Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Season 1 Episode 13

The Tale of the Pinball Wizard

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Nov 14, 1992 on Nickelodeon
out of 10
User Rating
93 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


A teenage boy by the name of Ross loves to play pinball at the local mall. Short on cash, he asks his friend Mr. Olson for a job in his repair shop. While asking Mr.Olson for a job, Ross discovers a pinball machine in the back of the store. Mr. Olson asks Ross to watch after the store while he is at lunch and tells him specifically to not touch the pinball machine in the back. Despite Mr. Olson's warning, Ross plays the game, loses track of the time, and gets locked inside the mall after closing. But what's worse is that the characters from the pinball game have entered the real world. Ross must now defeat a wicked witch, a group of zombies, and a terrifying man who wishes to be king. Ross also has to save Princess Sophie from their clutches. Ross must battle these larger than life pinball characters to save himself.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Pinball Wizard

    Memorable, funny, and a chilling, Twilight Zone like ending, this was definitely a great episode of TV. One of the episodes I'll remember for a long time.
  • A kid with a ravenous appetite for pinball plays a forbidden machine and ends up inside.

    Silly really sums it up. Probably the worst episode in the entire season. It was at best uninteresting, the ending (while I suppose trying to illustrate a "moral of the story" type point) was fairly laughable and did not even make sense (even if it is fantasy). Three & a half points simply because it was a nice try at being could have been much better had the plot been developed more.moreless
  • For those searching for the ending (SPOILERS). . .

    Ok, so the kid is addicted to arcade games. He finds a pinball machine in the back of the shop where he hopes to work. The owner tells him not to play it, but he does anyway, and finds himself stuck in the shop. (This will be a cautionary tale about listening to adults, apparently.)

    The game becomes live-action, with the mall being the setting, and the girl he has a crush on becoming the obligatory princess to be saved. The object of the game is to "crown the princess on the throne."

    Long story short, he achieves this. He defeats most enemies with a Super-Soaker, but this is knocked out of his hand by the main boss. The boss tells him that he doesn't win the game until he kills all the characters. The kid essentially says, "Those are the rules. . . but this isn't a game; this is real life. In real life, you make your own rules." He pulls a mini-Soaker out of his pocket and uses it to defeat the boss. (This appears, to me, contradictory to both what the kid just said--in real life, I assure you, you do NOT make your own rules--and to the overall message of the tale. . . but whatever.)

    He places the crown on the throne-seated Princess's head. He wins! Oh boy! But, there's a twist: what happens when you win an old-school video game? Oh right. . . YOU GET TO PLAY AGAIN.

    The princess and throne disappear, and the kid is at the bottom of the escalator, where the game began. The shop owner, cackling maniacally, appears in the skylights of the mall (from the kid's perspective), and above the pinball machine (in real life). He reminds the kid that he was told not to play the game. He then sarcastically tells him to enjoy the free games, as he will be playing them forever. A disturbingly-huge pinball appears at the top of the escalator. The tale is over.

    For such a goofy and relatively un-scary plot, I found the ending to be rather ominous. Though the game was shown in "real life" to be a pinball machine, the world the kid entered did not involve high-speed ball propulsion--he instead played out the story behind the game, so the appearance of a ball implies that this is going to be something different. Also, the controls to a pinball machine are located on the outside. . . so what one can infer from the ending is that this kid is going to spend eternity dodging the physical threat of large projectiles, which he is unable to control, and which will never truly finish him off (as he has unlimited free games). I am reminded somewhat of Prometheus's punishment for stealing fire from the gods. . . except, arguably, Prometheus's crime was more suited to eternal suffering than the "crime" of playing a game of pinball!moreless
  • A boy plays a game of pinball after being told not to. He then is whisked away into the game. I absoulutely loved this episode... one of my top three!

    The plot is exciting and teaches the viewer to listen. I loved the idea of the naughty boy being thrown into the game! It was and still remains to be a classic episode for me! I love nickolodeon back in those days, and the show "Are You Afraid of the Dark", was my favorite show ever to aire on that channel. This episode along with: The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors and The Tale of the Dark Music, were my favorite. It is funny how they were all early episodes. Just goes to show that a show that is on for along time usually loses its storyline. Lastly, I wish to tell you that "Are You Afraid Of the Dark" reruns should be shown during Halloween. I say you sent Nickolodeon a letter hahamoreless
  • A boy who loves Pinball machines gets trapped inside of one and has to play the game if he wants to get out.

    This episode is cool. I like the fact that the boy has to play the game if he wants to get out but the only problem is, is that he is in the game. He has to use water guns to vaporize hos enemies and he has to ride around on that throne.
Tom Rack

Tom Rack

Sheriff/Security Guard

Guest Star

Polly Shannon

Polly Shannon


Guest Star

Joseph Posca

Joseph Posca


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Gary: (Story intro) When you play a videogame, it doesn't really matter if you win or lose. Because you can just press reset, and you get a new game. A second chance. But what if it really did count? Imagine if you had to beat the game... Or the game is gunna beat you. And there are no resets, continues, or second chances. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, I call this story... The Tale of the Pinball Wizard.

    • Gary: (Story opening)Ross Campbell was the kind of kid who was on his own a lot. So he knew how to take care of himself. If there was something he wanted, he'd do everything he could to get it. Ross did just fine for himself, but on this particular afternoon, he was about to go a little too far to get what he wanted. And unfortunately... he was going to get it.

    • Witch: They must have the throne!

    • Sophie: You have to play the game!

    • Mr. Olson: You didn't listen to me. Now you'll play the game...forever!

  • NOTES (0)


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