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Subject: Pure Evil in Miniature: Hoops, By Demons for Demons rss

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That's what charity's all about: getting liquored up and spanking your neighbor
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Wichita
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There is a well known and time-tested design rule that I swear I did not just invent: If you must make an evil game, at least make it short and simple and, if possible, foldable, so the evil can be contained when not in use.

MGA Entertainment, which no one has ever heard of, thoughtfully included all these design elements when it released Hot Hoops in 2000.

Does this game really need a review? Do you need an appendix? Do I need another picture of Jessica Alba? Who can say? But because I have written one, I expect you to give it the adulation it deserves.

I bought this at a thrift store a few years ago to play with my then-7-year-old son. It was a good value in that, unlike most of my thrift store purchases, it did not come with any bonus smells (moist dog with skin infection being my personal favorite.) And it got played. A few times.

It’s a simple game with two "courts" for simultaneous competitive action. You hit a lever that flicks a ball at your hoop while your opponent does the same on his side. You continue to hit and flick until somebody runs out of balls. Usually that means you’ve successfully gotten them all into the hoop, though it could mean that you’ve launched them into the air conditioner vent or the dog’s mouth. There's even an optional setup in which your hits are directed through a tube into your opponent's area, thus ensuring that players of equal skill will play until they die or someone has to use the bathroom.

Herein lies the major flaw in this game: It’s so simple that my inability to master it can only be a conspiracy of galactic, or at least colossal, proportions. Who would have the time and energy to devote to such a pointless conspiracy, I cannot say. But I have always had excellent hand-eye coordination, and my son was (and still is) the least coordinated child I’ve ever known. Yet he beat me a shocking number of times in a row--well, three times. Out of three. Not that I was counting.

I’m blaming my incompetence on two things. First, the flippers are impossible* to control with any precision. I don’t expect a laser guidance system (although if this were AmeriTrash, it would cost $75 and include one but no instructions on how to install it.) I do expect the same force to produce the same shot each time. Second, it's tiny, shockingly tiny, infuriatingly tiny, as if it were only playtested by dwarves, Oompa Loompas and other unfathomably small creatures.

I don’t know who designed it. Probably I don’t want to know. But it’s definitely made by demons for demons. Demons with tiny fingers. Children, perhaps.

I suppose we got our $2 worth out of this miserable, evil thing. Will you get your money’s worth? I suspect not, if you pay full retail for it, though I’m happy to say I don’t know what that would be, as it would require research. It might be “worth” your money and time if your money is in near infinite supply and your time is literally worthless. Otherwise, stay away, unless you have a house full of small gamers with tiny digits and low standards.

*Wild exaggeration; needs proof.
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Byron Olson
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Ramsey
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I dominated at this game.
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