Gnop


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Rating: 3.8/5 (114 votes)
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DanTheArcherGnopFrom time to time, we see twists and turns on our genre-based expectations of games in order to provide a new experience. You may have played through games "from the villains' side", and enjoyed many a cerebral treat meant to test our definition of what a game is, but how many games have you seen where the win conditions are literally inverted? What if hitting the ball in baseball was the norm, and the only way you could win is if you could find some way to score outs? While Super Unbaseball 2010 may still be in development, here's an intriguing switcharoo on an old classic to tide us over: Gnop, from the gaming minds of Bit Battalion.

The controls are just as simple as the game's progenitor; [Up] and [Down] arrows steer the ball, though, instead of the paddles. It's up to you to navigate the fearless pixel around those persistent paddles, and into the next area, where a pair of smarter, more adroit defenders await your arrival. [Esc] restarts the game, and [M] mutes the noise. Aside from that, there's nothing to it except making your way from one "zone" to the next and planning daredevil maneuvers to get the projectile around your rectangular adversaries.

The whole game is very minimalist in its presentation as well as its controls, although one can't help but wish that there was some sort of figurative pat on the back at the end of the game. (Or a literal one. I'm not picky about back pats.) Perhaps some other elements could have been added, like more levels or "power-ups" or the like. But then again, giving the player anything more than the core idea and its bare-bones display would stifle the simplicity of the whole package, which comes across as one of the game's greatest strengths. And in the end, there's actually solid replay value to boot; I've been coming back to play it whenever I have five minutes to spare. So whether you've got some time to kill or you just want to ponder the ramifications of un-games (I would be SO good at un-bowling), this is a neat little surprise that fits right into your coffee break.

Play Gnop

Walkthrough Guide


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Gnop Walkthrough

NOTE: You NEED to remember the algorithm of the paddle you passed - this is because it is the SAME algorithm that the paddle on the left will use on the new screen.

Level 1: Go Right

The right paddle stays still. Just go around it by pressing UP to move the ball up and DOWN to move the ball down. Note that you can not lose this level, as the left paddle algorithm here is clearly "follow the ball"

Level 2: Top to bottom

Right paddle will try to chase the ball in a slow manner after the halfway point and going in its direction. Because of this, all you need to do is sideswipe - get the ball to the top on your half, then as the paddle tries to go up, you go down. Just remember that if the ball is hit, you must go back to center!

Level 3: Faster!

Right paddle will chase fast when ball is headed in its direction and past halfway point. You are still going to have to sideswipe, but you're going to have to do it earlier now. Or you can just force the right paddle to go low, then when you hit it, quickly have it go up.

Level 4: Bounce over

Right paddle will follow ball once you hit it unless the ball hits the side, then the Right paddle will freeze for a while before it chases the ball again. That said, all you need to do is hit the side with the ball, then quickly go to the other side while the paddle is stuck.

Level 5: Last minute

Right paddle uses an algorithm that tries to predict where the ball will be when the ball is going in its direction, and it follows the ball when the ball is going away from it. The only way to beat this is to be unpredictable - don't let the ball follow a set path, change the direction mid-flight somewhere between halfway to 3/4 way.

Level 6: Motion sensor

Right paddle senses motion from ball and moves to where motion is. So the easy way out is to slightly tilt the ball up or down and the paddle will not detect it.

Level 7: This is the easy side

Right paddle chases ball once it goes in its direction, but has a slight delay going up instead of down. What you need to do here is go relatively straight when going right then suddenly go up just before you get to the paddle - it's a very small sweet spot, but you'll find it if you persist.

Level 8: This is the hard side

Right paddle chases ball, but has a huge delay in going down. This is the opposite of the last level, and the larger delay makes it easy. In fact, from level 7, you should just let the ball hit the top side, then follow down without any change. Just a note that for some reason, the left paddle doesn't follow the algorithm exactly, and will sometimes suddenly go down for no reason.

Level 9:Be gone

Right paddle chases ball at all times, unless you have left the stage by going left then revisit it, at which point the Right paddle will freeze at center. Thus is your answer - you need to lose and go back left, then come back here. Easier said then done thanks to the different algorithm on the Left paddle on level 8 making it extremely easy to go left 2 levels.

Level 10:End

Well... you're done. There are no more paddles left.

23 Comments

This game just gave me an idea of the next game I should create: tuo kaerb

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Brilliant concept

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Short but sweet. Was very clever, and I loved how the levels were set up, and that you could go BACK a level if you weren't careful. The levels towards the end are also brain teasers, there's something you have to figure out about them to beat it (or that's how the felt to me!). Definitely worth a little 10 minute break, if that! I can see myself coming back to play a few times yet :)

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that last level was hard, and i still dont know how i did it, but this is great

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I like it, but I couldn't always figure out what sort of pattern or algorithm the paddles were using... I usually ended up using the same tactics to get by them.

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I found the game got really easy towards the end. The only level I really had to figure out was "motion sensor." But is there more to the end? I just kind of... left.

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Great game. I got stuck on the last level for a while, but then the paddle on the right just froze and I got right by it.

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motion sensor

Don't let it sense motion

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anyone manage to go left on the title screen?

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MisterThou January 29, 2010 5:37 PM

The going backwards was too frustrating to me, I had a lot of trouble with "faster" level, and then when I finally made it to the next level and couldn't seem to thwart the paddle, when I ended up back on "faster" I quit.

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Cool idea.

Although I'm sad I basically brute forced through the game in no time. If there were some special tricks you had to do to pass later levels, I guess I unknowingly worked around them.

I'm eagerly awaiting Namcap and Sredavni Ecaps.

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Just kidding in my previous post.

For the last level:

The last level requires that you go back at least one screen.

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Gnop Walkthrough

NOTE: You NEED to remember the algorithm of the paddle you passed - this is because it is the SAME algorithm that the paddle on the left will use on the new screen.

Level 1: Go Right

The right paddle stays still. Just go around it by pressing UP to move the ball up and DOWN to move the ball down. Note that you can not lose this level, as the left paddle algorithm here is clearly "follow the ball"

Level 2: Top to bottom

Right paddle will try to chase the ball in a slow manner after the halfway point and going in its direction. Because of this, all you need to do is sideswipe - get the ball to the top on your half, then as the paddle tries to go up, you go down. Just remember that if the ball is hit, you must go back to center!

Level 3: Faster!

Right paddle will chase fast when ball is headed in its direction and past halfway point. You are still going to have to sideswipe, but you're going to have to do it earlier now. Or you can just force the right paddle to go low, then when you hit it, quickly have it go up.

Level 4: Bounce over

Right paddle will follow ball once you hit it unless the ball hits the side, then the Right paddle will freeze for a while before it chases the ball again. That said, all you need to do is hit the side with the ball, then quickly go to the other side while the paddle is stuck.

Level 5: Last minute

Right paddle uses an algorithm that tries to predict where the ball will be when the ball is going in its direction, and it follows the ball when the ball is going away from it. The only way to beat this is to be unpredictable - don't let the ball follow a set path, change the direction mid-flight somewhere between halfway to 3/4 way.

Level 6: Motion sensor

Right paddle senses motion from ball and moves to where motion is. So the easy way out is to slightly tilt the ball up or down and the paddle will not detect it.

Level 7: This is the easy side

Right paddle chases ball once it goes in its direction, but has a slight delay going up instead of down. What you need to do here is go relatively straight when going right then suddenly go up just before you get to the paddle - it's a very small sweet spot, but you'll find it if you persist.

Level 8: This is the hard side

Right paddle chases ball, but has a huge delay in going down. This is the opposite of the last level, and the larger delay makes it easy. In fact, from level 7, you should just let the ball hit the top side, then follow down without any change. Just a note that for some reason, the left paddle doesn't follow the algorithm exactly, and will sometimes suddenly go down for no reason.

Level 9:Be gone

Right paddle chases ball at all times, unless you have left the stage by going left then revisit it, at which point the Right paddle will freeze at center. Thus is your answer - you need to lose and go back left, then come back here. Easier said then done thanks to the different algorithm on the Left paddle on level 8 making it extremely easy to go left 2 levels.

Level 10:End

Well... you're done. There are no more paddles left.

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Fun. I would have liked it if it had "kept score" like real Pong.

Basically increment the left counter if you go left, and the right counter if you go right. I went back a screen more than once, it would have been fun to see how many times I did so.

Also, it would be cool to design it so that the first screen doesn't care if you go left or right. Instead, the game boards could be symmetrical:

E-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-E

This way it's more like a real game, and to "win" or escape, one paddle must beat the other paddle by at least 8 points.

Plus these small changes would add just a tiny bit of depth to a fantastic concept!

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Well, that was easy.

Interesting idea, but short and not much else to it.

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... uh? Is there a "You Win" screen?
*Pout* my victory seems hollow

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I liked how the walkthrough explained the paddles' algorithms.

Knowing how they work makes the game a whole lot more interesting with a second play through.

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Man I can't get my paddle in Tou Kaerb to stop at the edges right so it might be awhile until I finish it. Maybe I should just do Namcap. The problem with Sredavni Ecaps is that it has already been done.

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@gannondorfchampion
Sredavni Ecaps has already been done? Where?

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@Zebezd
I think what gannondorf was talking about was Space Invaders: Invaders get even.

@spike
Thanks - it really took me a while to write it all out. Kind words make me feel happy.

Namcap would be hard to play as 4 ghosts at the same time...

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Tranchera January 31, 2010 7:30 PM

No one's noticed that Gnop, while an obvious name for a Pong game, is a straight rip on Bungie studio's first game, Gnop?

No?

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Anonymous February 2, 2010 2:17 PM

Interesting? Yes.

Totally impossible? Also Yes.

Done with in 30 seconds, and not wasting any more time on it? Also, Also Yes.

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Too short! There's got to be a sequel coming soon!

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