At the risk of showing my age, I can remember the excitement when Pong first made its way from the arcade machine onto our TV screens. By today's standards of course, Atari's first game development is very primitive indeed, but back then it was something of a revolution. Now, the company is hoping to attract a new generation of fans to its legendary game by inviting mobile game developers to come up with a modern take on the wonderfully addictive table tennis classic. The winner of its Pong Indie Developer Challenge will receive a cash prize and a share of the game's profit.
Today's gamers are somewhat spoiled by visually-rich, plot-driven, immersive, and often team-oriented epics like Call of Duty and Halo, but there is still a market for something a little less involved and a whole lot simpler. The success of recent indie-developed Atari titles for iOS devices such as Asteroids: Gunner, Atari's Greatest Hits and Breakout: Boost effectively demonstrates that, albeit reworked versions of, vintage arcade games continue to be popular among gamers. It's now the turn of the company's first video game to be given a modern new look and a place in Atari's App Store catalog.
The Pong of the 1970s was a simple two-dimensional game of table tennis with one white rectangular paddle on the left that could be moved up and down, and one on the right. There was a broken line down the middle of the screen to represent the net and a square "ball" that bounced between the two sides. A point was scored if a player's paddle failed to hit and return the ball before it zoomed offscreen.
The game has seen a few remakes since its original release, including a Playstation outing, but now independent developers are being asked to reimagine Pong for a new mobile generation. The winner of Atari's competition could walk away with up to US$100,000 and benefit from a full revenue-share publishing agreement, including marketing and PR support, followed by an App Store launch under the Atari brand later in the year.
Original game designs for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch must be submitted by April 15 – full details are available via the source link below. Entries will be judged by a team of industry experts, including Atari's founder Nolan Bushnell, and winners will be announced on August 2.
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