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December 23, 2012

"Atari Teenage Riot: The Inside Story Of Pong And The Video Game Industry's Big Bang"

When I mention Pong to my undergraduates, they have no idea. When I mention it to my MBAs, they laugh


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Interesting. Back in 66-68 era I played what was probably Spacewars on the mainframes at U of IL [I was a math major and had a friend who worked there after midnight, so . . .].

Also, I first saw Pong in a bar in Kansas in either late 72 or early 73 and it was, indeed, on/in a barrel with chairs around it. I believe the bar had two of them at about 5K/per. The bar was in the old [brand new then] Crown Center Hotel -- the one where a walkway [that I had walked on] collapsed a few years alter and killed 4 or so and injured dozens or more.

Anyhoo, from around noon to way late those machines were always surrounded by players and those waiting a turn. Since they were set up between 4 chairs, the standard seemed to be that as long as you bought drinks you could keep playing, no matter how many were waiting.

It probably didn't take long to figure out they had a winner. I bought the home version that attached to your tv for my kids in 1975-77 or in that time frame.


Oh. the 5K price is what I remember being told by the bartender. It was definitely Pong, probably around May-June of 1973, in one of the bars in the Crown Center. I remember that price because it was HUGE in 73 and I wondered how the machine would pay for itself.

If the price was really closer to 1,000 having it would make more sense.

It was kind of like a table. Barrel underneath, tv screen on top in the middle and room around the screen for drinks and snacks.

That was also the time a young lady who worked for the company [she was 6 feet tall] and I got into an elevator and she noticed that she had to look up at 6-7 guys also in the elevator with us. When we got out she was wondering who the heck all those tall guys were. Given that one of them was redheaded and 7 feet tall, I was guessing it was Bill Walton and some of his teammates. She'd never heard of Walton or the team.

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