I remember ordering a demo game in the mail that came on a 3.5 inch floppy disk. That game was called Zoop and was for Windows 3.1, which was actually not an operating system at all, but was more like a GUI that ran for DOS. I probably saw an advertisement in Disney Adventures magazine or something. Back in the day, the internet was young and finding or marketing anything through it was hard. So idiots like me had to order them through the mail.
The point is that Zoop was a game that was being heavily marketed and was apparently trying to be the next Tetris. Even Blockbuster (a place where you could rent video games and movies) had a promotion where you could rent the game for free. I am here to discuss the Sega Genesis version of Zoop. But honestly, it is such a simple and shallow game that the platform was not important at all. After all, it is just a simple two-dimensional sprite-based game with no scrolling and limited colors. Like I said, it is similar to Tetris because it is a strategic puzzle game.
Despite being a simple 2D game, it was put on powerful platforms like the Playstation and Sega Saturn as well. As critics were quick to point out, putting a game this simple on a machine that specializes in 3D technology is weird. But none of this mattered anyway, because the game received mixed reviews and never took off as the developers anticipated.
Enough about the back history, let us examine the mechanics of the game. In the Sega Genesis version of Zoop, along with all the other versions, you move around an arrow in the center of the screen while being surrounded with stacks of multiple colored blocks closing in around you. You can take a colored block from any stack and put it on another stack, thus combining groups of colors and eliminating them. Or in other words, you group colors together that will then shorten the stacks.
Confused? There is no reason to be. It takes only a minute or two to experiment with the game and discover how it works. Remember when games used to be that way? Once upon a time, it was not practical to explain every little detail or provide instructions while playing a video game. So the player would often have to press every button at the beginning of the game and simply figure it out. Ironically, this worked out fine and was part of the experience of playing a new game.
So is Zoop any fun? Nah. It feels like moving around stacks of boxes while at work. Others may disagree. It is certainly challenging, but not particularly addictive. But could you blame the developers? Tetris was such a cash cow that Tengen and Nintendo both published it at the same time for the NES and ended in a dispute in court. Anyone hoping for dump trucks full of money would have tried to come up with their own puzzle game, that that is surely how Zoop came to light.