Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #4996: dwangoAC's A2600 FlapPing "Poorlords" in 00:16.66

Console: Atari 2600
Game name: FlapPing
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: flapping.bin
Branch: Poorlords
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.4
Movie length: 00:16.66
FrameCount: 998
Re-record count: 109
Author's real name: Allan Cecil
Author's nickname: dwangoAC
Submitter: dwangoAC
Submitted at: 2016-02-03 01:26:48
Text last edited at: 2016-02-07 13:12:29
Text last edited by: Mothrayas
Download: Download (1083 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
FlapPing is an indie game developed for the Atari 2600 by Kirk Israel that can be downloaded for free or purchased in cartridge form via AtariAge. The game has an interesting backstory:

'September 21, 1998: "The future of gaming can be summed up in two words -- Pong and Joust." ...with these prophetic words in the Usenet group rec.games.video.classic, "Otter" planted the seeds for the game you have before you now. Two of the greatest names in the history of video games have been brought together at last on your Atari 2600. FlapPing is an old school round of Pong (the original deathmatch!) combined with the famous "Flap" button of Joust. Pterry the Pterodactyl is here to keep things lively, and even the walls from the Atari Classic 'Warlords' make a cameo appearance.'

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.4 (under CrossoverLinux)
  • Completes the 1P vs. COM "Poorlords" mode
  • Only presses a single button
  • Never loses a ball
  • Ends input *very* early
  • Really is Pong and Joust all at the same time
  • Plays a really awesome success tune at the end
  • Took less time than any other TAS I've ever worked on

Game manual


Nach recently asked me in IRC to take another look at Jouster 5 for Windows but I've been so busy at work that I didn't want to commit to a big project trying to get Hourglass to behave. Instead, I gave myself 30 minutes around lunchtime to speed TAS this game (of course, I later spent more time documenting the run than I spent on doing it so my plan didn't quite work out the way I intended, but I digress). I have a soft spot in my heart for Pong for various reasons and I seem to have a rather strange obsession with Joust, so this was a perfect fit. I opted to go with the "Poorlords" mode which adds in breakout / Warlords style walls behind the winged paddles as described in the game manual above. This provides for a more interesting game as you have to break through the walls before you can score, and it provides more of a volley effect which is more entertaining to watch.

Since I gave myself a tight timeframe I opted to see how quickly I could end input and still win the game *without* allowing the opponent to score points (lose a ball). I experimented with moving rapidly up and hitting the ball at a high speed - while it did accelerate the ball it also caused it to travel up and down which wasn't all that helpful. I was coming up on my timelimit when I discovered that I could trick the CPU into moving too far up and allowing the ball underneath him even if I was at the bottom of the screen (as movement has an indirect effect on the opponent's movement). After a bit of experimentation, I found a way to end input very early by "backhanding" the ball, using a method where I hit the ceiling and fall onto the ball, clipping it with the paddle's wings and starting a beneficial trajectory. I'm thrilled with how short I was able to make the input, although I'm curious if there's another way to end it even earlier. It's only a single button, perhaps someone should bot this as a potential improvement in a future submission. :)

I happen to find this oddly entertaining, but given my history with these kinds of games I'm obviously very biased. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this game, and thanks for watching!

Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: This is a pretty nice attempt for a game like this, and the early ending input is a nice touch. Entertainment-wise, it was received quite well. Alas, this run is bested by a 20 times shorter one.

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