Room Ten

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Utterly simple, fairly addictive, visually straightforward, but strangely effective in a geometrical sort of way. Room Ten, more than anything else, is Pong, or more precisely, 3D Pong.

Remember Pong, the game that started it all off? Pong that etched little bars into the TV set? Pong that made your eyes go funny and got boring after about two weeks and was never taken out again?

No. Not like that at all. This is 3D Pong in a reduced gravity box. This is sophisticated algorithm and subtle gameplay.

It involves bats and balls though. Mabe it’s squash for yuppie astronauts.

Designed by Pete Cooke author, gasp, of Tau Ceti, double gasp, and written by Chris Newcombe, 3D Pong Room Ten is a neat twist on a great many ideas of bat and ball.

Imagine this: a box, oblong-shaped. At either end of the oblong are two rectangular bats. A ball is served, just like tennis and off it goes in reduced gravity. All movement starts and stops slowly – it is so easy to be hopeless stuck in the wrong position. You are trying, needless to say, to get the ball back without it hitting your back wall.

The ball will behave more or less like a normal ball in the sense that you can perform all the usual tricks of spin and angling by using the bat in different ways. It’s just that you feel like you are moving in slow motion whilst the ball whizzes toward you as robustly as ever.

That’s it. The whole thing is nicely dressed up with various menues, speed options, two-player modes (probably most fun), skill level for the computer and instructions. But there’s no disguising it’s simplicity.

Graphically the thing looks like geometry diagrams, a rectangle for the bat within a rectangle for the playing box. Top of the screen is one player’s viewpoint – bottom of the screen is the other’s.

If it were a budget title it would be a classic.

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