Forty years ago Pong started a bit of a cultural revolution. The sounds were primitive, the graphics even more so, but a generation of youngsters, and adults, cut their video gaming teeth on it.
The classic video game was officially released on November 29, 1972 by Atari. The two-dimensional table tennis simulator consists merely of two lines, which act as paddles that you move up and down, and a spot, or ball.
Pong is credited with being one of the progenitors of the multi-billion dollar video games industry. The game took off with the public, despite provoking a lawsuit from Magnavox who claimed Atari had ripped off their product. But, after a settlement, it formed the crux of Atari’s first home video games console, helping the company to become world leader for a time.
So, in honour of Pong, we’re taking a look at some of the modern day equivalents:
Mario Tennis Open
For Nintendo 3DS, Mario Tennis Open gives you the chance to play as all your favourite characters from the Mario franchise. You can go for glory and play your way to victory in the World Cup against the Mushroom Kingdom’s best athletes, set your own style in exhibition matches, or sharpen your skills with drills where you can earn coins.
Sega Superstars Tennis
If Mario is everyone’s favourite character on Nintendo, then Sonic the Hedgehog must surely be up there for the Xbox. Each character has their own special skills, giving them an edge on the court. You play on courts based on environments from previous Sega games, including the tropics of Sonic’s Green Hill Zone or the fiesta of Amigo’s Carnival Park. There are four tournaments to smash your way through, unlocking bonus content as you go.
As it was table tennis that inspired the Pong, it’s only right we include this updated version for Xbox. After all, table tennis has been given a lot of kudos by Kate Middleton recently, who showed some impressive ball skills when she tried her hand at the sport earlier this year at a project in South-East London that aims to train the next generation of coaches. You can choose between 11 unique characters, each with their very own style of play and compete in 19 venues, all faithfully recreated to look like the real thing.
Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition
Headbands at the ready, you can play as some of the world’s top players and up-and-coming contenders. Choose to be Nadal, Federer or Murray, Sharapova, Wozniacki or Williams. There’s a brand new on-court feature which makes matches even more dramatic. A Match Momentum gauge builds up during a match if you’re doing well, allowing you to play shots lots of pros can only dream about.
From the makers of the Everybody’s Golf series, it features the same popular characters. There are lots of training options to improve your play, but the game is billed as being for everybody, accessible fun that is easy to pick up, so you can head straight onto the court and get some brilliant rallies going on.