Pros: Easy to assemble; hours of basketball fun.
Cons: Computer stopped working; comes apart easily.
Last Christmas, my children received some of the largest gifts possible from their grandparents. In addition to my daughter's Barbie of Swan Lake Musical Fantasy Castle and the Barbie Cruise Ship, we also brought home this Arcade Alley's Hoop to Hoop Basketball from my in-law's house on Christmas Eve. It is a good thing we have a minivan! My son was eager to play with this immediately, but we still had Christmas Day to contend with as well as other family obligations after the holiday was over, so play had to wait almost two weeks.
Arcade Alley Hoop to Hoop Basketball is a home version of the basketball games found in arcades, but this is a much less sturdy version. It is about 54 inches deep, 67 inches high and 30 inches across and is made of black plastic tubes, blue plastic connectors and black netting, all of which you have to put together.
When we finally had time to build all of the holiday toys, we thought that this large box would give us a run for our money. Fortunately, building this was not a lengthy process taking less than thirty minutes, but it was confusing since the instructions were unclear about where certain pieces went. Assembly went quickly once we figured out which of the unmarked pieces went on the left versus the right and which was the front and back of the netting. Based on the picture on the box, and common sense, we were able to complete the assembly.
On the backboard are two hoops, one marked 5 points that is smaller and higher than the one marked 2 points. At the bottom of the backboard is a small electronic scoreboard which is connected by a wire to the control panel on the front of the structure near where you stand to shoot. After putting the three "AA" batteries in, it did keep score for us, but my son did not like the computer voice, so he rarely turned the computer on. Recently, after months of not using the score-keeping option, we replaced the batteries, but found that the computer no longer worked. I had heard from others that their electronic portion stopped working after a few months, so I guess we are not alone. My son would rather keep his own score, or not keep score, so this is not a problem for us.
The game comes with two 5-inch diameter balls which look like basketballs which are rubber so that if they hit a wall or another person, they will not cause damage. The netting helps keep the balls inside the game, though we often have balls that go over the sides. Though the structure is large, the netting is only on the top portion, leaving your floor exposed and an open area under the net. This is a good spot for storage of a toy box, or other items.
Because this toy is just pieces of plastic inserted into other pieces of plastic, it is not too sturdy at times and the pieces become disengaged. Usually my six year old son can fix this himself. He often attempts slam-dunks from the side of the structure and since the sides of the structure are higher than the highest net (and higher than my son's head), he does tend to lean on or hit the sides, causing them to separate. After almost nine months of use, none of the plastic pieces are cracked or show any sign of stress because of this.
The Hoop to Hoop Basketball game is recommended for ages 3 and up, and my almost seven year old seems far from outgrowing it. In fact, my husband and brother in law are often seen practicing their aim in trying to get shots in the baskets. Due to its size and setup, only one person should shoot at a time, and you cannot play a "real" basketball game with it.
This is one of my very sports-oriented son's favorite toys and it is one that he would play with daily if allowed to. Even if he is just walking through the room where we keep the game, he tosses in a few shots before going on his way.
If you have the room for it and have a child who enjoys sports, especially basketball, then this Arcade Alley Hoop to Hoop Basketball set would be something he or she would get a lot of use from. Ours has certainly gotten plenty of use!