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Vintage Pong Consoles

Published: July 1, 2021
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The earliest original pong game was played on an oscilloscope, and was developed by William Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958. His game was called Tennis for Two: the first video game console was born. PONG had some important differences from the original Magnavox Odyssey, which had been discontinued in 1974. The Odyssey used discrete electronic components as a legacy of its 1960s roots, while PONG was based on an integrated circuit containing many components on a single chip. The chip in the home version was the most complex developed for a consumer product at the time, and the console boasted on-screen digital scoring, something the Odyssey lacked. While the Odyssey offered a range of different games through plug-in circuit boards, the first Atari PONG console played the tennis game only.

Pong console

Differences

The Odyssey lacked sounds and PONG made a distinctive bleeping noise through an internal speaker each time the ball was hit. The Odyssey could add spin to the tennis ball through a button on its controllers, while PONG could add eight levels of spin automatically depending on which part of the bat the ball hit. This was a feature found in the arcade version, and helped to produce varied play. In both the Odyssey and PONG, when the ball hit the top or bottom of the screen it bounced back in, a feature more like squash than tennis. The player gained a point when the opposing player failed to return the ball. Since domestic televisions in the 1970s lacked audiovisual inputs, the pong console was connected to the television set by converting its output to a radio frequency signal that was fed in through the antenna socket.

Pong console clones

Cloned versions (often named 'TV Sports' or 'Tele Games') of the original pong console by Atari soon appeared, and by 1977 the market was saturated with cloned Pong consoles and demand was in decline. Seeking a quick exit from the industry, many companies sold off their games at discount prices. The result was the first crash in the video game market, an event later echoed by the Video game crash of 1983. By this time more sophisticated games such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man had become available, and the sound and graphics capabilities of Pong consoles were seen as old-fashioned. The technology of the home video game market had also evolved in 1976 when the manufacturer Fairchild released its new programmable console, the VES (Video Entertainment System). Unlike the dedicated Pong consoles which had a fixed number of built-in games, the VES could offer a range of games via plug-in ROM cartridges. Atari launched its own programmable system in October 1977, the Atari Video Computer System or VCS, later known as the Atari 2600, and the use of plug-in cartridges was the defining feature of the second generation video consoles that dominated the market during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Links

Watch this hilarious video made by Angry Video Game Nerd about a few (of many!) different Pong Consoles ever made on YouTube.

Vintage Pong Consoles value and price guide

What's your Vintage pong consoles worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
General Nintendo Color TV Game 6 CTG Nintendo Color TV Game 6 CTG 6V Tested 12/2021 $225
General 1976 Executive Games Face off 1976 Executive Games Face Off Console 12/2021 $201
General Nintendo Color TV Game Block Nintendo Color TV Game Block Breaker 12/2021 $160
General ATARI SUPER PONG Electronic ATARI SUPER PONG Electronic Video Game 12/2021 $160
General Old video game console hanimex Old Video Game Console Hanimex HMG 7900 10/2021 $169
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices01/2022-.--

Pong Console forum

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Dave - November 2, 2021
I have a Ingersoll electronics r1800 pong console in great working condition boxed and instructions.
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