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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:38 pm

Earlier this year there was an interesting discussion about the NTSC version of Pinball Dreams. The ADFs floating around the interwebs (including this site) were actually the PAL versions. Some rare NTSC versions of the disks had been located, but the disks were copy protected, so ADFs could not be easily made and shared.

Site member Crispy also found a copy of original NTSC disks on Ebay. And, being a talented engineer, originally thought he would try to crack the disks. Rather than crack them and create ADFs, however, he made the disks installable to hard drives using JST as he really wanted to play the game on his Amiga 1000.

Of course the problem with the A1000 is that you can't switch it to PAL timing like you can the newer machines, and the only available Pinball Dreams ADFs out there contain the PAL version of the game. After hitting a dead end in trying to find NTSC ADFs, I decided to try to find someone selling the NTSC version, and luckily someone on Ebay was.

Anyway, I wanted to take a stab at removing the copy protection so that I could make a backup and also create a set of NTSC ADFs for other A1000 users on this side of the pond. I was about to sit down and have at it, but then I remembered that there is a hard drive installer for the game on Aminet. Luckily it does support the NTSC version of the game, so I tried it and found that it works on the A1000.

There are a couple of gotchas though. With the default settings the game requires about 2.5 MB of free fast memory. That means that the machine needs to have at least 3 MB of fast memory installed.
The other problem is that Crispy's A1000 doesn't have a hard drive. He has a StarBoard, but it lacks the uber-rare SCSI module. (Note: I have shipped my very own SCSI Module to him to attempt to reverse-engineer the device. More on that later.)

I've uploaded all of the NTSC files necessary to play the game to the game's page in the Library, here.

For the new HD installable NTSC version, you will need JST to run the game and you'll need an older version of it for running the game under 1.3. I've added a link to that version (1.3a) in the Helpful Assets section of the game's page. I've also dropped a link to the version on Aminet that runs in 2.04+ . Use the Aminet version if you are on a later version of the OS.

NTSC Hard Drive Installation

To install the game simply extract the file onto your hard drive.

For JST 1.3a extract the archive to RAM: and then copy the jst file in the bin directory to C: You won't need any of the other files in the archive.

For the latest JST from Aminet, you'll probably want to use the installer that comes with it.

Once everything is installed you can configure the game loader settings by single clicking the PinballHD icon and selecting "Info" from the Workbench menu. Scroll through the tool types until you get to the (HDLOAD) item. Any items surrounded by parentheses are disabled. Remove the parentheses to enable the HDLOAD option. Doing this will cause JST to load from the hard drive as needed instead of loading everything into memory when the game starts. Hopefully this option will work, and will allow for playing the game on a system that has only 2 MB of fast memory.

Once the JST binary is in your C: directory, you can run the game from the Workbench by double-clicking the PinballHD icon.

I've installed the NTSC version to my Amiga 1000's hard drive and tested it for myself. It looks, sounds and plays absolutely beautifully which I show in the hastily captured video at the top of this page.

Thank you Crispy for this fabulous gift to the Amiga community!

Go to the Pinball Dreams Game Page to Download the Files

Known Bugs:
Simply remove your joysticks from port 2 before launching the game. If you have a joystick plugged in and happen to touch it during the various select or load screens, your Amiga will either lock up or Guru.

Also, if you don't update your tooltypes the game may Guru your machine when you exit the game back to workbench.

Go to the Pinball Dreams Game Page to Download the Files


It's worth pointing out that this new work solves a problem for older Amigas running 1.3, which can't run WHDLoad. Those machines were never able to use the WHDLoad NTSC version, which had been put out there in 2003 or so (according to that author Phill Boag-Butcher).

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Posted Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:49 pm

I have Pinball Dreams NTSC on original disks too. I did the HD install with WHDLoad back in 2018. Files should be avail on the English Amiga Board FTP server.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:46 pm

This is great, Nice Work!

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Posted Fri Feb 12, 2021 5:39 am

Yeah, this Pinball Dreams NTSC works perfectly on my A1000 !

I'll try with this older version of JST because if I launch it with JST 6.4, it crashes after launch or when I quit.

Thank you very much !

Do you know if a PAL JST version of Pinball Dreams exists ? And, can we launch a JST version of Pinball Fantasies on A1000 with 521ko of chip ?

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