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Pong

Developer / Publisher: Atari
29 November 1972
Pong - cover art
Glitchwave rating
2.63 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
404 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#2,968 All-time
#1 for 1972
One of the earliest arcade titles, Pong is the original table-tennis simulator: defend your post and score points for knocking the ball past your opponent's paddle!
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1972 Atari  
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"Hey, how come you're not playing Bonestorm?"

"Ehh, it got boring. I'm really into this cup and ball now"

You have to salute the gameplay. And if gameplay is the only thing that you have going for you as a video game, then gameplay better count. And it does. Sure, it's simple. In evolutionary terms it's like the day Grug the caveman's sons Ung and Duhl first started flicking dung beetles at each other for something to do. But it was FUN dung beetle flicking. Ever since mankind was protozoa and the principle of inter-personal competition equating to enjoyment was established, Pong was inevitable. We just had to wait a few million years for the technology to catch up.

Look, no one was standing in front of one of these machines in 1972 marvelling at the graphics. People weren't idiots - it was still just oblongs on a screen. Graphics simply weren't a consideration. Until you have something to yearn for you don't even know that it is possible to wish for. We don't look at old gramophones and say "where's the USB input?". It's a step up from punch cards, so anything was acceptable.

Anyway, it's me versus you, and this time I have a feeling I'm going to win. For once.
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Paulie_Jay 2016-08-09T13:19:15Z
2016-08-09T13:19:15Z
3.5
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It's just Pong. There's no intelligence to it, it's just an abstracted match of ping-pong suited for accessibility, but is a step above computer chess matches in the sense it's a dynamic action game with hit detection and an open invitation to engagement. It doesn't have an AI sadly, so the enjoyment you'll get from it(which still holds, BTW), is dependent from your friend playing. There's even a MAME variant out, so try it out for novelty reasons.
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There's not really any way I can ever explain this rating without inviting flak, is there?

Pong is a classic, obviously - it has become the defining emblem of the earliest days of video gaming, and can compete with any other game in existence, be it Tetris or Mario [マリオ] or Grand Theft Auto or Pac-Man, in terms of how deeply it's infected mainstream consciousness. Literally everybody knows what Pong is, which is a hell of an achievement for something that's now 40 years old.

Playing it, though, has always been something of a hellish experience for me. You can hardly blame any of the designers too much for basic this is, but it is outrageously repetitive, to the point where you actually feel dumber for playing it. The sheer lack of any kind of strategy kills it, really - there is an earlier tennis game called Tennis for Two that include a net, simulates the effects of gravity on a ball, and allows the player to control the ball's trajectory with a joystick, and while I've never played anything older than Pong, I have to image that this alone makes them better and more fun to play. And on a game this simple, fun is really is what it's all about. I have literally never had fun playing this - and when I consider that Arkanoid and Space Invaders, both similarly simplistic and of a similar vintage. are still great fun for me now, that means I can't honestly score Pong any higher.
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Iai 2016-06-05T17:44:47Z
2016-06-05T17:44:47Z
1.2
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Completely basic and simple, but what do I expect for something made before my dad was born. Know today mostly for it's historical significance, since it is usually considered the first commercially available video game (it wasn't). I personal use it as a bench mark. If I would rather play Pong than [insert mediocre game here], I probably don't like than [mediocre game].
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bejesus 2021-05-07T00:02:21Z
2021-05-07T00:02:21Z
50
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Pong, the first smash hit video game, is as primitive as you'd think, being a rudimentary representation of table tennis. You attempt to bounce the ball in the other player's court so they can't hit it.. A simple concept like that is enough to form a fun little multiplayer game by itself, especially when combined with the dead simple yet iconic presentation necessitated by the technological limitations of 1972. Unlike the earlier Tennis for the Magnavox Odyssey, which this game was derivative enough of to inspire a lawsuit, you can only move vertically and not horizontally, as this is merely a simulation of table tennis rather than real tennis, where you're moving around a lot more. To me, this makes Pong work better than that game, as it keeps things simple, plus if you wanted, you could easily cheat in that game and go over the net.

But Pong wasn't just a good, if primitive, game. It was a kind of nifty new social experience in its heyday. It was a sort of icebreaker to invite someone at a bar over to a game of Pong with you, since it was a multiplayer-only game that cost just a quarter. People didn't look at the idea of playing video games the same way they do now. They hadn't even developed the earlier understanding of video games as something generally played at arcades yet. Part of what made the game successful back then is likely just the novelty of it being a video game, even though video games had existed for at least ten years by then. That being said, I don't mean to overblow Pong as something amazing that people were positively marveled by. It's just Pong, after all, and that's what makes it good. The graphics are very basic but serve the game just fine, and it having sound and its own score display at all is kinda neat, but what's really important is that the physics work and the whole concept of the game is appealing on a basic natural competitive level. Pong, which launched video games into the mainstream, arguably defines the first console generation of video games, since most of the first home video game consoles were dedicated to playing Pong. That itself speaks to its importance.
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SemtexRevolution 2017-07-24T07:30:20Z
2017-07-24T07:30:20Z
4.0
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It had to start somewhere
So yea, Pong, the first commercially released videogame. The one that made software as a means of entertainment. If i cared whatsover for the historical importance of a game, this would be a sure 5 star, but that is not the case. I do believe its a game everyone should play, but that's a different matter. What the game is is an extremely abstract tennis table match, in which two player must prevent the ball from escaping their field. Its a cool concept, but executed pretty poorly. The animation quality, as well as the slow movement of the ball, make the game a drag to play. Between two skilled opponents, the match can last to the point of exhaustion. Its a poor game, mediocre at best. The core idea was later reused much more sucessfully in breakout.

It did have a cool appearance in the 2007 film Zodiac.
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Threntall 2016-06-15T10:40:55Z
2016-06-15T10:40:55Z
2.0
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Catalog

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In collection Want to buy Used to own  

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  • alliterativeAlpinist 2020-04-16 15:09:13.145638+00
    In the beginning Pong was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
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  • xxCrunchYYT 2021-05-13 07:33:36.919976+00
    It's okay I guess
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  • 666LILGILGAMESH666 2021-09-29 04:01:08.350515+00
    sorry, your game is very nice - Marge Simpson
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  • EJ_082887 2021-11-29 12:49:57.444724+00
    It’s PONG!
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  • scoobydoo19 2021-12-22 18:23:39.650403+00
    mid
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  • Ysbryd 2022-03-03 18:14:35.732677+00
    Can't really compare this to much, it was very early in gaming history. Feels like trying to compare the Epic of Gilgamesh to modern Fantasy; there just isn't much insight to be gained from putting on a rating scale when the context of its release is so far removed from modern games. It's kinda fun. Better than doing nothing I suppose
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    • darth_tyrannus_rex 2022-05-21 17:28:29.374244+00
      Less like trying to compare this to the Epic of Gilgamesh than to like...the first ever written inventory of goods for sale or something. It's not much of a game
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  • SongityBoy 2022-06-15 05:33:44.214456+00
    there used to be an arcade at a pier near me with an og cabinet. i miss it.
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