3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet was a virtual pinball table that first appeared with Windows 95. As it was bundled with Windows, millions of people got the chance to play it – until Windows Vista came out in 2007, that is. After that, it simply disappeared.

Here’s the story of one of the most played pinball games of all time – 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet.

Making History

3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet came about because Microsoft wanted its new operating system, Windows 95, to become a gaming platform. In other words, it wanted games developers to build games to run on it.

Part of this strategy involved packaging games with the operating system, so developers, players, and others could get a taste of what could be. A lot of options were considered, including a version of the brilliant but very violent Doom as well as a game that involved shooting glue.

The idea then came to develop a pinball game. 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet was the result.

It took nine months to make, with the developers taking inspiration from real-life pinball machines in arcades. It should also be remembered that nine months is an incredibly short period of time given the fact they were working with a new operating system as well as making the game 3D.

Why Did Microsoft Drop It?

On the surface, it didn't make sense to drop 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet. After all, it had a huge fanbase and, like most pinball games, the gameplay had longevity.

Microsoft discovered a problem, however, when porting the game from 32-bit to 64-bit, i.e. there was a huge bug in the code. That is not always a deal breaker, but in the case of 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet, it was. This is because the code had no documentation whatsoever, and nobody understood it. They could take time to learn it, but the company decided to drop it instead.

You can still find 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet today and, apparently, versions of it even run on Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system. For those of you understandably nervous about installing this type of software on your computer, 3D Pinball for Windows–Space Cadet will have to remain just a memory.

That doesn't mean you can't play fantastic pinball games in the comfort of your own home, however. Check out our range of affordable pinball machines today.