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Games and Toys

Cue Ball

Alex Higgins Cue Ball, or Bank Shot as it was also called, is an L.E.D. pool game made by Palitoy.

The idea of pool, as I’m sure you know if you’ve ever played pool or snooker, is to hit the white ball with your cue, making it collide with the different coloured balls in the hope that one of them goes into a pocket.

Unfortunately, technology in the 80s wasn’t advanced enough to provide the player with all the colours needed to play pool properly, as back in the early part of the 80s, L.E.D.s were red. Therefore on Cue Ball you had to hit a red ball, with a red cue, into other red balls and hope you potted the right one.

Although I might mock the technology of the time, this was a superb game! When I say it is another of those “I spent DAYS playing this” games, I really did.

Cue ball had a few different modes, Firstly there was normal pool. The idea of this was to pot all the balls leaving just the “white” on the table. It could be played as a single or two player game, with the game indicating whose go it was.

Then there were trick shots where you could place balls wherever you wanted and try your best to pot them by bouncing them off the cushions.

The multiplayer option really added to this game. Gone were the days where you’d watch someone else playing a game. This was one that you took turns to play. You BOTH got a go!

My original Cue Ball came to an untimely end at the start of the 90s when, after studying electronics at school, I decided to take it to pieces to see how it worked. The L.E.D.s were tiny and, apparently, not very resilient to me pressing them. I pressed one lightly, it clicked, and that L.E.D. never lit up again. In total disbelief I pressed another one. That clicked too and I realised I’d broken two essential parts of the display. In a rage I pressed them all, like a maniac trying to burst as many sections of bubble wrap as possible in one go. Then I binned it.

Brilliant game, while it worked though.


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