Slime Volleyball Was a Slacker’s Delight

Slime Volleyball Was a Slacker's Delight

Before smartphones, slacking off in school was a lot harder and a lot less fulfilling. What were you really going to do when you had an unsupervised period in the library? I’ll tell you what you would do — you’d play Slime Volleyball.

A simple online game, Slime Volleyball is barebones in its presentation. Two slimes — really, two half-circles — face each other across a line representing a volleyball net. They volley a ball back and forth by jumping into it, with the ball’s trajectory depending on the angle and velocity of contact. It’s essentially Pong from a different perspective, with slightly more complex, if slippery, physics. You might not think it would be anything more than a novelty. But as a game that was easy to jump in and out of and was easy to learn but tricky to master, it was the perfect fit for the early 2000s kid trying to kill some time in the mid-afternoon slump of middle or high school.

The funny thing about Slime Volleyball is that nobody actually seems to know who created the first version of it. According to oneslime.net, the game was discovered in 1999 by Clive Gout, a computer science student, who shared it with his classmates. One of those classmates, Quin Pendragon, modified the game to include a two-player mode, which went on to spawn tournaments and other variations of the core game. There was at one point a Wikipedia page charting the history of these variants, but it appears to have been deleted — likely for lack of notability.

Slime Volleyball

I had no idea about any of this when I played Slime Volleyball 20 or so years ago. All I knew was that it was a fun little game that my friends and I liked to play in school when we got a chance. I’m not even sure what version it was that we were playing, given that there were apparently so many. Possibly it was One Slime, the single-player version of the game written by Daniel Wedge in 2001 — which you can still play in HTML5 form today.

It’s strange to realize that the original author of Slime Volleyball is still unknown today. But that’s the case for many of these old web fascinations that became popular in the days before social media. Novelty sites, games, and other diversions would spread through word of mouth, getting re-hosted, revised, and remixed by different people along the way, so that it was often hard to trace them back to their actual origins. With something like Slime Volleyball, it gets even more complicated because it’s the perfect kind of game for budding programmers to try and recreate in different engines, so there have been dozens of different versions online over the years.

That’s just how things used to work online, for better or worse. It’s tempting to say that things are better these days, that we credit and reward creators appropriately, but one look at any mobile games store full of clones of popular titles — some of which end up eclipsing the originals — proves that isn’t the case. We may never know who made Slime Volleyball or what they think of the life their little game took on without them, but I hope that wherever they are, they’re happy knowing how much time they helped students in the 2000s waste in libraries and computer rooms around the world.

Author: Deann Hawkins