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Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

 Selecting your playfield

Whether you are planning your first build, or upgrading an existing one – this guide is meant to help you choose the right virtual pinball playfield for you. I explored my options obsessively and even had two of the leading playfields installed in my cabinet. Below I will share my experience and recommendations.

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023


This brief guide is focused on the virtual pinball playfield (main screen). If you’re seeking a more comprehensive guide detailing how to build a 4k 120hz pinball machine on a budget, refer to our in-depth guide. It’s packed with insights on hardware, software, and purchase options, along with informative videos and useful links (click below).

LG C2 OLED 42" extreme angle test

Viewed at extreme angles our top choice has virtually no distortion or loss of color. 

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

Prerequisites for a Top-Notch Virtual Pinball Playfield


A virtual pinball playfield dictates your overall gaming experience, with the computer power being a critical factor in ensuring smooth gameplay. Early 4k playfield adopters often experienced disruptive stuttering, which impacts immersion. Therefore, to maximize your playfield’s potential, a robust computing setup is paramount.

Consider investing in a GPU with “70” or greater (1070, 2070, 3070) or an equivalent AMD model. For example, an RX 6700XT works seamlessly in our setup, though Future Pinball struggles at times. The CPU also plays a vital role. As of now, virtual pinball heavily relies on a single core, so opt for a newer CPU model to avoid bottlenecks. Several tools are available to optimize your CPU usage.

Virtual Pinball 2023 - LG C2 Playfield

The picture above is of the LG C2 in all of it’s colorful Godzilla lovin’ glory. Colors pop and do not distort when viewing at an angle. 

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

Top Virtual Pinball Playfield Options for 2023

The LG C2 stands out as our top choice for a playfield. It offers excellent value for money and meets our essential criteria for a superior virtual pinball experience. Here’s why we chose the LG C2 OLED 42″:

  • Refresh Rate: With 120hz, the LG C2 offers smooth gameplay, leaving traditional 60hz screens in the dust.
  • Input Lag: Low input lag means immediate response when you hit the flipper button, enhancing immersion.
  • Viewing Angles: The OLED technology provides the best viewing angles, maintaining vivid colors even when viewed from the side.
    Colors: With 1,400 Nits, the LG C2 delivers vibrant, beautiful tables.
  • Dimensions: A 42″ screen aligns with industry standards for widebody cabinets, allowing for unique customization options like adding addressable LED strips.

 If the LG C2 is beyond your budget, don’t worry. The Sony X85J or X85K (43″) are solid alternatives. They provide impressive response times and good color, though they don’t quite match the LG OLED C2’s viewing angles and color depth.



Personal (not google) advertisement: Dear Virtual Pinball Community: I decided to make a custom acrylic light up sign that embodies the community mentality – that our pinball machines are never actually done. The paddles and ball are designed to look like circuitry. Further, I sourced unique untreated beechwood frames and hand stained and sealed each one myself. These frames have a rechargeable battery (I hate wires) and the acrylic can be swapped out for any of my other designs (like my Mrs Pacman design). If you have browsed my site, you will see that it is primarily a free DIY site for the average woodworker. I am launching the store side of things with “Pinbuilders Pride”. Click below to check it out in more detail. If you are a member of the community just email me and I will hook you up with a free custom Pacman sign acrylic. 




Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

Top Choice: LG C2 OLED (42″)

LG C2 Product Photo, multicolored tv product photro. Textr upper left that reads "LG OLED evo"

Prime day is upon us. I have been watching TV prices and currently the LG C2 OLED is down to $796. This will likely fluctuate over the coming days. Keep an eye on the used inventory on Amazon for deeper discounts (click above, right hand side).

The LG C2 OLED ticks all of the boxes that I mention above. It’s not cheap but if you are patient, you can find a deal. Personally, I am okay with buying TV’s used. Most of the time people take them out of the box and just decide that they don’t like them. Best of all, you can actually see how many hours a used TV has by checking the settings. My used C2 only had 14 hours on it.

One of the biggest detractors of OLED screens is the fear of burn in. I have owned 3 OLED TVs in my life and I can say that LG has made some pretty significant improvement on burn in risk. That being said, it is a factor to consider. The C2 has a a few features that help reduce the chance of burn in. One of which requires the TV to stay powered after shutting down. Some virtual pinball cabinet builders opt to use an outlet that has “always on” outlets. I think that’s a great option, however I happened to have two great quality surge protectors on hand. I have one surge protector that is always powered on for my TV and PC while the other surge protector powers everything else (and gets shut down). 


LG C2 42" OLED TV Viewing Angles

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

Runner up: Sony X85J or Sony X85K (43″)

Sony x85j Product Photo. Text on upper left reads "SONY"

Tricky tricky, I am actually recommending the X85J over the X85K. The X85K is the newer model but little to nothing is different between the two. If you can still manage to find a used X85J on the cheap – go for it. The viewing angle is superb and colors pop (though not as crisp as the OLED). I had the X85J in my cabinet before it prematurely kicked the bucket (Secondipity gave me a full refund after I went to the BBB – long story). 

I like the X85J a lot. I was able to grab mine used for $400. Anything more than that and you are swimming in OLED price territory (on sale of course). If the price difference is $200 or less then suck it up and get the OLED if you can. If you can score a great deal ($400 or less) on the X85J then it is an appealing choice. The X85J (and K) are feature rich with impressive response times and good color. In comparison to the LG OLED C2 they fall short on viewing angles and color depth. 



Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

43″ Sony X85K

Sony x85k Product Photo, text in upper right reads "SONY" text in upper left reads "Google TV"

The review of the X85K is virtually the same. For that reason, read above to hear my thoughts. The only thing that may be better about the K is that it is a newer model. At this point, finding a used K model is likely newer with less wear than the older J model. That being said, you never know. Just check the view time on the screen when you get it. I love facebook marketplace but for a purchase this big I would stay away. Buy from Amazon or Bestbuy. 



Affiliate Links and Trusting Online Reviews:

It’s important to be cautious when reading online reviews, as many of them contain affiliate links that may influence the reviewer’s opinions. Often, reviewers can earn a commission for each product purchased through their links, which may lead to biased reviews or recommendations. In fact, tens of thousands of reviews on amazon are paid for. Sellers provide customers with reimbursements through paypal in order to avoid amazon detecting the fraud. We know all about this. Once upon a time this CraftyCat was in the top 10 of all amazon reviewers globally, I did this by abiding a code of ethics and writing fair and critical reviews of everything that I purchased. Once Amazon changed the rules and paypal payments became popular I decided to exit the hobby. Never once accepting a paypal payment for a “unbiased review”. Be an educated consumer and realize that virtually everything on the internet is for profit in one way or another. If nothing else then to support the content that is being created. That’s what affiliate links like the above do for this website. We love our speakeasy bar arcade, hidden bookcase door and virtual pinball machine but the truth is that they don’t contain any real affiliate links to generate revenue. Our primary goal is to offer valuable, trustworthy information to our readers. Our commitment to quality ensures that you receive unbiased, well-researched insights to help you make informed decisions about the products you choose. Remember, we paid for the C2 and the X85J with our own money, this post was not influenced by anyone in any way.

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023


I think that many people are tempted to cut costs on the playfield. Virtual pinball is a tinkerers hobby that will inevitably take up (wonderful) hours of your life. I didn’t fully appreciate this until after I built my cabinet. With this much time and investment it simply doesn’t make sense to cut corners on your playfield. While you don’t need to spend a fortune right away, it’s wise to look out for deals on high-quality hardware like TVs and PCs. Patience and diligence should yield good prices on expensive hardware like TVs and PCs. It is my strong suggestion that you do this.  Below are some FAQ about playfields and a little below that is a link to my full speakeasy bar arcade plans. I encourage you to look around, stay awhile and even adopt a stray digital cat. 

Thanks for reading and happy pinballing!

Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023

Playfield Settings

I received several requests for my TV specific settings. To make things easier for you, I am going to list out my settings here. If you would like screenshots of the actual settings then feel free to send me an email (

TV Settings


HDR Select Mode – Game Optimizer

Aspect Ratio – 16:9

Brightness settings

OLED Pixel Brightness – 100

Adjust Contrast – 100

Black Level – 50

Auto Dynamic Contrast – Off

Dynamic Tone Mapping – On

Peak Brightness – High


Color Depth – 55

Tint – 0

Color Gamut – Auto Detect


Adjust Sharpness – 10

Super Resolution (and everything below it) – Off


Computer Settings

Resolution: 3840×2160 120hz

Bit Depth – 12-bit

Color Format – YCbCr444

Color Space – High Dynamic Range

Peak Brightness – 1,499

NOTE: If you are not able to save 12-bit (or it reverts back) then you likely have a HDMI cord that does not support 4k 120hz. 

I use this HDMI cord and it works great: Click here


VPX Settings (listing things that are checked. If its not listed then its not checked on my system)

Use always FS Backdrop settings

Post Processed AA – Quality FXAA

Sharpen – Bilateral CAS

Stretch Ball with table

Reflect Ball on Playfield

Ambient Occlusion – Enabled, Update in-game 

FPS LImiter/VSync – 200

Maximum pre-rendered Frames – 0 

Force Anisotropic Texture Filtering

Alternative Depth Buffer Processing

Max texture Dimension – Unlimited


 AMD GPU Settings

AMD FreeSync – off

GPU Scaling – Enabled

Color Depth – 12 bpc

Frame Rate Target Control – Enabled

Max FPS – 832 (yeah, I know that doesn’t really make sense but it works)

Anti-Alaising – Enhance application settings

Method: Multisampling

Morphological Anti-Aliasing – Enabled

Anisotropic Filtering – Enabled

Level – 16x

Texture Filtering Quality – Standard

 Surface Format Optimization – Enabled

OpenGL Triple Buffering – Enabled


After everything is set, open the quick settings menu with the C2 remove and make sure that the FPS reads 120 or above. 





Virtual Pinball Playfield Guide 2023


1. Question: What is refresh rate on a TV?

Answer: A TV’s refresh rate, quantified in hertz (Hz), defines the frequency at which the on-screen image is refreshed every second. In other words, the refresh rate of a display is the count of how often the image on the screen is updated or ‘refreshed’ every second. This concept applies not only to TVs but also to computer monitors.

2. Question: Why is refresh rate important?

Answer: The importance of a monitor’s refresh rate is tied to its ability to support higher Frames Per Second (FPS) provided by your computer’s CPU and GPU. In essence, the higher the refresh rate, the more FPS it can display, and hence the smoother and more fluid the on-screen motion will be. However, the impact on CPU and GPU load can vary based on different game requirements.

3. Question: What is FPS in games?

Answer: FPS, standing for Frames Per Second, is often also known as the “update rate.” It signifies the number of images or frames that are displayed on the screen every second. As an example, achieving 30 FPS in a game means that 30 distinct images are projected onto the screen each second.

4. Question: What is the difference between refresh rate and FPS?

Answer: The refresh rate is a measure of how frequently your monitor updates or ‘refreshes’ the image on the screen, while FPS, or Frames Per Second, represents the number of frames your computer’s GPU can render each second. These two metrics are interconnected as they collaborate to produce the visual output on your screen.

5. Question: What is a good input lag for gaming?

Answer: For those deeply invested in competitive gaming, maintaining input lag below 15 milliseconds is often the target. However, for casual gamers and hobbyists, an input latency less than 40 milliseconds usually provides a satisfactory gaming experience. For Virtual Pinball, input lag is critical. The LG C2 has the best (lowest) input lag in the TV market. With 4k resolution the input lag is below 10 milliseconds. 

6. Question: Can a monitor affect FPS?

Answer: A monitor’s refresh rate can limit the maximum FPS that can be visibly perceived, but it doesn’t influence the actual FPS. For instance, on a 60Hz monitor, no visible difference will be perceived between 60 FPS and 300 FPS. Similarly, with a 120Hz monitor, there will be no discernible difference between 120 FPS and 500 FPS.

7. Question: What is VSync?

Answer: VSync, short for vertical synchronization, is a technology in the realm of graphics that aligns the frame rate of a game with the refresh rate of a gaming monitor, creating a smoother visual experience.

8. Question: Is it better to have VSync on or off?

Answer: VSync and GSync has caused issues for some Virtual Pinball builders. Test your tables with it on and off to see if it benefits you. If you are going to have problems with them it usually presents itself quickly (tearing/flashing).




How to Plan and Build a Bar in a Basement

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TheCraftyCatsman - Speakeasy Arcade

There were many times that we used the screwdriver on this speakeasy bar. Learn how to build your own (or parts that you like) by clicking above! 

DALL·E 2022-08-17 09.19.01 - happy bro cat with hat and headphones and Dewalt safety glasses, giving a big thumbs up, cinematic lighting, digital art