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Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Bouncing Balls

I have unhealthy obsession: Bouncing Balls.

Sorry, it is not what you might imagine, it’s a computer game. You fire coloured balls from a gun. When you place three or more of the same together, they explode and disappear. 

Bouncing Balls Level 6

In the screenshot shot the yellow ball from the gun will bounce off the right hand wall to hit and destroy the group of yellow balls at the top. Actually, a better move would be to take out the four yellow balls near the top on the left. This would leave a large group hanging without support, so they would fall and be destroyed too.

As you play, the balls move slowly downwards. To win, you have to destroy them all before they reach the bottom. You then progress to the next level which has more colours and less time.

Here is another screenshot: the leaderboard on the Novel Games site. I’m fourth. Fourth in the world! Impressed? If it were lawn tennis, I could be Emma Raducanu. 

Thankfully, I’ve never been bothered by the all-consuming games that get talked about: Grand Theft Auto and Fortnite, etc. It’s the mindless ones that get me. Hours have gone on Pacman, Freecell and Minesweeper.

I first fell in 1983 while writing educational software in a university. I went in one Sunday to sort out a problem, which, like a lot of programming problems, turned out to have sorted itself out in my head without thinking, so it only took ten minutes. As there was no one else around, I switched on the Apple IIe and began playing Arcadians, a space invaders game. The ‘just-one-more-go’ syndrome had me still there at ten at night. I’d got pretty good by then.

Bouncing Balls is an unusual game for someone with my colour vision to play. At first, the red balls looked nearly the same as the green, but I gradually learned to distinguish them well enough to get to Level 9 when an orange ball is introduced. This, to me, truly is indistinguishable from the green one.

At Level 8 I cannot distinguish a difference between the green and orange balls indicated on the left. The protanopia filter makes the green darker and alters some of the other colours too.

The way round it was to use the Windows 10 colour filter for red-green protanopia (Settings – Ease of access – Color filters), which makes the green look darker and allows me to get to Level 12 before it becomes too fast. 

But, my score on the leaderboard is way beyond this at Level 22. How?

I got a new computer. It is more powerful than the old one and runs Bouncing Balls so fast I can’t get past Level 8. Can it really be that the power of the computer affects the speed of the game? Yes, it seems. On an even older tablet the game runs even more slowly. Most unfair.

I remembered there is a Windows 10 system option that restricts the power of the processor*. The new computer does not have it but it is there on the old one. Does Bouncing Balls run more slowly under reduced processor power on the old computer? Yes it does.

There you have it. As you go up through the game level by level, you reduce the power to 50%, then 40%, then 30%, and so on, down to 0%. That’s how you get a score of 414,270 at Level 22.

Just a word of warning. Remember to reset it back to 100% before you turn the computer off, otherwise you might have to wait an hour for it to start up again.

I doubt I’ll be fourth for long when other players read this, assuming Novel Games don’t remove me first. 

As for Emma Raducanu, my wife’s nephew grew up in Bromley where, at the tennis club, he was asked to play against a young girl three years his junior. You can guess the outcome. I only hope she doesn’t become addicted to Bouncing Balls. She would be top of the leaderboard in next to no time  – without cheating. 


*See: Settings – System – Power & Sleep – Additional power settings – Change plan settings – Change advanced power settings – Processor power management – reduce % as needed. Leave the window open so you can get back easily to change it, and don't forget to put it back to 100%. It looks like this:

27 comments:

  1. I have been playing this for a while now but never get beyond level 7.

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    1. You will now, but remember to reset the speed or else your computer will run like a snail.

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  2. I love this game, only the one I play is from a different game company. It can be quite addictive. I love how you figured out a way to get a better score, how smart of you! I did not know you could reduce the power of the computer. You are doing quite well with this game considering you do have color vision problems. I prefer these types of game too over the big ones that pull you in and then never end.

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    1. I think I've also played it on WildTangent but prefer the Novel Games one. Must see whether my trick works elsewhere.

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  3. I try to avoid games. I tend to get addicted to them. I don't need another time waster.

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    1. I suspect that because Bouncing Balls is impossible on the new computer I'm going to get a break for a while. Sometimes I've managed to last over a year without playing any games at all, but they always get me back in the end.

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  4. No one touches my computer settings, including me. I was for a short time hooked on a preinstalled game Tetris a few phones ago. It wasn't on my next phone and I would have to pay for it. Forget it.

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    1. Not being a phone user I've escaped that distraction, but Tetris, that was on my work computer in the 1980s and it was difficult to play and make it look as if you were working.
      There was an interesting read in the Guardian this week: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/nov/05/experience-im-the-best-tetris-player-in-the-world

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  5. The lengths we go to eh...I find the addictive nature of hames quite disconcerting, and yet fascinating too. I avoid them because I sense I could so easily get drawn in.

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    1. Sounds as if you have a lot more self-control than I have, but as mentioned above, Bouncing Balls is no fun on the new computer so I'm going to get a break for a while.

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    2. I still after all these years play freecell. Don't stop till my fingers are tired!

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  6. I have never played a game of any kind on my computer - am I missing something?

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  7. I know the game and have tried it, but it has not caught on with me. My all-time favourite computer game still is The Sims 2 (of course I have the other versions, too, having worked for EA for many years as one of the moderators and presenters of the game).
    These days, I love a Harry Potter-themed game on my iPad where you have to "cast spells" and match threes to solve puzzles.

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    1. Having seen your Sims blog I would say you are beyond all hope.

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  8. I try to avoid computer games. However, my 4yr old GS desperately wants me to play against him on one of his favorites. When I tell him I don't know the game, he says, "I teach you!" If only.

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    1. I don't really like competitive games, either electronic or old fashioned - especially when I'd have no chance of winning.

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  9. Phoebe do you play computer games? I found a fish-chasing game on the tablet of our lodger once. He'd left it lying on the floor.....I like computer screens. xxx Mr T

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    1. Tigger, Phoebe does not have a computer and she is not allowed to use mine.

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  10. I waste enough time playing solitaire on my computer so I had better not look at other games!

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    1. That's another one I've played for much too long in the past.

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  11. The male fourth ranked tennis player in the world is Stefanos Tsitsipas. Mind you it would be more fun being Emma Raducanu in the shower after a particularly hot and sweaty match. New balls please!

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    1. I was hoping this post would provoke a similar confession from you about all the hours you spend playing video games such as Hardcoded.

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  12. I played video games as a teenager but I haven't done much with them since. That's interesting about slowing the processor speed -- I didn't even know that was possible! (Wonder if Apple has a similar setting?)

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    1. Don't know about Apple. I had a vague recollection that there was such a setting but it seems to have been removed in Windows 11 and the most recent versions of W10. It neverthess surprised me when I found it enabled you to cheat in some games at least.

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