RetroBall (A four player LED pong game).

By brad, June 30, 2013

Pong style video games have been a favourite of many gamers since their inception back in the 1970’s. A simple two player game where each player is required to move their bat up and down the screen in order to intercept the oncoming ball to prevent it from getting past them.

(Downloads at the bottom of this page)

Who would have thought that a simple electronic tennis game with primitive graphics and sound could become so addictive?

There have been many variations of the original produced over the years but perhaps none quite like RetroBall.
RetroBall Title

 

What is RetroBall?

RetroBall is a variation of these pong style games. The game is played on a 32 x 32 pixel LED screen housed in a beautiful tinted acrylic enclosure. The unit measures 40cm x 40cm x 4.5cm deep and weighs in at 2.7KG.

There are four paddle controllers, one in each corner of the unit, allowing for up to four simultaneous players. You can choose from two levels of difficulty and can even play with up to five balls on the screen at once. It’s retro mayhem!

RetroBall also includes a built in speaker for some fantastic 1-bit sound FX to top off the old school gaming experience.
4Player5BallPic2_1

 

Playing The Game – Single Ball Mode

There are two modes to choose from when playing with just a single ball – Easy and Hard. The difference between the modes is the speed that the ball travels.

Each player will start the game with eleven points. Players are to move their bat to the left and right in order to intercept the incoming ball and knock it back into the game area. If they miss the ball they will lose a point, the game will pause and display scores of all players. The game will resume automatically after approximately two seconds.

A player will be knocked out of the game and their bat will be replaced with a solid wall when they lose all their points. The game will be over when only one player remains. (I.E. all other players have lost their points).

To add extra depth to the gameplay, players can make the ball spin off at different angles and speeds depending on how fast and in which direction their bat is moving when the ball is hit.

 

Hard Mode and Easy Mode
1BallHardMode 1BallEasyMode

 

Two players showing each players score:

 

2Player1BallPic1

 

Four player single ball:

4Player1BallPic1

 

Playing The Game – Five Balls Mode

Each player will start the game with fifty points. Players are to move their bat to the left and right in order to intercept the incoming balls and knock them back into the game area. If they miss a ball they will lose a point and their score will show for a split second but the game will not pause.

A player will be knocked out of the game and their bat will be replaced with a solid wall when they lose all their points. The game will be over when only one player remains. (I.E. all other players have lost their points).

To add extra depth to the gameplay, players can make the balls spin off at different angles and speeds depending on how fast and in which direction their bat is moving when a ball is hit.

5 Balls Mode

5BallsMode

 

Four Players, with two recently missing a ball.

4Player5BallPic2_1

 

One player knocked out already:

3Player5BallsPic1

 

Two players knocked out:

2Player5BallsPic1

 

 

We Have a Winner 

The last man standing will be presented with an animated you win message scrolling in their direction.
YouWin

 

DOWNLOADS

Please note, there is an error in the PCB design (Gerber file) it is actually missing one track on the board. I will eventually fix this up but in the mean time, you can easily fix it yourself. Information can be found here:

http://www.bradsprojects.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1172

RetroBallFiles

  • Jason Gobus

    Hey bud what a great project! I am super keen to make this,
    I saw your driver board PCB file (gbr) and I am getting that ordered very very soon. 😀
    so my question to you is
    do you have the GBR files for the big PCB that I see that is used for your LED display? I had a look in your downloads and I couldn’t find it in there. I am assuming if its in there then its the file that is corrupt or I cant open.
    Are you able to email it to me? I would love to get this project going it will make for a great xmas present for my son. 😀

    thanks very much and GREAT work buddy

  • admin

    Hi Jason, glad you like the project.

    Can I ask where you are getting your board made up?

    The good news for the LED displays is that they come pre made. I.E. all the LEDs, driver chips etc… are already soldered to the board.

    You can buy them here for quite cheap:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/led-supermarket-led-outdoor-display-led-sign-Led-display-p20-p10-p16-dip-2R-led-display/1122747268.html

    You can get them cheaper if you buy them in lots of 10 or 100 etc… but I am guessing you just need two, which is how many you need to make one retroball system.

    Hope that helps!

  • Matt

    Hi, Trying to download files but they come up with error and possible corrupt. Could you send me the stuff to me?

    thanks

  • Kaijuu

    Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that this was a hit at our Game Room this year.
    In my spare time, I’m part of a non-profit organisation which organises an annual Japanese popular culture festival and when I came across your Retroball-project, I replicated it to add it as a novelty to our Game Room.

    I redesigend your board to use a mix of TH and SMT and to fit everything within 5x5cm (cheaper), got some sturdy wirewound pots from eBay and cobbled the whole thing together onto a sheet of perforated aluminium, but intend to put it into a small table like those old coffe table arcades.
    I already happend to have the displays, since I also am quite fond of LED display signs.

    I can send you some pics if you like?

  • admin

    Hi Matt, thanks for letting me know about the corrupt file. I have re-uploaded the zip file and all looks to be good now 🙂

  • admin

    Hi Kaijuu, thanks very much for your post. Great to hear that you are getting enjoyment out of your own retroball game. If you could send me through some photo’s that would be fantastic, i’d like to put them up on this page so others can see what you have made.

    Could you please send the files through to brad#bradsprojects,com (replace the # with @ and the , with .)

    Thanks again for letting me know, I look forward to seeing your creation 🙂

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  • Anon

    Hi, I like the project. I happen to own four of these displays:
    http://dx.com/p/jy-mcu-3208-lattice-clock-ht1632c-driver-with-mcu-support-secondary-development-104306

    I am curious if I can make the same with these displays as you have done. Will look into it when I have time 🙂

  • admin

    Hi Anon, yes you can use those displays – it would just need a little modification done to the code that sends all the data to the displays.