3D Pinball - Space Cadet is a free pinball game with a difference. Instead of just aiming to rack up the highest possible score by hitting various points on the table, you’re a member of a space fleet where you complete missions to get promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral. It’s a classic game with nostalgic elements like Minesweeper and Solitaire.
It’s a much-loved classic that was included with Windows from 95 to Vista. Unfortunately, due to a bug in the latter, Microsoft removed it, and it never returned. Although it’s no longer included in Windows, you can download it separately and resume your space fleet career.
What is 3D Pinball - Space Cadet?
Based on one of three pinball games included in the ‘Full Tilt! Pinball’ series, 3D Pinball – Space Cadet was later separately bundled in with Windows 95 to Vista. It’s a top-down view of a pinball table with a space theme. However, it’s different from most pinball games because you are a member of a space fleet where you complete missions to rise through the ranks. Each mission requires you to achieve certain tasks like hitting the ‘attack bumpers’ eight times.
The pinnacle of your space fleet career is Fleet Admiral, but you’ll have to work your way up from your starting rank of Cadet through Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Commodore, and Admiral until you reach the top.
Is 3D Pinball for Windows free?
Yes, it is. Despite being a digital table released in 1995, it’s still so popular that enthusiasts have recreated it and made it available as a free download.
What are the controls?
The controls for the game are simple:
- Z: Left flipper
- /: Right flipper
- X: Left table bump
- . (full stop): Bottom table bump
- Space: Plunger
If you want to change the controls, click on ‘Options’, followed by ‘Player Controls’. Alternatively, you can press F8.
Like other free classics from Microsoft, such as Minesweeper and Solitaire, 3D Pinball – Space Cadet takes us back to a simpler time before slacking off got serious. Beyond the nostalgia, it’s refreshing to have a progressive storyline built around the quest for points on the table.