Windjammers (known in Japan as Flying Power Disc) is an action sports game developed and released by Data East for arcades (running Neo Geo MVS hardware) on February 17, 1994.
A unique sport based on a combination of air hockey and tennis, Windjammers has two players facing off on a court (with a low net in the middle), attempting to throw a singular throwing disc past each other into designated goal zones while preventing the other player from doing the same. Players pick characters from different nationalities, each with unique stats and special abilities.
The game was subsequently released for the Neo Geo AES on April 8, 1994 and ported to the Neo Geo CD on January 20, 1995. It was later digitally re-released for the Wii (via Virtual Console) exclusively in Japan by D4 on June 22, 2010 (and was de-listed early on December 24, 2013 due to licensing issues). An enhanced online-supported port was digitally released (via PlayStation Network) for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita by DotEmu on August 29, 2017.
Windjammers is noted for its popularity among the Giant Bomb staff (especially Jeff) and the community since 2013, when it was played on camera at times (including numerous times on the Extra Life 2013 charity stream). Modern clones of the game (including some community GB-themed indie games) have been made since then, most notably Disc Jam, Power Disc Slam, and Gyrodisc: Super League.
There are two basic moves: a regular throw and a lob. By using quarter-circle and half-circle movements, you can also add effect to the throw such as curves and banks. To catch difficult discs, you can slide to move more quickly. Slides have a recovery time to them, so sliding the wrong way is very risky.
Each player has a powerful signature throw. To execute these special moves you must stand where a lobbed or popped-up disc is going to land and power up your throw by mashing or holding the throw button. A player can pop-up a disc by hitting the catch button at the correct time. These moves can be countered but if received too far back they will knock an opponent into the goal. Slower characters are less prone to being knocked back.
There are six characters to choose from, with specific abilities and their own court fit for their skills. A single game consists of short sets of thirty seconds or the first person to score 15 or more points. The games are finished by the first person to get to two wins. If there is a tie at 2-2 via tied set then a sudden death round will be played to find the winner.
In the console version two mini-games are included in-between levels: Dog Distance, a platforming fetch game with a dog and Flying Disc Bowling.
All stages, with the exception of Tiled and Concrete, have a five-point zone in the center of each goal, with three-point zones at the edges.
- Beach - Small court.
- Lawn - Large court.
- Tiled - Small court. 3-point and 5-point zones are reversed (with smaller 5-point zones).
- Concrete - Large court. 3-point and 5-point zones are reversed (with smaller 5-point zones). Barriers near the walls that bounce discs at odd angles.
- Clay - Large court. Barriers near the middle that bounce discs at odd angles.
- Stadium - Large court. 5-point zone for each player starts very small, grows outward each time that player scores consecutive points (and shrinks back down once the other player scores).
There are six characters to choose from, each with unique stats and a special move with two variants. Each character represents a different nationality and speaks in the language of their respective country.
In the Japanese version, Beeho Yoo is changed to Steve Miller from the United Kingdom. While Steve looks & plays the same, he is given a new English voice-over. In the 2017 re-release, Steve Miller is used rather than Beeho Yoo.
Intellectual Property Rights
Following the bankruptcy of Data East in 2003 it is unclear who exactly obtained the intellectual rights to the game. While many of Data East's properties are documented as being sold to G-mode, Inc. however a significant number of Data East's asset went to Paon Corporation, Ltd. which was composed of several members of Data East's staff. Another company also obtained several of Data East's assets however, D4 Enterprise, Inc., who released the game alongside many other Neo Geo games on the Japanese Wii virtual console on June 2010. The game was later delisted from the virtual console service on December 2013, suggesting that the virtual console release was only a temporary license by D4 Enterprise, Inc. which expired resulting in the delisting. This suggests that D4 Enterprise, Inc. are not the property owners of the game. In March 2015, Paon merged with DP Inc. to form Paon DP Inc and so if Paon are the rights holders then one could assume it transferred over with this merger.