Pong (1972)

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Pong stands as a seminal milestone in the history of video games, marking its status as one of the earliest arcade classics. Developed by Allan Alcorn in 1972 under the assignment of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, Pong emerged as a simple yet revolutionary table tennis sports game with two-dimensional graphics.

The game's inception was inspired by an electronic ping-pong game featured in the Magnavox Odyssey, which later led to a lawsuit against Atari. Impressed by the quality of Alcorn's work, Bushnell and Atari co-founder Ted Dabney decided to manufacture Pong, and it quickly became the first commercially successful video game. Its success played a pivotal role in establishing the video game industry, coinciding with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home console.

Following its release, Pong's gameplay became a blueprint, inspiring numerous imitations and prompting Atari to encourage innovation among its staff. The company released several sequels that expanded upon the original's gameplay by introducing new features.

During the 1975 Christmas season, Atari released a home version of Pong exclusively through Sears retail stores, achieving commercial success and sparking a wave of copies. The game's cultural impact is underscored by its inclusion in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Beyond its historical significance, Pong has left an enduring legacy, referenced and parodied in various television shows and video games. It continues to be featured in cultural exhibitions, cementing its status as a cornerstone in the evolution of video games.

Release date
Allan Alcorn
Age rating
0+ Everyone
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Last Modified: Feb 13, 2024

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Pong (1972) reviews and comments

Yeah, well it's about what'd you expect.
Pong in real life is fun, Pong (1972), however, is fun enough. You hit a square with a rectangle and the square goes to the other side, that's pong. That's how it should be. Pong. That's what computers were meant for. Pong. No misleading advertising, the game is exactly what it seems. Pong. No micro-transactions or fear of missing out, it's all there from day one. Pong. Perfection. Pong. All it requires is your soul. Pong. Let me out. Pong.

You'll play this for at least one second, and that's statistically much more than most games you'll never play. That is if you do play it, 'cause if not then it'll be just like every other game.

Overall, rating out of 100:
Story: 0
Very interesting story about a aspiring pong professional (pongessional) challenging a great pong master to a duel, the plot twist (spoiler alert) is that the master actually pulls out a square ball, and they forget to set the rules.
So the square just bounces side to side in a never ending match. Truly pongetic.

Gameplay: 10
It's pong.

Graphics: 0
C'mon, it's a goddamned square! How does it bounce?

Sound/Music: 5
Tuc, tuc, plim. Tuc, tuc, plim.

This leaves the game with a motherpongin' 15 out of 400! Ponggers.
It probably goes without saying that the most popular video game genre is the sports game. Games like Madden or NBA 2K sell millions every single year. Yet when it comes down to it, what does it mean to make a sports game. Obviously the simulation of the sport in question is paramount, one has to feel like they are playing the game. However, how much detail do you need to create that simulation. What if you can make a sports game that is as simple as possible. And that is the beauty of Pong. Two lines, one square, a simple score layout, and a minor bit of electronic sound to register hits and scores. And yet, it does feel like you’re playing table tennis. Now one could argue it’s dated, one could pull up that it was a ripoff of something Maganox did, but the fact remains that Pong has lasted the ages and…it is possible, that without Pong…video games wouldn’t be what they are now
«Just one more turn»
«Can’t stop playing»
9/10 - It's Pong.
«Just one more turn»
«Can’t stop playing»
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