Location: Oxford Street, London W1
Nearest Tube is Tottenham Court Road station (Northern and Central Line)

The Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street is a world famous shop in a world famous street. It's a multi-storey music, movies and consumer electronics store but I expect you already have a good idea about it, so I won't expand any further.

Down on the lower ground floor is the café. There is a selection of tabletop video games from the '80s but we wouldn't be listing it here unless it has a pinball game.

If you're only going to have one pinball game you couldn't do a great deal better than an Addams Family. Unusually for an Addams, this one is in very nice shape. The Thing Flips feature works well and the flippers are amazingly strong - perhaps a little too strong as there were several airballs in our games.

The playfield was clean and fast and everything worked. There are only two minor points to raise - the yellow lamp on the electric chair was missing and the post to the left of the swamp kickout was suffering from subsidence (what do you expect if you build next to a swamp?) causing balls to hit it as they were kicked out, sending them all over the place and sometimes straight down the middle.

Pricing is standard London rate of 50p per game, but take care if you put your money on the playfield glass as it can slip down under the lockdown bar (but it can be retrieved with a couple of credit/business cards).

So if you're shopping in Oxford Street or buying electronic bits and pieces in Tottenham Court Road and don't want to make the trip up to the Casino, have a play at the Virgin Megastore. You can even have a snack at the same time, but give the flipper buttons a wipe off when you've finished!

We're happy to report that another pinball game has made its way into the basement.


As from the 18th July 2004, a Stern Simpsons Pinball Party has moved in to replace the previous game and joins the Addams Family.

And now, a review of the Addams Family game from Pinball News reader Martin Swann:

One of my favourite pinballs the Addams Family, one quick glance at the table told me it had been played a lot, but the absence of any user high scores was quite worrying. Anyway I threw caution to the wind like a true addict and stuck my first pound into the slot.

The second thing I noticed was the illumination of the table, possibly needing slightly a little more light on the subject. Testing the flippers, another good point firm and strong, with definitely enough power for adequate play.

So OK I thought time to set the high score (he says confidently :-)) Plunging the ball towards the skill shot hole.

Then I experienced the hell of all hell on a pinball table, the unforgivable sin. The table LEVEL. As much as I love this table, the pleasure was somewhat detracted by the ball slowly rolling down the table and moving 1-2cm further to the left/right (can't remember precisely) missing the flipper totally. There's nothing worse than an unbalanced table, which totally ruins the game for me, and most other players.

Needless to say I voiced my opinion, whether it has been taken on board remains to be seen. Sadly it's a thumbs down for Addams Family at Virgin Megastore.

It's clearly a popular site and a popular game which produces some differing opinions.

An alternative view from Pinball News reader Jake Attwell:

I have to take issue with Martin Swann's review of The Addams Family Pinball at the Virgin Megastore on your Sites page.

The first comment from Mr Swann is that "the absence of any user high scores was quite worrying". Actually, all the high scores were by this particular user (JWA) as I have been playing the machine religiously and have been notching up all the high scores. So they were all "user high scores".

Mr Swann is certainly correct that the flippers are "firm and strong, with definitely enough power for adequate play". It is refreshing to come across a pintable in public with such good power on the flippers, and they have not let me down during the dozens of games I have played on this particular machine. Compare this with Casino's TAF which has pretty limp flippers.

Mr Swann then comments on the table level: "the ball slowly rolling down the table and moving 1-2cm further to the left/right (can't remember precisely)". Well, I have actually not noticed this level problem in all my games on the machine, but I am willing to admit I might not know TAF as well as Mr Swann and so the level problem might have passed me by (in over a hundred games on the machine). However, the other day I paid a visit to the machine, only to find the operator emptying the machine of its coins.

I struck up a conversation and he informed me that he had read Pinball News and was here to fix the level problem!!! He added that he wished people would just lift the table up and adjust the legs themselves if they noticed a problem. Machines get moved around (as this one has) and the floor we stand on is quite often not level! He then proceeded to say what a good website Pinball News is, and gave me two free credits, before hinting in a teasing way, that he might get his Medieval Madness down to the Megastore. I said that he should do this as soon as possible.

My last comment regarding Mr Swann's review is in reply to his statement that "I voiced my opinion, whether it has been taken on board remains to be seen. Sadly it's a thumbs down for Addams Family at Virgin Megastore." It is clear why pinball has died off in this country, when 'pinball fanatics' are too fanatical to play a table with a (perceived) level problem and proceed to complain to the completely uncomprehending coffee bar owner who then decides that pinball machines are too high maintenance to have in the corner and get a rubbish but more profitable quiz machine instead. It's a breath of
fresh air to find two pinball machines in such a public site. Don't kick up a fuss over a non-problem and get the machines sent back to the dusty warehouse!!!

The Addams Family at the Megastore is in completely fine working order, with powerful flippers and all switches working. It doesn't give replays, but it gives extra balls instead, which has enabled me to get the Grand Champion score on the machine. I've toured the mansion plenty of times (practically impossible if the machine is badly set up). If you don't have the privilege of owning a pinball machine yourself then the Virgin Megastore is to be applauded for its oasis of two machines in the Costa Coffee bar downstairs.

Get down there, get some adrenaline, and take your head out of your anorak!!!

Finally, a report from October 2006 by Ian Hooper-Richardson:

Visited London last weekend and made a point of going to the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street to see if they still had the pinball tables as listed on this site.

Well good news is both tables are still there (Adams Family and Simpsons Pinball Party). Bad news, both are in serious need of attention.

I first put a pound into the Simpsons table (for two games). The table plays well and the bumpers were strong. Most of the toys/gadgets seems to work, but as I have not played this table (except for on Visual Pinball) I don't know exactly what it should do. My problem came when you shoot up the left ramp to the mini upper playfield. The mechnics that push the ball up onto the upper table failed four out of five times. The machine would repeatidly attempt to flip the ball up, but after about 6 attempts, if unsucessful, the ball would return to the lower playfield.

Also, there is very little lighting around so it was very hard to see the table. I know that too much lighting can be a problem, but when you are new to a table, it is nice to be able to see and read whats on the playfield.

Onto The Adams Family. Having been a little disapointed on the first table I just put in 50p for one game. I could instantly see the table had serious wear. The electric chair was stuck back in position with blue insulating tape, and seemed to be about 15mm higher than it should. On ball two I got a quick multiball. One ball came from the main start position (plunger) the other was attempting to come from the swamp kick out. The swamp ball never appeared. Once I lost the first ball, the table started going through it's cycle to try and find/release the other ball, but it never did. After about three minutes of standing next to the machine with no ball to play, I walked away. The table continues to click and clunk as it tried to find the ball. Very disapointed.

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