Mystery Revealed: Why Microsoft Dropped the Popular Pinball Game since Vista?


No kidding, Pinball was one of the games I really enjoyed playing back in XP era almost a decade ago. It’s a short quick but very fun game to be part of it. It could end so quick that I don’t have to waste a lot of my time on games. But unfortunately, XP was the last Windows system that natively comes with it. It’s been removed since Vista without much reason explaining why, well until now. Raymond Chen, a long time senior Microsoft Windows Developer, revealed the reason behind the decision why Pinball was dropped on his The Old New Thing blog. And it’s nothing to do with the legal reasons.

Pinball game XP version thumb - Mystery Revealed: Why Microsoft Dropped the Popular Pinball Game since Vista?

It’s all started when porting codes from 32-bit to 64-bit version of Windows. And a nasty bug in the 64-bit version of Pinball kept them from running properly in a 64-bit environment.

The 64-bit version of Pinball had a pretty nasty bug where the ball would simply pass through other objects like a ghost. In particular, when you started the game, the ball would be delivered to the launcher, and then it would slowly fall towards the bottom of the screen, through the plunger, and out the bottom of the table.

Raymond’s team has tried to figure out what went wrong but unfortunately they had little time figuring out the original code developed by an outside company. No kidding,

given that this was code written several years earlier by an outside company, and that nobody at Microsoft ever understood how the code worked (much less still understood it), and that most of the code was completely uncommented, we simply couldn’t figure out why the collision detector was not working. Heck, we couldn’t even find the collision detector!

Since there are millions of lines codes waiting to be ported over, the team just made the executive decision to drop Pinball from the product.

While it’s possible adding Pinball to Windows Vista or Windows 7, it may only work in a 32-bit of Windows. If you are running 64-bit of Windows and like to play Pinball game, you may have to look at other alternatives.



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