Happy Birthday Pong, the first home video game

Pong, widely considered to be the first true home console, turns 40 years old. If today everyone knows about PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo, the credit goes to Pong

It's been exactly forty years since Pong, the first truly successful home console, was launched on the market. It was August 3, 1975 and Atari decided to market a home video game, what in the future everyone would call a console.

For the time "Home Pong" (as the game was called) was a real revolution: it was the first console to achieve considerable success (in a few months more than 150 thousand were sold) and that opened the door to the development of other home consoles (Sega and Nintendo). To be perfectly honest, Pong was not the first home video game to be commercialized (Magnavox Odyssey had already appeared on the market, a video game very similar to Pong, but which did not achieve the same success), but it was the first to make people understand how much consoles were loved by users. If today everyone knows PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo, the credit must be given to Atari and Pong.

But what is Pong?

If you think that Pong offers all the possibilities of modern consoles, you are very wrong. Pong is a home video game that plugs into your television and has two simple joysticks. And how many games are present within Pong? Very simple, just one. The name Pong comes from ping-pong: the video game is a tennis "simulator", with two "players" who challenge each other to make the winning point. Everyone at least once in their life has seen the image of Pong: the players are represented by a "rod" that moves from top to bottom, and vice versa, to repel the ball into the opponent's court. A primitive tennis video game, but one that since August 3, 1975 has practically revolutionized the world of consoles. Atari, the software house that launched the console, initially called it "Tele-Games", but the following year changed it to "Home Pong", creating, in fact, the "myth".

It all started from a cabin cruiser

The idea of launching a home video game, came to Atari after the success that Pong had obtained in the form of cabin cruiser (to mean the video games still present in the game rooms). The first version of Pong (made by the trio Alcorn, Bushnell and Dabney) was put in September 1972 in the local Andy Capp's Cavern in Sunnyvale. The video game is very simple: besides the slot to insert the quarter that makes it work, it has the button to start the game and two wheels to move the players. A few days after installing it, however, the game shows the first problems and doesn't work. The reason? The coin box was so full that it couldn't start the video game. After the success achieved with the cabinet, Alcorn, Bushnell and Dabney decided to launch on August 3, 1975 also the home version. In the following years Atari itself launched new versions of Pong, while companies copied the idea.