Have You Played… 3D Pong?


Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Pong but with the camera positioned behind your paddle and the ball no longer limited to a 2D plane. Up, right, left, down; the possibilities were practically endless in 3D Pong.

There’s something so simple and uninspiring about this Flash browser game that I feel almost bad writing about it, but it was ubiquitous on computer screens at my school. Those machines didn’t have any games on them and so we were limited to what we could find online and run easily, which meant it was pretty much either this or RuneScape. Even now I’d still choose 3D Pong.

I still can, too. It’s playable here, and though I don’t remember it being called Curveball, I do remember the fun of trying to curve the ball away from the AI opponent. It gets better as it gets faster, too, the ball pinging back and forth till your reactions are instinctual. Playing it now, it’s still fun – and I’m silly to feel awkward writing about it. 3D Pong is great.


  1. Ephant says:

    Yeah, 13 years ago.

  2. Masked Dave says:

    Wow, that’s an unexpected blast from the past. (I appreciate that’s the point of this column.)

  3. sdfex says:

    I knew after Spank the Monkey this would be soon to follow.

  4. Menthalion says:

    You and your newfangled clones, you must have meant:

    Have you played.. Light Corridor ?

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Aim Here says:

      What’s that you say, young ‘un? Newfangled clones?

      I assume by ‘newfangled clone’, you’re referring to that fancy schmancy Amigafied version of CRL’s Room Ten in your link.

      • Menthalion says:

        Dang, I had a ZX at that time, but never even heard of this game..

      • SuperTim says:

        I hope a lot of people back then have played it. Because it was on a covertape some years later.

        It was somewhat enjoyable back in those days…

  5. Saarlaender39 says:

    No, I haven’t.
    I have, however, recently played “Danger Ball” (from the “PSVR Worlds” – Demo disk), and enjoyed it.

  6. WombatDeath says:

    I remember Curveball very well, though time has been unkind to my reflexes. Managed to get to level 7, and was pleased to remember that I can ace my way up to that point (aim for the top-right corner).

  7. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Penguin toss is nigh.

  8. Canadave says:

    Oh no, no way in hell am I clicking on a link to Curveball. I’ve got my life back now, you understand? I’m not doing that to myself again… not again… not… again…

    *huddles in corner, rocking back and forth*

  9. dagnamit says:

    Goddam it. The one game on the planet whose thrall I am incapable of escaping. Off to play… not bad, took one round from Level 8, 29,100 points.

    The only problem with this game is that Level 8 is a ridiculous spike in difficulty. You just have to keep control until your position is perfect and then unleash a monstrous sweeping curveball. Level 9 is just as big a difficulty jump. I saw level 10 one time, and that was just luck.

    Top 5 all-time game ever, easily. lol.

  10. listoriented says:

    This game was the entire focus of an exam study fortnight for me, once upon a time. I too knew it as Curveball. No, the exams didn’t go particularly well.

  11. Ugubriat says:

    Yes, what a game! I played this ages ago. Can someone please please please make a 2-player version of this?

  12. Josh W says:

    I was never very good at this, took me ages to realise that the “spin” I was applying to the ball was actually not due to last minute paddle motion and actually due to the fact that I was skimming the edge of the ball.

    It also helps me realise the elegance of pong-like games with breakout style paddles, in that the players cannot influence the time it takes to get from one side to another, but by hitting it with the edges of their paddles, they can cause it to skew from one side to another at different speeds, meaning that they can alter the complexity of the path it takes bouncing from one side to another, in a way that effects both them and their opponent.

    In other words, there’s a game of chicken hidden within it, as players can increase or decrease the perpendicular velocity of the ball by their paddle choices in order to make the game harder and harder to play for both players, and only by a certain amount each hit because of the length of their paddles. There’s a drama of escalation within it’s constant rhythm.

    • Josh W says:

      That should be skimming the edge of the paddle with the ball.

      Also, I’ve realised that bookmarking the rps pages linking to a game is actually nicer than bookmarking the game itself, presumably the same observation steam made with their game pages.

  13. CarthAnne says:

    I distinctly remember playing a version of this in one of the Putt Putt games, but I could have easily hallucinated that.