Synopsis of Toy
“You’re trying to out-Gnip him,
While he’s trying to out-Gnop you!”
Pull some games out of the closet, and you know you’re in for the long haul—Risk, Monopoly, etc. But then there are the Gnip Gnops of the world. In theory, and with a little luck, you could probably finish a game of Gnip Gnop in about a second and a half. This was no game of strategy, of patience, plotting, and turn-taking. This was sheer gaming chaos, with the spoils of victory going to the kid with the fastest finger and the luck of the Gnipping gods.
Parker Brothers’ Gnip Gnop (pronounced “guh-NIP guh-NOP”) earned its name by putting a backward spin on ping pong, and the two games weren’t entirely unrelated. Gnip Gnop bounced ping-pong-like balls back and forth across its enclosed court, but with none of that “one ball at a time” sissy stuff. All six Gnip Gnop balls flew around at once, propelled by three buttons on either end of the small playing field. The object was to “Gnip” your three balls over to the other side, while trying not to let the other kid “Gnop” his three balls over to yours. Was it as easy as it sounds? Gnope.
A plastic shield separated the two halves of the Gnip Gnop court, and three holes in the center were the only way across. Once somebody called “Go,” the Gnippers and Gnoppers went flying. Just when it looked like you might Gnip your way to victory, that little weasel would Gnop one of your balls back to you. Balls collided in mid-air, changed sides with blinding speed, and generally made a chaotic mess of every Gnip Gnop game (the good kind of chaotic mess, mind you).
It was all madcap fun, but it was too good to last. Gnip Gnop had disappeared by the end of the 70’s, as kids began to get their head-to-head action fixes with electronic and video games. Gnip Gnop remains a favorite of many, and who knows? Perhaps one day we’ll see a surprise comeback, giving us one more chance to win one for the Gnipper.