Baseball. Soccer. Football. When you think of the pantheon of sports that translate well to video games, competitive frisbee probably isn’t on that list. After all, how much fun can you have watching two people throw a plastic disc back and forth? Surprisingly, the answer is “a lot.”
Windjammer is a one-on-one frisbee game that places two competitors on a field, a net between them, and goals behind each competitor. The goals are divided into segments, with two segments worth one point and the harder to hit segment worth three points. The competitors throw the frisbee back and forth, with each subsequent throw causing the little plastic disc to move faster. While you can play it safe and stick to lazily throwing the frisbee around, you won’t be scoring any points this way. Because Windjammers is a Japanese game, every character has a ridiculous special move to help them out. One character will throw the frisbee at the wall, where it will erupt into a torrent of sparks and make a beeline for the goal. Another will throw the frisbee with such force that anyone in it’s path will be knocked backwards into the net, netting the character a point. It’s absolutely ridiculous to see brightly colored characters use their frisbee to go Super Saiyan, but it makes every match exciting and fun.
Windjammers is set at a competition of the best frisbee players in the world, so the cast is composed of multi-national competitors. Because Windjammers was developed in the early 90’s, every character looks absolutely ridiculous, clad in hot pinks, eye seering neon greens, bike shorts, and chunky sunglasses. These fashion abominations all play differently, with every character having a unique special move, various stats, and a ranking from Easy to Hard. Easy characters tend to be balanced, being pretty good at just about everything. Medium characters have higher ranking in certain areas, making them suffer in others. Hard characters have almost all of their stat points in one category, making them horrible in everything else. But if you want a character that can throw incredibly hard or move at lightning fast speeds, Medium and Hard characters are your best option.
Once you’ve selected your character, it’s time to pick a stage. Every stage is different, and can drastically affect the flow of the match. A small stage will lead to frantic back-and-forth exchanges, whereas a bigger stage gives you room to move and think of your next step. Like any crazy sports game worth it’s salt, there are also gimmick stages that affect the gameplay in certain ways, such as an ice stage that makes it impossible to stay rooted to a spot.
Let’s be real here; Windjammers is basically a gussied up Pong. You throw the frisbee back and forth, trying to get it past the other player and score a point. But because the gameplay is so simple, it’s easy to pick up and play, making it a perfect game to play with friends. The game didn’t receive much attention when it was released for the Neo-Geo way back in 1994, but Windjammers has gone on to become a cult classic. The game ended up being adapted for GGPO (Good Game, Peace Out), an online video game platform that allows fans of classic Neo-Geo and Capcom arcade games to play with other fans across the world. On GGPO, Windjammers has become a surprise sensation, with dozens of people competing in round robin competitions daily.
While it’s next to impossible to get your hands on a Neo-Geo copy of Windjammers these days, the ROM can easily be found on many websites. So do yourself a favor and grab a Neo-Geo emulator and Windjammers and play the greatest (and possibly only) frisbee game of all time.