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The Slap-Happy Game: Remembering Parker Brothers’ Gnip-Gnop

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Gnip Gnop: it’s ping pong, only backwards!

Get it?

Gnip-Gnop, from Parker Brothers first hit the market in 1971 and was termed the “slap happy” game.

The object of the game was to slap or smack all the colored balls from your side of a transparent plastic enclosure to your opponent’s side. Meanwhile, he or she was working diligently to do the same.


The box provided more specific instructions:

“Be the first to get all six balls into your opponent’s court by hitting them through the white rings of the GNIPS or GNOPS at your end. 

The first player to win 3 consecutive rounds or a total of 10 rounds (or any number mutually agreed upon) wins the game. Take turns giving the starting signal.”

Unfortunately, the instructions don’t tell potential game-players a couple of things.

The first is that the keys you strike (or slap, to use the manufacturer’s vernacular) are held in place by long elastic or rubber bands. Once those bands snap, that key is non-functional, permanently.

Secondly, game play creates an unholy din.  The sound of the slapping keys and the bouncing balls is actually deafening. It’s a terrible cacophony that will drive you crazy in short order.

Despite such drawbacks Gnip-Gnop survived the 1970s (and the beginnings of the Video Game Age) and Tiger Toys was still selling a version of the toy as late as 1989.

Check out these old Gnip Gnop commercials.



  • Mack Bonham

    Ping Pong backwards… I actually never realized that even after seeing this all through childhood. SMH.

  • I have this game from my childhood in the box. Wonder if its worth couple of bucks?

  • Jeffrey Westhoff

    “While you’re gnipping, he’s gnopping.” Surely, this game prepared us for life.