Robert Hornbek

Game Development & Exploration

Posts Tagged ‘NeoGeo’

Windjammers

Posted by rHornbek on December 7, 2009

Title Screen

The first time I saw this game I couldn’t believe how well they took the classic Pong genre to the next level.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with Windjammers, or Flying Power Disk in Japan, the game pits two users against one another in an action packed Frisbee battle.

Stripped to its bones, Windjammers is not much more than a glorified version of Pong.  Each user plays from a single side of the court, like Tennis, and can move anywhere on their side.  The object of the game is to simply toss the “flying power disc” pass the opposing user into their goal.  One difference between this game and Pong is that when the disc is stopped by the user they may choose when and what direction they throw it.  However the user cannot move from the position they caught the disc from until it has been thrown.

The disc and the arena!

This game takes things to yet another level with unique special abilities and the use of vertical space.  Like a fighting game, users can enter the right combination of buttons to unleash a special ability causing the disc to change its trajectory while in flight or zigzag and even move at right angles.  The user can also toss the disc high into air arching down toward the opposing goal forcing their opponent to catch the disc before it lands.

Maybe it is just appropriate for the time of the game’s release, but Windjammers has this wild beachfront mid 90s feel with bad haircuts and muscle shirts as far as the eye can see.  The game’s campaign is set up like a global tour where the user battles flying power disc champions from all around the world.

Box Art

Users will also find in the campaign various mini-games that utilize the basic gameplay elements.  The first of these games is a Frisbee toss, where the user simply presses the throw button just as the power gauge reaches its peak.  The disc will immediately be thrown down the beach passing over sunbathers and sand castles all while being chased by a dog.  Another mini-game is bowling, where the user must knock down pins using a carefully aimed disc.

While simple the game’s controls are a little sluggish and at time unresponsive.  This could just be the controls of the arcade machine, and most Windjammer emulations are played using the standard keyboard which is rarely an upgrade.  All in all the game is creative and exciting and I think way pass due for a remake.  Even the use of motion control could be utilized to take this game of flying power discs to a whole other level.

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