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3D Pinball for Windows: The Space Cadet's Mission Continues

#retrocomputing #retrogaming #preservation

Do you know what computer games and the Voyager space probes have in common? Clever engineering can extend their missions way beyond their intended lifetime.

3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet, the iconic game bundled with the Microsoft Plus! packs and included in Windows NT4 up to Windows XP, is preserved for decades to come thanks to a reverse engineering project by Andrey Muzychenko.

Andrey’s work involved decompiling the executable that shipped with Windows XP and creating a modern reimplementation using SDL2. This means you can now enjoy both the bundled version and the ‘Full Tilt! Pinball’ version on Windows, Linux and macOS.

Back in the day, I learned about the game when I got it with my Windows XP installation. I remember spending way too much time with it, even during IT classes when the teacher wasn’t paying attention.

The required game assets are not included in the reimplementation for legal reasons. The easiest way is to copy the original files from a Windows XP installation CD. The files are stored in the I386 directory.

Copy the following files to your hard drive:


The files are compressed using a DEFLATE algorithm. You can decompress them with 7-Zip or by using the EXPAND command, which is included in basically all Windows versions up to Windows 11.

After downloading the latest release for your platform, copy the files in the release archive to the directory where you extracted the original game files.

That’s it! Start the game and have fun!

Launch Ramp To Accept Re-Entry Training!
Launch Ramp To Accept Re-Entry Training!

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