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Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball

"This caused the 1977 New York blackout. A practical joke by the Great Attractor. He thought it was funny as hell."
Agent K about a one-inch diameter ball

A ball (or some other projectile) bounces around incredibly quickly in a small location and causes vast amounts of damage. Hilarity Ensues.

Unlike the Pinball Projectile, the trajectory of the Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball is completely random and always leaves a swath of destruction in its wake. They tend to display unbelievable inertia and won't stop ricocheting unless someone/thing catches it. They also take the Law of Conservation of Momentum and throw it out the window, as it's not uncommon for one to inexplicably speed up when it hits a wall. No wonder it's generally Played for Laughs.

Confuse it with Happy Fun Ball at your peril. There's also a safer version for sing-alongs. Also see Bouncing Battler, when a character becomes one of these to fight foes.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • In a '90s Chuck E. Cheese ad, the narrator says, "At boring restaurants, nothing goes right." A boy pokes an absurdly large pea with his fork and accidentally causes pandemonium.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ranma ½, the detachable blade ring of the Kinjakan acts exactly like this when used in an enclosed space. Like, say, a narrow cavern.
  • In Medaka Box, Unzan uses superballs as his weapon. They defy the laws of physics, breaking concrete with ease. In one instance, they also deploy wires to try and detain Medaka.
  • In Katanagatari, Maniwa Pengin uses this as his weapon, since he was Born Lucky enough to avoid being hit.

    Comic Books 
  • In an Archie Comics story where the cast are portrayed as superheroes, Evilheart (Reggie) and Pureheart (Archie) fight a baddie who has a ring that causes objects to rapidly degrade. Every weapon they fire at him, he simply destroys. To get the better of him, Evilheart tosses out a little black ball, which bounces all over the room. Because it is so quick, the villain can't hit it, and eventually his weapon runs out of juice. However, in trying to destroy the ball, the villain also destroys all his loot — which means it can't be returned to the victims, forcing Evilheart to pay reparations.
  • In Gaston Lagaffe, this comes up on three occasions: once when Gaston throws around a superballe and it bounces crazily until his office is devastated (and Fantasio swallows it), once when his cat tries to grab it and goes into a frenzy, and once when he plays jokari with it.
    • And once he makes a kangaroo ball— the kind that you sit on and bounce around— out of the same stuff that superballs are made of. The final panel reads like he died committing this stunt— it claims that the last person to see him was a flight attendant in a plane several miles off the ground. Thankfully for him, the Negative Continuity kicked in.
  • In Astro City, the Junkman has trick marbles that are attracted to a target and adhere to him. The more the target tries to dislodge, the faster he attracts them.
  • In Judge Dredd stories, the miracle plastic Boing® is a spray-on substance that expands and encases the user in a very bouncy ball. It's legal to use for various games and activities (appropriately referred to as "boinging") at special facilities that cater to these interests (namely, the Palais de Boing®), but boinging outside of such facilities is very dangerous and highly illegal.
    • Another Judge Dredd example is the Rubber Richochet bullets used by the Judges. Mostly used by the big JD himself to pull off 'impossible' shots. Nothing hilarious about these babies. Justified in that real life rubber bullets (intended to nonlethal) have killed.
  • The Donald Duck comic "Paperino contro i veggenti viola". Donald Duck and Fethry Duck are secret agents with a collection of nifty gadgets, including one such a ball.
  • The French comic "L'Imploseur" features one as the ultimate security system, being released inside a sealed tunnel so it would eventually go through everything human-soft, killing everyone on the team but the hero and his girl (and even then only because they found the exit in time).

    Fanfiction 
  • In a majority of Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction, the titular character basically becomes one.
    • In a related example, the Naruto fanfiction 'Yet Again With A Little Extra Help' by Thirdfang gives Choji an additional jutsu to make his body react like superpowered rubber. Pair that with Human Boulder and Needle Jizo, and the sister of the character that taught him this combo comments it to be 'bouncy spinning hedgehog style at its finest'.
  • In the Facing The Future Series, Jack Fenton invents the 'Ecto-Bondo', which fires one of these that don't stop until they hit ecctoplasm. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.

    Film 
  • Jingle All the Way features a ping-pong-like raffle ball doing this within a mall. Even though the movie is supposed to be a comedy of sorts, everything up until now was not this goofy and did not suspend the laws of physics this much, making this scene feel out of place. After this happens, several other very goofy scenes show up. If it weren't for the ridiculous ball, the other scenes' departure from the apparent laws of physics within the movie might have come as more of a shock.
  • This happens in the remake of Flubber whenever a liquid form of the titular material is sprayed on an object.
    • Justified in that is half the point of the substance, exotic matter aside.
  • According to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this happens to bullets if they're fired inside a tank.
  • In Men In Black, J touches some alien device and it bounces wildly all over the headquarters until K catches it. In J's defense, it was just floating out in the open.
  • In Mystery Men, the Bowler's bowling ball (which houses the spirit of her dead father) does this when finally unleashed.
  • In Explorers, the little force field ball that Wolfgang creates does this when his cat jumps on the keyboard, destroying half the basement.
  • Not quite as hyper as most examples, but in Godzilla Final Wars, Anguirus can roll himself up into an armored ball of spiky death and bounce around. He uses this technique to destroy one of mankind's flying battleships.
  • In I Come in Peace (1990), an alien sawblade-like disk does this quite memorably, until caught (attracted?) mid-flight with a strong magnet.
  • In Strange Brew, bullets stuck up Bob Mckenzie's nose to staunch a nosebleed shoot around the courtroom after he fails to suppress his laughter.
  • In The Incredibles, the Omnidroid acts somewhat as one when it retracts its claws. It somehow could turn directions as a smooth metal sphere, and the fact that it is at least five stories tall adds to the "Destructive" bit.

    Literature 
  • There's a nasty use of this in Diamond Dogs by Alastair Reynolds. The party are in a mysterious alien structure that requires them to solve puzzles to move from room to room. When they take too long over one of the early rooms, a small ball pops out of one wall and starts bouncing around, getting harder and faster and causing bruises, then broken bones, until it finally goes clean through someone's arm. And these guys are wearing spacesuits.
  • Walter Tevis' slightly mad scientist Farnsworth creates a form of rubber that absorbs energy from its surroundings to fuel ever-increasing bounces in The Big Bounce.
  • In Peter Graves, Houghton Furlong invents an anti-gravity alloy named Furloy, thus a ball of the stuff bounces higher with each bounce. Tragically, the bouncing ball ends up destroying his house.
  • In Harry Potter, Bludgers are balls enchanted so that they do this.

    Live Action TV 
  • Warehouse13 featured a pair of croquet balls with this property.
    • There was also a dodgeball that would duplicate itself every time it struck something, eventually resulting in a ceaseless bombardment.
    • Artie also finds himself on the receiving end of a ball that bounced off his head at high speed until he caught it. Not deadly, but disorienting.

    Music Videos 

    Newspaper Comics 

    Pinball 
  • Seen on the backglass of Capcom's Breakshot, which shows a pool player bouncing the cue ball off the table, knocks a glass out of the redhead's hand, ricochets off the nose of a stuffed moose, then bounces off a brunette's behind to settle back onto the table.
  • The playfield for Cirqus Voltaire has the Menagerie Ball, a rubber ball contained in a spherical cage. The player must hit the ball to Join The Cirqus, and it frequently wreaks havoc with the pinball's movement.

    Video Games 
  • In Jak 3: Wastelander, there is an upgrade on one of the weapons that allows the bullets to bounce off of walls. When used outside it would usually only hit one or two walls and fly into the sky, but when used indoors and in small spaces it could cause HDBB effect (especially if you rapidly send out shot after shot, created a Multi-Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball effect).
  • The very gameplay of Arkanoid (and all Breakout-derived games) is based on smashing things with a bouncing ball.
    • But things get serious when the ball no longer bounces off: many games in this genre include a power-up that makes the ball smash through anything (except the edges of the screen) without deflecting or even slowing down. Often a level-ender.
  • In Mega Man 10, the Rebound Striker gains more destructive power the more it bounces. Strike Man's version is both this trope and Pinball Projectile- on the final bounce, his ball heads directly for Mega Man.
    • In the original Mega Man X'', Armored Armadillo did this as his standard attack. It was effectively invincible, unless you managed to electrocute him, which would make his armor fall off.
  • In Bully, the Rubber Band Ball is a soccer ball sized mass of rubber bands that flies around on a random destructive path, eventually stopping but barely losing momentum before then and KOing anyone it hits except you. You can launch multiple ones at a time. For the Lulz, unleash them in the enclosed space of the dorms.
  • Combine dark energy cores in Half-Life 2 are a rare serious interpretation. The sphere stores dark matter plasma for the Combine and is relatively safe so long as it remains confined in a storage device or generator. If released, it accelerates rapidly and smashes about before exploding; organic matter is disintegrated on contact, vaporizing the victim into thin air while floating them upwards due to their mass being canceled out by the process. Especially notable as the Combine doesn't use it merely as a portable power source but actually weaponized it as the grenade launcher-equivalent on the Pulse Rifle.
    • "Orb", a map made for a Half-Life mapping competition, is about a deadly sphere-like artifact that utterly devastates a facility while displaying all the characteristics of a Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball (and showcasing the mapper's scripting prowess).
  • In Super Mario Land, instead of gaining the power to throw fire balls, you get the power to throw these instead. Sadly this power never made a reappearance, along with pretty much everything in this game except Daisy.
  • The Red Fireballs in Mario Bros.. They start out slow; faster ones appear the longer you stay in the level.
  • The "Proximity Pinball" secondary function on the Grenades in Perfect Dark. The grenade will bounce around for a good while until it comes close to a character, which, in close quarters, could easily be you.
  • Postal 2 has a napalm launcher with a fire mode that shoots a bouncing napalm canister. One that spills fuel that ignites in a second. After a few seconds, it'll explode in a big puff of fire.
  • Kirby's Ball ability in Kirby's Adventure bounces slowly at first and picks up speed, then starts to glow and ricochets off of the floor and ceiling rapidly, causing some of the highest damage out of all the abilities upon contact.
  • The Super Ball item in Final Fantasy VI, which deals damage to up to four enemies during a battle, and can even hit one target multiple times occasionally.
  • Bulletstorm: The Bouncer weapon fires a large explosive cannonball which you can bounce around knocking enemies over before detonating it. You can turn this Up to Eleven with its charge shot, which causes the ball to release an explosion every time it bounces. You can kick it around to direct the blasts!
  • Orianna from League of Legends is capable of chucking her ball around like this.
  • The Soccer Ball from Dead Rising is capable of being this in tight spaces like the elevator.
  • In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, the Globus glyph sends out two bouncing balls like this. In tight spaces it can get very destructive, especially if you power up the strike attribute and keep spamming them. It's one of the easiest (and most fun) ways to destroy some of the Demonic Spiders you face in the Bonus Dungeon.
  • JezzBall —from the good 'OLE Windows Entertainment Pack— was about damage control caused by such balls. Or something.
  • Touhou has Reimu Hakurei's Yin Yang Orbs. She usually uses it as options that fires additional bullets when you're playing as her. But when you're facing her, expect to dodge a swarm of balls bouncing around the screen in a chaotic manner. This leads to inevitable DoubleEntendre and Memetic Mutation: "I was killed by Reimu Hakurei's balls."
    • In the fighting games, Yukari can use Ran and/or Chen like this.
  • Berzerk villain character Evil Otto is a bouncing ball with a smiley face.
  • Metal Warriors features the Ballistic. A spherical mecha that can do a charge attack.
  • Borderlands2 gives us rubberized grenades, which bounce off hard surfaces and detonate on impact with enemies, elemental barrels, and possibly the player. Jack help you if you have a rubberized Bonus Package grenade mod and you try to use it in an enclosed space.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Xykon casts Symbol of Insanity on a superball and tosses it into a group of paladins, creating a Hate Plague that causes them to slaughter each other (hey, it's a Conflict Ball!). The damage is not done by the ball itself, which behaves like any bouncy ball, but from the spell cast on it.
  • Gregory pulls off an version of this in Dominic Deegan. Gregory is the only defense against an army of Chaotic Evil cultists. Being the pure-hearted White Mage, he cast a spell on a bouncy ball and lets it fly. He apparently also did the same to Dominic's crystal ball in his youth.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-018, a 6cm red ball that, in a standing affront to the laws of thermodynamics, can bounce with 200% efficiency. A normal bouncing ball put through SCP-914 on "Very Fine" also has this property. The former caused 5 civilian injuries and is currently sitting in a tank of goo, while the latter caused 45 casualties upon being dropped and is currently thought to be orbiting Mars.
  • Played for laughs in this well-made Doctor Who video, in which a rock tossed aside by the 5th Doctor bounces around the Doctor Who universe causing mayhem.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Agent North Dakota traps the Insurrectionist Sniper and his mooks under a Beehive Barrier dome. The Sniper warns his men not to try to shoot it. One of his men doesn't listen. The bullet bounces all over the place and kills them all.

    Western Animation 
  • One of the Toyman's weapons in Superman: The Animated Series was a substance that bounces faster the longer it bounces. The idea is that eventually it'll become fast enough that the impact'll break bones. When he uses it on some of Intergang's goons, the ball is denting their armored car by the time Superman arrives. No explanation is given as to why it didn't rip right through the thin metal roof or walls of the warehouse, even if it never happened to hit one of the windows.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Smarter Than a Speeding Bullet," the evil agency F.O.W.L. invents the "Fowl Ball" (cue groaning) — a giant, remote-controlled ball that bounces around and smashes everything it lands on.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "The Big Leblooski", this happens with a bowling ball, to show how bad Mac is at bowling.
    • Same thing happened to Ed Bighead in Rocko's Modern Life. The only thing left standing after that were the bowling pins on Ed's lane.
  • In Recess, Gretchen once made a material that could bounce cartoonishly ridiculous amounts no matter how you drop it, and the kids made a kickball out of it to have Vince kick when he was in a rut. Gus lost it, and when Ms. Finster found, she threw it into the sports shed, causing all the balls to start bouncing like this.
  • The power of Bouncing Boy from the cartoon adaption of Legion of Super Heroes was that he could use himself as a Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball.
  • When Ben 10 changes into Cannonbolt, he can become one of these. Saves the day in The Big Tick.
  • in an episode of American Dad!, Steve Smith learns how to become a lucid dreamer by using a bouncing red ball in his dreams, to remind him he is dreaming and the dream can therefore by whatever he wants it to be. Being a teenage boy, he uses this for sex and revenge dreams often set in the school that derides him for being a nerd. When he refuses to teach the technique to Hayley and Klaus, they take revenge by bouncing a red ball at his feet while he is fully awake. Believing he is dreaming, he drives to school (causing traffic chaos and pile-ups)while wearing only his underpants, punches a teacher, sexually molests a cheerleader, and leaps out of the window with her believing they can fly...

    Real Life 
  • As mentioned in the Indiana Jones entry above, a bullet fired inside a tank will act like this. Obviously, the bullet will slow down quickly due to energy loss on the rebounds and passing through softer objects. It's still a very bad thing.
    • Or, more likely, shatter on the very first impact and shower anyone near with shrapnel. Not much better.
    • Mythbusters demonstrated that if you're bouncing the bullet off anything soft enough that it won't shatter on the first impact, by the third ricochet, it's moving so slowly that it would merely be annoying if it hit you.
    • Of course, of some primary concern is the fact that the "softer objects" inside an armored vehicle often includes the crew, and the typically very cramped conditions inside said vehicles.
    • Real Life 7.92x107mm ammo devised by the Polish Army just before World War II was designed for this: flatten upon impact to light armor used in tanks of the time and spall a chunk (or more) of armor to ricochet inside and cut the crew to pieces. It was very efficient against thin, 15-20mm or so armor of early World War II tanks, but after 1943 it became obsolete.
  • Various mobs have a method of execution which employs this principle. If you shoot someone behind the ear with a low caliber bullet, it will bounce around inside their skull eating it up like Pac-Man. It has been inspired by the hunting practice of firing low caliber bullets, like .22LR or .17HMR, at very high velocities against small game with precious furs, to kill without an exit wound and avoid staining of the fur with blood.
  • Allegedly. In actuality they tend to simply enter the brain and stay there, a lack of an exit wound making them less messy. People are literally empty-headed, after all.
  • The US has developed a device called the Kinetic Fireball Incendiary that is basically this trope. As Cracked puts it:
    "The idea is to launch lots of hollow balls of rubberized rocket fuel with a hole in one side, and light them on fire.. They become rocket-powered fireballs that bounce around inside the building, killing everything near them in the most cartoonish yet horrifying way possible. The thing is, the flaming balls don't actually have to hit you. The concept works something like a martini shaker; the reason the shaker cools your delicious drink faster than simply mixing in ice cubes is because they move around the liquid inside, cooling a higher volume in a much shorter time. With the KFI, you get essentially the same thing, except the ice cubes are flaming balls that raise the ambient air temperature to over 1000 degrees in seconds, not to mention knocking down doors and spreading the same horror throughout the building."
  • The criticism made by many a Conspiracy Theorist of the theory that a single bullet killed John F. Kennedy and wounded one of the passengers in the car he was riding in. They claim that in order to cause all of the wounds it did, this bullet would've have to act like a Hyper Destructive Bouncing Ball, earning it the derisive name "the magic bullet". Of course, there are other theories, such as that Lee Harvey Oswald simply fired more than one bullet (difficult but possible for a trained marksman, which he was), or that there was another shooter who was never found.

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