ZX Computing

Ping Pong
By Imagine
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #25

Ping Pong

Sometime last year, Imagine signed a deal with Konami to convert loads of their arcade games onto home micros, and the latest is their Ping Pong game. It's odd really, that Ping Pong, which was one of the first video games, is still being produced, but Imagine's version is considerably more sophisticated than the old two-dimensional games with a while blob bouncing from left to right.

As soon as the game loads it starts to play a tune that's very impressive considering the limits of the 48K machine's sound facilities, and throughout the game sound is well used.

Once play begins, you are presented with a slightly overhead perspective on the table, and in the background on either side of the screen are two extremely partisan crowds who cheer whenever their chosen player scores a point. The standard rules of table tennis are observed, the winner of each game being the one who reaches eleven points first, though you must also win by at least two points and if the score reaches fifteen all the game is abandoned (though when I played that didn't present any problems, since the computer always won by eleven points).

The controls are fairly simple; The two basic strokes available to you are the cut and drive, the first being a slow shot, while the secon is faster and I generally managed to knock that one out of play. There is also a smash shot available, and the serve obviously and there are backhanded variations on these shots which I found allowed me to knock the ball out of play in several different directions. Your timing has a lot to do with controlling the direction of shots and the speed of play increases on each of the five levels so though the controls aren't that complex the game isn't easily mastered.

The graphics arent exactly spectacular, but they are clear and uncluttered which is probably more important in a game lie this. If, after all this time, you're still interested in playing ping-pong on your computer then this is almost certainly the best version around.