8 Facts You Might Not Know About Pong
Long before you could sit down for some chillout time at a MS Pacman cocktail table or go on some Galaga adventures to test your shooting skills, there was a game called Pong. It’s one of the most important games in the history of gaming, and this week it turns 45.
That's right, Atari released Pong to the world in 1972.
Here are eight facts you might not know about this famous arcade game.
1. Pong wasn't the first arcade game – many people mistakenly think Pong was the world's first arcade game. In fact, Atari released the arcade game Computer Space a year before Pong, plus there were many video game titles developed in the 1960s. This includes Spacewar! in 1962, Periscope in 1966, Duck Hunt from Sega in 1969, and many more.
2. Pong was, however, the first successful arcade game – while Pong was not the first arcade game, it was the first successful one – according to Guinness World Records. In its first year of production, Atari sold about 8,000 Pong arcade machines.
3. Pong wasn’t even meant to be released – Pong's developer was Allan Alcorn. He was one of the first employees of Atari, the company set up by Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell asked Alcorn to make Pong as a training exercise as he didn't have any experience developing video games. Bushnell didn't tell Alcorn it was just for training, however, to ensure Alcorn put the effort in.
4. The inspiration for Pong led to the first lawsuit involving a video game – Bushnell took inspiration for Pong from a table tennis game on the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first home games console. Magnavox Odyssey sued, and Atari settled out of court.
5. The first prototype of Pong broke down after a couple of days – on further inspection, however, Atari learned the failure was due to too many coins in the unit as there were so many people playing it.
6. Atari didn't want to build it, but they had to – after developing the game, Atari wanted an agreement with a larger manufacturing company. It couldn't find any that would do it, so had to handle manufacturing itself. As the game was successful, this was the right decision.
7. It was three times the price of pinball – when Pong was first released, its biggest competitor was pinball machines. It did well, even though it cost players one quarter per game. For a quarter, a player could get three games on a pinball machine.
Pong paved the way for what would become the Golden Era of Arcade Games in the 1980s, our favorite gaming era. If you’d like to play your favorite 80s arcade games again, check out our range of classic arcade machines.