Pinball gets virtual, in high definition

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pinball.jpgI know virtual pinball software isn’t particularly new – there was a free version of it in Windows 95 and versions have found their way onto various computer systems, but this physical model from Global VR is designed to provide the ultimate virtual pinball experience.

It’s built into a proper cabinet, but instead of featuring a real ball, bumpers, bells, flippers, and all the other paraphernalia, it has a 32 inch widescreen 16:9 plasma monitor as the table display.

It contains 6 popular pinballs from Williams and Bally: Attack from Mars, Medieval Madness, F-14 Tomcat, Strikes and Spares, Sorcerer and Xenon. It recently won the 2006 AMOA Innovators Award.

The manufacturers say that to make it feel and sound like an original machine it has a Force Feedback System which allows bumping and tilting (integral and essential parts of playing pinball). There’s also a digital amplifier for crystal clear sound.

As it’s virtual and software driven, additional games will be added in the future.

Despite how real the makers say it is, some have said that there’s no way it can emulate the feel of a real pinball table, with all the idiosyncrasies and real physics, not computed physics. Even so, it looks pretty cool to me.

I couldn’t find a price for it, but then that’s probably just as well. Chances are this won’t be turning up under the Christmas tree this year – not without a lottery win.

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Andy Merrett