Thanks for viewing this page! After answering this question a couple thousand times, I decided to setup a webpage to explain the differences between the Merit games! And here it is. As far as I can tell, this is the most comprehensive page anywhere that explains the differences between all the different games.
There are 3 things that I'm going to try and explain. Those are the hardware platform, the software version, and cabinet.
First, there are four different hardware lines. They are XL, Maxx, Force and ION. Each of these hardware versions will only run the software that was designed to run on it (ie, you cannot load the Titanium software onto the Force hardware). Any "Maxx" machine will take any "Maxx" software. Any "Force" machine will only take "Force" software. And so on.
The following is a diagram of when each software version was released (as well as the hardware that it runs on). Also, the new software releases coincide with each other. Like, the games that were new to the Platinum software were also the new ones on the Diamond software, which was released the same year. Same thing with the Titanium/Emerald/Force 2002.
Maxx 2k Plus
||2007 / 2007.5|
||2008 / 2008.5|
||2009 / 2009.5|
||2010 / 2010.5|
And Finally, there is the cabinet. A Force EVO 2007(Flat Screen) and the Force Radion 2007 (CRT) have exactly the same games! There is no difference in the amount of games, or the way they play. Same thing goes with a Classic Maxx Sapphire (The Silver sided Maxx) and a Select Maxx Sapphire (the metal cabinet Maxx). Below is a complete listing of (with all the links to) the different cabinets used with each of the different hardware versions
Megatouch XL Hardware
||Classic (Blue or Silver Sides)||Classic||EVO|
|Slim/Select Maxx (Small Green Metal Cabinet)||Radion (Black Plastic Cabinet)||Elite Edge|
|Full/Heavy Maxx (Big Metal Cabinet)||Elite (Larger LCD Cabinet)||Aurora|
|EZ Maxx (First LCD Panel Merit Game)||Vibe (2 Piece LCD Game)||Rx|
|Elite Maxx (Same as EZ but DBV is integrated)||EVO (Most Common LCD Game)|
Now, I know what you are all asking. "Which game should I buy?"
Unfortunately, there isn't a very easy answer. I will give a few suggestions though. At this point in time (March of 2012), there is ZERO point in buying an XL game. Because of the abundance of used machines floating around, you can buy a Maxx for about the same you'd pay for an XL. And the Maxx is newer, more reliable, you can actually get reliable parts for it, and it can have twice as many games as even the very best XL.
The biggest issue with the XLs (at this point) are reliability. Many had Telco or Ducksan monitors (both are garbage). Many were upgraded with hard drives that are not available anymore (and thanks to Merit, CANNOT be duplicated because of a special firmware installed to the drive). And if you have a CD based game, you have a boot eprom and an I/O board to boot off of. And now, these boot eproms and I/O boards are all starting to fail. Basically, if you are considering buying an XL, DON'T. For the same money, or maybe slightly more, you can pickup a Maxx game that is far better in every way.
I would expect to pay $100-$400 for a Maxx machine. $100 would be a steal. $200- $400 is probably more realistic if you are searching out Craigslist or eBay. $400 would be a checked out Crown with a Warranty. Obviously, the newer the software, the better. The Crown software alone is worth about $200. So if you buy a Maxx and want to update it, expect to pay at least that much for a Crown kit. And that's even if you can find one!
that being said, for not much more than a high-end Maxx
game, you can probably get a Force. I see Forces listed with No
on eBay selling under $400. And I'll sell you one for $500 +
(Classic Force 2006.5). And mine has a warranty and has been gone
through, checked out, and serviced. And if you are OK with a CRT
tube) based game and can afford to spend $500 on it, a Force machine is
bet. You'll have a newer hardware platform, more access to parts
and upgrades, and a lot more games!
some of you Merit Aficionados are saying,
"What about the original Megatouches, or the new "Megatouch
Live"?. Those are 2 lines that I didn't feel the need to addres
here. First, there is the original Megatouch. While they
similar, the original Megatouch games share virtually no parts with the
Maxx, and Force games. And while you may find one cheap, don't be
tempted. The originals have very few games, are not upgradeable,
at an age where they are very unreliable. So save your
for the ML Live, it's so new and expensive (and can't be used in a
it is not something people will want for their home.
other thing I HAVE to mention. And that is buying a game on
eBay. There are a few people on eBay who sell quality games,
stand behind their games, and take pride in what they do. I do
(davemanut). Ryan Miller does (Jester's Amusements). There
are a few middle of the road sellers. And then there are the
bottom feeders. These are the guys who buy crap from the auction,
spray down the cabinet with windex, then take pictures and list it on
eBay. They charge primo prices for their stuff and advertise
warranties, but you are just as good buying from them as you are
joe-blow off the street. If they don't explain their warranty,
there isn't one. If they try to get you to "buy it directly to
save on eBay fees", they are really trying to get you to buy it
directly so they don't have to worry about negative feedback when you
realize the game they sold you is a piece of crap. And that's if
the game somehow survives shipping.
this is not sour grapes. It's out of frustration because
I hear from these buyers who shelled out a pretty penny for their
Megatouch, only to have it arrive DOA and receive ZERO help from the
seller. I will gladly forward you these emails. I have
If you are looking for the best refurbished Megatouch that you can buy, check out
The Megatouch Store
Store on eBay
If you don't see the one you want listed, contact me. I probably have it, just may not have it listed. You can email me directly at email@example.com. You can try calling at 615-364-5655, but I'm not in the shop nearly as much as I used to be, so you may not get an answer :)