Pinball is a type of arcade game, in which points are scored by a player manipulating one or more steel balls on a play field inside a glass-covered cabinet called a pinball table (or "pinball machine").
Pinball machines (chiefly, the playfield/balls/flippers/attractions and the physics allowing them to interact) are mechanical elements which cannot be emulated in the strict sense of the word, although they can be re-implemented on simulators such as Visual Pinball. That said, "solid state" pinball games (the majority of new designs since the mid '70s) do indeed combine the above mechanisms with a fairly conventional microprocessor-based video game (albeit with atypical input and output devices), which can be emulated with the ROM files and an emulator such as PinMAME, which in turn can integrate with the playfield simulation.
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- Visual Pinball
A freeware and source-available video game engine and simulator for pinball tables and similar games such as pachinko machines. The software is composed of an editor and the simulator part itself. The program is also able to operate with PinMAME, an emulator for ROM images from real pinball machines. According to project's license file, the team is working to switch it from its proprietary license to the GPLv3+.
- Future Pinball
A freeware and closed-source 3D pinball editing and gaming application for Windows. The software is similar to Visual Pinball but usage of original pinball ROM code is not allowed, so there is no support for PinMAME. The project discontinued and the last version of Future Pinball was released in 2010.
- Main article: Arcade emulators#Emulators
- Visual PinMAME
An emulator for the electronics of pinball systems. The simulation of most modern pinball machines (especially those made after 1992, using large portions of DMD animations and digital sound samples) require the PinMAME (sometimes referred to as VPinMAME or VPM) program in order to behave as close to the physical machine as possible. PinMAME is a fork from old MAME code and can be loaded as a DLL in Visual Pinball.
Can emulate the electronics for quite a few pinball systems. MAME doesn’t include physics simulation for the pinball table part and no simulator supports using MAME for emulation.