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There are variations of this game, but I'll explain it the way that I'm used to playing it. First, you need one or two tennis balls (depending on how many people are playing), not a baseball or a softball (unless you really want to get hurt), and a large wall to throw the ball against. It is best played when you have at least four people, 5-10 is ideal.

The point of the game is to not get pegged, or hit with the ball. The way to do this is by not dropping the ball when you have it. The way you play is by throwing the ball against the wall, so it will bounce back in the direction of the players. When the ball comes back, either in mid-air, or bouncing, the players try to catch it. There are no turns, its all random, so anyone can catch it (except the person who just threw it). It doesn't matter if you catch it from mid-air, or if its bounced once, or even 50 times, just as long as you do catch it. And you continue doing this until someone drops the ball, which is where the fun part comes into play.

Now, say the ball is coming back from the wall, and you try to catch it, but instead of pulling it off like a pro, you drop it like a klutz. If this happens, you leave the ball where you dropped it, and you better run as fast as you can to touch the wall. While you're running, any of the other players can pick the ball up and nail you with it while you're on the run, or hit the wall with it before you touch the wall yourself. If you're either hit with the ball while you're running to try and touch the wall, or the ball hits the wall before you touch it, you have to take a peg shot. This means you stand against the wall, and whoever threw the ball to get you out gets the free shot at you. To make it fair, the pegger has to stand at least 20-30 feet away from the player against the wall, no cheating =). Now, if the pegger misses, lucky you, you go back and start playing as usual. If he/she hits you, ouch, just hope they have a weak throw =), then just resume normal play.

That's the main gist of it, like I said, its just one way to play. The most fun in my opinion is playing with 5-10 people with two balls at once, it makes the play more exciting. Its a very flexible game, so feel free to add your own little twist to make it more fun. Maybe make it so if the pegger misses the person who is out, the pegger will become the pegee, as an example. Anything you want, use your imagination.

In my elementary school, it was called "Butts Up." Because when people got to throw the ball at you, you put your hands on the wall and they pegged it at your ass. Also, one twist in our version, each time you got pegged, you got a letter, until you spelled out B-U-T-T-S-U-P. (Kinda like the basketball game HORSE. When you had spelled it out, you had to go up to the wall one more time and let everyone peg you in the butt. We were brutal!

Typically, the game was played with racquetballs (the small blue balls).

Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Avalon Hill
Model Number: 50030
Rarity: 7 Very Rare
Year of Release: 1983
Programmer: Duncan Scott

Wall Ball is a 3-D implementation of Breakout for the Atari 2600. This game was made by Avalon Hill, which is the same company that makes all those tabletop strategy games. This may have been available only as a Sports Illustrated giveaway, as most of the cartridges are labeled as such.

You control a transparent square that can move all around the screen. You must knock a ball at the wall in the background to break bricks out of it. This is much harder than Breakout ever was because you have to track the ball in three dimensions instead of two. It becomes easier with a little practice, but will never have the natural feel that Breakout had because it uses the joystick for a game better played with an analog control. A trackball or mouse would have been perfect.

This title is quite fun, and it requires the player to rethink everything they know about Pong and Breakout, and attempt to track the ball in three dimensions. This would have been one of the greatest Atari 2600 games ever made if it were not for the control issues.

Collectors Information

This game is fairly rare, just like most Avalon Hill games are. It is harder to get than you would think because it is actually fun. So collectors are much less likely to sell their copy. Wall Ball is valued at around $100 USD, and games with boxes and manuals may go for more.

Also known variously as wallball, punchball and "Ow, not that game again!", this game has been around in various incarnations as long as there have been walls, balls, and kids. There are a few basic rules world wide - one person throws, and the next in line catches. Don't drop the ball; if you do drop the ball, run for the wall; and if you get hit, get over it.

Those basics laid down, the following seems to be a pretty common set of rules in the United States:

  • Each throw must be done with the hand that caught the ball, or the catcher becomes a runner (defined below).
  • The ball must be thrown from the minimum distance line (15') or wherever the ball was caught - whichever is farther. If a player has to chase a missed catch, he has to throw from the final retrieval point.
  • The ball must be thrown in such a way that it strikes the vertical surface of the wall before striking the ground. Corner shots are allowed, and can cause difficult returns, so are attempted often - but be warned, it's easy for an attempted corner shot to become a ground ball!
  • If a thrower fails to strike the wall first (ground ball), they become a runner (defined below).
  • Other players may not interfere with the catch itself, nor may they touch a ball before the designated catcher does, but if a catcher in the process of "bobbling" the ball (ie, they've touched it, but are not in complete control of it yet), it can be snagged out of the air by another player.
  • If a catcher misses the ball entirely, he has to go after it, and throw it from the retrieval point.
  • If a catcher touches the ball, but fails to control it (drops it, or another player snags it), they become a runner.
  • Runners must touch the wall before being tagged with the ball by another player (alternatively, peggers may have to tag the wall instead of the runner).
  • Any player may attempt to get the ball to throw at a runner, but if they fail to control the ball, or miss the throw at the runner, they become a runner, too.
  • Any runner who gets tagged gains a point.
  • The first player to the agreed upon point count (usually one or three points) "goes to the wall."
  • When a player is "at the wall," either just the pegger, or in more cutthroat games, each other player has one to three attempts to strike them with the ball as hard as they want - but if they fail to hit the target, they gain a "pussy point" or "wuss point." It is possible for multiple players to end up at the wall in sequence due to "pussy points," but if that is the case, the current person must still finish his round at the wall before the next person takes their place at the wall.
  • Additional penalty points can be assigned for hitting out-of-bounds areas, or throwing the ball on the roof.
  • The game continues until everyone is too tired to play, or recess (or cigarette break) is over.

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