1972 Greats #01 – PONG

Year:  1972
Platform:  Arcade
Developer:  Atari
Genre:   Ball & Paddle

Now THIS is where most people start when they think of the beginning of videogames. Pong was elementary to play, but revolutionary in what it did! Almost single-handedly, Pong was the fuel that launched the coin-op industry, elevating the lowly quarter to a magical creature for more than one generation of growing boys.

002 - PONGFor a game this rudimentary and basic, it’s importance is justified! Being a rough simulation of tennis or Ping-Pong… it introduced a new form of competition in an easy-to-grasp, quick to learn package. The instructions on the machine were literally, “Avoid missing ball for high score” (how’s that for straight-forward!)

As for playing it today, it’s really quite straightforward and boring after a little while. But when it was first introduced it was a sensation. As legend has it, the owner of “Andy Capp’s” tavern (where Pong was first tested) called about his broken machine after less than two weeks in operation.  As it turned out, Pong had stopped working because the coinbox was stuffed full of quarters, and couldn’t accept anymore!

Today it’s been ported to almost every major system and has been reincarnated countless times over and over again (a little redudancy fits the Pong story perfectly).  Pong accompanies Dragon’s Lair and Pac-Man as one of the three Video games on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. It also made a few movie appearances: “The Parallax View” in 1974, and “Rancho Deluxe” in 1975.

Because the industry was so new in the early 70’s… Pong also became the catalyst in bringing an arcade game experience to a home console. During 1974-1976, Pong made its debut for home gaming, and was copied mercilessly by companies trying to grab their share of the gold rush.  If proved that video game consoles can be sold on the strength of even a single game that people really want to play at home!

Without a doubt, Pong was the most successful boring game ever.


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