It may not look like much now, but Pong really is the Godfather of the modern gaming industry. Not bad for something that came about as a result of a training exercise…
So the graphics don’t compare favorably to Destiny, and there aren’t as many characters to choose from as Battlefront – but without Pong, it’s possible the Xbox One and Playsation 4 wouldn’t exist!
OK, so that’s a little dramatic. However Pong – released on 29th Nov 1972 by Atari – was the first commercially successful computer game and widely accepted as the birthplace of gaming as we know it. From humble beginnings it created an industry that is now worth $108.9 billion globally, driven by over 1 billion worldwide gamers.
Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell based the idea for Pong on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey, created by rival company Magnavox. Bushnell assigned the project to Atari engineer Allan Alcorn. Alcorn was a computer scientist with no experience in game development and Bushnell assigned the project to him on the premise of it being a training exercise, designed to help Alcorn acclimatize to creating games. What Alcorn went on to create changed computer games forever; by 1973 Atari had filled 2,500 orders for their Pong arcade game and went on to sell over 8000 units in 1974.
Rumour has it.
It is said that Allan Alcorn was called out to a local bar to fix the first Pong arcade machine, which had started to exhibit technical issues just few days after its installation. Upon further inspection, Alcorn found the issue to be that the machine was simply too stuffed full of quarters to operate…
Happy Birthday Pong! You can celebrate Pong’s 45th Birthday by grabbing a licensed Atari Pong Mug from our store!