Pong

PongI quite dislike nostalgia. All that looking in the rear view view with rose coloured glasses bothers me. The good old days …. weren’t.

So I was surprised by a wave of nostalgia that washed over me a few days ago. Nostalgia for a video game. For Pong.

I blame Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators. It’s a highly recommended survey of the key people responsible for the digital age. It also has a short section on Atari and, of course, Pong.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes Pong:

… a two-dimensional sports game that simulates table tennis. The player controls an in-game paddle by moving it vertically across the left side of the screen, and can compete against either a computer-controlled opponent or another player controlling a second paddle on the opposing side. Players use the paddles to hit a ball back and forth. The aim is for each player to reach eleven points before the opponent; points are earned when one fails to return the ball to the other.

Hi-tech it ain’t. No MMORPG or MMOG here. And so why did I play it for hours and hours. Why did I drop a small fortune (for a teenager) into this arcade machine. Simple answer:

Love.

At the time I was dating my future spouse. We had no money and lots of time. We played Pong. At the mall. Endlessly.

I’m starting to feel all warm and fuzzy again.

If you want to try out Pong yourself (or simply wallow in nostalgia like me) try the web simulation. Fun.

Now back to our regularly scheduled posts about information technology, higher education, and other such serious stuff.

…Mike

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2 Responses to Pong

  1. John Miedema says:

    “I quite dislike nostalgia. All that looking in the rear view view with rose coloured glasses bothers me. The good old days …. weren’t.”

    Curious. Do you have the same disdain for futurism? The glossy eyed gaze into the crystal ball. E.g., Just can’t wait till we can play holodeck games.

    I find people seem to have a bias one way or the other.

  2. Mike Ridley says:

    You are correct; I definitely prefer the glossy eyed future gaze to the rose coloured rear view mirror. The optimism of the future is too hard to resist (even if we are disappointed when the future become the present).

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