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Pinball games let you experience the fun of popular pinball systems right on your arcade cabinet or home computer. Many people add pushbuttons to the side of their cabinet to use as flippers and plungers with popular pinball simulations such as the ones below.

Visual Pinball (VP) / VPinMAME (VPM)

Visual Pinball Desktop Screenshot
VPinMAME Screenshot

Visual Pinball is a pinball simulator. It comes with an editor, so you can edit existing tables or design your own. There are many outstanding recreations of popular pinball tables from the real world in addition to numerous original tables.

VP supports the use of multiple monitors for playfield, backglass, and Dot Matrix Display. (DMD)

VPinMAME is a pinball emulator. When run in conjunction with VP, VPM allows one to design and play a table that will use the actual ROM images from pinball tables. These ROM images usually have the table logic, sounds, and dot-matrix display images / animations in them.

How to install VP/VPM

Installation Guide at provides step-by-step directions that guide you through the installation process.

The Visual Install Pack installs Visual Pinball and VPinMAME. It sets up all the intricate dependancies for you.

Download the VP Installer and all the Essential Files from the "Getting Started" pulldown menu.

Follow the Installation Guide step-by-step. Print a copy or have it on a nearby laptop.

VP Installer will install and configure Visual Pinball 8 (the updated VP9 physics engine can cause unusual motion in VP8 or earlier tables), Visual Pinball 9, and Visual PinMAME.

After running the VP Installer, the Installation Guide will direct you to install the latest version of VP and VPM.

If you encounter problems during the install, there is a Installation Support Forum on

How to run VP on my MAME cabinet?

You need a wrapper to get this to run in your cabinet. Visual Pinball is itself not cabfriendly.

Not certain if the wrapper program is still necessary -- can someone with a configured pincab confirm?

Should this moved to "Virtual Pinball Frontends"?

Future Pinball

Future Pinball Desktop Screenshot

Future Pinball is the next generation Pinball Development System. It was written by the same people behind Visual Pinball.

It allows you to design and play your very own pinball simulation in True real time 3D. It uses Advanced Physics to provide the best possible Simulation of a true to life pinball machine.

For 3D rendering using head tracking or glasses use the BAM mod.

To use a real DMD one can use the FP-Intercept which will render some DMD displays.

Future Pinball does not utilize VPinMAME, nor does it have the option to use pinball table roms.

How to run on my cabinet?

You should download the lastest version (from 1.9.1 or above) to get this to work on your cabinet, if you are using the gameport. But if you use a keyboard hack, it may lose focus at the startup, so you need a wrapper. This wrapper should also work for cabinets, using gameport. About Sticky Keys

Future Pinball allows table creators to use two special keys, that can be fully remapped by the application.

But some have oversaw this feature, and use stickykeys instead. This is generally not very good for use on a cabinet, and thus must be fixed. It is often very easy to fix these by just looking at the source code. Find the keyname (like "h"), and change it. Some creators have even put these stickykeys at the top of the source, and you only need to change it once.

Pinball FX2

Pinball FX2 is a one of the more recent entries into the virtual pinball world. They have dozens of tables available that run in desktop or Pinball Cabinet full-screen format. Much more information can be found at Wikipedia.

PinCab Building/Software

"Real" Pinball Cabinet Hardware

DMD support

  • PinDMD 1/2 will support most Vishay plasma and a few XPIN and PinLED DMD boards. Has a drop-in replacement dll for pinmame to drive the DMD.
  • Powering up a plasma display

Parts retailers


  • I-PAC input board by Ultimarc.
  • KeyWiz board by GroovyGameGear.
  • VirtuaPin Digital Plunger Kit input by VirtuaPin. Also supports analog plunger support and motion sensor.
  • KADE is a small inexpensive board with more than enough inputs for pinball and a dedicated pinball firmware.

Force Feedback

  • Contactors are generally used for flipper, side bumper and pop bumper feedback
  • Wiper motors are generally used for playfield toys


Front Ends

The following are front-ends to do table management and launching tables for virtual pinball in a cabinet environment.

Emulation Software

  • Visual Pinball
    • PinMAME - ROM emulation for pinball machines
  • Future Pinball
    • BAM - 3D rendering for FP tables. Includes headtracking for the rendering via Wii remotes, PS3 Eyes, Kinect and static camera.
    • FP-Intercept - DMD driver
  • Other PC Pinball Simulators
    • Epic Pinball - A classic pinball game to dos (run fine with DOSBOX)
    • Pinball: INVASION 2 - A very fun combine of galaga and pinball
    • 3D Ultra Pinball (Windows)
    • Balls of Steel (Windows)
    • Dream Pinball 3d (Windows)
    • F1 Pinball (Windows)
    • Fastlane Pinball (Windows)
    • Powershot Pinball (Windows)
    • Pro Pinball (Windows)
    • Worms Pinball (Windows)