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How did arcade games begin:

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Anonymous
May 24, 2005 4:35:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

I have always loved the story of Nolans pong dying in the middle of the
night while they were in a tournament and i thought Id share the story
if you havent read it.

I played Space Wars as a kid with every quarter tip i received from
delivering papers. I often wonder if i saved all the quarters and all
my Star Wars comic books I preserved in sealed bags how much they would
be worth today...

!

Answer: I would have missed on Space Wars and never bought my first
car!

LOL... Enjoy.

--------------------------------------------

Nolan Bushnell's first exposure to video games was a game called
"Spacewar." Programmed by an MIT student named Steve Russell
in the early sixties, this game had circulated computer labs across the
country by the time Bushnell would play it in a lab at the University
of Utah in 1962. He would spend the next seven years of his life trying
to reproduce that game on a smaller, less expensive computer. When it
was completed, Bushnell's Spacewar variation (known as "Computer
Space") did not sell. Frustrated by this, Bushnell changed his entire
perspective on computer game design.

In an interview, Bushnell later said, "You had to read the instructions
before you could play, people didn't want to read instructions. To be
successful, I had to come up with a game people already knew how to
play; something so simple that any drunk in any bar could play."

In 1972, Bushnell quit his job at Ampex in Sunnyvale, California, and
with two other former Ampex engineers started his company. Originally,
the three applied for the company name "Syzygy," but that had already
been taken be a roofing firm. Bushnell enjoyed playing the Japanese
game "go" and his next suggestion was "atari" which means "check." This
name was accepted by the California Secretary of State, and on June 27,
1972, Atari was officially established.

Al Alcorn, one of Atari's first employees, was the engineer who
constructed the first Pong arcade game. The game was named after the
desired sound that Bushnell wanted incorporated in the game. The
dictionary defines "pong" as a hollow, ringing sound, and this was the
sound Bushnell felt was necessary in the game.

The first Pong arcade machine was placed in a local bar in Sunnyvale
called Andy Capp's. It was more of a trial than anything else, as the
unit did not even have a fully constructed case. The following is an
account of the first night Pong was in this bar,
reproduced from "Zap! The Rise and Fall of Atari" by Cohen.

"One of the regulars approached the Pong game inquisitively and studied
the ball bouncing silently around the screen as if in a vacuum. A
friend joined him. The instructions said: 'Avoid missing ball for high
score.' One of [them] inserted a quarter. There was a beep. The game
had begun. They watched dumbfoundedly as the ball appeared alternately
on one side of the screen and then disappeared on the other. Each time
it did the score changed. The score was tied at 3-3 when one player
tried the knob controlling the paddle at his end of the screen. The
score was 5-4, his favor, when his paddle made contact with the ball.
There was a beautifully resonant "pong" sound, and the ball bounced
back to the other side of the screen. 6-4. At 8-4 the second player
figured out how to use his paddle. They had their first brief volley
just before the score was 11-5 and the game was over.
"Seven quarters later they were having extended volleys, and the
constant pong noise was attracting the curiosity of others at the bar.
Before closing, everybody in the bar had played the game. The next day
people were lined up outside Andy Capp's at 10 A.M. to play Pong.
Around ten o'clock that night, the game suddenly died."

The reason for this was that the milk carton coin container inside the
machine was overflowing into the electronics. After it was emptied, the
game continued its usual operation.

Pong would become a huge hit in the arcades, spawning numerous
imitations and several official sequels. Its popularity would not die
down, until it was replaced by more advanced systems that used
microprocessors instead of LSI (Large Scale Integrated) circuits.

http://www.pong-story.com/sitemap.htm

More about : arcade games begin

Anonymous
May 24, 2005 6:15:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

It does make for a great story, it's one I have researched myself. I
feel the need to clear up some minor discrepencies in this text though.

Computer Space WAS designed by Syzygy, it even has the logo stamped on
its control panel. Syzygy was Nolan's partnership and they worked with
Nutting Associates in creating the landmark first arcade video game
ever (Computer Space, not Pong). It was only when Nolan went to
incorporate Syzygy that they discovered the name was owned by another
firm. That's when they went for the Atari name (though Nolan himself
says that was not their first choice).

Computer Space was a flop indeed. I like the comments about people
needing to read how to play Computer Space, that's quite funny. I am as
guilty as anyone else for not reading software documentation.

There is a very intriguing story behind the origins of Pong, it's only
fair to mention Ralph Baer here.

But rather than fill this post with a history lesson, I recommend
checking out my little History write up on my site, or do a few google
searches on these subjects for the full story.

computerspacefan@hotmail.com
http://www.computerspacefan.com
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 6:26:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Hi Tom,

Thats a interstering twist to the story. Do you have any documentation
on this fact?

I very vagly remember playing computer Space as a kid but i dont
remeber how it played. i just remember being hooked on Space Wars.

Don
Related resources
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 7:49:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Sorry my name is not Tom, I was assuming that question was directed to
someone else.
Anyway, not sure which fact you are referring to either. Can you
clarify?
I admit the info I have on my site is stuff I gleaned from various
sources online as well as a TV show. I'm more than happy to correct any
errors I have so if Ralph himself can corroborate any of this stuff
please let me know.
Send him my best wishes when you have lunch.

computerspacefan@hotmail.com
http://www.computerspacefan.com
May 24, 2005 10:36:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Which fact? If its Ralph Baer related, lmk. I'm eating lunch with him next
week!

tim (NH)

"arcadeguy" <arcadeguy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1116969966.216709.117350@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Hi Tom,
>
> Thats a interstering twist to the story. Do you have any documentation
> on this fact?
>
> I very vagly remember playing computer Space as a kid but i dont
> remeber how it played. i just remember being hooked on Space Wars.
>
> Don
>
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 10:51:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Well Seeburg branched out of juke boxes with some gun games in the '30s. LTG
:) 

"arcadeguy" <arcadeguy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1116963338.700573.112470@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> I have always loved the story of Nolans pong dying in the middle of the
> night while they were in a tournament and i thought Id share the story
> if you havent read it.
>
> I played Space Wars as a kid with every quarter tip i received from
> delivering papers. I often wonder if i saved all the quarters and all
> my Star Wars comic books I preserved in sealed bags how much they would
> be worth today...
>
> !
>
> Answer: I would have missed on Space Wars and never bought my first
> car!
>
> LOL... Enjoy.
!