The Addams Family (pinball)

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The Addams Family
Addams family pinball.jpg
ManufacturerMidway
Release dateMarch 1992
SystemMidway WPC (Fliptronics I)
Designer(s)Pat Lawlor, Larry DeMar
Programmer(s)Larry DeMar, Mike Boon
ArtworkJohn Youssi
MechanicsJohn Krutsch
MusicChris Granner
SoundChris Granner
VoicesRaul Julia, Anjelica Huston
Production run20,270
 
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The Addams Family
Addams family pinball.jpg
ManufacturerMidway
Release dateMarch 1992
SystemMidway WPC (Fliptronics I)
Designer(s)Pat Lawlor, Larry DeMar
Programmer(s)Larry DeMar, Mike Boon
ArtworkJohn Youssi
MechanicsJohn Krutsch
MusicChris Granner
SoundChris Granner
VoicesRaul Julia, Anjelica Huston
Production run20,270

The Addams Family is one of the best selling pinball machine of the 1990s. Manufactured by Midway (under the Bally name), it is a solid state electronic pinball arcade game. It was based on the 1991 movie of the same name, and features custom speech (mostly derived from the motion picture) by the movie's stars, Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston. A total of 20,270 units have been sold thus far.

Overview[edit]

The machine's game card describes the game objective as being to "Explore the strange world of the Addams Family." With that in mind there is no single player goal, though there are two central objectives:

Other lesser objectives include:

Reasons for popularity[edit]

A number of simultaneous factors came together to give The Addams Family its record-setting sales figures.

Around the time of the game's release, video arcade games were declining in popularity, due largely to the technological ascent of home systems. Meanwhile, pinball in the recent years prior had witnessed a strong wave of technological innovation. The dot-matrix display, for example, had just been added to the first pinball machine (Data East's Checkpoint) about a year before, and CPU advances allowed machines to perform simultaneous video, audio and gameplay functions more smoothly.

The Addams Family added to this a number of game-specific "toys" that proved popular with players:

The game also made extensive use of the film it was based upon, arguably the most of any game at that time. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston both contributed many re-recordings of quotes from the film, along with a number of extra quotes exclusive to the machine ("Jackpot!", "Extra Ball!", etc.). Much of the game's humor was also well-received, such as the mode "Hit Cousin Itt",[1] where successful hits to the Cousin Itt target resulted in display animations of It getting hit with a large pinball, Gomez's (Julia's) response to the player upon tilting, "Hee hee hee, you're a funny guy!," and the machine occasionally flipping both of its lower flippers in tune to the finger snapping in the Addams Family theme song. A lesser known activity for players is to attempt activating a hidden function which allows the player to hear an audio clip of Nat Perrin telling a short pun. This function is said to exist only in ~100 first-release machines and was subsequently removed in later CPU revisions.

From a player's perspective the game received positive reviews for its good use of the playfield, its audio and video effects, "flow" (the way the game's shots and objectives lead naturally from one to another) appeal to both beginner and expert players, and general replayability.

Rules summary[edit]

Mansion[edit]

Mansion rooms are awarded from the lit electric chair shot in the center of the playing field. Once a mansion room is awarded, the electric chair light goes out until it is relit by a Bear Kick (some other switches will relight it temporarily). A player can have more than one mansion room scoring mode activated simultaneously, something which is often considered good strategy. The rooms/modes are:

If the player manages to start all of the above scoring modes (regardless of whether or not they complete them), the attic room marked with a "?" awards the game's "wizard mode":

Vault Multiball[edit]

The player can add letters to the word "GREED" by hitting the bookcase in front of the vault. Spelling "GREED" opens the bookcase, revealing a shot into the vault that can be used to "lock" (hold) balls for multiball; for the first multiball, the swamp can also be used to lock balls. The Power turns on for the player's attempt to lock the third and final ball. Multiball can be started from the vault or, for the first multiball, the electric chair.

Once multiball begins the Train Wreck shot lights up for a Jackpot, and the Staircase Ramp for a Double Jackpot or, from the 2nd multiball onward, Triple Jackpot. The Jackpot starts out at 10 million, and increases by one million for every Bear Kicks shot or shot to a closed vault during the multiball. Upon receiving either, the vault re-opens, and a successful shot to it re-lights only the Staircase Ramp. The player may continue to do this as long as there are two balls on the playing field.

If a player does not get any jackpot, a last-chance "Thing Multiball" lights up for 20 seconds. If the player shoots it in time, he gets to launch a second ball and continue the multiball per the rules above, except with no more last chances given.

Scoring[edit]

Scores on The Addams Family tend to have an average in the low 8-digit range. Among machines found in public locations, the score necessary to obtain a replay is usually between 35 million and 80 million, with high scores dispersed mostly among the full 9-digit spectrum. The world's best players will occasionally score in the billions.

Without tilting, the lowest possible score is theoretically 300,000, by shooting each ball through the graveyard without hitting anything and letting it drain (the ball will roll over a trigger that gives no points but disables the replay that is normally given when a ball hits no trigger). Then each ball is given a bonus of 100,000 for the starting one bear kick. However, getting that score may be difficult to do, as it is difficult to shoot the ball through the graveyard without hitting any of the graveyard bumpers. A score of 750,000 is easily attainable by launching each ball weakly so that it drops directly into the swamp and then drops down the center drain, gaining 150,000 points plus 100,000 bonus points each.

Special Collector's Edition[edit]

In October 1994, Bally produced a "Special Collectors Edition", often referred to as The Addams Family Gold. In the original run of The Addams Family a few machines had been produced with golden features to celebrate the machine's sales record. The Collector's Edition similarly featured specially designed accents such as golden side rails, a golden lock bar, golden legs and a slightly enhanced software program.

The game also included a number of gameplay enhancements. New scoring rules were added, most notably to the Mansion. Some rooms randomly awarded players items from Cousin Itt, such as a hair dryer or brush, with an accompanying number of points. Wednesday and Pugsley also made their first in-game appearance in the form of a "trap door", that would sometimes let a player move from one room to another, awarding them both. Numerous new quotes and dot-matrix effects were also added.

Only one thousand Collector's Edition units were produced.

Hidden game codes[edit]

The Addams Family pinball contains two known Easter eggs—plus a third egg in the Special Collector's Edition—each of which can be accessed using a flipper and Start button code sequence specific to each egg. The results produced are cosmetic in nature only; they do not modify actual game play in any way.

The codes work only under the following conditions: The machine must be in its Attract or "game over" mode (no game currently in progress). There must also be no credits on the machine. (The Start button cannot be flashing to begin a new game; consequently, the codes will never work if the machine is set for free play.)

The codes may also temporarily stop working if they are done too many times in a row. Allowing the Attract mode display screens to cycle all the way through (at least 1 or 2 minutes) before trying a code again should rectify this.

The available Easter eggs and how to activate them:

  • "When Cows Fight": This is a humorous dot-matrix still that appears on the display for about three seconds. To see it, press the left flipper button 7 times, followed by the Start button once, then the right flipper button 14 times, Start button once, left button 20 times and finally the Start button once.
  • "When Cows Dig for Gold" (collector's edition only): Another humorous still. Press the left button 12 times, then the Start button once, right button 5 times, Start once, left 4 times and Start once.
  • Design credits: A flashy (and very noisy!) nod to the game's designers at Bally. Left button 13 times, Start button once, right once, Start once, left 2 times and Start once.

Aftermarket modifications[edit]

Some aftermarket modifications may be found in some machines:

Digital versions[edit]

A version of this table was in development for the PC and was also going to be released on the Nintendo 64 and would be developed by Digital Eclipse and published by GT Interactive, but was cancelled. The game is also supported by Visual Pinball, which can also be made by some people to play through a home made pinball cabinet, like the original but digitally emulated.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Addams Family Gold Edition". Pinball Archive Rule Sheets. Professional & Amateur Pinball Association. June 10, 1995. 

External links[edit]