Saturday, March 28, 2009

Midnight Snack: Pwong

pwong On this week’s podcast (which you can listen to here or find in iTunes), Rob mentioned his fondness for Curveball, the classic browser-based 3D Pong game.  I didn’t set out to find a Pong-related game for tonight’s snack, but the stars aligned and delivered me Gaz’s Pwong.

Pwong is pretty much Pong on crack.  You square off against a computer paddle with the familiar aim of knocking balls past it to score points.  This game’s twist is the sheer onslaught of balls unleashed onto the screen as the game goes on. 

Cannons routinely pop up from your side of the screen, shooting more balls at your opponent, who (like the best of computer opponents) pongs them back at you mercilessly.  The tricky aspect of scoring is that the more balls onscreen, the less points you’ll receive for scoring them.  The onscreen chaos often resembles computer monitors from The Matrix, dense and indecipherable.  At this stage, defeat seems imminent.

Enter power-ups.  Pwong features two pretty standard power-ups (Large Paddle and Slow-mo).  Then there’s the “Ammo” power-up which allows you to shoot copies of your paddle – a useful way to overwhelm the computer.  These help to mix up gameplay and provide the occasional edge over the devious AI paddle.

Pwong isn’t that deep.  And it lasts only a few minutes (and one vaguely familiar techno song).  But there’s nothing wrong with short and sweet.  Plus, I’d never thought a Pong-descendant would be able to stress me out this much.