Pinball Spotlight Series:
The Addams Family – 1992. This pin was designed by the legendary pinball designer Pat Lawlor and released under the Bally brand label, even though this game was released after the merger of Bally into the Williams brand in 1988. They continued to release games under both brand names, however at this point, they were the same company. Licensing maestro and pinball’s mustachioed savior Roger Sharp said that the goal originally was to have the licensed games released under the Bally brand and the original themes under the Williams banner. This game is credited with the resurgence of pinball in the early 1990s and is the best selling pinball machine of all time! Over 20,000 units of this game were sold.
It has a fantastic asymmetrical layout, and is really is credited with popularizing the modern “mode based” pinball ruleset with the goal of completing all of the rooms to get to the wizard mode to “Tour the Mansion”. It wasn’t the first mode based game, and it depends on where you draw that line exactly, but it’s generally agreed upon that Gottlieb’s Lights, Camera, Action was probably the first true mode based pin in 1989. But Pat Lawlor really deserves credit for really pushing pinball into the modern era. His games always feature innovative and engaging mechanical toys; on this game it is thing’s hand that come up out of the playfield and takes the ball, and he has a unique style all his own.
He is the designer most closely associated with “Stop and Go” pinball play. This is sort of the anti flow approach. It means lots of scoop and hole shots. Lots of shots that when made, either stop the ball completely or slow it down and stage it to a flipper under control. Pat’s games always tell a story and his style really revolutionized what was possible in a pinball machine.
Steve Ritchie was the first designer of the Solid State era to completely change the game with ramps and multiballs and fast ’n furious flow based games. Pat Lawlor was the next generation that brought real storytelling with modes and really cool mechanical toys into the machines. The mark he left on the industry is most felt by this game. Truly, every game after this was different. Because it had to be. The Addams Family made older pinball machines feel obsolete, and it was a gateway to the last pinball golden era of Bally/Williams games. Many players still consider this their favorite pinball era of all time, and this is the one that started it all. Excellent art by John Youssi and featuring voice call outs from Angela Huston and Raul Julia from the movie, this pinball has the total package. The introduction to multiball may very well be the best ever. It’s electrifying! And ours has a new playfield! No better time to reacquaint yourself with one of the greatest pinball machines ever built.