3D Pinball Space Cadet was a game first included in ‘Microsoft Plus!’ pack for Windows 95, and gained popularity for its inclusion in Windows XP. Although the game no longer comes with Windows, you can still play it on almost anything.
The fun started in late 2020, when Muzychenko Andrey (‘k4zmu2a’ on GitHub) started decompiling the classic 3D Pinball game for Windows, fixing bugs on modern devices in the process. The game was supposedly removed from Windows because a bug prevented a 64-bit x86 port, but Andrey notes in the readme that “the decompiled game ran in x64 mode on the first try.”
Andrey’s reverse-engineered port works on modern Windows, Linux, and macOS, and precompiled versions are available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. There’s also an older version that has builds for ARM Windows, so you can play it natively on devices like the Surface Pro X. The only drawback is that you have to get the original 3D Pinball files (such as .WAV sounds) and put them in the same folder as the executable/application. I have a funny feeling if you do a web search for “3D Pinball – Microsoft Space Cadet Plus”. 95, ” might find the files you need.
1995 Space Cadet Pinball running natively on a Mac M1 because why not? pic.twitter.com/nmbRNgBAkg
-Zachary Wander 🇺🇦 (@Wander1236) June 30, 2022
Since the reverse-engineered version was first released nearly two years ago, other developers have brought 3D Pinball to more platforms. There’s a web-based version, an Android port from Federico Matteoni (which just got an update), and even a release for LG’s webOS-based smart TVs. The Android game does not require downloading the original files from somewhere else, unlike most other ports. There is also a version in development for older PowerPC-based Mac computers (and PPC Linux), but no versions are yet available.
Game consoles aren’t missing out on Pinball either – there’s a Wii and 3DS version of ‘MaikelChan’, a Nintendo Switch port of ‘averne’, a Wii U port of ‘ItriguingTiles’ and finally a PS Vita game. by Mike Santiago. (‘Axiom’). I played the Wii port for a while, and it’s a batch of fun – it would have been one of the best downloads in the Wii Shop back in the day, hands down.
It’s great to see 3D Pinball being available on many more platforms without the need for compatibility layers or virtual machines. Even if you’re not nostalgic for the original game, it’s still a fun distraction for at least a few minutes.