All Articles: Pong

Atari is creating a Pong game show known as Million Dollar Pong

I’m sure there were quite a few cutthroat Pong competitions in the 70s. And it’s easy to assume those head-to-head battles are a thing of the past. But wait… the people of 2018 will soon get their own chance to compete against each other for big money and big prizes.

According to a recent report in Variety, the creative mind behind The Gong Show and Rock and Roll Jeopardy, Scott Sternberg, has teamed up with Atari to produce a game show based on Pong. The show will be known as Million Dollar Pong, and it’ll feature a “brand new” spin on the arcade classic:

“’Pong’ is a cultural touchpoint for generations of people,” said Sternberg. “It’s not often we get the chance to develop a game show concept around such an iconic brand. I can’t wait to give people the chance to see, experience, and play a brand new ‘Pong.’”

If you’re looking to enhance the period atmosphere of your living room before Million Dollar Pong‘s premiere, there’s no need to break out the wood paneling just yet. The show has yet to be signed by a network or streaming service.

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45 years ago today… Atari delivered and installed the first Pong arcade cabinets

November 29 is a momentous day in video game history.

It was on this day in 1972 that the founders of Atari (Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, and Al Alcorn) delivered and installed the very first Pong arcade cabinets. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of this world-changing event, the company currently known as Atari has declared today to be “Pong Day.”

The Atari of 2017 is very different from the Atari of 1972, but both companies are still obsessed with Pong. Today’s Atari has even partnered with a group of engineers and artists to create Table Pong, a coffee table that also doubles as a real-life recreation of the classic arcade game:

Table Pong [is] an oversized Pong game embedded in a stylish coffee table, perfect for the home or arcade. Amazingly, it has no screens or digital software; instead, the game is recreated in three dimensions with motors, rails, pulleys and magnets to perfectly simulate the game’s familiar 2D movements.

Developed as a tribute to Generation X and its most iconic video game, Table Pong lets players experience the Atari Pong game on a whole new dimension that fuses the high-tech mechanical engineering of today with the beloved ‘80s game. The table easily transforms from a true-to-life mechanical game of Pong to a stylish living room accessory that features four USB charging ports, as well as a Bluetooth speaker so you can enjoy your favorite music while you play.

Table Pong will be available sometime in Early 2018, and you can learn more about the project at TablePongProject.com.

If you’d like to further explore the history of Pong, our Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time series includes an essay about the game’s creation, and you can also point your browser at Atari.com to play a few rounds in your browser.

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #100: Pong

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also visit Video Game Canon to explore the complete list of “Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time,” as well as alternate sorting options.

And help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

Why were early game developers so fixated on bouncing a ball back and forth?

It’s hard to pinpoint the very first video game, but it most likely belongs to A.S. Douglas and OXO. This electronic version of Tic-Tac-Toe was created by Douglas in 1952 to support his doctoral thesis, Interactions Between Human and Computer. But after that, the only question early gamemakers wanted to ask was, “Tennis, anyone?”

William Higinbotham was probably unfamiliar with OXO when he unleashed Tennis For Two on the world on October 18, 1958. Presented to the public during an open house at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the game harnessed the pulses of an oscilloscope to give players the illusion of a playing field with a net in the center and a ball bouncing back and forth. Unlike Douglas, Higinbotham was trying to wow a crowd with the possibilities of science and add a little pizazz to the BNL’s normally staid event:

“The instruction book that came with the computer described how to plot trajectories and bouncing shapes, for research. I thought, ‘Hell, this would make a good game.’ It took me four hours to design one and a technician a couple of weeks to put it together. Everybody stood in line to play. The other exhibits were pretty static, obviously. The game seemed to me sort of an obvious thing.”

After the open house, Higinbotham’s invention was dismantled, and his status as a game development pioneer was forgotten… until the early 70s when he was dragged into the legal battle between Table Tennis and Pong. (more…)

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