3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet (also known as Microsoft 3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet, 3D Pinball: Space Cadet, 3D Pinball, and Pinball) is a sci-fi video pinball game developed by Cinematronics and released by Microsoft for Windows PCs on August 1995 as part of the Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 package. It was later bundled with most installations of the Microsoft Windows operating systems from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows XP.
Developed as part of the Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 expansion disc (which was released in-tandem with the Windows 95 operating system), 3D Pinball for Windows is a special pre-release version of the Maxis game Full Tilt! Pinball, released months later.
The game only includes one table: the sci-fi themed "Space Cadet". In it, players play as a starfleet cadet as they complete missions to get promotions (from Ensign to Fleet Admiral). The table is presented in a skewed pseudo-3D perspective (with a pre-rendered table and a dynamically-resizing 2D pinball) and has some differences with the Full Tilt version (such as the lack of extra balls and multiball rounds).
It was later included in multiple Windows releases (along with other games, namely Solitaire, Minesweeper, FreeCell, and Hearts), where it gained in popularity. This process was later discontinued beginning with Windows Vista.
3D Pinball: Space Cadet is a video pinball game with pseudo-3D graphics and an emphasis on progression through completion of missions. As you earn points, your cadet will be promoted to the next rank, making new missions available. There are a total of nine ranks in the game, from Cadet to Fleet Admiral. Due to the format, many mission objectives consisted of hitting certain targets or passing through certain areas on the table a set number of times. As with many pinball games, there was a penalty for overusing the tilt controls. Up to four players could play at once using a type of pass and play mechanic on one computer. Whenever one player lost a ball, it would become the next player's turn to continue. Players were limited to three balls with the possibility to earn extra 'lives'.
Both the difficulty of the completion requirements and the point values of the rewards for these missions stepped up with every promotion you received. Common mission mechanics included hitting certain targets, entering tunnels, and upgrading certain table elements. There are nine tiers of missions.
The first tier of missions consisted of three regular missions and one special assignment.
- Target Practice: Hit eight attack bumpers. Reward: 500,000 points.
- Launch Training: Hit the launch ramp three times. Reward: 500,000 points.
- Re-Entry Training: Pass through the entry gates three times. Reward: 500,000 points.
- Science Mission: Hit three flags and collect a sample. Reward: 750,000 points.
The default controls for the game are:
- Left Flipper: Z
- Right Flipper: /
- Plunger: Space
- Bump Right: X
- Bump Left: .
- Bump Up: Up