Happy 50th Birthday to Atari's Pong
On November 29th, 1972, Atari released the what is arguably the most successful video game of all-time, Pong. Happy 50th Birthday!
The first video game console that I ever played growing up was a dedicated Pong machine from Sears that my father bought even before the Atari 2600 came out. Flash forward to today and Atari is still alive. I actually picked up the new game Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration for my Nintendo Switch a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing. Not only does it contain all of the Atari arcade games and most of the games from the Atari home consoles from the 2600 to the Jaguar, it also contains all sorts of videos and pictures from the company's history.
The game contains a great story about the origin of Pong, as told in interviews with original Atari employees:
The very first Pong prototype machine was placed in a California bar called Andy Capp’s Tavern. After placing the first test machine there, the owner of the bar called up Atari a day or two later and told them to come pick up their machine because it was broken. When someone from Atari arrived at the bar to see what was wrong with the game, they opened it up and discovered that the problem was it was to jammed full of quarters. That was when Atari knew that they had a hit on their hands.
‘No one had seen anything like it’: how video game Pong changed the world
Here's a couple of pictures of my boys playing my 1Up 4-player Pong bartable in our home arcade.