Virtual Pinball

I’m a huge fan of retro consoles and games (or basically any old electronics, radios, cameras, tapes…). A Pinball table is one of those magical inventions, the electronics were pretty advanced for the time and it’s a fun game that is “easy to learn hard to master”… So I’d love to own my own pinball table. However, after googling, I came to the conclusion that 8000$+ for a ‘single game’ is way out of my budget. After some more googling I came across a modern version of these tables while still maintaining the original cabinet look. Virtual Pinball Cabinets! However again it’s great to have multiple tables but still the 10000$! (Excl. shipping) is way out of the budget. Then adding DIY to my search words, I finally found a suitable solution within the budget. This is basically building a ‘copy’ of a real existing cabinet, put in a few screens, computer and some special effects and play windows pinball games with the real controls. The best part of DIY is that you can use old screens, computer parts… you may have laying around or you could buy them second hand for much cheaper. This will, depending on your choice drastically lowers the cost (I’ve seen tables as cheap as 250$).

During the build of my cabinet, I logged every step in guides to help anyone looking into the building their own, and as a personal backup in case my hard drive crashes I can set it up exactly as I had it running by just following my own guides. The cabinet I’m building will have the most available options installed. A 46” 3D LED screen. A real DMD screen, real plunger, addressable led strip… You can lower the cost of your own build by skipping some steps or going with an alternative. I split up my guides in the following parts:

  1. Introduction & Design: This part will mostly help you decide on your cabinet looks and features, at the end of the guide you should have all the parts shipping to you and when those arrive you are ready to start the build
  2. Building the Cabinet: This part will cover the build of the cabinet and backbox
  3. Installing Electronics: This part will cover all the electronics required to play your pinball games
  4. (soon) Software and finishing touches: This part will cover the last finishing touches to your cabinet and setting up the software (front-end, games, pinball tables)
  5. Photo Album
Special Thanks

Special thanks go to the following for providing great guides and help during my build:

  • Stuzza for creating free/paid high-quality cabinet artwork (Link)
  • The developers of all the software
  • (Link)
  • MAME In The Box Video’s (Link)
  • (Link)
  • NoEx for creating Free Camera Mod for Pinball Arcade (Link)
  • Gameex forums (Link)
  • NaMsam for his detailed build log (Link)
  • Original Playfield Sizes (Link)
  • Find a pinball near you (Link)
Pinball Facts
  • Pinball machines were illegal in America for over 30 years
  • The first pinball machine was built in 1931
  • Between 1955-1979 pinball made more money than the entire American Movie Industry