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The first in a line of pinball games from 21st Century and Digital Illusions, with four tables covering themes such as the wild west for Steel Wheel, space rockets for Ignition, a haunted graveyard for Nightmare and pop music for Beat Box.

The portable versions for the Game Boy and Game Gear only have 3 of the 4 original tables with the removal of Beat Box.

The iPhone version includes updated graphics (optional) and gameplay in both portrait and landscape orientation.


Pinball Dreams SNES Ignition board overview.
Pinball Dreams Amiga Beat Box pinball (bottom part).
Pinball Dreams Game Gear Steel wheels table (upper half)
Pinball Dreams Game Boy Ignition table (lower half)

Promo Images

Pinball Dreams Magazine Advertisement
Pinball Dreams Screenshot
Pinball Dreams Magazine Advertisement
Pinball Dreams Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Pinball Pinball" -- Japanese SNES title
  • "Pinball Dreaming: Pinball Dreams" -- iPhone title
  • "ピンボール・ピンボール" -- Japanese SNES spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A horrible conversion of a true pioneer. DOS Tomer Gabel (4643)
The best pinball simulator for the 90's! Amiga skl (1130)

Critic Reviews

Play Time Amiga Mar, 1992 93 out of 100 93
The One for Amiga Games Amiga Apr, 1992 89 out of 100 89
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) DOS Sep, 1993 10 out of 12 83
Mega Fun Game Boy Dec, 1993 79 out of 100 79
Play Time SNES Mar, 1994 72 out of 100 72
TheSixthAxis PSP Nov 22, 2009 7 out of 10 70
PC Player (Germany) DOS Aug, 1993 69 out of 100 69
The Retro Spirit DOS Jun 05, 2010 4 out of 6 67
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) Game Gear Feb, 1994 29 out of 50 58
Game Players Game Gear Apr, 1994 55 out of 100 55


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1001 Video Games

Pinball Dreams appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Digital Illusions wrote the original Amiga version for all their pinball games. All the renditions of other platfoms were built by 21st Century Entertainment or their subsidiaries, The team provided only technical advice. The only exception was when a group of Swedes from Uppsala contacted them after the dreadful version of "Pinball Dreams" one the PC came out. They ended up taking on the task of converting "Pinball Fantasies" and "Pinball Illusions" with splendour. Andreas Axelsson gave also support to Binary 9 for the GBA version of "Pinball Dreams" as well as to Rocket in Finland during the creation of mobile phone version.

Commodore 64 version

In 2002 Werner van Loo started development of "Pinball Dreams" for Commodore 64 after a bet he took with one of the IRC channel participants. The argument was that a game like "Pinball Dreams" could never be converted faithfully to the C64. Naturally, a few things had to be omitted to fit the C64. The score display was changed from "LED-bar" to a "dot-matrix" as you can't make nice diagonal lines in the upper border of the C64, flippers have less animation frames (only seven). Two tables (Steel Wheel and Beat Box) were left out due to highly time consuming effort. After ten years Werner lost his interest in the conversion. He released a source code of this work and a preview demo was compiled by a demo scene group Laxity in 2012. They stated that it seemed quite difficult to add more features to the game so it probably wouldn’t be finished. More information can be found here.

Copy protection

The game featured a copy protection which required write access on the original floppy - not a good idea those days with all the virii floating around and no-one caring about getting a virus scanner. Besides, the copy protection didn't protect the game at all.

Cracking scene

There were rumors that Digital Illusions made a special HD-installed version of Pinball Dreams for their friends in the scene. Many Amiga games couldn't be installed on a hard drive as a copy protection measure. When the was released, many cracking groups made a pact not to crack and spread the game because of the game maker’s strong roots in the scene. This pact didn’t last for long and the game was later illegally released and spread.

Demo version

In a demo version of the game, where only the Nightmare table is playable for five minutes, there is a screen giving a notion what one should expect from the full version. In this text the Beatbox table was named "Rap Attack" where players were supposed to become the number one rapper.


The developers were members of the Amiga demoscene group The Silents and the game was originally not planned to be released as a commercial game. The idea to make Pinball Dreams came up in 1988 when Mikael Balle, another member of The Silents, had drawn some pinball tables (assumedly on the Amiga). However, his tables were not used for the game, but his ideas of having tables larger than the actual screen size (scrolling) remained. In 1989 Andreas Axelsson, Ulf Mandorff, Markus Nystrom, Olof Gustafsson and Fredrik Lilegren started development. Ulf Mandorff, who studied technical engineering, was responsible for ball's physics engine. It took him six months to finish it. During that time another team member - Olof Gustafsson - proclaimed as a genuine pinball freak, spent daily hours in arcades studying different pinball machines, figuring out most of the scoring and events for the tables plus he recorded the sounds of real machines. In 1990, when the game was half finished, they formed a group called Digital Illusions only to put on taxes. During ECTS in 1990, they presented the game to Bitmap Brothers and their publisher Renegade as well as to 21st Century Entertainment. Both companies turned down the game and Renegade stated that pinball games do not sell well. A year later, on the very same ECTS, they game was basically completed but the only company that was left interested in publishing the title was 21st Century Entertainment. Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies became one of the biggest hits ever released for Amiga computers.

Tools used for developing Pinball Dreams on Amiga: DevPak (assembler), Deluxe Paint III (graphics), ProTracker 1.1b (music), PowerPacker 2.0b (cruncher).

Mouse control

The developers once met a handicapped kid with only one hand, and made a special version of the game for him where you can control the flippers with the two mouse buttons. This feature does also appear in the sequel, Pinball Fantasies.


DOS version of the game disk included a registered version of PKUnzip - someone must have made a mistake putting it together.

Sound card

You had to select the sound card / PC speaker every time you started the game.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #119 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
Information also contributed by Erkan O, Grov, phlux and xxxxxxxxxxx

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Contributed to by B.L. Stryker (23286), Vesuri (100), Rola (8282), Charly2.0 (253016), Alaka (80319), Игги Друге (46326), Retron (225) and MAT (223577)