The classic Atari arcade game Pong took the sport of tennis and transplanted it into the virtual world, becoming the world's first sports arcade video game in the process. Now a small team in Uruguay has done the reverse, taking Pong and bringing it back into the real world with a physical version that actually more closely resembles air hockey than tennis.
Daniel Perdomo, the mastermind of the Pong Project, says he and a few friends have been working on the game for the past two years, toiling away in their spare time. A lack of electronics, production design or manufacturing backgrounds didn't stop them from putting together what appears to be a solid, cleverly constructed mechanical table.
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Perdomo says they picked up the required skills and knowledge from the internet, specifically Google, YouTube and forums, but you wouldn't know that from looking at the finished product. A video the team has produced shows the construction process and inner workings of the table, and the end result seems to be a pretty faithful mechanical recreation of the original game.
Each player moves their paddle with knobs similar to the arcade controls and, faithful to the arcade original, the angle of the hit changes the ball's trajectory. It even looks like a single-player mode is built in, with the other paddle seemingly, somehow, moving by itself.
Despite Perdomo calling it just a first working prototype, the table is finished off with all the pizazz of the 70s, including a retro-styled shape, authentic-looking logo and play area, and lights that flash when the ball bounces off the sides.
It's a bit unclear what the next steps are, but the team is looking for a hardware incubator and people who may be able to help turn the Pong Project into a real product. Hopefully Atari's legal team will be as eager to play it as we are. Anyone interested in helping the team pursue a production-ready prototype can contact Perdomo via email or the team's Facebook page.
You can see the construction process in the video below, or if you just want to see the finished table in action, skip to about 3:45.