Amstrad Computer User1st May 1986
Published in Amstrad Computer User #18
Konami's Ping Pong
I ask you, is Ping Pong the right name for a serious table tennis simulation?
I think everybody has had least one go at whopping a little plastic sphere across an oversized green dining table. Select a level between one and five and play. This is the tricky bit. The screen shows you a player's eye view of a table tennis table in glorious Mode 0, 3D graphics. At both ends of table, disembodied hands are holding blobs. Sorry, did I say blobs? I meant bats.
You get first service. The player who reaches eleven points, two points clear, wins. To serve, move left or right and push the joystick forward, which throws the ball up. The minute the ball is in the air, control changes. Moving the joystick left and right causes the hand to attempt different shots. Left does a drive return, which is a fast shot. Right does a cut which is a slow shot.
When returning the ball the hand moves to a suitable position to make the shot. It gets a bit confusing here, and if you've been used to a lifetime of using the joystick to move around the screen, you'll need to adjust to being moved to the right position by the program. If you take a shot, the left/right movement stops. So taking a shot too early will cause you to lose your position over the ball.
The programmers have really succeeded in simulating the basics of table tennis. It is a real triumph to have transferred complex manual control to a few joystick commands.