Gadgets and More
Gadgets and More


So I am a little out of order here talking about Pong, towards the end of the 1970’s gadgets. Yes, Pong came out in 1972. I have my reasons.


Was released a version of Pong in 1972.  The idea of a Pong was a bit of training exercise and was loosely based on a ping pong game in Magnavox Odyssey. In 1975, during the Christmas season only available through Sears. One of the reasons why this become popular was due to the outstanding work of Allan Alcorn.

Magnavox Odyssey vs Atari

As Allan Alcorn designed pong, Magnavox sued Atari for patent infringement. The higher-ups at Atari finally realized the quality work and they really weren’t very good at going after Atari and the other clones. It wasn’t until Ralph Baer and his employer Sanders Associates which had an agreement to sublicense.

After some pressure from Baer Magnavox sued Atari in April 1974. This was settled out of court. Magnavox offered Atari to become a licensee for $700,000 and all the other Pong clones would have to pay royalties. However, Magnavox would obtain rights to everything Atari developed over the course of the year. It did take until 1976 for this to get all worked out.

The Impact

In 1973, filled 2,500 orders and in 1974 they sold more than 8,000 orders. (See a trend) Atari was sort of late to the party. So they had to think of new ways to get success. In 1975 when they launched Pong at Sears it sold 150,000 units, it was called Home Pong. At this time in 1975, Home Pong became the most successful product.

I Didn’t talk about Nintendo and the color TV game 6 in 1977, which plays variations of electronic tennis.


Computer space came out first for Bushnell. Beating around the bush Atari was formed and Pong was the first game they developed. Typically, they wanted to have the following:

  • Roaring crowds
  • Boo and his

Where were they going to put this at and how to create that with the circuits they had. He did figure out that with a sync generator they could make some of the sounds. He had purchased a Hitachi black and white television.

They had a good working relationship with a bar owner and manager, Bill Gaddis and they placed a Pong prototype at a local bar. They placed the Pong game by the tables near the other entertainment machines.  Over the course of the weeks, they ran into technical issues and when they went out to look at it was full of quarters

They wanted to manufacture the game rather than license it, but Bushnell had already picked the interest of Bally and Midway. However, Bushnell informed them that the other was not interested and they left it alone.

It was slow at first, but then it got better and by 1973, it started to shipping Pong to other countries, all to great foreign partners.

Eventually, this led to home pong and well that is what it is.

How you look at it

It all depends on how you look at it. Pong was a great seller if you think it was ripped off of a tennis game built by Magnavox or was it an awesome thing. Pong was what it was a great game, but if you look at it now. It was boring. You be the judge here is a video.

PONG Video



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