Table Tennis
Copyright/Publisher: Zeppelin Games, Programmed By: John Carlyle, Graphics By: Neil Hislop,
Music By: Andrew Rodger, Release Year: 1993, Genre: Table Tennis, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Japan may not have been where it was invented, but table tennis is almost the ultimate Japanese sport. It's a miniaturised, faster more intense version of the original, and those nippy Nipponese excel at it. They've transformed it from the sort of sport weedy geeks play into a frantc, furious, sportshall-spanning, sweat-inducing slog-out.

By a strange coincidence, the Japanese are also the masters of microchip technology, and the latest microchip marvel from Zeppelin just happens to be a table tennis sim (desperate link # 7,902). So now you can ping your pong without having to paint the dining room table green.

Just got a couple of minutes to fill? Then you can go for the single game option. But if you've got an evening to spare and a few mates around then you can battle it out in a tournament. Did I say a few mates? Sure did.

Table Tennis doesn't just offer you a two-player option. It doesn't just offer you a three-player option. It doesn't just offer you a four...(Get on with it! - Ed). Nope, up to eight people can compete in a series of knock-out matches. If there are less than eight of you then the computer control the players left over.

The game is faithful to rules of real table tennis. Each player serves for five points and then the serve passes to the opponent. You score whenever you win a rally, not just when you're serving (which is fair enough after you've put in all that effort) The winner is the first to score 21 unless both players reach 20 in which case service alternates with each point and the winner is the first to get two clear points in the lead. Matches are played on a best of three basis.

Way back in the overcast and drizzly lowying clouds of time (about 1978) the first video game arcade smash was a primitive affair call Pong which basically consisted of two bats hitting a white blob back and forth, Spookily 'pong' is half of what table tennis is also known as, and Zeppelin's Table Tennis really isn't much of development from Pong.

You have more control over where you serve from and the bat can be moved forward and backwards as opposed to just from side to side, but that's about it. Move the bat in the path of the ball and it's returned automatically. You can control the ball insofar as trying to keep it on the table, but it's virtually impossible to place it with any accuracy - basically, you just hit it and hope.

The graphics are functional if hardly inspired, though the hand that appears when you serve is a nifty touch. You can set both the speed of the ball and the skill level of the computer, but I don't think it'll be long before you have to set them both to maximum if you want a half-decent challenge.

Okay, so in the originality stakes Table Tennis is down there with Hale and Pace's scriptwriters, but the load is short enough to make it worthwhile having the occasional 10 minute bash at. But if you want to get your teeth into something this ain't going to dentally challenge you.

SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD SPORT
Ping Pong is a much better name than table tennis, because it's just so descriptive. Here are a few other sports that would benefit from onomatopoeic names:

Thud thud thud burp - Darts
Kadoing - Archery
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz clap - Cricket
Neeeeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwwww - motor racing
Hiya - Karate
Whistle thump whistle - American Football
Plink Plink Fizz - Snooker (when Alex Higgins is playing).


INTRO SCREEN

POWER RATING 60%
THE DOWNERS
You don't have much control over where you place the ball.
You won't want to play it for more than a couple of matches.
THE UPPERS
Up to eight people can play in a tournament.
It's dead simple to use.
The rallies can become quite fast and furious.

Eight men started out, only one will survive the ordeal of selection- just who will be picked to take part in Blind Date?
The invisible man found that a rubber glove was very handy for finding out where his hand was during a serve.
This might look like a table tennis match but it is, in fact, a Cro-Magnon early draft for what would one day develop into the mystical Ying and Tang symbol.
Moving in for that killing shot - now, where did I put that twelve-bore?.
Oh I say. A searing ace there from the invisible man left the invisible man standing (actually, he could be sitting - it's difficult to tell for sure.)

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