Genre(s): Casual/Arcade & Pinball
3rd Party Rating: None found.
Official/Up-to-date Link(s) with full installation: http://www.vpforums.org/
Visual Pinball developer’s page (out of date): http://www.randydavis.com/vp/intro.htm
PinMAME (Dot Matrix Display emulation): http://www.pinmame.com/
Installation Guide: http://www.vpforums.org/index.php?app=tutorials&article;=1
Visual Pinball is a FREE video game engine and simulator for pinball tables on the Microsoft Windows platform. The software is composed of an editor and a pinball simulator which can be used to play video pinball tables. The program is also able to operate along with PinMAME, an emulator which uses real ROM images from real pinball machines to display the DMD (Dot Matrix Display) with electronic scoring as well as other pinball support video.
A huge variety of user created Visual Pinball tables is available on the internet. Players can choose between faithful recreations of existing pinball machines with or without ROM emulation and original pinball simulations based on licensed themes or completely self-designed tables. Even classic half-pinball, half-video game machines such as Baby Pac-Man and Granny & the Gators are emulated using Visual Pinball together with PinMame.
Visual Pinball tables and their associated roms can be downloaded for free from www.vpforums.org. VPForums does require registration (also free) in order to download anything at all. Free memberships are initially limited to 5 tables per day. Rom downloads are unlimited. If you decide to donate to the forum and become a Silver or higher member, you will be given unlimited download access. Installing Visual Pinball along with PinMAME can be a bit tricky. Luckily there is now a comprehensive installer program found at VP forums along with installation guides. See links above. We’ve also included a couple of YouTube installation videos at the very end of this article.
Every Visual Pinball table includes two main parts: the “physical” playfield design and the script which controls the table gameplay. The editor uses Microsoft VBScript for user programming. The game itself is written in C++ with the Active Template Library for making ActiveX controls. Visual Pinball runs on Windows 98 or newer.
In 2005, David R. Foley purchased the rights from Randy Davis, the original developer, for modification of the suite for a full-sized pinball cabinet based on the Visual Pinball software. Chicago Gaming purchased rights for licensed tables from Williams Electronics. The Visual PinMAME team and the Visual Pinball development community also joined in the effort to produce improvements to the suite product and a few tables. This project, known as UltraPin, was acquired by Global VR following the acquisition of certain assets UltraCade, and was discontinued in 2008.
In 2008, NanoTech Entertainment acquired the rights from Davis for the use & distribution of the engine for inclusion with its Pinball Wizard PC Controller. NanoTech also released Version 9 of the engine featuring many updates that had been developed between 2005 and 2008. Version 9 of Visual Pinball includes some major improvements but not full backward compatibility therefore some older tables still need version 8 to run properly.
In February 2010, the source code of Visual Pinball was released under a MAME like license that allows free use for non-commercial purpose. Since this release, improvements to Visual Pinball 9 have been steadily added. Visual Pinball version 9 tends to have better looking graphics and gameplay than version 8. Both versions of Visual Pinball and associated tables are available for download online.
As an alternative to Visual Pinball we also highly recommend Future Pinball reviewed previously here by Cheapskategamer.com
Visual Pinball is generally lauded for it’s excellent physics and rom emulation support, but tends to lag in 3D graphics and visual fidelity found in Future Pinball. Both pinball simulators support a huge collection of quality pinball machines found in the real-world as well as original creations completed by pinball enthusiasts worldwide.
Publisher: Randy Davis, VPForums.org
Developer: Randy Davis
Original Release Date: December 19, 2000
Open-Source Release Date: February 2010
Players: Single or Multiple Players (Depends on pinball table design)