know. Some other PGM members have purchased the ALP4K as well.

      Was hoping more VPX games would have Scorbit added to them on VPUniverse. This shows how challenging it can be to foster a community around a shared leaderboard system. What we have now is a bunch of different people with iScored leaderboards, which is cool for individuals, but it isn’t really a shared system. Maybe iScored will come out with something that will allow scores to be shared to groups at one time vs. having to enter a score in every different iScored.

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