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Pong is 40 Today November 29, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Ancient Gaming, entertainment.
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What was probably the first successful arcade video game, Pong, turned 40 today, if Wikipedia is to be believed.

I am old enough to remember when this seemed incredibly new and different.  And fun.  This game was fun.  I remember begging for quarters to play it at the Old Spaghetti Factory in San Jose when I was a kid. (I cannot believe that place is still there.)

Quarters to play this!

That is it…

This is the game that made Atari a household name.  There were numerous knock-offs, and every home video game console had to have a version of Pong for the next decade.  I think the NES might have been the first without a “two paddles and a ball” game by default.

The first video game console in our home was the Atari Super Pong version, which had FOUR… count them… FOUR variations on the game.

I cannot even remember what those four were.  One was a solo version that was essentially you versus a wall, though you could turn the other controller to make a gap in the wall.  Wozniak and Jobs would come along in a bit and turn that idea into Breakout, the prototypical “lone nerd in a losing battle” video game.

And the Atari 2600 came with paddle controllers primarily so you could play Pong, though I recall it being useful the Casino card games as well. (Which, if nothing else, taught me that in Blackjack, Vegas Rules suck.  Unless, of course, you are the house.)

So remember Pong today, for it is the mother of all “how the hell was this ever fun?” video games.

Comments»

1. jokeefe - November 29, 2012

So, the other games on the Super Pong console were Hockey & Soccer. Those two were virtually indistinguishable except for the size of the goal.

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2. NoAstronomer - November 29, 2012

Pong was never fun for me … because I sucked at it. And Space Invaders and Missile Command.

Mike.

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3. Aufero - November 30, 2012

I never much like Pong – Space Wars was the game I wasted my quarters on in my early high school years.

(Come to think of it, wasn’t Nolan Bushnell inspired to start Atari by playing Spacewar in the 60s? And wasn’t Space Wars based on the Atari version of Spacewar, whatever it was called? And isn’t the modern incarnation of Atari one of the distributors for Eve?

I’m STILL wasting my quarters on Atari space sims.)

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4. Robert Basler - November 30, 2012

I had an original Pong console game (quarter slot and all.) I let it go on my last move. I’m a little sad now.

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5. sleepysam - November 30, 2012

Here’s how I first played pong…

http://www.retrothing.com/2008/05/pong-system-wit.html

That thing is still working, if I can find it.

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