It wasn’t the most sophisticated game, especially compared to the graphic-intensive masterpieces being played on consoles today, but millions of old-school gamers still have a soft spot for table tennis classic Pong. Fans of the hit video game celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday.
Pong was the first successful video game to market. Developed by engineer Allan Alcorn and introduced to the world by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, the game proved to be so popular that it allegedly jammed up within days of being installed at Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California—too many quarters, the manager said.
The game was officially released November 29, 1972, and was available for home gamers to purchase two years later.
Pong started the one game per quarter arcade standard that became widespread throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. Prior to Pong, games were three plays per quarter. At the peak of the game’s arcade dominance, more than 150,000 coin-operated Pong games were in circulation.
Pong catapulted Atari to success, and the company released its classic 2600 gaming system five years after Pong’s debut. The rest is video game history.
To celebrate the game’s anniversary, Atari on Thursday released a free iOS version of Pong called Pong World for a new generation of gamers. The app is a little more advanced than the 1972 version, with different settings and paddle upgrades, but the concept is the same. Atari chose indie game designer zGames as the winner in its Pong app contest.