The Biggest THING in Pinball

Creepy, kooky, spooky, AND ooky…today we celebrate one of the best known and most loved tables in pinball history:  The Addams Family

This machine from Bally/Midway is still the best-selling pinball of all time, with 20,270 units built and sold starting in 1992.  It was so popular that even with so many copies made, they fetch very high prices and most of them are in the hands of collectors.

What makes this machine so great even after more than 30 years?  There are a lot of key elements all brought together in one table.


Who doesn’t like The Addams Family (TAF)?  From the original comic strip to the TV show and movies, this wacky family in the creepy house is a cultural icon.  Let’s not forget the catchy theme song, which is carried into the music and sounds of the pinball machine.


Dry, sharp, and clever wit is a hallmark of every part of the TAF mileu (except for Addams Family Values, but we won’t get into that here).  Unlike The Munsters, which is also a great property and a pretty good pinball machine, TAF always appealed to a more intellctual audience.  The style and game callouts reflect this, with comments like, “Well played Thing, you’re really on the ball.” When Thing (automatically) makes a successful shot with the game-controlled flipper.  With voice work from both Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, the game ties in well with the movies and brings the same sense of madcap fun that we find everywhere else in the TAF universe.


All the things you expect in a great pin are here….

  • Toys, including Thing, a moving hand that magnetically picks up the ball during the lock process
  • Magnets – “The Power” is a set of rotating magnets that drive players nuts during multiball and some othe modes.  The motto among TAF fans is, “The Power giveth, and The Power taketh away,” since you get both good and bad luck from it
  • Magic – The Thing flipper can be controlled by the game to shoot the ball across the playfield.  The game tracks the success rate and actually adjusts the flip timing to improve Thing’s flipping accuracy
  • Counters – Bear Kicks can be added (up to 99), gaining bonus points and advancing modes
  • Modes – Many mini-game play modes with various objectives.  The best part is that all of these are simple, so even new players can figure them out quickly.
  • Animation – Just enough, but not too much.  The best one of all is when a replay is awarded.  It is so awesome that I will not spoil it by telling you what happens.
  • Music & Sound – The music is great, and the sounds are well built and function-specific.  This means you can tell what’s going on in the game just by listening, which makes it a lot easier to keep your eyes on the ball
  • Simplicity – The layout is pretty open, and it’s easy to see the ball just about everyplace.  While there are paths to high scoring, you can do OK and have a lot of fun interaction with the machine by simply keeping the ball in play.

TAF is also considered to have the single greatest multiball into ever.  Again, no spoilers–just lock that third ball and enjoy the show!  There’s even a way to cheat the ball lock and the game’s aware of it, including a special callout from the original movie.

Bottom line: If you like using your brain and having fun, this machine is for you.  Play it, love it, play it some more.