TiltTrek Shares Haggis Fathom Revisited Mermaid Edition – What a Beauty!

By Todd Russell Sep5,2023

Had someone stop by the Humpday Wednesday pinball stream recently and tell me how much they loved solid state (SS) machines and must agree that if we could go back in a time machine and see these machines brand new, they were something to marvel at. The good news, is we kind of can do so, because some companies like Australia’s Haggis ( https://haggispinball.com/ ) are remaking classic pinball machines. I caught this video unboxing from TiltTrek (https://www.tilttrek.com/) of Fathom – Mermaid Edition. The pinball was announced over two years ago and the video is from three months ago, but just check out this beauty, shipped overseas, too.

One constructive criticism of the video, which otherwise is good, is we don’t really get to hear details behind the issues too briefly mentioned in the video. If someone is spending $10,000+ USD on one of these machines, they want to know the good and bad, not just good and glazing over the negatives. The projector intermittently going out? The other things that there was a hope software would solve going forward? Tell us more. This part disturbed me and I wish there had been more clarification, here. Perhaps some pictures of the items with issues, what steps were being taken to repair the issues, etc.

Check out the difference in the cardboard packaging quality noted in the video between Haggis New In Box (NIB, lower cardboard in picture below) and Stern NIB (upper cardboard):

Recently, I spoke to a 20+ year owner/vendor with a route consisting of hundreds of pinball machines and arcade machines recently. He complained about how much money these new machines cost and that the pinball companies like Stern are expecting their customers to beta test them, work out the bugs, and that the software isn’t finished. I asked him if he had any of the pins he owned at home, or if they were all on location? He replied that he didn’t need any at home, because he could play them as much as he wanted on location and really it was better to just do that: play them and let somebody else (like him) deal with the maintenance. An interesting, perhaps strongly biased perspective, yes, but it kinda fits into where my head is at on this sometimes.

Having owned Eight Ball for 10 years, I swore off the idea of ever buying another older machine again, but when I see remakes like this, it is inspiring me that maybe these can be remade with a little less required maintenance in 50+ years later. Maybe I’m loosening up to the idea of buying a remake like this someday. Never say never, they say. When it comes to pinball, yeah, they’re right. I miss playing Eight Ball — when it was functioning correctly. I was bummed every time there was a significant problem with it. Routine maintenance is expected owning a pinball machine, and I don’t have a problem with any of that: cleaning, waxing the playfield, light replacement, minor fixes, ball replacmeent, etc). It’s when you have to get out the soldering iron that I start not wanting to own one of these.

Note the words “sold out” on the Haggis website for Fathom Revisited, but from a customer standpoint, this doesn’t seem to be accurate as of this writing. Checking with our local distributor, Nitro Pinball, they actually still have listed “2 in stock” as of this writing (remember, Haggis announced these pins April 26, 2021. Manufacturing was scheduled to begin on July 1st, 2021, so we’re talking over 2 years ago from this writing) … although also confusingly listed as “presell.” See the listing circled in red below. Bottom line: it seems like Haggis might still be manufacturing these machines(?). Apparently, their production was estimated at 50 machines per month, so that doesn’t make any sense. Whatever the case, and not pretending that I asked anybody involved with the company for the answer, it’s been a bit of time that has passed. This isn’t a “new” pinball machine just announced.

My guess is they had a distributor allotment and there are two left to order from that allotment.

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