Japan may not have been where it was invented, but table tennis is almost the ultimate Japanese
sport. It's a miniaturised, faster more intense version of the original, and those nippy Nipponese
excel at it. They've transformed it from the sort of sport weedy geeks play into a frantc,
furious, sportshall-spanning, sweat-inducing slog-out.
By a strange coincidence, the Japanese are also the masters of microchip technology, and the
latest microchip marvel from Zeppelin just happens to be a table tennis sim (desperate link
# 7,902). So now you can ping your pong without having to paint the dining room table green.
Just got a couple of minutes to fill? Then you can go for the single game option. But if
you've got an evening to spare and a few mates around then you can battle it out in a tournament.
Did I say a few mates? Sure did.
Table Tennis doesn't just offer you a two-player option. It
doesn't just offer you a three-player option.
It doesn't just offer you a four...(Get on with it! - Ed). Nope, up to eight people can
compete in a series of knock-out matches. If there are less than eight of you then the
computer control the players left over.
The game is faithful to rules of real table tennis. Each player serves for five points and
then the serve passes to the opponent. You score whenever you win a rally, not just when you're
serving (which is fair enough after you've put in all that effort) The winner is the first to
score 21 unless both players reach 20 in which case service alternates with each point and
the winner is the first to get two clear points in the lead. Matches are played on a best of
Way back in the overcast and drizzly lowying clouds of time (about 1978) the first video
game arcade smash was a primitive affair call Pong which basically consisted of two bats hitting
a white blob back and forth, Spookily 'pong' is half of what table tennis is also known as,
and Zeppelin's Table Tennis really isn't much of development from Pong.
You have more control over where you serve from and the bat can be moved forward and
backwards as opposed to just from side to side, but that's about it. Move the bat in the
path of the ball and it's returned automatically. You can control the ball insofar as trying
to keep it on the table, but it's virtually impossible to place it with any accuracy - basically,
you just hit it and hope.
The graphics are functional if hardly inspired, though the hand that appears when you serve
is a nifty touch. You can set both the speed of the ball and the skill level of the computer, but
I don't think it'll be long before you have to set them both to maximum if you want a half-decent
Okay, so in the originality stakes Table Tennis is down there with Hale and Pace's scriptwriters,
but the load is short enough to make it worthwhile having the occasional 10 minute bash at.
But if you want to get your teeth into something this ain't going to dentally challenge you.