Timeless Reviews – Pong

This is Timeless Reviews where I talk about classic games that helped shape the world of gaming of today, these are games that automatically get 5/5, I’ll just talk about the game, and what I like the game and probably why. In 1972 history was made, it was a game that was the first commercially successful game at that point, while it wasn’t the first game ever made; it was the one to go mainstream. Pong, developed and published by Atari Inc. and was released in 1972.

After Computer Space was produced, Atari (a company founded by both Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney) was formed to make games for other companies, Bally Midway asked for them to make a driving game. Bushnell hired Allan Alcorn to design it since he had experience in electrical engineering and computer science, even though Alcorn had no experience making video games or just video games in general. General Electric asked Alcorn to make a game with two paddles, a spot (being a ball) and a score counter, this was also accepted giving that Bushnell was inspired by a Magnavox Odyssey tennis game (the Magnavox Odyssey was the first commercially sold game console sold, but it was just a bunch of lights and a blue screen).

After a short development time, the game was installed in a bar to see if would be successful; and in fact it was, even to the point where there was a problem with the machine in which Alcorn discovered that the coin mechanism was overflowing with quarters. But there were more problems like Bally and Midway becoming uninterested with the product and Bushnell having difficulty with financing the game since many banks just saw it as an alternative to pinball which was associated with the mafia but got line of credit to make a big assembly line. Pong was announced in 1972 and by 1973 it was not only shipped to many states of America but in other countries.

But the story doesn’t end there as many home consoles were released, which were successful, however did lead to Magnavox suing Atari for infringing on their products. Pong is a 2D sports game that simulates a game of table tennis. The player controls an in-game paddle by moving it vertically across the left side of the screen; you can compete against either a computer-controlled opponent or another player controlling a second paddle on the opposing side. You use the paddles to hit a ball back and forth. The aim is for each player to reach eleven points before the opponent; points are earned when one fails to return the ball to the other.

The game is stupidly simple, there’s nothing much to say about it, its graphics is timeless, like a historic painting you have to see it in a different perspective and it’s charming and it’s still playable whilst not as addictive as other classic games. There were many other clones that were successful like Breakout, Alleyway and Arkanoid. Pong helped shape the video game industry and even with its ups and downs, it’s still the grandfather of games, the legendary status will never die.


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