Tag Archives: Addams Family Pinball

Pinball FX: The Addams Family – The Pinball Chick Hurry-Up Review

With over one-hundred tables at launch, I have a lot of work to do to get Pinball FX’s content up. I also have to wait for my team to put their scores in. So, I’ve come up with the concept of a Hurry-Up Review. This is a quick look at the tables as the Vice Family plays them. And, what better table to experiment with this format than Addams Family? We’ve already reviewed the Arcooda version, which we awarded straight Masterpiece rankings for. Of course, that’s a premium priced build designed specifically for those with full-fledged digital tables. This is the version of Pinball FX that works on PlayStation, Xbox, and Epic Games (standard non-table view only), and will be updated when the full team’s scores are in.

We’ve also reviewed the standard Pinball Arcade build. The big news is that Angela and myself flipped our previous rankings from the standard Pinball Arcade build. She awarded that build Masterpiece status, while I said it was Great. It’s the opposite here. Angela dropped her ranking based on how bad the Thing Flips is at shooting. Yea, a real build isn’t completely accurate either. But, the Pinball FX version is an especially poor shot. It seems to be most accurate if you play in “Arcade” mode, which has a larger ball and feels more like Pinball Arcade. In Classic mode, I started ignoring the auto flipper and took to firing the ball myself. In Pro mode, the table is so steep and the ball moves so fast that the flipper doesn’t even shoot automatically. It’s a significantly more difficult shot to make in Pinball FX. Angela’s strategy of charging up the swamp shot and grinding-up her score (apparently the same strategy used by tournament players) was thrown out the door. It’s why Dash, who would inclined to rate Addams Family MASTERPIECE, dropped his score all the way down to GOOD. The left bat flipper desperately needs fixing. I prefer to shoot manually anyway, so it didn’t bother me. I’ve never been good at shooting it to begin with and prefer to work the doors for my score. Sorry, Sis, but your strategy is boring.

Christopher Lloyd needs them big bucks, so he’s once again absent from the table. The rest of the cast is here.

The big question for me was the magnets. I’ve been wondering how Zen Studios would handle it for a while now. My congratulations to them for NAILING it, as you can now easily overpower them with a trapped shot if you know the right angles for the Seance and Multiball. Yea, they’ll absolutely screw you sometimes, but, so the does the arcade table. While it does feel like a gotcha, I’ve always felt that it’s a gotcha in service to the table’s risk/reward balance. My father agrees with me, which is why he’s awarded Addams Family GREAT, a jump over his score of GOOD for the Pinball Arcade version. Oscar really didn’t like the floaty physics of that build. Those are gone now. Pinball FX isn’t a perfect platform by any means. Backhands are still a bit too hard, but otherwise, this has pretty dang solid physics. Oscar expects a full table-mode will jump to MASTERPIECE, and Angela thinks if a table mode makes it easier to shoot the Swamp, she’ll jump to MASTERPIECE as well. I’m already there. This is the best translation of Addams Family I’ve played that’s not designed specifically for high-end digital tables.

The right bat flipper is one of the hardest to clock in all of pinball. It feels very accurate here.

Addams Family is the definitive 90s pinball table. Multiple shots that are a cinch to drill into your muscle memory, like the Thing Scoop, the electric chair, the Lawlor Trail between the chair and the bumpers. BUT, the easiness ends there. Addams is a punishing table, but, it never stops being fun. I love how it’s a table that incorporates everything seamlessly into the natural flow of the game. I love how every single mode is intense and exciting, with not a stinker in the bunch EXCEPT maybe Cousin It, which is a weird shot and always has been. Otherwise, the modes are splendid. And, has there ever been a better wizard mode than Tour the Mansion? Addams Family feels more grand and super than any of the SuperPins. It’s this strange miracle of a table that I still can’t believe exists. It’s not like the movie was a huge hit, which is why it’s always so amusing to me that this became the biggest selling solid state table ever made. Imagine any other product tie-in for the 1991 Addams Family film becoming the best-seller EVER, of all-time. If the best selling action figure was Gomez in his smoking jacket, you’d be like “huh? How’d THAT happen?” With the pinball machine, it’s easy to understand how it became the biggest seller ever. It’s brutally difficult to learn, so players will have to keep pumping quarters into it, which makes arcade owners happy. BUT, once you get the hang of it, it’s still a beast, where a good game can turn on a dime. Hopefully this time, it’ll not be delisted again.

SCORES
Cathy: MASTERPIECE
Angela: GREAT
Oscar: GREAT
Jordi: TBD
Dave: TBD
Dash: GOOD

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Table Review: The Addams Family for Arcooda

Yes, Addams Family is one of the many delisted Pinball Arcade titles. But, it’s not GONE gone. At least if you have $499.99 to spare, plus either a dual-monitor digital pinball table or a relatively beefy PC + two monitors, one of which is a wide-screen. If that’s true, The Addams Family is one of the 76 tables included in Arcooda ‘s digital table software solution, and one of many tables where Arcooda’s version absolutely slays the now-delisted standard version. Even the non-Lawlor-loving curmudgeon Oscar had to concede that Arcooda Addams Family is a masterpiece of digital pinball conversions.

The secret-sauce for Arcooda is having subtle changes to Pinball Arcade’s standard-edition layouts, mostly de-cramping the space. Not even portrait mode versions of the tables (which every PC version of Pinball Arcade has) feature the true-to-life dimensions Arcooda offers. While the physics are still the same as Pinball Arcade, with all foibles that come with that (such as live catches being far too easy to pull-off), the actual gameplay of the tables is SIGNIFICANTLY more accurate than it ever has been just by having the dimensions and geometry be less-relative. If you want an example, look at the two pics above. The layout on the left is Arcooda’s build, while the layout on the right is the dimensions for the normal (well, Gold) version of Addams Family. The standard version, even with the ball size changed to compensate, is going to feel squished. Don’t get me wrong: the standard version plays fine. But, the Arcooda version IS the coin-op done digitally.

For our Arcooda reviews, we’re actually at the mercy of having to switch back to the standard version to get close-ups of the tables. Sorry. Anyway, the staircase and multiball/extra ball lane is where you can truly feel the difference. This is a legendary ramp, and no digital version of it feels more accurate than Arcooda’s.

In the case of Addams Family, longtime fans of this, the greatest-selling real table of all-time, will find their muscle memory will be accurate. When playing the two versions side-by-side, we found the real big difference was on the center staircase shot and the center multiball-lock shot, and the graveyard bumpers having more breathing-room (just wait until we talk about how fixed Twilight Zone’s bumpers are). Really, every shot is truer to the real deal, so much so that our games of digital Addams play out not-that different-from real Addams. From the maddening lack of ball save, to the joy of stringing together quadruple combos, to the anger-inducing multiball magnets, to the thrill of reaching Tour the Mansion. While I still firmly believe whatever was the best of 1992’s tables was destined to set all the sales records, I also admit that Addams Family’s success is no fluke. It’s table that offers something for fans of every table type. Sharpshooter fans will find some of the most precise target-shooting of any table from this era, not to mention one of the most punishing of bricked shots. Finesse fans will find a table that rewards flexible strategies and a large variety of modes. Fans of kinetic gameplay will love a table that incentivizes ball control and ultra-quick reflexes. Even pick ‘n flick fans can excel at a table where slowing the action down and grinding up extra balls through shot repetition is a viable strategy. A lot of tables desire to be something for everyone. Addams Family truly is.

Speaking of kinetic, Addams Family’s graveyard has one of THE great risk-reward cluster of bumpers of the DMD era. The bumpers are used to charge up the swamp-shot, also known as the Thing Flip. Many professionals base their strategy around completing this shot, which is often more valuable than the much-higher-risk multiball jackpot. Angela, an absolute dead-eye with bat flippers, used it almost exclusively to defeat Dad and I in a first-to-four series, 4 to 1 to 1. It’s maybe pinball’s most thrilling shot, so much so that I actually hate when it’s done automatically. Especially when Thing misses. Hell, I can miss all on my own, thank you very much.

Addams Family is so popular, so legendary, that many silverball die-hards these days feel obligated to list it as an overrated table. They’ll cite elements like the brutal magnetic field of the multiball experience, or the Seance, which many players choose to just trap the ball and run out the clock on. They might even agree with my hypothesis that arcades were so red-hot in 1992 that whatever was the best table released in the first quarter of that year was fated to be the best-selling ever, and it just happened that Addams Family, releasing in March of 1992, was the lucky one. Exchange Addams for Doctor Who, which released in September of 1992, and Doctor Who eventually claims the record. Exchange Addams for Terminator 2, which released in July of 1991, and Terminator 2 *murders* the record. 1992 was an overall banner year for pinball in general, with FIVE tables selling over ten-thousand units, and it’s not like Addams Family was a box office juggernaut. It did fine, but wasn’t an unfathomable smash-hit.

Purists will probably complain that it can’t be called “true to the arcade” because they had to slightly alter Fester’s appearance (and Pugsley’s too). If it bothers you THAT much, given that it affects the gameplay (checks notes) not at all, you’re officially too shallow for this review to matter at all. Oh and worth noting: if you have a Kinect camera and Windows 10, the glasses-free 3D view is absolutely incredible.

Be that as it may, the pinball table is that: the biggest hit of the sport’s most popular era. As I write this, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of an arcade goer, circa 1992. I wasn’t even three-years-old when Addams Family released. But, I imagine the familiar toe-tapping theme and gothic look of the table must have been quite the siren call for players. Maybe not creepy in the same way Funhouse’s Rudy was, but instead a more inviting and whimsical party of macabre. And also, let’s face it, Raul Julia’s infectious charisma is on full display. He didn’t phone-in his performance for the pinball machine. He absolutely lets loose and delivers some of the most famous samples in the history of gaming. “It has to warm up.. SO IT CAN KILL YOU!” still sends chills down my spine. “WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU?!” always leaves a smile on my face. Addams Family can be brutal to the point of demoralizing for newcomers, BUT, it really wants you to have fun, even in failure. Hell, even after arcades were dying, Addams Family pinball was considered viable enough that real money was sunk into attempting to develop a port of it for the Nintendo 64. This is six years after it came out. And that project was cancelled because the technology at the time, specifically the N64, couldn’t do it justice. Pinball Arcade came very close, but it’s Arcooda’s software where the digital version lives up to the legend. It’s not the only one. Expect many of their other tables that failed to get perfect scores from us for Pinball Arcade to Mamushka into The Pinball Chick Pantheon of Digital Pinball. Black Hole? It’s making it in. Twilight Zone? Made it. But it’s probably Addams Family that was the most transformed by it. This IS the Addams Family. Well, with easier live catches.

Special Note: YES, Arcooda is still active. Pinball Chick associate Dash, who will be submitting Arcooda scores for our reviews going forward, ordered the $499.99 kit off their website. It arrived just days later. While Farsight is off the grid, Arcooda is active, along with their customer support and service. You can trust them.

The Addams Family
for Arcooda Software
Developed by Bally, 1992
Design & Concept: Pat Lawlor & Larry DeMar
Art: John Youssi
Sound: Chris Granner
DMD: Scott Slomiany

Cathy: MASTERPIECE
Oscar: MASTERPIECE
Angela: MASTERPIECE
The Pinball Chick Pantheon Inductee