I'll never forget the only time I hit one out of the park, a 1-0 fastball that arrived letters high on a March afternoon in 1991, my senior year of high school. At the time all my efforts were directed at two objectives: Hitting a home run and consolidating my position with a sophomore cheerleader named Brandi.
Never would I meet a baseball with more force or a smoother swing. I timed the pitch perfectly and it exploded off my bat. There was no rattle, no painful sting in my hands, just a pure transfer of energy, with zero resistance. The shot arced majestically, like a fireworks volley, high over the helplessly backpedaling center fielder. It cleared a rope boundary and rattled around in the metal football grandstands beyond. And it was, according to a ground rule, a double.
Forgive my nostalgic ramblings, but the home run is, like high school sex was, undiscovered country to me, marked by crotch-aching near misses and hat-throwing technical disqualifications. And that's how I feel at the end of this tease of an experience called Flick Home Run, available now on iOS devices.
Like my misadventures with Brandi, I have absolutely no clue what the hell is required of me here. Ostensibly, this is a contest to drive a fat pitch over the wall. Even if I was capable of doing that every time with a casual swipe of my finger, I doubt the game would open up before me like a dewy flower. Even how many swings I get and what constitutes ultimate failure eludes me.
Perfect example, the game I literally just played. I hit eight balls completely out of the park, one for a total distance of 884 feet, my most prolific showing since Fahey, damn him, suggested I pick up this title. None of that was good enough to advance past "Step Four." Somehow, in other mindless pursuits, I've managed to get to Step Five. Want to make it out of the minors? You need to hit Step Fifteen. That's to get past stage one of your career.
How I get there, I have no idea. The instructions read like they were translated from Chinese. As near as I can tell, you get some BS meter across the top of the screen that either fills or drains depending on the quality of your hit. Longer hits replenish the meter more. Strikeouts drain it. Run the meter out completely and you're done. Sounds fair enough.
Yet there's not enough of a bonus for hitting home runs. I've hit a dozen monster drives in a single session and crapped out by "Step Three." I've also kept the meter steady by whacking warning track flies. I've pounded 800 foot home runs over apartment buildings and parking lots and seen my life meter fill less than a 290-foot line out. Most egregiously, on my supposed final pitch (marked by a drum roll) I've twice whacked balls for a 600-foot bombs that cleared the scoreboard and still saw the game end. I don't know what the hell this is, but a home run derby is about hitting home runs, and hitting one should keep the game going, period.
You can advance your power or contact ratings at any time if you're willing to cough up the buck to whomever coded this ripoff, but the whole thing is so inscrutably opaque I no longer care. Flick Home Run seems, like my abortive attempts to derive the meaning of Brandi's panties, an exercise in getting me to spend money I don't have. And like my non-home run 20 years ago, it's also a game played by secret rules that undermine all sense of accomplishment.
Flick Home Run [iTunes]