History

Today’s focus is 3D Pinball - Space Cadet. Many of you may recognise this as it came pre-installed on Windows Plus! 95, NT 4.0, 2000, ME and XP. This was based on an actual PC game called Full Tilt! Pinball where you had 3 differently themed tables. Only the Space Cadet table was featured in the free Windows version.

3D Pinball - Space Cadet was often played when the internet went down or, for those that remember dial-up internet, when your parents had to use the landline, subsequently, getting booted off whatever page you were on. Sadly, 3D Pinball - Space Cadet was not featured with later versions of Windows as Microsoft could not resolve a bug in time for the release of Windows Vista - so it fell by the wayside, never to be played again.

Or did it?

Today

You can still download 3D Pinball - Space Cadet from the internet, which I may or may not have done a few months ago. Many websites discuss the apparent cult following that this game has and how much people enjoyed playing it. 

3D Pinball - Space Cadet has even been featured in some popular culture. For example, the rapper Lil Uzi Vert featured the pinball sound from this game in his single You Better Move, along with the lines ‘I remember I used to play that pinball game’ and ‘That was before I had internet’. Check out the YouTube video and you will see how the comment section is full of 3D Pinball and Space Cadet lovers who remember the game fondly.

Graphics

As you can see, the graphics for 3D Pinball – Space Cadet are very pixelated. This is not something you would come to expect with games produced now. I have to admit that I find the graphics quite appealing as they bring out a sense of nostalgia. There are a considerable amount of titles released each year these days that returning to an old classic is a breath of fresh air.

Still, the game runs smoothly and the graphics don’t appear to glitch at all, meaning it is easy to see what you are doing. Feena liked the bright colours - the blues, purples and yellows stand out well on the black background. She thought it was pretty and did not mention how it didn’t look as graphically shiny or seamless as modern games. Apparently, children of any generation seem to find colour appealing. 

Sound

Ahh, the sounds from this game. I can still remember how the main music goes. It’s repetitive, it’s got a very…. Flatulence-sounding bassline. It’s brilliant, I love it, and you cannot change my mind. There are also sound effects for various parts of the game, such as launching the pinball, hitting certain buttons, using the flippers, and when the “ship refuels”. 
It’s childlike, innocent, and a brilliant game. Feena (aged 8) also enjoyed the music, although she was a bit confused about the quality. It really is amazing how different video game sounds are today than they were over 20 years ago. 

Playability

It’s surprising how much I remembered from my childhood. You click “space” to launch the pinball and “Z” and “/” to operate the left and right bumpers respectively. The objective is to not let the ball fall in the hole as you upgrade stuff. 

To be honest, that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge, alongside knowing that 3D Pinball - Space Cadet required me to get as high a score as possible.

I also never understood what the bump function was for. Using “X” or “.” you could tilt the table left or right. Too much tilt and the game did its own thing, where you had absolutely no control and would lose any bonuses accrued.

The game would give you missions to upgrade certain objects or to “refuel” by hitting certain elements.

Feena didn’t understand the game whatsoever. She pressed some buttons and tried, but it might take a while for her to learn the mechanics of the game. Still, she is eager to play it again.

Concluding Remarks

I still play this on occasion and will continue to do so - albeit not as much as other video games.

If you want to have a crack at it, you can find information on getting the game for your current version of Windows here

Let us know in the comments if you have beaten my current high score!