The Addams Family
Retro Coin Op Synopsis
When celebrity-themed pinball machines became popular in the late 1970’s, they were soon followed by movie-themed games like Flash Gordon and James Bond. By the 1990’s, every film from Jurassic Park to The Last Action Hero was getting a pinball machine designed in its own likeness. Filled with nifty features that showed off the large amount of money invested in them, these games tended to be very popular with players. Among the niftiest and most popular of the games in this trend was 1992's The Addams Family, which has gone on to become the most successful pinball game of all time.
This game was put together by a special team of designers led by Pat Lawlor, the man behind such pinball favorites as Funhouse and The Twilight Zone. This talented team went all-out with the design of this game, resulting in a pinball machine that was a true feast for the eyes and ears.
A marvel of pinball engineering, The Addams Family included tons of moving parts, including everybody’s favorite disembodied hand, Thing. The backboard boasted an animated digital display screen that showed nifty cartoons when it wasn’t displaying the score. A wide array of sound effects, including the voices of The Addams Family movie actors Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston and 13 different musical themes, gave it an extra kick.
The playfield of The Addams Family was designed to resemble the famous family’s home, including everything from stairways and a big electric chair to the family’s swamp and the box that Thing slept in. A combination of ramps, tubes and moving objects made for a complex but entertaining game that overflowed with cool features. For instance, a player could trigger ‘The Power’ during the game. This would activate a magnet under the playfield that would spin around and briefly cause the pinball to move in crazy directions.
Thing also played an active role in the game. If a player lit up the word ‘T-H-I-N-G' on the backboard display, the hand would move out of a box in a back corner to grab the ball and hold it until a Thing animation had played on the display screen. Thing also had his own special flipper, controlled by the machine, that would flip the ball for you as Raul Julia’s voice shouted, “Thing flips!” As it knocked the ball into a target, his voice would respond once more with, “Nice work, Thing!”
Another important element of The Addams Family was the many opportunities it offered for scoring. The purpose of the game was ‘collecting’ rooms of the mansion by hitting the electric chair with the pinball when a nearby yellow lamp was lit. The player worked to achieve this by moving the pinball into targets, up ramps and into pinball drops. This activity also triggered plenty of cool score-increasing features. The best of these was Multi-Ball: If a player lit up the word ‘G-R-E-E-D’ on the game board and shot three pinballs into the vault, all three would be released so the player could use them all at once.
The combination of high-tech design and consistently-entertaining gameplay made The Addams Family a massive hit when it was released in 1992. As pinball fanatics became addicted to the game’s high-energy style and scoring challenges, it broke all previous pinball sales records to become the best-selling pinball game of all time. In fact, it became so popular that a special Gold Edition of the game was made in 1994 to commemorate the game’s success.
The Addams Family remains as popular as ever today and can frequently be found in arcades thanks to its enduring appeal. This long-lasting success has truly made The Addams Family the ‘first family’ among all movie-themed pinball games.
Arcade Machine Release HistoryMar 1992 - The Addams Family
Oct 1994 - The Addams Family Gold Edition