Monday, January 19, 2015

Memory Bank: Gnip Gnop (1971)

Before video-games changed the landscape of children's entertainment in the late 1970s, there were games such as...Gnip Gnop.

Gnip-Gnop is the "slap happy" game from Parker Bros, first released in the States in 1971. As may or may not seem immediately apparent, the name of the game Gnip-gnop is actually "ping pong" spelled backwards. 

Here's how you played:

"Be the first to get all six balls into your opponent's court by hitting them through the white rings of the GNIPS or GNOPS at your end. 

The first player to win 3 consecutive rounds or a total of 10 rounds (or any number mutually agreed upon) wins the game. Take turns giving the starting signal."

Gnip-Gnop -- a plastic game held together (underneath) largely by rubber bands -- was a staple at my house at Clinton Road in Glen Ridge in the mid-1970s. Today, the game seems positively antiquated, but I found one on E-bay and bought it, to see what I would think of it today.

The first thing to consider in 2014 is that the game is incredibly loud. Joel and I played it for a while one day, and all the banging on the three keys was deafening.

But other than that factor, we had a good time with the back-and-forth. The problem, of course, is that (unlike most video games...) Gnip-Gnop doesn't really develop in any way.  And skill doesn't really play into it, either, like it does in ping pong.  So after awhile, Gnip Gnop sort of loses its appeal, and just takes up a lot of space on the shelf.

The nostalgia factor is high here if you grew up with Gnip-Gnop, no doubt, however. Below is a commercial for the game from the early 1970s.

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