WOW. Future Pinball is just about as close to the real thing as a computer could get. It's light years ahead of anything I've seen before.
All you have to do is download and install the Future Pinball program, and then browse the collection of over 300 tables and download whatever you'd like into the tables folder within the Future Pinball directory. Then just launch the table, press "5" to add credits, and "1" to start. The shift keys work as the flippers, and enter launches the ball. There are many camera views to choose from, and you can either follow the ball's movement, or keep a static view of the whole table. I personally found that camera-scrolling with the ball was more exciting and gives you a nice view of the table details (F4 is my favorite view setting).
Many tables are recreations of actual classic pinball tables from manufacturers like Bally, Gottlieb, and Willams. The more complex tables like Addams Family and Medieval Madness don't seem to be there, but Pinbot, High Speed, and many others are faithfully recreated.
Some, however, are completely new creations. In my review of TILT, the pinball documentary, you may recall I said that George Gomez made me want to design pinball tables. Well, Future Pinball actually makes that possible to a pretty robust degree. Among the new tables I've enjoyed playing so far are War of the Worlds, Bubble Bobble, Halloween, The New Zealand Story, and Phantasm ("BOYYYYYYYY!..."). There's an Anarchy Online table, but surprisingly, no World of Warcraft-themed selection. Playing with your favorite theme will probably be one of the primary motivators for designing your own machine.
Future Pinball is one of those things that make you thankful for the intarwebz. Thanks, intarwebz! Now go check it out!