Nov 30, 2017

Revisiting Pong: 45 years of boop, blip, boop, blip...

By Kyle Foley

Get the birthday candles ready. Pong, that classic Atari game of moving paddles up and down until you get bored and find something else to do, turns 45 this year.

And what memories we've made together: those frustrating losses when a grimy, overused controller didn't properly detect our inputs; that soothing beep-boop-beep-boop noise when ball meets paddle; the beauty of monochrome.

Today, you can buy a handheld gaming console that's more powerful than the computers that put humans on the moon. So what happens when you take today's up-and-coming generation and subject them to the greatest game of 1972? Spoiler: It's pretty entertaining.

hoohoohoblin: "This is the last remaining game of Pong. We're teaching these kids how it was for the old folks."

Perhaps Pong is going to need a modern refresh to really capture the excitement of today's audiences.  Here's an idea: What about a giant version of Pong that you can play on the sides of skyscrapers? (Take that, 1970s technology.)

FunShareMedia: "The event, part of this year's (2013) edition of Philly Tech Week, was orchestrated by Dr. Frank Lee, a gaming professor at Drexel's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. Taking advantage of the buildings LED lighting panels that already covered the 83,000-square-foot wall, the video game was played on the 29-story skyscraper."

For those without access to booming buildings, there's always the take-home remake. In 1999, Supersonic Software released Pong: The Next Level, a sequel the world probably didn't need, but one that was available on the original Sony PlayStation, Windows PCs, and the Game Boy Color. Who can say no to penguins that crap Pong balls?

GameGrumps: "Dude, I didn't know Pong was a vicious sport like this."

And, of course, every classic game needs a mobile port. Enter Pong World, an iOS reworking of the classic title—featuring purchasable upgrades and power-ups—released in honor of its 40th anniversary.  

AppSpy: "However, a great idea can only take you so far when it's smothered by a relentless freemium model of almost endless, monotonous gameplay and design decisions that hamper the gameplay on the iOS platform.

What are your favorite memories of Pong? Let us know @getunboxed!