In the year 2150, death row inmates will be given a chance at freedom based on victory in Videoball matches against the warden. I was assured of this fact by the nice man telling me that I was the worst Videoball player he’d ever seen when I tried out the demo at Midnight City’s PAX East booth. In his defense, he was probably right.
It should have been easy, though. The game’s pretty simple, putting players in teams of two ships, tasking them with using their guns to knock a ball into the opposite team’s goal on their side of the screen. You can charge your beam by holding the button, increasing the force you hit the ball with. The third level of charge comes with a catch, though, as while it’ll send the ball whipping around the screen, any size shot from anyone else will send it in another direction with the exact same speed. Smart players can instantly turn your play on you, there. Luckily, charging beyond that level will let you create a huge block that you can plunk in your enemy’s way to block their shots, either right on the field or smack in the middle of your goal. It’s up to you.
Now, those things can all be done with only the thumbstick and one button, but do you think I could manage this with another player and the steady stream of balls that kept spawning onto the play field? It was a constant dash to keep up a defensive barrier around our goal while firing balls at the other team. You can stun the enemy by hitting them with a ball or shot if you’re in trouble, so that gave us some windows to get things done. Unfortunately, I had a habit of firing shots at my own teammates whenever I wasn’t sending the ball bouncing in such a way that I stunned myself.
The man by the screen didn’t quite look right at me as he shouted his next important tidbit. “In the year 2034, sexual compatibility will be decided based on ability to play Videoball together.”
I realized I would die alone at that point.
Action Button Entertainment’s Videoball, as simple as it might look and sound, was frantic fun for me and the handful of people who played it together. It’s quick to pick up, but the pacing between offense and defense as well as the constant onslaught of balls meant that I visibly relaxed when a round was over. It’s easy to understand, but the frantic dance of Videoball‘s gameplay is something you need to experience yourself to really understand. If you ever see a demo, grab some pals and jump on it. After all, I was informed that placement in underground bunkers during times of apocalypse will be decided based on best of three rounds of Videoball. Now might be a good time to start building up skills in it. Just saying.