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3D Pinball

Out of all the games included with Windows XP, the pinball game (full title 3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet) was the only one I found fun and entertaining enough to spend any significant amount of time playing—this is not surprising, as all the other bundled games were far less flashy card games or strategy games. I am aware that this game did not make its first appearance on Windows XP, but it was still bundled with the OS; although I frequently used both a desktop running Windows 95 and another one running Windows Millennium Edition for a few years prior to obtaining my first Windows XP machine around mid-2003, and thus might have started up and played the game on those computers, my first clear memories of playing 3D Pinball were on Windows XP. I can remember with some haziness that the first time I started up the game and saw the virtual pinball machine, I was pretty impressed: though by then I had certainly played other video games with much better graphics, for a game which was included with my computer it had good (to me back then, at least) graphics—much better than any of the other pre-installed games—as well as plenty of cool sound effects and a neat space theme.

Throughout the 2000s I would play this game in very sporadic intervals, and generally for only short stretches of time, which probably lasted no longer than a few days. Though it is quite fun for a game included with an OS, in absolute standards, when compared with many other video games I owned, its appeal fades rather quickly. The main draw, I think, is achieving as high a score as possible; I recall one particularly long stretch of playing 3D Pinball, which occurred towards the end of my 2005–2006 school year, during which, at the conclusion of a game, I attained a high score of over 1 million points (I believe it was around 1.3 million points). Although this is hardly much of an achievement today—or even back then—for me as a kid in those days it was nevertheless a moment of much accomplishment and pride. I can still remember the name I entered for this high score when I was prompted by the game: as I was playing the online game Puzzle Pirates at the time, I entered Bluefinn, the username of another player who was my captain within that game.

When I upgraded to Windows 7 in September/October 2009, I was slightly disappointed to learn that 3D Pinball was not pre-installed on it. Afterwards I largely forgot about the game, but sometimes, when I'm in the mood, I will start up my Windows XP virtual machine just to play it for a bit.


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This page last modified on 27 February 2020.