Full Tilt! Pinball

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Full Tilt! Pinball
Full Tilt! Pinball coverart.png
Developer(s)Cinematronics, LLC
Composer(s)Matt Ridgeway
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows (v1 and v2), Mac OS (v1 only)
ReleaseOctober 31, 1995 (1995-10-31)
Genre(s)Arcade game, pinball
Mode(s)Single player, Hotseat multiplayer

Full Tilt! Pinball is a pinball video game developed by Cinematronics and published by Maxis in 1995. It features pre-rendered 3D graphics and three tables—Space Cadet, Skulduggery, and Dragon's Keep. On each table, there are displays on the side that show the players' score, ball number, player number, a display for various information and a table-specific image.


Space Cadet[edit]

The Space Cadet table features the player as a member of a space fleet that completes missions to increase rank. Players can attain nine different ranks (listed from lowest to highest [eight in the Microsoft Windows pinball]): Cadet, Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, LT Commander, Commander, Commodore, Admiral, and Fleet Admiral. Players accept a mission by hitting "mission targets" which select which mission they will take, and by going up the "launch ramp". Each mission has a set number of things for players to do, such as hitting the "attack bumpers" (which are a set of four bumpers at the top of the table) eight times (this is the "target practice" mission). Some missions involve a number of steps which must be completed in sequence. Missions end either by being completed, or by being aborted due to running out of "fuel", as indicated by the lights in the passage that passes under the launch ramp. The "fuel" lights go out one by one at a time interval, and can be re-lit by having the ball go over them, or all at once by going up the launch ramp again. Upon completing a mission, some of the blue lights in a circle in the middle of the table turn on. When all of the lights in the blue circle turn on, the player's rank increases, and a light in the orange circle turns on. This pinball table is belonged to Jenny Wakeman, the main protagonist of My Life as a Teenage Robot. The MLaaTR collection has 2 games, like the classic ones Full Tilt! and Full Tilt! 2.


Full Tilt! version of the Skulduggery table

The Skulduggery table features a treasure hunt where the player must find Peg Leg's loot. The player can accomplish that two ways: either by piecing together a treasure map or by activating and completing a series of mini-games on the table called modes. Modes are like missions and quests of the other two tables. They are all pirate themed mini-games, such as ship battle, tavern fight, escape Bermuda Triangle, mutiny, and sword fight.

Dragon's Keep[edit]

The Dragon's Keep table features a fantasy environment where players must accomplish various quests, leading to the slaying of a dragon. The quests include Dragon Hoard (steal the hoard), Fire Lizard Attack (defeat the fire lizard), Rescue Maiden (rescue the damsel in distress), Dragon Pass (find the path to dragon's lair), Wizard's Fury, and Slay Dragon. The player can acquire awards such as spells, weapons, and armors. While weapons simply add points to the score, armors and spells temporarily turn on various gates, magnets, and chutes on the table to change the gameplay.

Elements from each of the three tables were elected for representation by Maxis in the illustration for the box art by Marc Ericksen, creating a montage below a hurtling Pinball.

3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet[edit]

3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet
Space Cadet Pinball, Visual Comparison of Full Tilt and Windows XP versions.png
Space Cadet table: Windows XP version on top of Full Tilt! version
Developer(s)Microsoft, Cinematronics, LLC
Programmer(s)David Plummer
Platform(s)Windows 95Windows XP
ReleaseAugust 24, 1995
Genre(s)Arcade game, pinball
Mode(s)Single player or multiplayer (up to four)

3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet is a version of the Space Cadet table bundled with Microsoft Windows. It was originally packaged with Microsoft Plus! 95 and later included in Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP. This version of Pinball, developed by David Plummer at Microsoft, was a port of the game using the original art and sound, developed in C for cross-platform support because Windows NT supported RISC processors and prior versions of the game contained x86 assembly language and 16-bit logic. The Windows 98 installation CD has instructions on installing Pinball 3D on this version of Windows which are partly wrong; Microsoft later issued an updated support article.[1] Windows XP was the last client release of Windows to include this game.[2]

The look and feel of Full Tilt! Pinball and 3D Pinball are similar, with a few exceptions: The latter contains only the Space Cadet table and only supports 640×480-pixel resolution, while the former supports three different resolutions up to 1024×768 pixels. The image on the side is a two-dimensional image as opposed to pre-rendered 3D. The words Maxis and Cinematronics have been changed from the yellow to a dark red, making them harder to see. It sports a splash screen that merely says 3D Pinball and shows a small pinball graphic with faded edges. Music is not enabled by default in 3D Pinball. It has fewer soundtracks that are inspired by the original game.

There are only a few minor differences between the gameplay of the two versions. The completion of a mission in the Maxis version results in a replay—actually a ball save, rather than a special—being awarded. In addition, hitting a wormhole that has the same color light locks the ball, which if done repeatedly activates the multi-ball round. This is not the case in 3D Pinball: Completing a mission merely awards bonus points and hitting a wormhole in the above circumstances awards a replay. Also, the three yellow lights above the bumpers (both in the launch ramp and in the upper table zone) act differently: In 3D Pinball these are turned off if the ball passes on them while they are on. This is not the case in the original game, where they just remain activated.

3D Pinball for Windows – Space Cadet was removed from later releases of Windows due to a collision detection bug in the 64-bit version of the game that Microsoft was not able to resolve in time for the release of Windows Vista.[2]

Failed attempts for revival through Microsoft Garage[edit]

In late 2018, Microsoft employee Raymond Chen stated that there were multiple attempts to revive the game as a Microsoft Garage project. However, when Microsoft contacted the legal department to check the original license contract (originally written by Cinematronics) and see if they can release the new version, they were forbidden to release it as an independent entity as the game was only made to be included with Windows 95 and subsequent Windows operating systems.[3]
It also belonged to the main protagonist of My Life as a Teenage Robot.

Full Tilt! Pinball 2[edit]

Full Tilt! Pinball 2 was released in 1996 and features three new tables: Mad Scientist, Alien Daze and Captain Hero.


Reviewing the Windows version, a reviewer for Next Generation said that while the Space Cadet table is fairly good, the other two tables suffer from cluttered graphics and weak ball physics, making them "incredibly difficult to follow." He gave it two out of five stars.[4]

Overall, 3D Pinball Space Cadet gained a cult following towards fans despite the game's removal from future Windows operating systems.[citation needed]


On March 6, 2020, the sound effects of Space Cadet were sampled in a song, "You Better Move" by Lil Uzi Vert, containing elements from the game. It captured positive reception from many nostalgic fans who grew up playing the game.[5]


  1. ^ "How to Install 3D Pinball Using Windows 98 CD-ROM". Support. Microsoft. January 23, 2007. Archived from the original on February 21, 2007. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Chen, Raymond (December 18, 2012). "Why was Pinball removed from Windows Vista?". The Old New Thing. Microsoft. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  3. ^ https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20181221-00/?p=100535
  4. ^ "Full Tilt Pinball". Next Generation. No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 88.
  5. ^ https://genius.com/a/lil-uzi-vert-s-you-better-move-samples-the-space-cadet-3d-pinball-game-from-microsoft-windows

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