FlapPing - Atari 2600



"The future of gaming can be summed up in two words -- Pong and Joust." ...with these prophetic words on rec.games.video.classic, "Otter" planted the seeds for the game you see before you now. FlapPing, at its core, is an oldschool Pong Deathmatch... but with a "Flap" button. Each player flaps furiously to prevent the opponent from getting a ball past and scoring a point--first to 10 points win (3 points in a "poorlords" game).

FlapPing features two primary game variations, a "classic pong" mode which resembles the classic Pong arcade game, and "poorlords", where each player must defend a wall in a manner similar to the arcade game Warlords. You can play another human, or take on all the AI might of your Atari 2600. The Pterodactyl of Joust also makes an appearance in FlapPing, adding an unpredictable element to the gameplay!

You can learn more about FlapPing's development over at Kirk Israel's FlapPing Development Page. In addition to detailed information about the game as Kirk was developing it, you can also download the various in-development binaries to try for yourself. FlapPing features a label and manual created by Dave Exton.

Includes cartridge and full-color manual. FlapPing was originally released in early 2004 as JoustPong and underwent a name change to avoid infringing on Atari Corporation's trademark on the "Pong" name.

Author Kirk Israel
Number of Players 1 - 2
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Dave Exton
Manual Design Dave Exton
Nathan Strum on 10/15/2007 06:34am
Joust meets Pong. That's the concept for FlapPing (originally titled JoustPong), although it's more Pong than Joust, since the goal is exactly that of Pong: hit a ball with a paddle, and get it past your opponent to score points. The difference here is that instead of using a paddle controller to move, you press a button repeatedly to flap your paddle's "wings", in order to gain or lose altitude and hit the ball. Unfortunately, FlapPing could have used a little more Joust. I kept desperately wanting to move my paddle left and right - even just a little bit. The ball in FlapPing is extremely small, and very difficult to hit when it's moving fast - especially if it has a lot of vertical movement on it. The problem is only made worse after you miss and the next serve comes your way, since it will be served at the same angle and speed you just missed the last shot at. It's very easy to miss multiple shots in a row this way. A more forgiving serve would have done wonders for this game. It would have been great if the ball had been a little larger, too.

The pterodactyl from Joust also makes an appearance, although it would be nice to have the option of either shutting it off, or making its appearances only periodic, instead of continuous. FlapPing does have the option of adding Warlords-like walls behind each player, which makes the game a lot more forgiving, and a lot more fun to play. There is also an "easy" mode, but basically it just makes the computer so clueless, it never hits the ball back to you. FlapPing is a great concept, and there's some fun to be had here, but a larger ball and some horizontal movement would have helped make it more fun, and a lot less frustrating.
Ron Lloyd on 01/18/2006 05:17pm
I got the pleasure of playing "FlapPing" for the first time at the Philly Classic, during a contest hosted by Kirk Israel. As fate would have it, I actually won the contest!

Kirk's game is quite fun, blending the 2-player cut-throat fun of pong with the flapping action of John Newcomer's Joust game. The flap action, along with the Pterry flying around messing up your shots, really breathes new life into a tried and true style of game from the classic era.

FlapPing ... it's a simple yet maddeningly fun game, fun for gamers of all skill levels.

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