ScreenPlay Pong performs double duty as a screensaver and a video game. Users with a nostalgic streak for long-forgotten video technology will love this primitive combination.
The program's interface is thankfully just as bare bones as the actual imagery onscreen. Users set up their screensaver much like any other, by navigating a small bank of radio buttons that control timing and color. We did not see a Help file, but this program is so basic, it didn't concern us. When working, the screensaver looks like the old video game Pong. A simple ball bounces among the screen's four walls and battles against a bar that acts as a ping-pong paddle, attempting to keep the ball in play. Setting up the screensaver is simple, as controls allow for 5, 15, and 30 minutes of idle time before functioning. In addition, by managing a few button clicks, users can colorize the game and turn off the autoplay option, so they can use their arrow keys to play the computer in a game. The program's finest and only special feature is its ability to preview what the screensaver will look like once it is activated.
With incredibly simple controls and excellent results, this freeware program is a great download for someone looking for a nostalgic screensaver.
From Impact Software:
This is a simple screensaver that will keep you from becoming bored, either by watching the computer play itself or by joining in on the action and playing against your computer, you are sure to enjoy great entertainment from this classic game. Random colored paddles and ball are an option, or sticking with classic black and white will work. Also settings of 5, 10, 30, or custom idle times can be set. This version is the first release on CNET Download.com.
What's new in this version:
This version is the first release on CNET Download.com.
Adds unwanted spyware upon installation (see summary for removal.) Software doesn't run as a screen saver but an executable program. Doesn't capture the look and feel of pong. A cheap and blatant ripoff of an actual pong screen saver.
For those of you who have just uninstalled this "screensaver" please be sure to delete the folder labeled "Impact Software LLC" located in the Program Files directory (or whatever directory you installed this software in.) The folder contains a program called "InPage.exe" which will cause an Advertisement window to pop up sometime after the installation of this awful program. You may have to go into safe mode to successfully remove this unwanted software.
So you might be asking "how horrible is this program really?" Well, for starters, the only reason I made an account here at download.cnet.com is so that I could warn you, the user, just how horrifically awful this program is and to stay away at all costs. Since I've already gone to through the trouble of dealing with this program, I'm going to explain in detail what it would be like if you were to actually install it and try to use it.
So you decide to download and install this program. Once you get it up running the first thing you're going to notice is that it's not actually a screen saver. It's actually a program. Technically speaking, it can actually save your screen, but you can't access it from the display properties screen saver tab and it doesn't have a ".scr" extension, which is pretty bad sign. In order for this lousy software to function properly, you must set your real screen saver to "None" because otherwise, whatever real screen saver you're using will operate normally and pop in front of software while it's running.
So lets run the software, shall we? Right off the bat you'll see that this is only pong in the sense that it's digital table tennis. Any unexpected video game enthusiast who downloaded this software hoping it would have any connection or reference to the original Atari classic will find themselves severely disappointed. The fact that the gameplay is displayed horizontally rather then vertically is fairly disappointing, but what clearly ruins the experience is that ricocheting block is now an ugly over-sized ball and the scores aren't even written in 8-bit text. Clearly, whoever designed this garbage didn't even put the time or effort into making it actually reference the original classic which is sad... but what's even sadder is that there's another screen saver just like this one, called "Pong Saver" (http://cmbsoftware.com/pongscreensaver.htm) that actually does what you wanted this screen saver to do. It too is unfortunately plagued with that unfamiliar horizontal display but at least it captures the look and feel of the original, is playable, and runs as an actual screen saver. It does cost money to register it though, so if you're looking for something free, I'd keep checking around.
So you've wasted five minuets putting this trash of a program on your computer and now that you're completely dissatisfied with it, you decide that it's high time you uninstall it. Naturally, you go to your control panel and uninstall it in the "Add Or Remove Programs" wizard. Everything should be fine now right? You shouldn't ever have to deal with that crappy program again, right? Wrong. Without you knowing, the installation file for this program shoved a folder in your program directory labeled "Impact Software LLC," which, after a certain amount of time, will begin spamming you with weird Ads. If you're like me, you might have thought that this was your standard fair spyware and that running a program like AVG, Spybot Search & Destroy, SUPERAntiSpyware, or Malwarebytes would get rid of the ads. You might have even run your Avira antivirus software thinking it may have been some sort of bug you got on your computer somehow. Heck, you may even have thought that your Avira software just wasn't able to detect it, so you switched over to avast thinking that it could catch the problem only to have it continue to fail and have this consistent advertisement window show up after every restart. Did you do that? No? Well... I did! It turns out that not even the most powerful of any anti-unwanted program software in your arsenal of computer protection is capable detecting this unwanted ad, simply because it too, like this screen saver, is an executable file. It, surprisingly, runs off the same technology used to make this screen saver work without actually being a screen saver and it will bug you until you get rid of. So go ahead and go into safemode, find the folder, and delete it.
So what have we learned? This screen saver sucks. It sucks as a program, it sucks doing it's job, it sucks being pong, and it flips you off while your back is turned long after you've already gotten rid of it. The only slightly amusing thing this program can do is have random colors applied to it's crappy interface and that is NOT worth the trouble this program has been. Do yourself a favor, go find a cool Matrix screen saver or maybe one that makes your monitor look like a fireplace and avoid this thing like the plague.