Microsoft Pinball Arcade
Windows - 1998
Description of Microsoft Pinball Arcade
Pinball games have been around forever it seems, and the Microsoft team has acknowledged this by creating the game Microsoft Pinball Arcade. Spanning right through the century from 1931-1992, Microsoft Pinball Arcade contains seven differently themed tables from the vertical tables of the 1930's to the more modernly themed ones of the 70's and 80's. Also included is the mandatory 90's table with its flashing lights, fancy sounds and multi-trillion scorelines!
Pinball machines were part and parcel of most arcades in the late seventies and early eighties and, although they never got as much recognition as arcade machines, the demand was always there. And now, as we approach the new millennium, their popularity hasn't waned at all with pinball machines still one of the most addictive machines available to play.
Microsoft has been very clever in their approach to this collection, concentrating wholly on the differences in pinball rather than simply releasing seven of the same. Here's a rundown of each table and the comparisons/changes through the years: -
Buffle Ball - 1931
Most people will not remember these when they first came out (those that do will no doubt deny it anyway), but basically, this was the first ever pinball machine. Standing upright and looking like a cross between an old wireless and a jukebox, the idea is that as the ball shoots up to the top (as in normal pinball) the player must redirect the ball down into one of the colored slots. The balls are all colored differently so obviously the more red balls that go in the red slots will reward you with more points.
Another significant feature (or not as the case may be) was that the flippers were not included, instead the ball would land in one of the slots at the bottom (all with different scores). There are ten balls in all and only one real bonus option. Buffle Ball is actually surprisingly good and highly addictive, although next to the more recent machines it does look a little lifeless.
Humpty Dumpty - 1947
Humpty Dumpty is the first recognisable pinball game included in Pinball Arcade, although the flippers are situated on the sides from top to bottom. There are three on each side, which does take a lot of getting used to.
Due to the fact that this table was one of the first which included flippers, the playability is somewhat limited and it can get pretty boring.
Knock Out - 1950
A more traditional table with a boxing theme, Knock Out was the first Gottlieb table to include the two flippers at the bottom. It also included a sub-game which consisted of a boxing ring at the top of the table in which, when a certain score is acquired, a 'knockout' is achieved and one of the boxers would fall over. This sort of feature went on to become an important part of pinball.
Although the table does has the two flippers at the bottom, they are extremely far away from each other with a metal bar in between them. This is included to make the game much harder as, when a player reaches a score of 300,000 the bar will disappear leaving a wide open space for the ball to fall into. It's a pretty enjoyable table though, apart from the impossibility of keeping the ball on the table after the bar has gone.
Slick Chick - 1963
As the sixties went a-swinging, then so did the pinball. Slick Chick kept the flippers at the bottom and opted for a much smaller gap between them, resulting in a much faster and more hectic game.
Out of the seven tables featured, this one (apart from Baffle Ball) is probably the one which requires the most skill as the ball travels very fast around the table. Really nice artwork on the table as well.
Spirit of '76 - 1976
Celebrating America's bicentennial year with pictures of the astronaut John Glenn and folk singer Davey Crockett, this table set the trend of pinball tables for the future. This table is much more playable then its predecessors mainly because of the more strategically placed flippers and bigger and better bonuses.
Spirit of '76 is easily the most original table featured in Microsoft Pinball Arcade. It is also worth noting that this table featured the new option of four players.
Haunted House - 1982
The pinball explosion! The eighties pushed the pinball phenomenon further than ever with arcades all over the world including them alongside the likes of Pac-Man and Asteroids. Haunted House is the first game in the pack to feature a game inside a game. In the middle and top of the table is a pinball game all of it's own in which you can double or even triple your score.
Haunted House is also the first table to include some funky music (I can't decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing) as well as some more clever bonuses and power-ups. Another notable difference between this table and the last is the ball physics which are of a really high standard. You actually feel as though you are in control of the ball instead of simply thrashing at it. Very enjoyable.
Cue Ball Wizard - 1992
The final pinball table, Cue Ball Wizard has everything: accurate ball physics, great sound, loads of bonuses, ridiculously high scores, and even speech telling you where you should aim the ball next.
Cue Ball Wizard is definitely the best and most playable table of the lot, although it's not really surprising as it's the most up-to-date.
So, having played all seven tables, I feel as though I've been in a pinball time machine! Joking aside, if you are really into your pinball games and fancy taking a trip down memory lane then Microsoft Pinball Arcade is definitely the game for you.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Abby 2022-12-14 1 point
The disc image on this site does not include the game music. I have tested it. I have even burned it on to a blank CD with no luck.
I have gone ahead and bought the game second hand and created a proper image in bin/cue format that includes the game and the music tracks. I have tested it in Windows XP with the image mounted via Daemon Tools 3.47 and have working music. I compressed the bin/cue using 7zip and uploaded it to archive.org here: https://archive.org/details/pin-arcade.7z
Have fun! This game is great, and the music is part of the experience. Reupload to other places to your heart's content and share alike.
CHRIS 2022-10-26 1 point
Download the ISO, then extract the ISO to CD (makes CD full installation disk) then install program(s) from the CD. Everything worked perfectly.
Phenomenal graphics, audio & audio game effects. Phantastic motion physics. What more do you want ? !
Cosmo 2022-09-24 1 point
A few tips:
This remains one of the best pinball simulations ever. Microsoft knocked it out of the park on this one way back in the 90s. My father and I played Spirit of 76 in our local bowling alley back in 77, and I bought this disc for him for Father's Day when it was first released.
The data portion for the entire game is only about 64MB. If you have an ISO file that's much larger, then you probably have the music tracks. If I recall correctly, the audio tracks are Redbook, meaning that the disc is a hybrid data/music disc. Other games like this were Warcraft II and the original Half-Life. I could never never get disc images to play music, but they would play when in physical CD form. If you can't get the music to play, then try burning to a disc if you still have a drive. The music really does enhance the experience, with each track matching each machine's era.
PCGAMER90 2022-06-07 1 point
For those asking if this game works on newer systems, the answer is YES! Played this on both Win 7 and Win 10 and it performed great. :)
Zet 2022-05-30 0 point
me again, does anyone knows if this ISO has the background music files for the tables Baffle Ball, Humpty Dumpty, Knockdown, Slick Chick and Spirit of 76?, in which folder?
Zet 2022-05-30 1 point
Is there any way to make the tables(not Haunted or Cueball Wizard) play its music?.
Phil 2022-01-07 3 points
have played cueball wizard about 5000 times ...best score 1,888,250,010(1.888 billion)
world record is about 2.1 billion
I'm addicted and 66 yesrs old... lol
thanks so much for making this app available guys
Unknown Gamer 2021-09-11 1 point
Is there any way to get the music of this game working? I've managed to install it with little problem on PCEM but the Music is not playing when using any of the Tables?
I have the disc but it's scratched pretty badly is there really no other way?
Mr Sierowski 2019-11-28 1 point
This game is so much fun, we play the old table with no flippers for money, highest scorer wins £1
koko 2019-11-02 1 point
i remember this been on my first pc with windows 98 on a packard bell tower with a 20gb hdd and 500mb of ram!!! i miss that computer
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