facts about the invention of the
Pong Video® Game by Nolan Bushnell in 1972.
AT A GLANCE:
Pong was the
invention of Nolan Bushnell, a young engineer who introduced video table
tennis to arcades in 1972. Simple and addictive, Pong launched the craze
for home video games. The home version was Introduced by Atari, Bushnell's
company, in 1974--long before anyone
had seen a personal computer.
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
||Pong is a
simple and addictive video game. A tiny "ball" floats back and forth
across a "net" bisecting a dark Television screen, and two players
use knobs to manipulate "paddles" on the screen to hit the ball. The
instructions are spare: "Avoid missing ball for high score."
(US) issued February 19, 1974
||First to invent. First
to patent. Entrepreneur.
||February 5, 1943
in Ogden, Utah
invention, history, pong, pong video game, Nolan Bushnell, Magnavox
Odyssey, Ralph Baer, invention of, inventor of, history, historical,
resources, profile, who invented, web resources, book resources,
fun facts, fascinating facts.
Before there was Pong, there
was Odyssey, invented by
Ralph Baer in 1966. Programmed for 12 games, Magnavox's TV-based game required plastic overlays
to identify colored playing fields on the screen. It also came with two hand controls and
such traditional board game equipment as dice, playing cards, and play money. Consumers
strongly preferred Pong's simplicity, and Pong and its numerous knockoff relatives
dominated the game market until 1977, while Magnavox abandoned Odyssey about a year after
its 1972 debut.
Pong was the invention of Nolan
Bushnell, a young engineer who introduced video table tennis to arcades in 1972. Simple
and addictive, Pong launched the craze for home video games. Introduced by Atari in
1974--long before anyone had seen a personal computerPong was an adaptation of the
companys popular arcade game of the same name, and it became the most popular game
of the 1975 holiday season, with sales of $40,000,000 for the year.
To a generation of gamers
accustomed to 64-bit graphics and blazing processor power, Pong now looks absurdly
low-tech: a tiny "ball" floats back and forth across a "net" bisecting
a dark screen, and two players use knobs to manipulate "paddles" on the screen
to hit the ball. The instructions are spare: "Avoid missing ball for high
score." And the inside of the game is likewise unimpressive--just three
integrated circuits and a few other components. But the game's fun, straightforward design
brought millions of players to the TV screen, and the industry never looked back.
The breakthrough that led
Bushnell to invent the home version of Pong was the linking of mini-computers to TV
terminals. In 1977, now under the ownership of Warner, Atari introduced its new Video
Computer System (VCS) and nine compatible game cartridges. The company licensed the
megahit arcade game Space Invaders for the VCS in 1980, and VCS sales soared to $100
million. In the early 1980s, riding high on the success of the VCS, Atari turned away from
new product development, churning out software for dozens of new games and recycled
versions of the VCS instead. It also took part in an ultimately unsuccessful venture that
allowed users to download games for the VCS over phone lines with a modem. When the
video game market crashed in 1983-84, Atari was left with vast quantities of unsellable
software and no new technology to fall back on. After the crash, consumers stayed away
from home consoles, which were not reintroduced until Nintendo and Sega arrived on the
scene in the late 1980s.
Bushnell founded and was CEO of Atari Corporation, a manufacturer of video
games, from 1971 to 1978. He founded and served as CEO of Chuck E. Cheese's
Pizza Time Theater, a restaurant chain featuring electronic entertainment,
from 1977 to 1983. From 1983 to 1986, Mr. Bushnell served as the sole
proprietor of Catalyst Technologies, a source of technical advice and
venture capital for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. He served as Chairman for
several Catalyst companies, such as ETAK, Androbot, ByVideo, Magnum
Microwave, Axlon and Octus.
Nolan Bushnell Biography from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Video Games from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Magnavox Odyssey from The Great Idea Finder
Games and Toys from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller / Hardcover - 128 pages / Henry
Holt & Company (2000)
The quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to
Silly Putty and toy soldiers to Trivial Pursuit.
The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon
by Steve L. Kent / Paperback: 624 pages / Prima Publishing (September 6, 2001)
In this rollicking, mammoth history of video games from pinball to Pong to
Playstation II Kent, a technology journalist and self-professed video game addict, covers
almost every conceivable aspect of the industry, from the technological leaps that made
the games possible to the corporate power struggles that won (and lost) billions of
ARCADE FEVER The Fan's Guide to The Golden Age of Video Games
by John Sellers / Paperback: 160 pages / Running Pr (August 2001)
This illustrated history of the arcade's glory days will push any
game geek's thrust button.
High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games
by Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson / Paperback: 400 pages / McGraw-Hill
Osborne Media; (2003)
This is the inside scoop on the history, successes,
tricks, and even failures of the entire electronic games industry.This
lavishly illustrated full-color retrospective takes you on a guided tour of
the evolution of electronic games from blips on a tiny screen in a computer
science lab to the multi-billion-dollar industry it has become today.
ON THE SCREEN:
Video Games: Behind the Fun
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
/ Also VHS
First there was Pong. Then came Asteroids, and Pac Man, and Nintendo. At
every stage of their development, Video games have pushed the limits of
ON THE WEB:
People were waiting two hours in line to sign up on a list just to get an
Atari home version of Pong.
of the Week
Invention Dimension featured Nolan Bushnell in November, 1998 for his invention
of the Video Game.
Tech Interview with Nolan Bushnell
He is arguably the father of computer entertainment.
The Computer Hall of Fame
Nolan Bushnell Elected, Inducted September, 2000.
Most Influential People in Gaming
Far from defeated, Bushnell went back to the drawing board (or to a Magnavox Odyssey
demonstration, as the story goes) and returned with something called Pong. This site has lots of COOKIES and POP-UP advertising.
An Interview With Nolan Bushnell
Interview by Joyce Gemperlein, San Jose Mercury News; and Tenaya Scheinman,
Senior, Menlo School
Consumer Electronics Association Hall of
The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame inductees have made a significant
contribution to the world, and without these inductees, our lives would not
be the same.
Over the years Mr, Bushnell has started over 20 companies. This is his most recent.
Here is a brief chronology of how and when Video Games came to life. The
intoduction of Magnovaz Odyssey game covered in detail. Article prepared by
Ralph H. Baer, video game inventor.
HOW IT WORKS:
How Video Games Systems Work
More than just the Pong Video Game. This How Stuff Works
site has lots of COOKIES and POP-UP ADS..
- The joysticks from the home version of Tank
eventually became the standard joysticks which were packed in with the Atari 2600 VCS
(Video Computer System. The Joystick was created by John Hyashi and Kevin McKinnsey and
sold over 60 million worldwide.)
- Bushnell was granted patents on some of the basic technologies
for many of the early video games developed and is also the inventor or co-inventor of
numerous worldwide patents in various other fields and industries.
- It may be hard to believe, but the home video game craze was
launched by a game with instructions that began, "Avoid Missing Ball for High
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Sources in BOLD Type.
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
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