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Atari Not the First! The History of Mechanical Pong Games

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While the recent Atari Pong cocktail table has been a bit of a hit, a lot of people don't realize there's a history of trying to convert the Pong video game into old school electro mechanical arcade games, console games, and even handhelds - and has game play precursors that trace back to the dawn of arcade games. Just one more aspect of how important Pong is to arcade and video game history!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If you're old enough you would have seen the mechanical pong games from the 1970s.  A friend had the marx tv tennis (not sure what it was called in canada).  At that time, I thought it was weird.  The ball had this odd movement.  Back then we were impressed with the new field of electronics and video not mechanical toys no matter how ingenious they are.

Edited by mr_me
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1 hour ago, mr_me said:

If you're old enough you would have seen the mechanical pong games from the 1970s.  A friend had the marx tv tennis (not sure what it was called in canada).  At that time, I thought it was weird.  The ball had this odd movement.  Back then we were impressed with the new field of electronics and video not mechanical toys no matter how ingenious they are.

Yeah, I was 5 in '77; while most of these games were previously unknown to me, I vividly remember Blip the Digital Game, that was such a hot toy. I hear you on kids not being impressed with EM toys, lol - our family got an Atari Super Pong dedicated console in '76, so I'm sure I'd have been perplexed by TV Tennis too. But, that DID come out in '74 before Pong was in a console, I bet it might have impressed some kids if they'd gotten it right away, but yeah once the LED games hit the scene in '77, kids were all about the tech games, not EM games. 

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I ran across this video the other day that shows the inner workings of Blip. Really cool piece of mechanical design...

 

 

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@DanBoris - wow, that's a great video. To be honest, I wish I'd seen that video when I was making the documentary; I used some YT vids for visuals of Blip, but that video had a much better view of the inner workings! Yeah, it was some impressive old school engineering that went into Blip, probably the most advanced of the mechanical Pong games (up until the post 2000 projects like the Atari cocktail table)

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