This future sport was one of the few good things to
come out of the war and was actually derived from military
training exercises. In preparation for deep space combat,
budding recruits had to get used to the rapid changes
in direction of acceleration experienced when performing
manoeuvres in space. This was done in the form of a
rigorous simulation which soon developed into the greatest
sport of all time.
is deceptively simple in its conception and appearance.
It can be likened to a futuristic game of football with
only two players. The playfield consists of a
grid, 55 squares long and 21 squares wide, with a set
of goalposts, or goalbeams, at both ends and
a surrounding electroboundary. The boundary is
invisible to the human eye and is used to keep both
player and ball within the grid. It can also prove a
useful aid in play, allowing players to perform such
subtleties as 'off the wall' angled shots. The ball,
or plasmorb, is a sphere of pure energy that
floats above the surface of the grid. Once it has been
injected to the playfield, the battle for possession
of the plasmorb is on . . .
players control a device known as the rotofoil
-- a form of 'shuttle' with a surrounding 'pillow' of
energy, or forcefield, used to capture, 'dribble' and
'shoot' the plasmorb.
are in fact three 'pillows': the first and outermost
is the bumpfield, protecting the rotofoil from
all possible external damage. The second field, the
pullfield, is only activated when the plasmorb
is within a certain range, where it automatically draws
in and centres the ball. The player can now go for goal.
The innermost field is the pushfield: a touch
of the fire button sends the ball flying forward at
high velocity and the rotofoil recoils in the opposite
direction. The pushfield can also be used to blast the
ball away from an opponent, leaving it free for the
are controlled with a joystick -- left, right, back
and forward, all give acceleration in their respective
directions while the fire button activates the pushfield.
Turning is computer controlled and gives rise to one
of the rotofoil's most useful and confusing properties
-- that of roto-snapping.
rotofoil will always face the ball unless the player
in question is actually in possession, in which case
the rotofoil 'snaps' round to face the goal. So too
does the player's view, which can prove incredibly disorientating
at first, but not so much so that the concept is never
every goal scored, a certain number of points are given
-- the value depending upon how far the player is from
the goalbeams when the ball passes through them. If,
for instance, the ball is literally pushed through the
goal, then only a single point is scored. A maximum
of three points can be obtained for an over-the-horizon
shot. This is where the player can't actually see the
goalbeams when the ball passes through them -- a difficult
or lucky shot? It all depends upon the skill of the
player . . .
a total of ten points be scored before the previously
determined time limit expires, the opposition is 'wiped
out' and the game is over. If the scores are level when
the timer reaches zero, the game goes into overtime
and the first person to score is declared the winner.
The length of time a game is played over can vary between
one and ten minutes, but wherever you go in the universe
there's only one regulation Ballblazer game --
three minutes, two players, one victor . . .