“That’s the spirit Thing, lend a hand!”
June 29, 2013 10:16 PM   Subscribe

If you’ve played pinball in the last 20 years , you’ve almost certainly played an Addam’s Family at some point in your life, and we're going to take it to task here, show you some ways to play the game. This entertaining series of videos features an extremely jargon-filled description of game strategies; with a top-down and forward-angled view of the table. Part 1 (Multiball), Part 2 and Part 3 (Mansion Rooms)
posted by Deathalicious (54 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
THING! sorry, pinball flashback.
posted by dabitch at 10:26 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Addams Family pinball deck is the platonic ideal of pinball machines and I say this as someone who probobly spent a hundred dollars in quarters on it growing up and once stalled a road trip across America for a good half hour cause the rest stop in Auburn had an Addams family pinball machine.

Seriously, it's up there with magic box, it is a the best.
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Pinball Arcade people have Addams Family on their roadmap. Their emulated tables are completely fantastic, so that'll be fun. Me, I'm hoping for Diner.
posted by disillusioned at 10:35 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Truly a great game.

In the early 90's I was working at a company that had a ton of arcade games in it, and a few pinball games (all brought in by employees). One employee had a piano and an Adam's Family game in his office. I played the shit out of that game, and got pretty darned good at it. It's a wonderful game.

That being said, it requires continual maintenance. Whenever I stumble upon it I always play it, and inevitably there are things wrong with it (different things). It's not enough to know how to play a pinball game well, you have to know the idiosyncrasies of specific games. These days many places that have pinball games don't maintain them well.

I think the best game I had on the last machine I played regularly (at a local bar) I toured the mansion twice (there's some jargon for you). The twirling electromagnet is devilish thing, making me largely try to avoid multiball (just get the rooms in the mansion and try to tour it).
posted by el io at 10:35 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fond memories of this one as well as Bram Stoker's Dracula. WINDS! WINDS!
posted by Jaymzifer at 10:45 PM on June 29, 2013

I've never had the pleasure of playing one of these in person, so it's entertaining/frustrating to try to learn the playfield based on advanced videos.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:49 PM on June 29, 2013

I am not much of a game player at all. I do like the visceral feel of a pinball machine, but even most of those bore me or annoy me after a few games.

Not this one, though.

This is my favorite machine EVER. They used to have one at Emo's in Austin, and I may have spent more on that than I did on drinks.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:54 PM on June 29, 2013

It occurs to me that I was playing on a machine that was likely brand spanking new.

I feel a bit old.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:56 PM on June 29, 2013

The only pinball game I know how to play in this kind of detail is Pinball 3D: Space Cadet (the one that came bundled with Windows XP) but these are fun to watch, anyway :D
posted by subdee at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2013

"And that was a really mistaken drain there.."

That was very professional way to react to that situation. Most of us just say the eff word.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:01 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Who is the guy playing/ narrating?
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:02 PM on June 29, 2013

Thhhhhhhhhheeeeee MAAAA-MUSH-KAAAAAA!

This is my desert island pinball machine, pretty much the peak of the form as far as I'm concerned.

posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:07 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd be curious to read or watch a general tutorial on how to play good pinball. I'm surprised such a thing doesn't pop out on youtube, but there are many that are specific to particular machines.
posted by spbmp at 11:11 PM on June 29, 2013

I was tooling about the rest of the internet, looking for affirmation of my opinion that this is the best pinball game ever, and discovered something interesting in the wiki:

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.

So if anyone out there in Mefilandia has access to one of these marvelous things, try these out for me.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:26 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Addams Family is the most popular pinball machine ever made. Not as complex as Pat Lawlor's follow-up, Twilight Zone, which is an experts' table, even a casual player can learn the rules and get reasonably good at it with a bit of practice. But more than that, never before or since has a table's theme been so well integrated into the play. They get a lot of mileage out of the Addams Family theme song, the other music is all excellent (esp. the build-up to Thing Multiball), even the bonus count leaves me with a goofy grin, especially when Thing plays along on the flippers.

<brag>My high score on Addams Family machine is 496M, a score that includes two Tours.</brag> It was a score on a table that was hard to hit the Left Ramp on as well, so not a lot of Double or Triple jackpots.

The best strategy in Addams Family, I found, is to keep plugging away at Mansion rooms. The 50M for getting to the end is nice of course, but the modes themselves are very valuable. A complete Seance, for example, is 30M, and Mamushka can be very high if you get the ball into the cemetery two or more times. If you get the knack of hitting the Electric Chair from the left flipper, you can hit the Bear Kick ramp, then the Chair, then catch the ball on the eject to the left flipper. Then repeat. You can either break the cycle to take advantage of good modes or keep cycling.
posted by JHarris at 11:27 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

BTW, codes are by no means unique to Addams Family. Sometimes you can guess at a code, because pinball tradition is, I heard, to make them as if you were entering some developer's initials at the high score screen.

You can try them out yourself if you get Visual PinMAME working.
posted by JHarris at 11:28 PM on June 29, 2013

The twirling electromagnet is devilish thing, making me largely try to avoid multiball (just get the rooms in the mansion and try to tour it).

The only problem with that is the Seance. I've lost so many balls to those damn magnets. At least in Multiball if you lose one it's not so bad.
posted by JHarris at 11:31 PM on June 29, 2013

One more thing, speaking in general, those PAPA videos are a treasure trove.
posted by JHarris at 11:38 PM on June 29, 2013

Okay, should I dig into by bag of pinball lore? I've been meaning to make a general pinball post for some time. Here's some stuff:

- How do you tell if a machine is in good repair without even having to spend a coin on it? Watch the attract mode display until the credits count comes up! What does it say? It should say:

What you don't want it to say is:

Notice the period after the zero! That's the machine's signal to the attendant, and any knowledgeable players, that one of the game's internal checks has failed, most commonly one of its switches hasn't been triggered in many balls (I think the number used usually is 90). This is true both for dot matrix and older digital-clock-style LCD displays. BTW, for some reason the attract mode of most of the tables on Pinball Arcade have the period lit....

- At the start of a ball, notice your score. It's flashing. This signals which player is up, of course, but it serves another purpose as well. The score will continue flashing until the first switch is hit on a ball. It's easy for a player to forget this, but the machine has no magical knowledge of where the ball goes; if it doesn't trigger an explicit switch or sensor, to the game, it didn't happen. And the nature of the physics of the game is that all kinds of weird things might happen that the designer didn't intend.

The flashing score means no switch has been hit yet. While it's flashing, to the game, the ball hasn't begun yet. If you plunge the ball and manipulate the table in such a way that the ball goes to the drain without triggering a playfield switch (you can generally tell this because you will have scored at least 10 points; this is why random switches on a playfield score points), the ball will be returned to you! This is not even a ball saver technically; the game has no way of knowing if the ball has entered play legally or if there's something wrong with the trough kicker and/or plunger switch.

Since you earned no points, you didn't gain any score advantage from this. So you might be thinking, what is the use of it? Simply, once in a while you encounter a machine where if you make a skill shot off the plunger the reward is great, but if you don't make it, you might be able to let the ball drain easily so long as nothing on the table is triggered. If you can do this -- the way to tell is if your score is still rapidly flashing -- you get the ball back and can try again! And keep trying, so long as you don't hit anything that scores you points.

- I told you that sometimes, due to the nature of pinball, the ball ends up in places where it's not supposed to be. What's awesome though is that there are machines that recognize when this has happened, and reward you for it.

Addams Family is one. Ordinarily the Vault, the hole behind the blue wall at the top of the table, cannot be hit while the wall is in place. That's not to say it's impossible, it's just not going to happen intentionally. If it does happen, you get a special quote from Gomez/Raul Julia: "Dirty pool, old man. I like it!" And the game will immediately open the Vault and allow a ball to be locked towards Multiball.

Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure (Williams' table, not Stern's), if a ball falls into the ball lock while it's closed, has a quote from Short Round: "You cheat Dr. Jones" and awards points.

Best of all is Attack From Mars. In that game, one of the major objectives is to destroy saucers. You make a saucer available by hitting the red target bank in the top middle of the table. Then the target bank recedes down into the machine, making the sloped banks behind it available. Hits to these banks register as "damage" to the saucer. When enough damage has been done, the amount of which needed increasing as you destroy saucers, the target at the top of the banks lowers, allowing you to hit a hole. Hitting it destroys the saucers, worth a large score award, lighting an extra ball after two saucers (on normal settings), and getting you one step closer to destroying them all, starting Destroy Mars, and eventually Rule The Universe. It also raises the blocking target bank, to set up for opening the next saucer.

The saucers are an unusual mode for pinball in that, once started, almost nothing interrupts them. Saucers are not reset when you lose a ball or start another mode. Once you open a saucer, it remains available for damage regardless of all other factors, unless the game ends (or Strobe Multiball starts, but even that just pauses it for a little while). Starting a regular multiball duing a saucer is one of the best things you can do in fact, because saucer hits have a higher chance than average of being drain shots.

The trick is this: during multiball, destroy a saucer, and have a ball up in that area when the target bank goes up, trapping it in there. Then use another ball to hit the bank, causing, through the workings of Newtonian physics, the trapped ball to shoot up into the hole while the bank is still up. The game declares DIRTY POOL on the screen (an homage to the Addams Family trick), and destroys the entire next saucer instantly, awarding you all the points for it! The later saucers take lots of hits, so this is actually a very good technique, if you can manage it, to save yourself a lot of possible drain shots.
posted by JHarris at 12:03 AM on June 30, 2013 [143 favorites]

ooohhh nice. Attack From Mars is another favorite.

Not my most favorite. I love it though.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:10 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some friends of mine scored an Addams Family in a Craigslist coup. It's certainly a well-designed table, and I can see how it would maybe be a favorite of people who are expert at pinball, but speaking as someone who's only middling-to-fair, I find it very difficult and unforgiving. I've had much more fun with Judge Dredd and Championship Pub.
posted by rifflesby at 1:42 AM on June 30, 2013

"And that was a really mistaken drain there.."

"Ooh, and that's a bad miss..."
posted by ShutterBun at 2:16 AM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

CHAMPION PUB! You heathen!

And yea, while not my favorite table, Addams is a modern classic. I've been working on improving my game on it ( on the best public Addams table in the country, no, I won't tell you where) just because it's so ubiquitous.
posted by Jawn at 2:29 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Ooh, and that's a bad miss..."

Numberwang would be a multiball mode of course.
posted by fleacircus at 2:46 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love this game! The best!
posted by Malla at 3:07 AM on June 30, 2013

Ooh, that DIRTY POOL trick in Attack From Mars is new to me. Now I just need to find a machine in playable nick to try it out.
posted by russm at 3:26 AM on June 30, 2013

The narrator is Bowen Kerins.
posted by schyler523 at 4:05 AM on June 30, 2013

russm, if I remember it right, it will only work once per game. But then, no matter how well you do you only get to go through the five saucers once; after Destroy Mars, the target bank remains down, and the hole remains open, permanently. Of course getting that far is hard enough. I've done it a grand total of once on a real machine, it's actually kind of underwhelming, the screen flashes DIRTY POOL but I don't remember there being a special quote.

God, I wish there were real pinball machines around here. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough....
posted by JHarris at 4:51 AM on June 30, 2013

louche mustachio: "So if anyone out there in Mefilandia has access to one of these marvelous things, try these out for me."

We're on the internet, we don't need no machines.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:07 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I told you that sometimes, due to the nature of pinball, the ball ends up in places where it's not supposed to be. What's awesome though is that there are machines that recognize when this has happened, and reward you for it.

The Rocky and Bullwinkle table rewards you for a death save.

The only pinball machine I've ever come close to mastering was a busted up Williams Hurricane that was for years in the game room at the Yarmouth Gull Wing Suites. After a while, the tilt sensor either broke or was permanently disabled, which was good because there was one dead spot on the table where the ball would get stuck and the only way to free it was to lift the near end of the table twelve inches off the ground.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:07 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

BTW if you live in southeastern PA and love Pinball, you should visit the Pinball Parlour in Earlington, PA. $6 for one hour's unlimited gameplay, $15 for "all-day" (really 3 hours since it's open 7-10 pm, Mon-Sat).

Tons of classic as well as modern pinball games. Here's a game list and yes, they have Addams Family.

Oh, and we did have a MetaFilter meetup there.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:26 AM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

I spent so many hours playing this game, once upon a time. This is bringing up a bout of nostalgia and withdrawal.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:56 AM on June 30, 2013

I realize this leaves me open for pillory; nevertheless, my favourite pingame is Timeshock. The table, music, voiceover, and the dozens of modes all come together perfectly (5 min). And here's some lunatic playing for 75 minutes and scoring over 10B.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:20 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

A relative had a game room with the Addams Family machine, Comet (featuring the taunt, "Hey, turkey! Hit me, turkey!"), and High Speed. No quarters necessary. Made visiting the family a lot more fun.
posted by mogget at 8:03 AM on June 30, 2013

I've never played High Speed, but poured a lot of money through HSII over the years.

*hums La Grange*
posted by russm at 8:24 AM on June 30, 2013

Wait? There's strategy to pinball?

My strategy has always just been "Try desperately not to lose all your balls in less time than it takes to put another quarter in."

My cousin got married in York Beach, Maine, and they have an arcade full of pinball machines, among other things like skeeball and candlepin bowling. I'm not saying we stopped on the walk between the hotel and the ceremony to play a game of pinball, but I'm not saying we didn't, either.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:25 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Numberwang would be a multiball mode of course.

I can imagine this.

(lock a ball)

"Ball 74 locked!"

(lock another ball)

"Ball 12 locked!"

(multiball start)

"That's Wangernumb! Let's rotate the board!"

(various targets and walls on the table spin around while the game spits all the balls into play, everything you hit sets your score to an entirely random number between 0 and 999,999,999,999)
posted by JHarris at 2:28 PM on June 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

If you do have a chance of playing Addams Family, here's the mansion rooms and what they do. You can see them all in the videos. Most of these modes can run concurrently with each other, and a target could award points for mulitple things at once.

3 MILLION, 6 MILLION, 9 MILLION: Awards that many points. On default settings, earning
either the 3M or 6M award will also light the other one. This is actually helpful overall, because it's one less room to earn towards the Tour.

GRAVEYARD AT MAX: Throughout each ball, hits on the jet bumpers increase the value of the Graveyard, the place on the right side of the table that can be entered from below (can award mansion rooms), above (the Swamp), or from weak plunger shots. The points this is worth starts at 1M, but is increased by jet hits. The amount it's raised depending on whether the bumper is unlit (10K), lit (20K) or flashing (30K) -- this is a trademark feature of Lawlor tables, BTW. Even when you earn the value, the value doesn't reset, it only does that at the start of a new ball. If you make the shot from the left inlane flipper to the swamp, you earn 5X this value. (Entertainly, there's a feature that sometimes causes the game to try to make this shot itself, called "Thing Flips." It learns to make the shot as games are played using artificial intelligence. It can become impressively accurate.) Anyway, Graveyard At Max immediately sets all the bumpers to flashing.

THE MAMUSHKA: All switches are worth points, while fun music and animations play. As with all of these kinds of modes, the jet bumpers are the place for the ball to be, although it is slightly dangerous: the bottom exit from the jets leads to the left flipper feed, but there's a chance the ball could go down the outlane from there. These points (and those from several other modes) are actually awarded during the bonus count, so if you tilt you lose it all! The mode ends when time runs out.

HIT COUSIN IT: Similar in theme to The Mamushka, but hitting the Cousin It target, around the middle of the board, increases the value each target is worth. The total is awarded during the bonus count. The mode eventually times out.

RAISE THE DEAD: Each of the jet bumpers has a target number of hits. When a bumper has been hit enough times you earn an award. (3M? It's been a while since I played.) The mode ends when it times out, or you complete all the bumpers. The total is awarded during the bonus count.

TUNNEL HUNT: The Vault opens at the start of the mode. The game wants you to hit each of the three holes on the table: the Electric Chair, the Swamp (either entrance), and the Vault. You earn 5M for the first hit, 10M for the second, and 15M for the third. The points are awarded immediately. The mode ends when it times out or you get all three awards.

SEANCE: My personal bane! The game wants you to make ramp shots, either ramp shot will do, either the Bear Kick ramp (easy) or the Left Ramp (hard). 5M for the first (KNOCK -- "That's once" It's acceptable to play pound your fist on the table as it knocks), 10M for the second (KNOCK KNOCK -- "That's twice"), 15M for the third (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK -- "Thrice! Well done!") The problem with this is that the magnets are on all during this mode. As people notice fairly quickly, Addams Family has spinning electromagnets beneath the playfield that turn on during all multiballs, the build-up towards the primary multiball, and -- alas! -- The Seance. If you make a strong shot the ball will probably power by the magnets, but missed and weak shots that dribble down the table are in serious danger of getting slung directly between the flippers or into an outlane. The points are awarded immediately, the mode ends when it times out or you get all three awards. Because of the danger of this mode, it's a perfectly fine strategy to trap the ball and let it time out.

It's been at least a decade since I've been able to spend time with a physical Addams Family table, but I still remember how much the Seance HATES me.

QUICK MULTIBALL: This lights up at the center mini-ramp that leads to Thing's Hideout. It stays lit until collected. When this is done, Quick Multiball serves a second ball to the plunger. The Vault opens and is worth 5M per shot. Lasts until one ball is lost.

THING MULTIBALL: Similar to Quick Multiball, but instead of staying lit indefinitely, the game starts playing incredibly frantic music while a value rapidly counts down from 15M to 3M. When you collect Thing Multiball, the value freezes, is awarded, and becomes the Vault jackpot for the multiball, which otherwise proceeds like Quick Multiball. As the video shows, it's not possible to earn the full 15M unless you earn this from a Spot Mansion award from the Bear Kick ramp. If the value gets down to 3M, there is a several second grace period, then the mode ends if not collected in time. "Sorry, old man."

LIGHT EXTRA BALL: The videos were made on a machine set up for tournament settings, which means the game is set for hard, and importantly, all extra balls are disabled, so you don't get to see this in the video. Its room, the lit red octagon visible on the board, begins the game lit -- it's spotted from the start of play. While the extra point mansion room being spotted makes the game easier, this makes the game harder, because you don't get the extra ball. Note, if you earn an extra ball from any other source, the game will spot this room immediately, so try to get it before you make too many Bear Kick ramps.

?: That's 12 rooms. This is the 13th, but it never lights until all the other rooms are collected. Unlike the other rooms, you DON'T have to relight the Chair to earn this one; the moment the 12th room is earned, the chair immediately relights to play TOUR THE MANSION.

The effect is to award all the other rooms all over again! First you get "FIF-TYYY MILLLLION!!!" Extra ball is lit immediately (not seen in the video), and so is a traveling Special on the outlanes. The extra ball will unlight when the current ball is lost, so get it quick. Then all the other modes begin one at a time, starting with Mamushka. While the Tour modes happen sequentially, any modes started before the Tour will continue going during Mamushka.

As the guy in the video says, for some reason it is extraordinarily common to choke and lose the ball during the Tour (I've started it many times but survived it all ONCE on a real machine), but I think that's just because it's LONG; all the timed modes play in sequence, one at a time, ending with Thing Multiball. The Seance itself is a major barrier to finishing this. Also as he says, collecting further Mansion Rooms is impossible the moment the Tour starts until the end of the ball -- even if you survive all the rooms again, you can't earn any more until the next ball starts, which helps the game keep wizards from earning multiple Mansion extra balls per mansion.
posted by JHarris at 11:10 PM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

FunHouse. Perhaps not the most technical of games but it had that creepy little ventriloquist's dummy that looked and talked just like the one in the movie Magic. "You're making me very angry!"
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:24 AM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

FunHouse was the predecessor of Addams Family in several ways. I liked how Rudy picked a nickname for each player and stuck with it through the game.
posted by JHarris at 1:04 AM on July 1, 2013

Medieval Madness is probably the undisputed king of verbal taunts, pinball-wise.

But to answer a previous asker, yep, there exists a very definite strategy to pinball. Some skills are universal (trapping balls, side-to-side transfers, aiming, and a bunch of other stuff that could charitably be called "shoving the machine a certain way as forcefully as possible without triggering a 'tilt'") but others which apply to a certain machine.

Pinball machines, like any other game, can be "solved," that is, identifying a particular objective and measuring its risk (difficulty, leading to ball loss) versus reward (points.) It's pretty amazing how even a cursory reading of a particular gsme's rule sheet can drastically improve your score. ("Oh, so that's what I'm supposed to be aiming for when that lights up!")

Proof (in court) that pinball involved both skill and strategy was what got these machines un-prohibited just 4 decades (or so) ago.

But yeah, oftentimes it pretty much boils down to a battle against gravity.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:06 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bowen Kerins has done quite a few pinball tutorial videos for PAPA, I think the copies hosted on vimeo are the originals.

I've seen him play in person once, on a Family Guy machine, and it was unbelievable. It's one thing to watch a lot of good players at a pinball tournament, but to see someone just rip a game completely to shreds next to you at the arcade is surreal. If you ever encounter a pinball machine in the wild with an impossibly high score by AJK, he's your guy.

Good luck.
posted by helicomatic at 1:27 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Since it's made the sidebar and all, I should probably note that the period thing I mentioned above worked with Bally/Williams machines, which are most of the real classic 90s tables. I'm not sure if Stern carries on the tradition.
posted by JHarris at 10:44 PM on July 1, 2013

Pinball is one of those games where I love to play but I am so bad that playing the game becomes an exercise in frustration. I became quite good at Space Cadet on windows 98 but that doesn't really count, it's on the real machines that a man shows his mettle.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:56 AM on July 2, 2013

Ooohhh, I just played this over the weekend at the Pacific Pinball Museum. I hadn't played it in years but I think there's a table at the arcade near my house and this time I will be prepared. Thanks for the post, I can't think of any subject I'd rather read about over my morning coffee today.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:36 AM on July 2, 2013

Loved the Addams Family table, as did my ex-wife.

Now, do I bring up how pinball got me lucky?
posted by Samizdata at 3:27 PM on July 2, 2013

I should really play my virtual pinball cabinet sometime. It's been mouldering for months now. Perhaps not as good as the real thing, but there's also much less maintenance involved.
posted by wierdo at 2:18 AM on July 3, 2013

For basic pinball skills, transferable across machines, I highly recommend Keith Elwin's Pinball 101 and Pinball 102 videos. IIRC, some Addams Family footage is included. They're available on iTunes now, too. Keith is a great player, and I found the videos very watchable. I'm a not-so-good player, but several much stronger players that I know have found them useful as well. Also: Hank's pinball repair videos are popular around here, too.
posted by theplotchickens at 5:27 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Annandale Hotel used to have Addams Family, so I played it constantly. It was amazing.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:17 PM on July 10, 2013

My favorite table is still Black Knight. I never liked all the fancy doo-dads and gimmicks that tables started to get in the '90s. The only "modern" table similar to Addams Family I spent any time playing was Star Trek: TNG. I really liked it, but it was so frustrating I more or less swore off pinball completely when I couldn't find an old-school table anymore.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:09 AM on July 28, 2013

Star Trek: TNG is fun, but it's a real expert's table. The outlanes are deeply cruel, and ball times tend to be very short.
posted by JHarris at 4:29 AM on July 28, 2013

I think it's more the completely non-obvious shots necessary to complete the events in Addams Family, ST:TNG, and tables of that ilk that rub me the wrong way. So many targets are flash, it's hard to tell what actually advances the game.

These days I just wanna make the skill shot, shoot the rollovers, and then shoot at what lights up. Ya feel me? The idea of the mansion tour just makes me cringe. Then again, maybe it's just that I didn't like Addams Family in general, so I never gave the table a fair shot.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:51 AM on July 28, 2013

It is true that these tables usually have quite a bit going on, and the first step towards getting good at a 90's era or later machine is to look up the rulesheet. But the basics of the game are usually explained on the card beside the flippers (which on many machines is way too easy to ignore), and Addams Family is designed so that the game is fun even if you only stumble upon Mansion Rooms accidentally. A well-played first Multiball can rival the Tour in score value, and later ones can exceed it; 30M base Triple Jackpots are very nice.

You might want to look into Creature From The Black Lagoon, which is around contemporary with Addams Family I think but doesn't have a real wizard mode, the primary objective is getting a really good Multiball, but it's still a really fun theme. Note however, the Pinball Arcade recreation of that one is missing a lot of the music from the physical machine, which used a rotation of licensed songs during normal play.
posted by JHarris at 11:20 AM on July 28, 2013

Creature From The Black Lagoon is a heck of a fun table. Great music, hilariously funny modes, and just downright campy, but in a good way. The rules are simple, but the gameplay is challenging, so it makes a great game.
posted by wierdo at 1:57 PM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

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