Another poster mentioned Visual pinball X which is a great and fun program. I have it and I use it. In fact if I know I'm going to pinball arcade or bar. I'll try to get a list of the machines they have, and play a few games of VPINX of those tables before I go. Just to get acclimated of the rules and what to expect. Now, you really won't know or be able to practice the shots as the scale will be off to fit your monitor, but that doesn't matter. And I seldom use nudge, but I know the VPINX can have some great nudging. Especially if you build yourself a cab, which I am doing... Anyway, I find that its useful. And nothing beats a real pin. I remember I played Jokerz. And I just kicked that pins butt in VPX, and while I got a few replies at the arcade. It was much more difficult. Had to deal with the drains and wild bounces while trying to lock the ball and go for the jackpot. So I view these programs as super fun and a great alternative. But, no they don't beat the real game. But, not everyone can afford a real pin, and also not everyone has space for more than a few in their house. So these programs are great to experience what you might never play in the wild.