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  • The Ball Game.

  • You know, it's not just the words themselves that make this sound suggestive, it's more

  • like the way it’s said.

  • You know like, if you just sayhey did you see the ball game last night,”

  • nobody bats an eye.

  • But if you saydo you want to play The BALL Game?” it’s like, “ooh, maybe,

  • who’s asking?”

  • And I’m not just trying to be lewd, the back of the box straight up says The Ball

  • Game providesball busting action.”

  • Mmkay.

  • That reminds me of the board game from 1975, Ball Buster...

  • Commercial narrator: "Make offensive and defensive moves!"

  • "Then try to bust your opponents' balls."

  • "BALL Buster."

  • They knew what they were doing there, and they knew it here too.

  • I mean there's a flaming naked guy on the front of the box.

  • Literally, he’s naked and on fire.

  • There's also a frozen naked guy with some icy butt action going on.

  • What the heck am I getting into?

  • Well, it’s a 1991 MS-DOS PC game from the UK-based Electronic Zoo,

  • and I have Joshua to thank for donating it.

  • Josh sent a bunch of neat computer games my way a while back, and while there were several

  • that I found intriguing, for whatever reason The Ball Game stood out.

  • Couldn’t tell you why, it’s a real mystery.

  • The Game of Balls comes in one of these small boxes that was popular for Amiga and Atari ST

  • games in the UK and Europe for a while, which makes sense as this was

  • made for those systems first.

  • But as mentioned earlier, this is the DOS version for IBM PC-compatibles, distributed

  • on a double density 5.25” floppy disk.

  • And the documentation is pretty standard fare for these kinds of releases; just a thin,

  • multilanguage black and white booklet that provides the basics of gameplay and a strategic

  • waft of early 90s cigarette smoke.

  • The Ball Game begins with a bunch of blue balls, har har

  • and a pretty radical Adlib intro tune.

  • *pretty radical Adlib music plays*

  • Hehe, and ya gotta love these credits.

  • Who did the graphics?

  • Steve.

  • Who did the music?

  • Oh that was Mike.

  • Who did the PC version?

  • Oh that was Tim and Jules, you know them!

  • After that charmingly amiable introduction, youre dropped into a rather dark and stark

  • menu with an assortment of function key options.

  • And without actually playing the game first it’s not very useful to mess with anything

  • here yet, so just press F9 to start playing.

  • *PC speaker beep and bloop sounds play*

  • And yep, this is The Ball Game, folks.

  • Not quite sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it.

  • Not only has that ball bouncing FM synth music been replaced by silence and PC speaker noises,

  • but there’s precious little ball-busting action happening.

  • I am sad to report there are precisely

  • zero balls busted throughout the entirety of this game.

  • In fact, despite the suggestive name and marketing,

  • The Ball Game is about as tame a game as you can ask for.

  • So much so that I am now questioning whether or not it’s

  • even worth a video at this point, hrm.

  • Lemme go clear my head, I’ll be right back...

  • *DUKE NUKEM 3D PLAYS*

  • *DUKE RPGs HIMSELF*

  • Ahem, right, where were we.

  • Yes, the distinct lack of ball-busting action.

  • Or really, the lacktion--*laughs*

  • "the lacktion?"

  • The lack of action!

  • Ah I like that better, yeah. It's really the LACKTION of any kind.

  • The Ball Game is not an action game, but rather a virtual board game of strategy and tactics.

  • And a rather simple one at that, as there are only two ways to interact with it.

  • Regardless of how you choose to control things, be it the mouse or the keyboard or a joystick,

  • The Ball Game gives you one button for choosing your move and one button for making your move.

  • When it’s your turn, press the movement key to rotate through a selection of possible

  • moves highlighted on the board, and then press the select key to make it happen.

  • That’s it.

  • The entire rest of The Ball Game depends on what

  • order you make those two decisions for each turn.

  • As you mightve guessed just by looking at the footage, the goal of The Ball Game

  • is to have the most number of your color of balls on the board.

  • You can only move in the four cardinal directions on an isometric plane, there’s no diagonal

  • movement, and you can only move one or two spaces at a time normally.

  • Moving one space will blorp a ball behind where you just moved from, and moving two

  • spaces will activate a jetpack and then set you down with no balls being placed.

  • But if you land in a space next to an opponent’s balls, then each of those balls will be converted

  • to your balls, even those diagonal to you.

  • And if you can’t make a move or a jump, you can press the select key to teleport to

  • a random free spot on the board.

  • Once you run out of moves, your game is over, and whoever has the most balls with the most

  • points at the end wins the round.

  • And that’s the gist of it!

  • The Ball Game is one of those grid-based Reversi-inspired thingies where you always have to think a

  • couple steps ahead or youll screw yourself over quickly.

  • It reminds me an awful lot of the game Spot from a year before.

  • No, notCool Spot,” justSpot.”

  • To be more specific, games like Spot and The Ball Game share

  • the same core DNA as the arcade game Ataxx.

  • That is, theyre all video board games with players starting off in a corner, with the

  • goal being to strategically touch pieces with your own and convert its color.

  • But The Ball Game is still its own thing in the sense that it’s got balls.

  • Blue balls, red balls, dark blue and red balls, just lots of balls.

  • But none of them are busting and I feel deceived.

  • For that matter, where are the naked dudes on fire and stuff?

  • These guys are cool, but I signed up for frozen man butts and dang it, I deserve them.

  • Instead you get these little Smash TV contestants, who are apparently supposed to represent the

  • four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and the other one.

  • Hrm. Yeah I’m not seeing it.

  • Unless the elements are all identical balls now, and in that case Captain Planet just

  • got a lot more bizarre.

  • So yeah, this was a bit of a bummer.

  • The Ball Game isn’t the worst thing I’ve played, or even the worst virtual board game,

  • but I also don’t think it was worth my time.

  • And it sure isn’t my idea of fun these days.

  • Especially not versus the computer,

  • they move instantly so playing for time bonuses makes no sense,

  • and it uses cheap AI that rarely makes an exploitably crappy move.

  • See, the key to enjoying these kinds of games is

  • to play against someone objectively worse than you.

  • Or maybe that’s just how I play Othello.

  • But in this case, all you can do is enter your name into a high score table no one will see

  • because no one wants to play this game.

  • The Ball Game!

  • It’s pretty much just balls.

  • Well I believe I've said the word "balls" enough for the entire year.

  • And if you enjoyed that I'm confused!

  • But awesome, thank you very much for watching.

  • And I hope that you stick around and see some more stuff I make, because I'm making new

  • things and Monday and Friday.

  • And yeah, uh, thanks.

  • Um.

  • I'ma go now.

The Ball Game.

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B1 ball game ball busting action board board game

LGR - The Ball Game: MS-DOS Ball Busting ACTION

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/06
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