Atari is celebrating “Pong Day” today for the 45th anniversary of the influential arcade game that first debuted on November 29, 1972. A simple-but-challenging table tennis simulation, Pong was the first commercially successful video game and an immediate smash hit that effectively established the video game industry.
Pong was originally meant to be a simple training exercise, assigned to newly hired engineer Allan Alcorn by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, to acclimate him to creating games. Alcorn went above and beyond, adding appealing features such as segmented paddles that changed the angle of the “ball” and accelerating speeds as play went on. Alcorn also elected to retain a “glitch” that didn’t allow the paddles to reach the top of the screen, which added to the game’s difficulty. Lastly, Bushnell had Alcorn add cheering crowd noises and other sound effects. The game was so well-received that Bushnell and the team were able to rapidly grow Atari and an entire industry was born.
To commemorate this groundbreaking birthday, the company has unveiled the all-new Pong Anniversary Limited-Edition Atari Speakerhat, available now for $129.99 USD exclusively at AtariLife.com. It is the newest baseball-style cap with high-fidelity stereo speakers, microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for phone calls, audio/music and voice control. Like all Atari Speakerhats, it is powered by patented Audiowear technology.
“Atari Speakerhats resonate with fans both new and old, and this new Pong design is something that people have been asking for,” said Atari Connect COO, Michael Arzt. “Atari’s social pages have been filled with love and accolades for the Speakerhats, and also with requests for designs based on our classic game franchises. We expect that unveiling the Pong Anniversary Limited-Edition Speakerhat on ‘Pong Day’ will make a lot of dedicated Atari fans and lovers of retro pop-culture very happy.”
To complement the Speakerhat is Table Pong, an oversized Pong game embedded in a coffee table. There are no screens or digital software; instead, the game is recreated in three dimensions with motors, rails, pulleys and magnets to simulate the game’s familiar 2D movements. The table easily transforms from a true-to-life mechanical game of Pong to a living room accessory that features four USB charging ports, as well as a Bluetooth speaker for music while you play. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, creator Calinfer Inc. now anticipates a first-quarter 2018 product launch.
To learn more about Atari Speakerhats and other Atari products, visit AtariLife.com. To learn more about Table Pong, visit the site here. You can also like on Facebook and follow on Twitter Twiter and Instagram.