The Addams Family

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The Addams Family


The Addams Family, released in March 1992, is the best selling pinball machine of all time. Manufactured by Midway (under the Bally name), it is a solid state electronic pinball arcade game. It was based on the 1991film of the same name, and features custom speech (mostly derived from the motion picture) by the stars of the film, Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston. More than 20,000 units have been sold thus far.

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:

  • The Mansion: The Addams Family mansion is located in the center of the playfield and has 12 “windows”. Each window corresponds to a different room that the player can enter and receive an award for.
  • Vault Multiball: In the top-right section of the playfield is a blue bookcase, representing the bookcase that Gomez shows Uncle Fester in the movie. Hits to it award letters in the word “Greed”. Once the word is completed, like in the movie, the bookcase turns, revealing a shot to the vault behind the bookcase (it is possible but rare for a ball to go into the vault when the bookcase is in the blocking position). A shot to the vault locks the ball for future multiball use, or starts the multiball when two balls have been previously locked. The bookcase also opens access to the vault at certain other times during the mini games, with varying scores and effects.

Other lesser objectives include:

  • Bear Kicks: a ramp in the top center of the playfield awards 1 or 2 “bear kicks” (referencing the scene in the movie with the bear carpet that comes to life), awarding points, mansion rooms, and extra balls. A successful “bear kick” shot enables Uncle Fester’s light bulb (when not in multiball mode), which indicates that a shot into his electric chair gains a mansion room and activates a mini game (after such a shot, the light bulb goes out).
  • Staircase Ramp: a left-side ramp that awards an increasing number of millions, usually 1M-10M, and letters in the word “THING” (see THING below).
  • Graveyard: a set of 5 bumpers (a rare amount on modern machines) that increases the “Graveyard value”, which is collected from a right-side shot.
  • Train Wreck: a dead-end shot in the top-left section that awards points, assists graveyard scoring, and lights extra balls.
  • GRAVE: 5 targets strewn around the field that award letters in the word “Grave”, which when completed award an increasing amount of millions.
  • THING: Once the word THING is completed (see Staircase Ramp above), a scoop in the top right corner awards an increasing multiple of 5 million points.
  • Skill Shot: When initially launching the ball, dropping it into Thing’s scoop just past the launch ramp gives 2 million points the first time, increasing by a million each time up to a maximum of 5 million points each time. Hitting a skill shot may also gain other benefits if they are active on Thing’s scoop (e.g. extra ball, Quick Multiball, Thing points, locking a ball for multiball).