Kids nowadays will not get a buzz when they see the screen pictured above.
But for their parents’ generation this was the game of all games, even those who weren’t in to gaming(including me) would be entertained by these 2 bars,the little square and the dotted line in the middle across the screen.
The game had the very imaginative name “Pong” and was first introduced by Atari on this day in 1972.
Basically it was the Video game version of Tennis or rather Table Tennis AKA Ping Pong.
Pong became a huge success, and became the first commercially successful game.In 1975,Atari released a home edition of Pong (the first version was played on Arcade machines) which sold 150,000 units.
Nolan Bushnell founded Atari at 1972 in order to create games and ideas and license them to other companies for mass production. Pong was actually a training exercise for one of Atari’s employees – Allan Alcorn, Once it was finished, Nolan made few adjustments in order to make the game more interesting (like changing the ball’s return angle) and added simple sound effects. The first Pong Arcade machine was installed on a local bar.
It was so successful that Atari decided to produce and sell the game by themselves, rather then licensing it to other companies. In 1973 the company finally got a line of credit from Wells Fargo and started an assembly line, by the end of the year, Pong arcade machines were shipped to location all over the U.S. as well as to other countries.
Today, the Pong Game is considered to be the game which started the video games industry.
Dedicated Pong consoles made their way to various countries, like this Russian Турнир (“Turnir”, meaning tournament).
Bushnell felt the best way to compete against imitators was to create better products, leading Atari to produce sequels in the years followings the original’s release: Pong Doubles, Super Pong, Ultra Pong, Quadrapong, and Pin-Pong. The sequels feature similar graphics, but include new gameplay elements; for example, Pong Doubles allows four players to compete in pairs, while Quadrapong—also released by Kee Games as Elimination—has them compete against each other in a four way field.
Hard to believe this game is now 45 years old. The fact that it was still very popular well into the eighties speaks volumes of the game’s success. Even nowadays there are retro versions of the game available.
Of course games like Skyrim are much more sophisticated and the graphics are amazing, but I doubt it if they mirror the excitement we had as kids playing Pong.
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Nice overview of Pong’s history! I have a Super Pong machine in my setup that’s fun to break out every now and then. I’m in my twenties and if I’m gonna be honest…I prefer more simplistic/linear experiences as opposed to stuff like Skyrim. In big open world games like that…I usually get lost or confused leafing through tons of menus or figuring out where to go. I usually go for the indies when it comes to newer stuff since they’re more likely to follow classic design formulas (Cuphead, Steamworld Dig, Shovel Knight and so on).
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