If you’ve ever ached to play table tennis but didn’t have a partner, this invention from Japan may be the solution. I originally watched this video from DigInfo TV without my headphones on, making this invention look like, pretty much, the stupidest thing ever. Watching a perky girl hitting an invisible ball with her ping pong paddle, opposite an invisible opponent, is more unsettling than you might think. This is coming from someone who’s played Dance Dance Revolution in front of others. Without the visual stimulus added, this game (dubbed “Go with the rhythm! Hyper Ping Pong”) just looks completely odd. With my headphones on, I could see some appeal with the realistic sounds added, giving players the opportunity to time when to strike the ball. But, really, how fun would Wii Bowling have been if you could only hear the pins falling down?
Thankfully, this game is priced at only 2000 yen, which comes out to around $25. While the creators tout it as a party game where you can show off your table tennis rally skills to your friends, I have a hard time imagining anyone would actually want to see such a thing. In some ways, the game is a step up from playing versus a wall, since you don’t have to set up the perfect shots and can work on whichever type of swing you want.
You can also win by delivering a well-timed shot while holding down the button on the paddle. On the other hand, it takes away from the unexpectedness of the game, allowing you to swing randomly and casually rather than anticipate an opponent’s move and react quickly to return the volley.
Since it’s not priced at the same level as a video game (and since it lacks video entirely), I can’t really judge it along those lines. In essence, it’s just another toy and I’m sure I begged for far more ridiculous ones as a child. For more toy ideas, check out these Wolverine Claws or a Handheld Snowball Launcher Gun.