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access_time July 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM in Features by Charlie Grammer

Gamebusters week 1: Pong

Gamebusters myth 1: Pong.

Gamebusters myth 1: Pong.

Hello, and welcome to the beginning of Gamebusters, a feature I plan to attempt to write each week where I dig up video game myths and attempt to debunk them.

Since we’re just starting out, we’ll begin with a simple myth. This is a popular video game myth that falsely gives credit to Pong for being the very first video game.

For those unaware of the background, on November 29, 1972, Ted Dabney and Nolan Bushnell, two programmers that had recently founded the company Atari, set up and unveiled a brand new game called Pong. This would mark the birth of the game industry.

Many people falsely believe that this was the very first game to be created, however there were a few games that were older than Pong. Indeed, the first video game was released a full year ealier to Pong’s debut at Andy Capp’s Tavern.

This game was called Computer Space, and was, according to Gamasutra, “an overly ambitious effort based on Spacewar!, a pioneering mainframe computer-based space combat simulation from the 1960s developed by and for engineers (which will be covered in an upcoming article, “Spacewar! (1962): The Best Waste of Time in the History of the Universe”).”

Though Pong is falesly credited with being the first game ever made, it is still a first of sorts. Indeed, if not for Pong, which was an attempt to create a game that anybody could play and enjoy (many people were unable to play Computer Space due to how complicated it was), we probably wouldn’t have the thriving industry we know today. Pong, though not the first game to be created, truly kicked off the gaming industry, paving the way for the classics we enjoy today.

I hope you enjoyed the first week of game myth busting. If you have any suggestions for other game myths you want me to attempt to debunk (or even just a better name for the feature), feel free to comment, and I will do my best to get to them.


  • V. Chiucchi July 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    If you’re going to talk about Pong not being the first, I would think you would go into more detail than just mention Computer Space. How about that Pong was considered a rip-off of Ping-Pong for the Odyssey and that Atari was going to get sued over it?

    Also, it’s been debatable that Tennis For Two and OXO could be considered the first game because they debuted years before Pong, albeit TFT was on an Oscilloscope and OXO was on a computer.

  • Charlie Grammer July 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    To be honest, I was unaware. The research I conducted didn’t turn it up. Since this was my first attempt at something like this, I was, perhaps, a little too eager to get it out there.

    I do promise to you and any other readers that I will do more thorough research in the future, and I apologize for this mess up. Thank you for teaching me something new as well.

  • […] Gamebusters Myth 1: Pong. […]

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