Only @ Microsoft

I’ve been playing foosball for a long while now. I picked it up while I was working for Symantec; since then, whenever I join a new company, I always lobby to have a table brought in for “in house” entertainment value. Besides, most people like to play it and it’s relatively inexpensive (as far as gaming tables go). Interestingly, Building 5 already had a foosball table in the 2nd floor “lobby”, where people can play during lunch and after 5pm – why the time limits? The table – and the players – make a good deal of noise that used to carry to a near by conference room, so most people only play after 5. What’s so strange or unique about this?

The game play. Most new players, when they start playing foosball, will constantly spin their players in a vain effort to score. This is what’s known as flailing [it might be a hardcore term, but it’s definitely what we called it at Symantec and since the players are flailing about the rods, it’s accurate enough] and experienced players hate it. In fact, in the “big book of foosball rules” it is illegal to rotate the men 360 degrees, much less endlessly spinning them. None of the players here flail, myself included.

And what’s so strange or unique about that? Still nothing. That is, nothing until I saw one particular player and this wild offensive move that he pulls off. I’ve watched him do this move with any of the men on the field, but it’s most effective with the front line of offensive guys. He takes the ball and rolls it until it’s just in front of the guy. Then he brings the guy backwards until the boot of the dude is on the ball. He then sets the shot by rotating the player onto the foosball. When he’s ready to shoot, the action off the foosball carries the boot into the ball at an extreme speed. No lie: I can’t see the ball in motion. Neither can most of the defensive players. I hear the *smack* of the ball, followed by the *chachunk* of a foosball goal, but I don’t see the shoot.

Yeah, so that’s impressive, but what’s that got to do with Microsoft? Nothing, really. What’s particular to Microsoft was a conversation about this shot. Someone asked the guy, “Hey, I thought you weren’t allowed to spin the guy all the way around – doesn’t that make it an unfair shot?” He replied, “Oh. It’s OK, actually. The shot only spins the guy about 340 or 345 degrees around, so it’s not a complete revolution.”

That is explanation that I would have only ever expected hear here.

3 thoughts on “Only @ Microsoft”

  1. Hey, me and my friends do that trick too. You can also, sometimes, squeeze the ball between the table and the boot in the first step and cause it to “pop” out at great speed. This is useful as it keeps the other player guessing as to which you’ll do when you rotate your guy backwards. However, this move might be considered illegal, as if you are not entirely skilled (or the crowd is against you) you may go a complete 360. If you’re good, which I am not so much, you can pull it off with about 350-355 degrees of motion; it’s easy to overspin on this one. Most people let it go, since it’s not a shot made by spinning rapidly and technically only involves a fraction of a cm movement once set up.

    Ah, I remember my high school days… Hanging out at Joe’s playing D&D or at Bob’s getting drunk and playing Foosball. Those were the days, quoting Homer Simpson (sung to an, title unknown by me, song by Frank Sinatra):

    “When I was seventeen, I drank some very good beer. I drank some very good beer which I purchased, with a fake ID. My name was Brian McGee. I stayed up listening to Queen. When I was seventeen.”

  2. Hm. I’m getting the impression that most of the people I’ve played foosball with in the past have sucked *smirk* *taunt*

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