Bibliotherapy Arcade: 3D Pinball Space Cadet

Forget Solitaire and Minesweeper. The best game ever included with Windows was a virtual pinball table. With blinking lights and arcade sounds, 3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet seemed like magic back in 1995, and is surprisingly playable even today.” ~ Justin Pot, How to Geek


It didn't require much - a 486 computer system running on a 150 MHz processor and 16 MB RAM sufficed. (Purely for context, this post's Google Chrome tab is consuming 46 MB in comparison.)

It was never at the top of the Christmas / Diwali wish-lists of gaming geeks, mainly because it was bundled for free with the personal computer's operating system.

It wasn't even the most advanced pinball video game of its generation, with a single table and basic sound effects. (Although its graphics were miles ahead of Freecell and Hearts)

But for most people who grew up in the nineties, 3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet made up for all the other digitally induced woes of that era, blue screens of death and dial-up modems included.

The above piece sheds light on the mystery behind its sudden disappearance...

...But more importantly, it tells you how to travel back in space and time and treat yourself to an immersive adventure fueled by your imagination...

...using mainly two buttons to control the left and right flipper, you can manoeuvre the silver ball through a cornucopia of dazzling lights, bumpers, blackholes, hyperspace chutes, ramps, wormholes... to infinity and beyond.

Courtesy the author of the most detailed guide I've ever seen for a 90s video game

Find it below...

Last week, after at least 15 years, I fired up the system, put my favorite pinball soundtrack on repeat and explored space like I used to, back in the day, after school. It was fun, to say the least.

"That deaf, dumb and blind kid... sure plays a mean pinball..."

And unlike many old 16-bit treasures, it works perfectly on Windows 10. (Much better than the performance of Google Chrome - which decides to hang /crash every alternate day in 2020)

Download it here. But be warned, it's known to suck copious amounts of time. (Still a better addiction than doomscrolling)

The soundtrack has inspired a song or two...

Also, if anyone is looking to pick up a new DIY project, here's one which deserves to be completed...

For anyone who wishes to learn by watching...

...or just want to experience space vicariously


A few million more...

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