You didn't see this one coming: Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis

Rockstar just announced their new game for the 360 and it’s Ping Pong. Stuff up at IGN. Weird eh?

Probably you have to beat hookers to death with the paddles, or something.

More than a year ago Rockstar San Diego commenced on a game that would take advantage of the Xbox 360’s graphic power and capture the intensity, speed and excitement of Table Tennis.
oh… kay…

They’re about a month early to be announcing this, aren’t they?

Maybe it’s actually real. Let’s face it, if you lived in San Diego table tennis would probably seem pretty fucking exciting to you.

So that was the uber-hyped “you’re never going to believe it” announcement? That’s even a bigger let down than when Giselle Bundchen told me she did love me, but only as a friend.

Dunno if it’s a joke or not.

But I played competitive table tennis for awhile in college. It’s incredibly fast and strenous. We are not talking about standing at the edge of the table, batting the ball back and forth. Instead, you’re standing ten feet back from the table edge, with the ball travelling 40-50 MPH. You use padded and “sticky” rackets that can put incredible top or back spins on the ball, resulting in balls that can float, then suddenly change directrion or dip dramatically.

Here’s the link. Doesn’t look like a joke to me:

You know, reading the interview, I think this might actually be a kind of brilliant idea. Undercut price for a next-gen game, a fairly casual game that virtually everyone has played, popular the world over…

The most important take-away from the interview, to me, is “The fascination is really with purity, on concentrating the entire power of the hardware on one activity to create a game that is precisely addictive in its focused simplicity. It’s an obsession with detail and with creating a more immediate, more physical, more emotional experience.”

Sounds like a good idea. Early in the next-gen cycle, you make a really totally narrow and focused game so you can go really uber-next-gen not just on rendering, but on animation, movement, control, player reaction and interaction, etc. I have no idea if they’re pulling it off, but that doesn’t sound so dumb.

When I first heard this, I thought “ping-pong? seriously?” But I dunno. It’s just crazy enough to work.

Y’know, if it’s cheap, and they make it as addictively simple as Virtua Tennis, it’s probably a good idea. But it does seem really out of character for Rockstar.

Maybe the Hot Coffee backlash has changed their ways?

Table tennis is big in Sweden. It’s also a big in China, so there’s a huge market there. Well, there would be if the 360 was sold in sufficient numbers there anyway.

Taking a shit is really big all over the world, but I wouldn’t want to see a next-gen game based on it.

Gary’s a pongaphobe. Is it because he secretly thinks he would like ping-pong? You can be yourself here, Gary. We’re not going to judge you!

I think my problem is, I don’t get too excited about games which simultate activities that aren’t that difficult to go out and do in real life, and in fact are more enjoyable that way.

Fighting zombies? Yes please. Racing around cities at 200mph and side-swiping other cars into bridge abuttments? Sign me up. Setting Orcs on fire with magical flame missiles? Definitely.

Xbox 360 table tennis? Thanks, I think I’ll just actually just play table tennis, and burn some calories while I’m at it. The whole thing reminds me of that gag in The Simpsons where the street kids say “You wanna play stickball?” and then they run across the street to play the Stickball coin-op.

Well, a videogame would presumably allow one to pretend to play table tennis well, which is hard to do in real life. Same with other sports you play on a console, some of which at least (say, tennis or one-on-one basketball) aren’t hard to organize for real.

Mind you, I don’t consider it a particularly gripping idea for a videogame either… although some of those pro ping-pongers seem to have superhuman reflexes.

If I was going to make a table tennis game, I’d wait for the Revolution’s controller to write it for.

Oh, and instead of requiring the players to have superhuman reflexes - bullet time!

Given his prediliction for discovering things that later come to be known as Whittalinks ™, I’d hazard a guess that Gary has a deep-seated and entirely understandable disgust for the ping-pong ball in general.

Hmm. I can’t deny I’m very intrigued.

I had to look at my calendar too…It IS March isn’t it?

On the contrary, THAT game I would play.