Ironically, the war on pinball was originally enabled by another dramatic pinball showdown. Back in 1935, a New York candy store owner named Jacob Mirowsky was arrested over his pinball machine, which offered small prizes for high scores. The cops said that pinball was a game of chance, making this illegal gambling. Mirowsky countered that pinball was a game of skill, no different from golf or topless cribbage. To prove it, he offered to scour the city to assemble a crack team of New York's greatest pinball players, who would demonstrate their skill before the court. The judge, who could recognize some incredibly cool shit when he heard it, agreed.
The verdict was music to the ears of the city government, which had been looking for a suitable precedent to ban the game for years. Over the next decade, the city went to war on pinball. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia himself led raids on warehouses and was pictured on the front pages gleefully smashing up pinball machines with a big sledgehammer. Around 2,000 confiscated machines were towed into Long Island Sound and sunk to the bottom of the ocean, where they presumably still lie today, catering to a clientele of teenage octopuses. The cops did first pry off the wooden table legs and had them fashioned into billy clubs, which were then used to violently beat the next generation of underground pinball players. Talk about adding insult to injury.
France collapsed into revolutionary war and the Comte was forced to hide out in Scotland until the heat died down, where he mournfully swore a vow of chastity, although it was presumably hard to resist all the raw erotic power of Edinburgh in mid-November. But pinball's reign of terror wouldn't end there. In 1871, a guy in Cincinnati named Montague Redgrave took a break from what we're assuming was his job as a gentleman detective to invent a pinball game with a spring-powered ball launcher. The game was essentially modern pinball, but without flippers (which were added in the '40s). Instead, it operated as a game of chance, like roulette. Although players quickly started tilting the table to control the ball, which tends to be frowned on in most casinos.
Although the 1935 courtroom showdown provided the legal precedent, the war on pinball really stepped up a notch with the outbreak of World War II. La Guardia demanded that the "evil contraptions" be melted down and "manufactured into arms and bullets which can be used to destroy our foreign enemies." Basically, imagine if Dick Cheney had kicked down the door of a Nintendo factory and demanded to know why all the GameCubes weren't being packed full of C-4 and dropped on Tora Bora. La Guardia later claimed to have confiscated enough metal pinballs to build 2,000 bombs. Presumably the bomber pilots were very surprised to release their cargo and see it ricochet off three anti-aircraft towers before a giant Nazi flipper shot it right back up at the plane.
In 1942, all forms of pinball were officially banned in New York City. Other major cities quickly followed suit. Even Chicago cracked down on them! Seriously, the air in Chicago was so thick with gangster bullets that when a brief truce was called several buildings collapsed from the sudden lack of architectural support -- and the city government was still like "we've got to do something about these arcade games." At this point we're honestly surprised they didn't ditch the whole tax evasion thing and just nab Al Capone on charges of having a suspiciously good bumper shot.
Hackers are an egotistical bunch. One of the reasons they crack software is simply to prove it can be done. But they're not always intelligent. While they did manage to generate gobs and gobs of fake registration information, they simply overlooked the part where my software contacted that php file when it started up. So here I was, knowing I'd been hacked and I was being notified every single time.
When a hacker releases a crack, they pride themselves in the fact that they did it. Have a look at a keygen sometime (if you're brave enough) and they always include a file with their logo and their names. They want attention. One of the most embarrassing things for a group of hackers is to have their little toys suddenly stop working. They put in all this effort to crack your software and release the crack and then... a month later, it doesn't work any more.
By not acting immediately, I let them think that they successfully cracked my shareware and they moved on to something else. Then, a month later, I began banning registration keys. Anytime my software contacted the server I compared the ID to my known list of good ID's and, if it didn't match, the program simply reset itself back to the demo version and... banned any attempt from that computer to register it again by setting a buried registry key and saving a small file to the hard drive (it's a Windows only program). If that key or the file existed, it simply denied any attempt to register the product. Screw me once, I don't need your money.
That's called a wicked shimmy. If you have the right type of game at home, you can learn that one with practice by yourself. The wicked shimmy is the coolest move in pinball IMO. It's legal, and you don't need to throw the game around. A flashy finesse move that defies gravity. Can't beat that.
If you want to load up a single table thru your favorite front end. Just use this code in a text file name it .bat then drop in the pinballFX3 main directory: Note: Must have cabinet mode unlocked first. Im sure theres many ways to do this by now, but this is the quickest! If you have the crackling audio noise just put tables in borderless window mode in pinballFX3 settings!
Yeah...With Visual Pinball X its crazy! Future pinball is a little easier to set up. VPX on the otherhand you got to put in the hours to get all the NICE updated tables, The Pinup popper frontend, The DMDs, B2s, Dof, the tweeks, settings, hacks, Patches ect... its a mess really, but when you finally get it all setup the way you want its worth it in the end! Then make a backup! Technology changes so fast 2 years later you got to do it all over again! Thats exactly what im doing now my cab has all the older visual pinball physmod5 tables and early VPX tables installed and future pinball. 2015-2018. Things have drastically changed and matured in just 2 years. If I find all the patched colored roms I will relay the link here! So far there is not a whole lot of them as they take alot of time to do.
Yeah...With Vpinmame its crazy! Future pinball is a little easier to set up. Pinmame on the otherhand you got to put in the hours to get all the NICE updated tables, The Pinup popper frontend, The DMDs, B2s, Dof, the tweeks, settings, hacks, Patches ect... its a mess really, but when you finally get it all setup the way you want its worth it in the end! Then make a backup! Technology changes so fast 2 years later you got to do it all over again! Thats exactly what im doing now my cab has all the older visual pinball physmod5 tables and early VPX tables installed and future pinball. 2015-2018. Things have drastically changed and matured in just 2 years. If I find all the patched colored roms I will relay the link here! (So far there is not a whole lot of them as they take alot of time to do. I think a guy named UncleWilly is doin alot of them!
If you own a VR headset, you can also add the optional VR drive to make your machine a "3 in 1" - Virtual Pinball, Arcade, and Virtual Reality pinball.You can check out the differences between models in the Quick Comparison Chart.Also check out our Xtreme MiniPin Machines - almost identical to our full-size machines, only scaled down.International Purchasers pay no local (Australian) taxes - a 10% discount.So, let's get to it...We're not about crazy claims like being the "world's best", having "world firsts" or "world exclusives". It may surprise you to know that virtual pinball has been around for decades (David's Midnight Magic for the Apple IIe was released in 1982, for example).Future Pinball was released in 2010, and Visual Pinball way back in 2000. Hardware "toys" such as solenoids, contactors, plungers, lighting, shaker motors, and so on have been in common use for many years in hobbyist and commercial VPin builds. The same applies to the controller boards - such as the open source Pinscape, which we use: -board.htmlWho knows? Maybe our virtual pinballs are world beaters in some respects, but all we're focused on is delivering the best possible machines we can build for our clients, at a decent price.The difference between our virtual pinball machine models comes down to additional mechanical hardware and controllers, power, and wiring (and a bit of bling). The Standard and Mega models are identical from a system software and computer hardware perspective, but the Mega model adds:
We also offer the optional TITAN upgrade package for our Premium models. This consists of a B550-based motherboard, a 16-core Ryzen 9, an RTX-3080 10 GB graphics card, 32 GB RAM. See blog post about this.As far as we know, this is the most powerful VPin rig that is commercially available - and it's seriously crazy overkill, but the heart wants what the heart wants.So lets talk about our virtual pinball, and pinball-related "extras", and give you a bit of a rundown on what makes our VPin machines worth your consideration - in Standard, Mega, or Premium flavour.... with the optional 2 in 1 and/or VR drives, if that's your jam.The engine room...First up, a look at the computer bits. We've thoroughly tested every table on our machines with various CPUs and graphic cards and have struck a great balance of price/performance - across our range. It was a tough job, playing all those tables multiple times....but someone had to take one for the team.Here's our view on this...Current pinball applications aren't CPU-bound, so putting in a hugely powerful CPU will see little performance gain for you, and serves no significant purpose except for future-proofing, and potentially for VR pinball.Maybe in a few years time a pinball app may warrant a faster CPU, and if this happens you can simply replace your processor with a beefier model. At that stage, it'll probably cost about $50 to buy a CPU that currently sells for $450-550. The B450/550-based motherboard supports AMD AM4 CPUs up to the Ryzen 9. Pop the old one out, drop the new one in, attach the fan and fire it up.The graphics card is a similar story - and to be honest - is where you're most likely to see benefits - both now and in a few years time IF future versions of pinball applications require more graphical "grunt". Just like CPUs, the equivalent of today's $900 graphic cards will cost $200-300 in a few years time...so you can upgrade cheaply then IF you need them and IF Visual Pinball 10.x or VPE (Visual Pinball Engine - using Unity) requires something more powerful.That said, our Premium machines are well and truly stacked with high-end kit (and you can dial things up to "insane" - with the Titan package....which you won't need to upgrade for many, many years).The other area where graphics power can be of use is VR pinball (Virtual Reality with a head mounted display), which we've supported on our range of arcade cabinets for a couple of years.As of mid 2022 there are currently around 350 VR-specific Visual Pinball X tables. Future Pinball has VR support for (almost) all tables through BAM (Better Arcade Mode). Pinball FX2 VR, Zaccaria VR, and Pinball Arcade - available through Steam - also have VR support. Take a look to see what VPX VR is all about.This current-gen of VR pinball has been around since 2016 or so (and goes way back - Galactic Pinball for the Virtual Boy was released in 1995, for example).We've also explored augmented reality on our pinball machines (head tracking hardware mounted in the backglass - using a Kinect) that follows your movements and adjusts the view - no VR headset required. VPX 10.7.1 also supports anaglyph 3D (wearing glasses with different coloured lenses) out of the box.As cool as this is....some home truths....Neither full-on VR, and certainly not the augmented (or 3D glasses) system, is "perfect" - but the former is at a point where we think it's worthwhile to offer our clients as an option for their pinball and arcade machines (just add your own VR headset).The augmented head-tracking system - using the Kinect thru BAM - isn't worth pursuing at this stage as it doesn't work particularly well and is graphically glitchy. These performance issues make it less immersive than playing without the head tracking, and it's simply not in the same league as full-on VR with a HMD. If this changes in future, we'll certainly revisit it. The 3D glasses option is a bit of fun to check out, so we include a pair of 3D glasses and a button to switch between 3D/standard view in-game on all of our machines.We offer an optional VR Pinball system for ALL of our virtual pinball machines.The VR pinball menu system and VR tables run on a separate Windows drive due to a few technical aspects and because not everyone has a VR headset or is interested in VR pinball. You can boot to this drive or the core pinball system.Our VR pinball system works with the Oculus Rift-S or Quest 2 headset by default, but other headsets supported by SteamVR will generally work. You WILL need to do some setup to get things going, and you WILL need to adjust settings such as room size/boundaries to your taste and requirements - regardless of which headset you're using. A Steam account is required (for Steam VR), and you'll also (probably) need to register with your headset manufacturer's site.Set up of Oculus and other headsets and navigating VR worlds is generally pretty straightforward these days, but VR can, sometimes, be a bit temperamental and "geeky" for less technically-oriented users. We can do the initial account setup on your behalf if requested....but you'll need to set up your environment, adjust things to taste, for your eyes, etc. So...if you have or are thinking about getting a VR headset and would like to dive into some VR pinball on your XGC pinball (or arcade) machine, just let us know.If you're only interested in VR pinball (and shooters, racers, and other VR gaming) or don't have the space or budget for a full-sized VPin, check out our XTREME PINSIM VR. Back on track....In short, the computer hardware we use in ALL of our machines - regardless of level - is thoroughly tested, optimized to take full advantage of the dedicated graphic processing capabilities of the video card hardware and the 4K display, and is tweaked to perform without glitches, micro-stutter etc. on the playfield.If you would like us to install a souped-up CPU or graphics card in your pinball cabinet, that's absolutely no problem - it's your custom machine!A clear vision...Our Standard pinball machines feature a 4K Philips 436M6 monitor, running at 60 Hz (4msec, 4000:1 contrast ratio). The Mega or Premium features a Gigabyte AORUS or AOC Gaming Monitor that runs at 144Hz.The ASUS XG438Q 120 Hz 4K or the ASUS 144 Hz PG43UQ gaming monitor options available for our Premium models offer a 4000:1 contrast ratio (blacker blacks, whiter whites and punchier colours). LED-lit LCD screens are the best choice at present, rather than OLED. This comes down to three things: cost, power consumption, and image retention or "burn-in". Given that pinball playfields are mostly static images, there's a risk of damage to an OLED panel which doesn't happen with LCDs.We use 43 inch monitors in our full-size cabs because they match the width of original Bally/Williams widebody units. Bigger monitors make the machine too wide, and hand/wrist position feels less comfortable to play.We DO NOT use TVs or low-end "commercial" monitors for the playfield. The reason is that most TV or commercial monitor options have a low contrast ratio (1400:1 or lower) and get "washed out" (a milky, grey haze) when viewed on an angle, and are inconsistent when it comes to table lights/flashers and colour reproduction. The gaming monitors we have chosen for the playfield offer significantly lower latency (1-4 msec) than TVs and "commercial" panels (the ones you see in dentist/doctor waiting rooms and storefronts - which have around a 10-12 msec latency, or higher), so flipper lag is all but eliminated on ALL of our machines.We've made a choice to use the best technology for the job for all screens, rather than simply dropping in a cheap TV or "commercial" panel that are technically inferior options when compared with the gaming monitors used in our builds. Sure, the monitors we use cost a fair bit more (several hundred to over a thousand bucks, in some cases), but compromising on any screen - particularly the playfield - in a VPin undermines the entire machine. The screens and graphic card are at the very heart of the experience (it is called "visual" pinball, after all), so choosing unsuitable components for this mission-critical job is 100% THE wrong place to economise.Our philosophy is focused on performance and the best gaming experience for our clients, not maxing out margins. We build to a standard - that is all about the GAMING - end of story!On a related note, using software filters in VPin applications actually makes the image "blurry" on a 4K playfield. Filters soften the image, so this type of software processing is mostly disabled on our machines, resulting in responsive performance and superior picture quality. Other display-related features like HDR and 10-Bit colour are not leveraged as they can cause issues with pinball applications. When such technologies are fully supported by pinball apps, your playfield will be ready to go - regardless of which screen your machine is equipped with!Our approach that always favours function over fashion extends to the technology used in our two backbox screens.The backbox in ALL of our full-size virtual pinball machines contains a 32 inch Full HD IPS backglass monitor, and a separate 22 inch Full HD IPS monitor that hosts the colour DMD and other video display elements. These monitors were specifically chosen as they offer great colour matching (tint/tone/temperature) with each other and with the playfield gaming monitors we use.We ONLY use IPS monitors in the backbox because they don't get "washed out" when players of different heights use the machine, or when your mates are looking on from the side while you're racking up the points.Backglass screens run at a 60 Hertz refresh rate. There's continuous development in the virtual pinball community - not only the creation of tables and backglasses, but also PupPacks, PupDMD, PinEvent, and other technologies and media from an amazing group of dedicated and generous artists, programmers, and creators. Put very simply, in-game "events", such as hitting a target or losing a ball, can be linked to a short video, or a countdown timer, some amazing lighting effects, or feedback effects, etc. that are displayed on the "topper" and/or backglass screens and heard and felt through the system.The use of a single "Stern style" 16:9 display - in place of a DMD - on real pinball machines is a relatively recent development. This has filtered into the VPin community, with many users replicating this feature of real-world machines - and opting for a single display for scores and/or video - positioned below the backglass display.It has become the favoured "default", and new tables are being authored to take advantage of it, with many older tables being modified to also look great on this larger display area....so it's the future path that the Vpin community has taken.From March 2022, we discontinued the split topper/score display on the smaller backbox monitor as the overwhelming majority of clients want the 16:9 Stern-style DMD display. You can choose to add a separate video topper screen on top of the backbox if you wish - but be aware that you have to take your eyes a long way off the playfield to see it....a sure way to lose the ball.We keep the backglass and playfield surrounds basic black because our machines are capable of running thousands of different tables with unique artwork and playfields. This ensures a consistency and clarity that is lost with themed artwork on the backglass surrounds or blades (the "walls" of the cabinet between the playfield and glass). This sort of eye candy looks fine when the machine is off, or if you're playing a table that matches the theme - but all bets are off when you're playing something else - and the whole point of virtual pinball is the CHOICE of thousands of tables.After all, who wants to look at bright yellow Simpsons artwork around the backglass, DMD, and blades when you're having a crack on Elvira, AC/DC, Batman, or another table?Oh...and if you have a Premium machine, kitted out with matrix lighting (or have added it to your Mega or Standard machine), you'll be eyeballing the light show, not blade art!Sound and feel...Our pinball machines come with a kicking 4.1 sound system which is loud, clear, and has plenty of bass. You can plug headphones in and can directly set levels at the front of the machine for some late night pinny action. While the 4.1 sound system can handle all audio: music, dialog, and mechanical sounds - all of our machines also include the tactile feedback system - sometimes known as Surround Sound Feedback (SSF) - which lets you hear and feel the mechanical elements of the table. These combined audio systems work left to right and front to back...so you can hear and feel the ball rolling down the playfield, ramp drops, etc. (neither of which can be done with solenoids), you can hear and feel the flippers and other elements close to you, and can hear and feel the bumpers at the top of the playfield...with a 3D sense of "space" and position.When you combine the tactile feedback system (for mechanical table sounds and vibrations) with the 4.1 backbox audio system (game dialog/music/sound effects), your machine provides you with independent level control via two hidden buttons and audio level knobs at the front of the table - the latter conveniently accessible inside the coin door (safely away from the kids). There's no need to reach for a keyboard to set levels for the menu and each table - you can balance the mechanical sounds (and vibrations) with the table music/dialog etc. - and can run the machine near silently at night while the kids are in bed (a headphone jack is right at the front of the machine). Your custom audio settings are automatically memorized, so they'll be as you left them when you next play the table. Check out the video on sound controls.Version 1.4 of our system (now 1.6), introduced in May '21, takes this further with a range of software controls in the Equalizer APO, ThumpSSF and Peace utilities which allow you to customise the tone and spatial qualities of both the 4.1 and tactile speakers in the system - globally or per-table (VPX). Oh...and speaking of sound, we've long supported the AltSound option which provides alternative soundtracks for dozens of tables. These often use PinSound remixes, and sound fantastic.You can take it to another level of "feel" by going for a Mega (or Premium) model which comes with: 2b1af7f3a8