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Pong is a video game by Atari, based on the sport of table tennis. Though commonly thought to be the world's first video arcade game, Computer Space actually preceded it. The original Pong arcade unit was released by Atari on November 29, 1972. It was certainly the first video game to win widespread popularity, in both its arcade and home console versions; in that sense, it acted as the lynchpin for the initial boom of industry in each of those sectors. While not the first electronic game, the earliest form of an electronic ping-pong game dates back as a game played on an oscilloscope, by William A. Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958. His game was titled Tennis for Two. PONG is a basic simulation of the racket sport of table tennis. A small square representing a ping pong ball travels across the screen in a linear trajectory. If the square strikes the perimeter of the playing field, or one of the simulated paddles, the square ricochets based on the angle of the impact.
Game play consists of players moving their respective paddles vertically to defend their scoring zones. Players score one point by maneuvering the square past their opponent's paddle. PONG can be played either by a single player pitted against a computerized opponent, or by two players each controlling a paddle. In Atari's original PONG arcade cabinets, players controlled their paddles using one of two small paddle controllers (a knob-like input device). By contrast, several of the derivative table tennis simulations employed longitudinally-sliding joysticks.
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