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Pong is an arcade game that was released in 1972 by Atari Inc. The game is Atari's first game and helped start the video game industry. Atari's president Nolan Bushnell hired Allan Alcorn to create a game for a training exercise and they liked the game so much they decided to manufacture it. Bushnell based the idea on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey, which later resulted in a lawsuit against Atari. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that copied Pong's gameplay, and eventually released new types of games. As a result, Atari encouraged its staff to produce more innovative games. Several sequels were released that built upon the original's gameplay by adding new features. Pong has been referenced and parodied in multiple television shows and video games, and has been a part of several video game and cultural exhibitions.
Nolan Bushnell had played the electronic ping pong game on the Magnavox Odyssey in Burlingame, California. He hired Allan Alcorn who is good in computer science. Alcorn's assignment was to create a game based off the ping pong game as a warm up exercise. Bushnell looked and played the game and Atari manufactured it.
GameplayEditThe game is a 2-d sports game played in a simple way. The player uses the paddle to knock the ball back and forth and must get the ball past the other paddle to get a score. The score is represented by digits on top of the screen. The control is a dial.
Ralph Baer the inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey, the fist video game console, got Magnavox to sue Atari, Balley , and Midway. Magnavox and Sander Associates claimed that Pong and the other variations were copied from the ping pong game on the Odyssey. The judge had a look of the circuitry of a cabinet of Pong and saw a demonstration of the ping pong game on the Odyysey and ruled in Baer's favor.
Atari decided to first put the game in a bar called Andy Capp's Tavern. A few days later the game was acting out of control. Workers worked on the machine to find out what was wrong and the reason was that it was full of quarters. Soon many more people came to the bar just to play the game. Atari decided to manufacture more machines and pretty soon Pong became a very successful game. Atari soon released a home version of the game and it became a popular hit. Many other companies made different games that were different variations of Pong. The game became known worldwide and was a huge success making many copies on game consoles. Home Pong was an instant success following its limited 1975 release through Sears; around 150,000 units were sold that holiday season. The game became Sears' most successful product at the time, which earned Atari a Sears Quality Excellence Award. Similar to the arcade version, several companies released clones to capitalize on the home console's success, many of which continued to produce new consoles and video games. Magnavox re-released their Odyssey system with simplified hardware and new features, and would later release updated versions. Coleco entered the video game market with their Telstar console; it features three Pong variants and was also succeeded by newer models. Nintendo released the Color TV Game 6 in 1977, which plays six variations of electronic tennis. The next year, it was followed by an updated version, the Color TV Game 15, which features fifteen variations. The systems were Nintendo's entry into the home video game market and the first to produce themselves—they had previously licensed the Magnavox Odyssey. The dedicated Pong consoles and the numerous clones have since become varying levels of rare; Atari's Pong consoles are common, while APF Electronics' TV Fun consoles are moderately rare. Prices among collectors, however, vary with rarity; the Sears Tele-Games versions are often cheaper than those with the Atari brand.
Sequels and PortsEdit
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, Quadrapong, and Pin-Pong. The sequels featured similar graphics, but included new gameplay elements; for example, Pong Doubles allows four players to compete in pairs, while Quadrapong has them compete against each other in a four way field. Bushnell also conceptualized a free-to-play version of Pong to entertain children in a Doctor's office. He initially titled it Snoopy Pong and fashioned the cabinet after Snoopy's doghouse with the character on top, but retitled it to Puppy Pong and altered Snoopy to a generic dog to avoid legal action. Bushnell later used the game in his chain of Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants. In 1976, Atari released Breakout, a single-player variation of Pong where the object of the game is to remove bricks from a wall by hitting them with a ball
By November 1972, the first Pong was completed. It consisted of a black and white television from Walgreens, the special game hardware, and a coin mechanism from a laundromat on the side which featured a milk carton inside to catch coins.