Forty-one years ago today, the world fell in love with Pong, the groundbreaking video game from Atari that launched a new revolution of entertainment. The first machine appeared in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnydale, Calif. under the Atari company banner, and it immediately attracted a huge following of players. The first machine was made from some spare parts lying around Atari’s headquarters including a $75 black and white television from a drug store.
Believe it or not, Pong wasn’t even the first video game ever made. It wasn’t even the first commercially released video game in the medium’s history. The famed EDSAC computer built in the 1950s, the massive computer that ran on vacuum tubes and took up an entire room, could actually be used to play Tic-Tac-Toe with a program called OXO. There was an even earlier version of Pong made in 1958 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York called Tennis for Two played on a small analog computer.
Pong, however, became the first massive, video game hit. It not only helped launched the rise of the video game arcade but it also brought video games into the home with its home console version that led to the release of the Atari 2600. It’s still played today on iPhones and iPads thanks to a number of different variations of the game on the Apple iTunes Store–including a brand new one called Pong World released last year for the game’s 40th anniversary. Yeah, that 40th anniversary was celebrated a lot, too, and we suspect that you’ll be able to play Pong somehow on the 400th anniversary somewhere.