This year marks the 40th anniversary of Atari releasing its first arcade game. The name of that game was Pong
, and although the gameplay consisted of nothing more than two paddles moved up and down to deflect a ball to the other side of the screen, it heralded the beginnings of a huge mainstream industry. What better way to celebrate that anniversary and the birth of the modern video game industry than by playing some Pong
- and Missile Command
, and others - directly in your web browser thanks to Atari. With a little help from Microsoft.
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.
On a cold morning on January 25, 1947 at the U.S. Patent Office, Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann submitted an invention that is now recognized as one of the earliest examples of the video game - the "Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device". Described it as a game of skill where a player sits or lies in front of a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) mounted in a closet, the analog device was inspired by a radar commonly used in the second World War to control missiles. Using knobs to adjust speed and trajectory, a plane was represented by a single point and the scores were assigned by hand!