What you view as a ‘classic video game’ will depend on your age. If you’re still in your twenties, the first ‘Call of Duty’ game probably counts as ‘classic’ to you. Those of you in your thirties are probably more likely to point to something like ‘Wipeout’ or ‘Crash Bandicoot’ on the first-ever PlayStation during the 1990s.
To many people, though, these games still feel brand new. Classic to them is something like ‘Command and Conquer,’ ‘Sim City,’ or ‘Civilization’ on the PC. Every single game we’ve mentioned so far is great, and all of them are well worthy of being described as classics.
There is, however, an older generation of gamer – and we know there are some of you out there reading this right now! They remember the 1970s and 1980s when video games were still a novelty, and the fact of their mere existence was enough to make people’s jaws drop.
They might not have been very advanced, and they would probably be considered boring or short by modern standards, but for their time, they were incredible. ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Frogger’ are both names worthy of mention within this category, but Atari’s ‘Pong’ stands alone. To all intents and purposes, the simple bat-and-ball game was the first arcade video game ever made.
It’s hard to explain the appeal of ‘Pong’ to a young audience. It was as basic as basic can be. The entire game consisted of a black and white screen with a short white bar at each end, and a rectangular ‘ball’ bouncing between them. It was played like tennis or air hockey, and the aim of the game was to score more than your opponent. Its simplicity gave it a timeless appeal, and that might be why there’s still a version of it active as an online slots game at web-based casinos today.
In fact, it might be one of the very few examples of an online slots version of a video game being more advanced than the game it’s based on. Many great games, including the aforementioned ‘Call of Duty,’ have been re-made as best slots UK. ‘Pong’ is the only one that ended up better-looking as a result of that recreation process.
You may be wondering why, in 2020, we’re talking about an Atari game that was released in 1972. We have a simple and yet very exciting answer to that question. Now, after such a long time, the game that your grandparents remember playing while they were sat around the television in their own youth is getting a brand-new sequel – and it’s somehow going to turn into an RPG. It all sounds a little improbable, but there’s some serious gaming talent behind this new development – and it has all the makings of a smash hit. ‘Pong’ could be about to take over the world again, just like it did fifty years ago.
Making a new ‘Pong’ wouldn’t be possible without Atari, because they’ve never let go of the copyright. They’re involved in the production of the new game in a very hands-on way, but they’re not working alone. Chequered Ink has been brought in to work on the game with them, and they’ve had more than one hit in the past on current-gen consoles as well as mobile games. If you’ve ever played ‘Spell Worm’ or ‘Gyro Boss,’ you’ve played a Chequered Ink game. If you enjoyed playing them, that probably bodes well for the chances of enjoying this new creation, which we understand will be called ‘Pong Quest.’
There are very few previews of ‘Pong Quest’ available so far, but the development team hasn’t been shy of sharing a few details with the public. Bizarrely, the game will see you take control of a walking version of a classic ‘Pong paddle’ (the name given to the bats in 1972 original) and traveling between various dungeons in a quest for freedom.
On your way to securing that freedom, you’ll come up against evil characters from a whole host of other Atari classics, including ‘Centipede’ and ‘Galaga.’ This sounds like it won’t just be a celebration of ‘Pong,’ but a celebration of several of the other classics of Atari’s glory years, too. The RPG aspect of the game will stem from the game’s battles, which will apparently have a few things in common with the classic version of ‘Final Fantasy VII.’
Once players have completed the story mode, they’ll be able to go online and play through a different game mode with one, two, or three additional players, and unlockable and downloadable content will include options to customize the basic black and white appearance of the player’s paddle.
Various power-ups will also be available to make your paddle more powerful, and at some point, we assume we’ll also be able to play the original version of ‘Pong.’ There would be very little point in calling the game ‘Pong’ if the original game mode wasn’t in there somewhere, so we expect to see it even if it’s just an entertaining side-game away from the larger over-arching plot.
Atari has released an official trailer for ‘Pong Quest’ to YouTube and other video platforms, and the graphics appear to be decidedly 8-bit. We understand that part of that will be an attempt to ape the aesthetics of the original game, but we also wonder whether it’s at such an early stage of development that the final few layers of polish haven’t been applied to the visuals yet.
Having a game that riffs off the popularity of a fifty-year-old classic is one thing, but trying to sell one that looks fifty years old in 2020 is quite another. The guide price for the game is less than twenty dollars – so this is clearly a release aimed at the budget end of the market – but it still needs to look the part. We’re sure they’ll get there by the time release day comes.
Obviously, a game this simply won’t appeal to everybody’s tastes. For a certain generation of gamers, though, it will be a welcome trip down memory lane – and there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little nostalgia when the price is right!