Oxford Street, London W1
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.
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.
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.
view from Pinball News reader Jake Attwell:
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
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'
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
and get a rubbish but more profitable quiz machine instead. It's a breath
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!!!
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.
© Pinball News 2006