Battle FlipShot and Bang Bead

Like Atari’s Pong? Play Battle Flip Shot and Bang Bead!

Getting people interested in a video game can be really hard. Sometimes the concept just doesn’t jump out at the reader in a summary of hype and exclamation marks. Pong-alike Neo Geo titles Battle Flipshot and its rare sequel Bang Bead are two such games.

Pong, upgraded.

The best way to learn about these games would be to play them, or watch them. Anyone familiar with Atari’s Pong, or an Air Hockey table, will instantly grasp the concept.

Both games have you select a character and go head-to-head in a pong-esque battle, defending your “goals” whilst trying to score against your opponent.

Battle Flipshot

In developer Visco’s first pong-alike, Battle Flipshot, you play as fun characters like Mr. Justice and Bloody Wolf. Between rounds you’ll get to see some wonderful “Engrish” as you progress, such as this nugget:

“There are marshall arts fighting freaks!”

Check out this Battle Flipshot arcade play-through and tell me this doesn’t look fun!

I usually include lots of promotional posters and box art covers in these Neo Geo posts. Unfortunately, it seems like someone forgot to market both games! It’s as if nobody could work out how to promote the concept! Here is their best effort for Battle Flipshot:

Battle Flip Shot
Sequel Bang Bead doesn’t fare any better in getting people hyped up. The tag line is fun though:

Turn the tables with a Miracle Ball!

And they have a stab at making the game sound exciting:

Seven wiley humans (and one robot) face off against each other in the frantic, smash hit sequel to Battle Flipshot! Put your reflexes to the ultimate test – Dash, dive and time the perfect shot to claim your fame as Bang Bead champ!

The box-art too is pretty cool, though gives you no clue about what the game might be about:

Bang Bead

Thankfully, Youtube makes it easy to see just how good Bang Bead is:

Without doubt, my favourite thing about Bang Bead is the Allagash Brewing Company “Best at Bang Bead Tournament”. Whilst researching the game, I discovered this really is an actual arcade tournament with Band Bead as its promoted star attraction!

Allagash Bang Bead

Better yet, Allagash know how to promote!

This time we are challenging your skill at an underrated classic that was never officially released in the US: Bang Bead! Sequel to the game Battle Flip Shot, this underground hit is known for its eccentric anime-trope characters and dubious English translations, but also for its extremely fast placed exciting game play.

Best described as a cross between pong and dodgeball, this is definitely one of those “minutes to learn, lifetime to master” type games. Chose your character, each with different speed and skills, and smash the ball back and forth trying to destroy all the stars behind your opponent, power sliding and blocking, all while building up energy to fire your “miracle shot”.

As you might have gathered, the only way to play Battle Flipshot and Bang Bead is on a Neo Geo. In this instance, I’d recommend firing up an emulator.

This post continues my series:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Hot Wheels, Atari Style!

Have you ever wanted to re-live those Atari 2600 classics in the form of car liveries? If somehow you answered YES to that question, then Hot Wheels created these Atari-branded diecasts just for you! I’m completely smitten with these – the 2013 SDDC exclusive Asteroids “Beach Bomb” pickup above is all sorts of desirable, especially that arcade game packaging. The general release cars below for Tempest, Pong, Breakout, Centipede and Missile Command all lose the special packaging but are still great creations with fantastic artwork and I’d love to own the series.

And that 2600-branded GMC Motorhome with wood panels… on my…

HotWheels Atari

Learn more about the SDCC Asteroids vehicle over at Collecting Toyz. Read more about the rest at You Found a Secret Area!.

Retro vs Remake: Pong vs…Pong

Beep. bop. beep. bop. beep. bop.

Possibly one of the simplest early arcade and home console games is Pong. The idea is dead simple: you have two flat paddles on each side of the screen that move up and down to bounce a small ball back and forth. Anyone who has ever played or watched tennis, table or full court, knows exactly how to play Pong and how to win.

Over the years, Pong has gotten numerous sequels, clones and variants; in fact the brick-breaking classic Breakout, is a single-player variation on Pong. But the pure and true retro remake of Pong is Pong: The Next Level for the Sony Playstation. This game takes the classic gameplay mechanics of Pong, throws a 3D engine on it and pimps it out with some innovative new features. There are six themed zones each with three different types of Pong challenges. For instance, the first stage is a simple matter of hitting the ball back and forth across a snowy icecap. Until you hit the penguin waddling back and forth down the center of the playing field, then it lays another ball into play. There are also power-ups unique to each level that change the playing field to give you an advantage or disadvantage against your opponent.

The graphics and sound are very whimsical with the paddles wiggling and jumping around making sounds like chipmunks. Also instead of the timeless Beep. Bop. of the paddles, you get a solid, satisfying thock. The environments are bright and vibrant, but not too hard on the eyes.

As far as extra features go, there’s a handful of single-player Pong challenges that test your skill on controlling the ball alone in various environments. If you’re feeling like some straight up classic Pong, you can unlock the original arcade version to play as well.

After all this praise, I should probably mention Pong: The Next Level‘s major downfall: the controls. Now the controls aren’t broken by any stretch, they’re just not optimal. Using the analog stick or d-pad isn’t quite as accurate or fluid as the original wheel/knob/dial controls on the original arcade or console.

So what about the original Pong? How does it stack up against this “new” 3D remake? Pretty well, actually. Pong excelled in its simplicity; there were no difficult controls and no complicated gameplay mechanics. It was just you and the ball. While its simplicity still holds up today, it also makes for a rather boring game after a time. Granted, playing with a friend can help, but still, how long can you really sit there going beep, bop. Beep, bop? The Next Level adds so much more that will keep you coming back, plus it keeps the super simple gameplay intact and the fancy audio/visual wrapping is a bonus. While The Next Level sacrifices some precision in its controls, it mostly makes up for it in content and presentation.

This may be a bit sacrilegious for a retro gamer, but I have to give the final award to The Next Level for truly taking Pong, to the next level.