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Your Favorite Pong Consoles

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#1 Ataricade OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 2, 2013 11:27 AM

Just as the title states, what are your favorite/top pong consoles?

I ask this, for I have been ever increasingly interested in purchasing a pong console- and while an Atari branded one is nice in terms of "authenticness", there are a vast amount of other consoles varying from look, design, games etc.

As pong museum says, "and the ball was square . . ." haha ;)

#2 onmode-ky OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 2, 2013 12:39 PM

I'm sure this is not the era of manufacture you have in mind, but my favorite is the 2-player Atari Paddles 13-in-1 TV Games system from Jakks Pacific, released in 2004 and developed by Jeff Vavasour and his crew at what was then Digital Eclipse Vancouver. Not only does it include a pretty good selection of the 2600's paddle games; not only does it run them well and with good controls; but, it also includes arcade Warlords, and that alone could have been both the icing and the cake.

onmode-ky

#3 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 2, 2013 1:17 PM

My favorite Pong console is probably Atari's Ultra-Pong Doubles. It's color and has a good mix of Pong games. When I am discussing computer history in the introductory computer classes that I teach, I sometimes enjoy hooking it up to the big overhead projector in the classroom, just to demonstrate what gaming technology was like in the mid-1970s. Atari's Video Pinball is another good one with an interesting mix of games. I also have a soft spot in my heart for the first Pong console that I owned, an otherwise unremarkable Radofin unit called the "S Four Thousand". It was sold mainly by K-Mart, but I think our family got it as a prize for attending one of those timeshare presentations, along with an Odyssey2.

A lot of the non-Atari Pong consoles, especially the cheaper off-brand ones, seem to have been built around the same family of integrated Pong chips (such as the AY-3-8500 series from GI, which is what the "S Four Thousand" uses). To me, these units fall into the "once you've seen one, you've seen them all" category, because even though the consoles look different, the gameplay is nearly identical. Here is an exhaustive list which may help you to avoid the clones and find the more interesting units that would be more worthwhile to collect.

Among newer units, I agree that the Jakks Atari 13-in-1 Paddle is a great little game system. I posted a mini-review of it when it was still being sold, and it remains one of my favorite dedicated units.

#4 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 1:56 AM

Super Pong Pro-Am Ten
Odyssey 100/200/300/400/500
APF TV Fun

Of the Atari Pongs, the Pro-Am Ten is my favorite, mainly due to the nostalgia of seeing one once at my aunt and uncle's cottage years ago. Even in and of itself, it's a nice system. The Ultra Pongs have more games and are more colorful, but Pro-Am Ten expands on the original Atari home Pong nicely. It can get confusing as to who's doing what in 4-player games, though, since the paddles all look alike and overlap.

I love the Odyssey systems. The 100 and 200 were in some ways more primitive than Atari Pong (no digital scoring, b/w graphics), but I always thought of the Odyssey systems as a sort of thinking man's Pong, due to the extra strategic possibilities available with full X/Y movement and English control. The 300's games were identical to those of hundreds of other systems (including the APF TV Fun), given that it's built around the ubiquitous AY-3-8500, but it gets points for style with that cool yellow and black Odyssey case. The 400 is essentially an updated 200, the only real difference being that it could now display gigantic digital scores and didn't force you to use plastic sliders to keep score (it still played the same three games).

The Odyssey 500 is probably the most interesting, though. It was a quantum leap not just in Odyssey systems, but in dedicated consoles in general. It has full-color graphics and sprites representing different athletes instead of the usual rectangular blocks. It was advertised as playing four games, adding Soccer to the established trio of Hockey, Tennis, and Smash (aka Squash, Handball). Since the athletes are three different sizes, they're really a difficulty setting in disguise. The games are "programmed" by matching the athlete to its playfield (there are switches for each). Soccer, however, is the result of mismatching the Squash characters to the Hockey screen. In this way, other undocumented games could be played as well:

Hockey guys + Hockey screen = Hockey
Tennis guys + Tennis screen = Tennis
Handball guys + Handball screen = Smash
Handball guys + Hockey screen = Soccer
Handball guys + Tennis screen = "Volleyball"
Tennis guys + Handball screen = "Racquetball"
Tennis guys + Hockey screen = "Lacrosse"
Hockey guys + Tennis screen = "Ice Tennis"
Hockey guys + Handball screen = "Jai Alai"

Since the three different sprites and three different play fields could be combined to form nine games, it's curious that Magnavox chose not to capitalize on that at a time when most systems played only three or four games (or more if there were gun games). Granted, there are REALLY only three games, but if they were willing to advertise Soccer as a "new" game, why not the rest?

As for the APF, it's an AY-3-8500 system, so there's nothing special about it as far as games go, but one word comes to mind, and I've used it often to describe the APF: "deluxe." It's a well-made, sturdy, and good looking piece of hardware, with all the woodgrain and chrome/brushed aluminum switches and detailing. It's a luxurious way of playing Tennis or Hockey. Like the Odyssey 300, it just looks cool.

#5 JadeETC OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:29 PM

I always thought the Bentley CompuVision was cool.

#6 djfurreh OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:15 PM

Olympian 2600 ... best controls for a pong console ever in my opinion

#7 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:27 PM

I'm definitely a fan of Atari Super Pong. I love the 70s design of the console and how the controls are built-in.

#8 borntorun OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:55 PM

I only have a few but her are my favorites, in order:
Atari Pong: It's just cool.
Atari Ultra Pong doubles: Great game selection, color, detachable paddles
Coleco Telstar Ranger: Mainly for the light-gun. Any of the AY-3-8500 consoles with a light-gun would be comparable.
Odyssey 400: For the "English" feature, which always makes my friends laugh the first time they play it

#9 pboland OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:08 PM

Just as the title states, what are your favorite/top pong consoles?

I ask this, for I have been ever increasingly interested in purchasing a pong console- and while an Atari branded one is nice in terms of "authenticness", there are a vast amount of other consoles varying from look, design, games etc.

As pong museum says, "and the ball was square . . ." haha ;)


Awesome topic! Here are the pong/dedicated consoles that I like:

Odyssey 500: For the reasons stated above.

Posted Image

Sears Tele-Games Speedway: It's just a cool system that includes racing and Demolition games. Very sleek looking console as well.

Posted Image (sorry, best pic I could find with taking one of my own unit)

Sears Tele-Games Pinball/Breakaway: Also the Atari Video Pinball. It has been a while since I played the two, but I believe there are a couple differences.

Posted Image Posted Image

Odyssey 3000: As much as I like the 300 I prefer the 3000. It just has a nicer look and of course the corded controllers are a plus.

Posted Image

Coleco Telstar Arcade: This use to be considered part of the pong/dedicated consoles family back when I started collecting in the late 90's, but now some consider it a programable system. It's really kind of in between, but I consider it one of the dedicated console type. It's also one of the most unique consoles.

Posted Image

IMO most pong/dedicated consoles tend to have a lot more personality to them than the programmable game systems that came just after most of them. That also makes it fun to collect them. Since a lot of these pong units played the same game, companies went out of their way to make the console visually different from the next.

#10 swlovinist OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:47 PM

Great thread. I have several favorites. Several were listed. By my all time favorite is the Tele-Games Hockey Pong. I own four units and three work great. One for parts. I have had one of these units at every PRGE, every Cowlitz Gamers for Kids, and a couple of PAX shows.

#11 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 3, 2013 6:46 AM

My favorite dedicaced game system have to be the Pizon-Bros Visiomatic 111, AKA Alcatel Visiomat 11.

Lil strory is that in late 73, Pizon-Bros engineers (probably after seeing either the Odyssey or ITT Odyssee) decided to made their own Pong system.
They were unable to do it themselves because of the "Robot" function, so they asked Alcatel to conceive the electronic part, while they'll focus on the case.

The result is something unique and awesome :

Posted Image

Posted Image

Aluminium casing with painted pictures, professional-like phone standard buttons (they really have an unique feeling that is hard to explain) two player mode of course, and one-player-versus-computer mode.

Of course the big thing is being able to play alone. The manual recommand to play on fast speed and larger angle to put on some challenge in this case.

The only drawback is that the system is black-and-white only, but I suppose that at the time, color would have made the price skyrocketing beyond any reasonable limit...Especially that when the system hit the market, cheaper Pong systems including the first AY based clones were coming.


#12 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 3, 2013 1:37 PM

Sears Tele-Games Speedway: It's just a cool system that includes racing and Demolition games. Very sleek looking console as well.

Posted Image


Thanks for reminding me that I want one of these. :P I'd actually prefer the Speedway IV, but this will do in a pinch. I just want to try out those racecar games. They look like Street Racer but somehow better.

Funny/sad story about the Telegames Speedway vis-a-vis my wanting one: I was hitting the thrifting circuit with my wife one day, which we don't get to do very often, and we were going to hit up a place I'd never been to before. My wife advised we skip it, since she had been there once and it was all overpriced womens' clothing. So we skipped it. Then I come on AtariAge that very night and read a thread from someone who had recently joined the forums -and who is also in Milwaukee- stating that he had found a couple of dedicated consoles earlier in the day for $5 each, including a Sears Telegames Speedway...at the exact store we skipped earlier that day.

My brain just about liquefied at the irony and coincidence. As for my wife's sage advice, it turned out she was thinking of a completely different place on the opposite end of town. *facepalm*

#13 AtariLynx Lover OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014 5:22 PM

I always thought the Bentley CompuVision was cool.

 

So true. My only Pong system, and therefore, my favorite. Got it years and years ago. Don't play it much, though - it is from 1983, in my defense. Plus, Pong is only fun for so long...



#14 JamesL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014 5:39 PM

I love Sears Telegames Motocross Sports Center IV. It's  4 player Pong along with Atari Stunt Cycle. There's one on ebay now with the box-I'm very tempted.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item27de641894



#15 MIKE5200 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014 8:34 PM

We just had a Telestar. I Wonder why we didn't get the deluxe..

Attached Thumbnails

  • telstar.jpg


#16 Mingy Jongo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:40 PM

The Odyssey 3000 is my favorite of the ones I own.



#17 keilbaca OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:45 PM

I love Sears Telegames Motocross Sports Center IV. It's  4 player Pong along with Atari Stunt Cycle. There's one on ebay now with the box-I'm very tempted.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item27de641894

 

I have one of these. I love the system. True story: If you complete the Stunt Cycle, when it goes to place the next bus, the entire screen gets covered in buses and there's an annoying tone that plays.

 

I think it was 28 or 29 buses that it happens with. Zenoff64 was there with me when it happened. It was his console, then when I essentially got the "kill screen," he gave it to me. 



#18 bradhig OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:36 PM

We had a Magnavox  Odyssey 100.  It was big and orange.  Sadly it was sold at a garage sale.  I never got to play it cause I was too young at the time.



#19 davyK OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 26, 2014 3:06 AM

I have two. First up is my favourite because it is the first video game I ever played. My uncle , who was a single man and clearly with money to burn, bought this and I can remember being goggle eyed by this. Being in the PAL region this thing must have cost a fortune. I still really like the minimalist design ethic. You can select from Pong, Football and Squash , select from the different paddle sizes, and reset a game all using two buttons. There is also a one player mode - all it does is make your control move both paddles so you are essentially playing yourself.
 
This is one I got from eBay purely for nostalgia reasons. Rarely play it but it works fine.
 
DedicatedPongVideomaster.jpg
 
This is the colour version of the first console I owned. The one I owned is long gone but got this off eBay. Same drill - all working.
 
DedicatedPongAdman.jpg
 
 
Both are complete in box....
 
DedicatedPongBoxed.jpg





I would really like to get hold of some of the Atari Pong consoles. Did they ever get a PAL release? I have a way of playing NTSC consoles via a VCR and then a composite feed to a CRT (play NTSC 2600 games that way) but it would be nice to have a PAL version if at all possible (provided they play full speed of course!)

Edited by davyK, Mon May 26, 2014 3:13 AM.






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