1977 Greats #06 – VIDEO OLYMPICS

Year:  1977
Platform:  Atari 2600 (Console)
Developer:   Atari
Genre:   BALL & PADDLE

I just HAVE to bring this game up, because this was the PONG-KILLER app! Nobody (uh, well nobody sane) ever really craved playing another “Pong-like” game again after they had this little cartridge.  Load this up into your stylish, mill-grained Atari 2600 and you were blessed with 50 Variations of Ball and Paddle games!  Pong, soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball, single-paddle, multiple paddle, 1 player, 2 players, even 4 players…  this is just a complete pong-fest!

PONG deserves a lot of credit as the game that launched an industry.  It was also the game that launched Atari — being its first major hit and providing ongoing cashlow to test new ideas, genres and games.  PONG was also the game that helped launch the home industry – first with the original Odyssey, but moreso with all the home console Pong clones.  Coleco got into the game in a big way, as did Magnavox and Atari.  And it was a driving force for Integrated-Circuits too… with General Instruments “Pong on a chip” and more.

VidOlym-screenToo much pong, though, and the industry experienced its first crash.  By the time VIDEO OLYMPICS was released for the 2600, Pong was past its hey-day…  a couple years past the individual “Pong Console” craze.  And yet, Atari managed to add enough variety and styles of play to make this a worthwhile cartridge.  I played this thing for hours against my brother back in the day… and there’s nothing quite like the precision of the paddle controllers when tackling this game today.

BUT, I can just imagine the Atari programmers completing this cartridge, breathing a collective sigh of relief and saying, “Okay!  That’s it!  We’ve done PONG in every way possible.  Now, no more ever again!!”  And so — for putting PONG to rest once and for all, this cartridge deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

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