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"Avoid missing ball for high score."—The complete directions for the original arcade game.
Pong is a 1972 video game, the first one released by Atari. You control a paddle that goes along one line — in the classic version, up and down. Your opponent has another paddle. You bounce a square ball against the paddle. If your opponent misses, you get a point. If you miss, your opponent gets a point. First to reach 21 wins.
In more detail: Pong, developed by Nolan Bushnell (who would later create the Chuck E. Cheese franchise), is one of the oldest video games. It dates from 1972, making it Older Than The Apple II. The company that was founded to publish it, Atari, became synonymous with video games for years afterwards. It was also packed with many first-generation consoles, and Atari made a separate console that only played the game.
Pong is often thought of as "the first video game ever", but this is untrue — for one, the Magnavox Odyssey debuted earlier in 1972 (and had been in development since 1968). Before that, it gets pretty complicated and still challenged due to varying opinions of what constitutes a Video Game — the very first is either Space War! (1962), Tennis for Two (1958), or OXO (1952). It was, however, the game that started the video game industry.
Everything aside, Pong was the first game to be successful enough for people outside the (then extremely small) geek culture to know about its existence.
Pong provides examples of:
- No Plot, No Problem: There is nothing here even resembling a plot. But the game still got popular.
- Though this hasn't stopped a few devoted fans from making their own Pong fanfiction.
- Player Versus Player
- Scoring Points
- Story to Gameplay Ratio: Possibly the lowest out of any game ever made.
- Top Down View: Pong is basically top-view tennis.