PONG 1993

File:  PONGTEST.TXT - Revision 1.1 (5/16, 5/18/93) - By Allen C. Huffman

                          In the beginning there was...

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                           X       XXX   X   X   XXXX (tm)
             And now, two decades later, Pong(tm) will live again...

  [DISCLAIMER:   The  game  name  "Pong(tm)"  is  a  TRADE  MARK  of   Atari
  Corporation.   None  of us have anything to do with Atari and we are using
  this name strictly as a term to define a video game concept.  Read at your
  own risk.]

       And to think...this rather bizarre idea all started with an impromptu
  P.A.  announcement at the 2nd Annual "Last" Chicago CoCoFest in May, 1993.
  The announcement, written by Sub-Etha founding partner  Terry  Todd,  went
  something like this:

               Sub-Etha Software, in voluntary cooperation with  StG
          Net,   StrongWare,  Intelligent  Algorithms,  Dave  Myers,
          BARSoft, Burke & Burke, HawkSoft, the National  OS9  Users
          Group  of  Australia,  and  more  of  the rest of the CoCo
          Community will be sponsoring a programming competition  in
          which  each  participant  will  create  a unique, original
          PONG(tm)-type game.  This contest is open to all who  wish
          to  enter.  The programs will be impartially judged at the
          1991 Atlanta CoCoFest on the basis of  Memory  Efficiency,
          Speed   Efficiency,   Originality,  Special  Effects,  and
          Playability.  The programmer judged best in each  category
          will receive a cashiers check in the amount of ONE DOLLAR!


       Video  games  all  started with Atari's original PONG(tm) game.  This
  tabletop two-player game, reportedly created in 1972 with a production  of
  8000  units  (see  "The  Killer List of Video Games", Dec 1992 version, in
  text-file format  available  from  various  sources),  became  an  instant
  success.   The  original  PONG(tm)  units  are rumored to have broken down
  their first day(s) in service...from jammed coin mechanisms.  (Atari could
  not be reached to comment on this bit of video game lore...)
       It occurs to me, though, that many of our fellow CoCo/OS9 users might
  not  have  even been BORN or, if born, might not have even been old enough
  to have ever seen a PONG(tm) game either as a console game  or  the  later
  home  versions  (before  the  Atari  2600,  even).   For  those...a bit of


       PONG(tm) was a digital version of table tennis.  A  black  and  white
  image   consisted  of  a  dotted  line  down  the  middle  of  the  screen
  (representing the net), with a small vertical line on  each  side  of  the
  screen  representing  the  paddles.   A small square represented the ball,
  which would bounce back and forth, hopefully to be deflected by a  paddle.
  Score  was  kept  it  the upper corners and typical tennis rules applied -
  the first one to 21 won.
       It  was  simple,  and  it  was  amazing.   (I first remember seeing a
  PONG(tm) game in a Shakey's  Pizza  Parlor  in  Houston...)   Sadly,  many
  people only remember this classic as a cartridge that used to be available
  for the  old  Atari  2600  called  "Video  Olympics"  (or  something  like
  that...it's  been  awhile)!   Even  the  original  stand-alone  home  game
  machines that did nothing but play PONG(tm) (or the many numerous  clones)
  have long since been forgotten...until now.


       It  occurred  to us that PONG(tm), one of the simplest video games of
  all time, might be an interesting target  of  a  programming  contest.   A
  PONG(tm)-type  game  could  be  written in BASIC and be quite playable, or
  souped up in assembly for some real speed.  What we  propose  is  an  open
  challenge  for  programmers.  What would YOU do with a PONG(tm)-type game?
  Perhaps a "classic" version (how close can you make it  to  the  original,
  "beep"  sounds  and  everything?) or an updated colorized version, perhaps
  with  better  sounds?   Maybe   something   completely   different   -   a
  PONG(tm)-type game with "power-ups" or weapons.  Let your imagination take
  control.  Points will be awarded in a number of categories.  Just follow a
  few basic rules.


       There  aren't any, really.  Your version of a PONG(tm)-type game must
  run on a CoCo under Basic or Assembly (either 6809 or 6309), or under  OS9
  ('C',  Basic09,  whatever)  or  even  under  OSK (MM/1, TC70, etc...).  If
  enough entries are received,  categories  will  be  created  for  as  many
  "types" as possible.
       To qualify as a PONG(tm)-type game, it must follow a few  guidelines.
  First,  you  should  have  a  bouncing  ball.  Second, you should have two
  paddles (and support one or two players) with which  to  bounce  the  ball
  back  and forth.  Scoring should go until 21 with whoever gets there first
  being the winner.  The ball should start from the middle of the screen and
  head  towards one side.  Whoever scores a point gets to "serve" again, and
  the ball will launch towards the opponent, just like  in  tennis.   That's
  it!  The "net" I guess would be optional.  <grin>
       To summarize:  Make it recognizable as a PONG(tm)-type game then  use
  your imagination!


       All  received  entries  will be judged at the Atlanta CoCoFest (which
  will probably be held in October) by an  impartial  individual  or  group.
  Several  categories  have  been  established,  with  more  added  later if
  necessary.  These categories are as follows:

       o Memory Efficiency
            Awarded to whoever writes the "smallest" PONG(tm)-type game.

       o Speed Efficiency
            Awarded to whoever writes the fastest PONG(tm)-type game!

       o Originality
            Anything goes!  This will be awarded for the most original
            twist on the old classic.

       o Special Effects
            The game with the most "bells and whistles" will get a prize,
            too!  Music, graphics, whatever...basically, the version that
            looks/sounds the best.

       o Playability
            No  matter how memory or speed efficient, original, or "special"
            a game may be, if it's no fun to play, it's not a good game.
            The will be one overall winner of all entries judged to be the


       The "press release" states an award of ONE DOLLAR for winners in each
  category.  This may not sound like much of a prize, so let's make things a
  bit more interesting.  Al  Dages  of  the  Atlanta  Computer  Society  has
  decided  to  throw  in  a  TEN  DOLLAR  prize  to  the overall winner, and
  (although maybe jokingly) Dave Myers talked about  chipping  in  an  extra
  BUCK  too.   If  $13  for  top honors still doesn't appeal, let's go a bit
       Marketing,  my friends!  We will attempt to compile a disk (or disks)
  of all winning entries and a "reasonable fee" will  be  charged  for  this
  disk.   Funds  generated  will be split amongst the programmers.  Sub-Etha
  Software (with hopeful support from other vendors) will  "foot  the  bill"
  for the disks, labels, and duplication costs.
       If that's still not enough, there MAY be more!  We will be talking to
  other  vendors and see about getting together more prizes for the winners.
  This part of the contest will depend entirely on the response  from  other
  vendors (who are, by the way, ALLOWED to enter, too!).  It may never be as
  good as winning the lottery, but it certainly should be fun!


       Simply write a PONG(tm)-type game and get it  to  Sub-Etha  Software!
  As mentioned earlier, you can write it under BASIC, 6309 or 6809 assembly,
  OS9, or even OSK.  "Cheating" is allowed for all versions, by the way.  We
  are  more  concerned  with the outcome than "how it got there"...just make
  sure it doesn't do anything too bad!
       The  competition  should  be  interesting.  Several "well known" CoCo
  programmers are rumored to be interested in working on PONG(tm)-type games
  for  this  "for  the  fun  of it" contest.  Don't let that discourage you,
  though!  We'll do our best to try to make it as fun as  possible  for  all
  involved!   So...ready?   Then  let's  get started!  The clock is ticking.
  Get those balls bouncing, and let's have some fun!


       Please note that we are in no way connected  with  Atari  Corporation
  and  have  neither  their  permission  or  praise  to hold a PONG(tm)-type
  contest.  The game name, PONG(tm), apparently remains  property  of  Atari
  but,  over  the  years,  has fallen into such common usage that we felt we
  should be able to get away with using it to describe this contest  without
  fear of a nasty lawsuit.  (BUT, it is NOT acceptable to call a game simply
  "PONG(tm)".  That has been used...  ;)
       Of  special  interest, though, will be my attempts to contact someone
  at Atari for more official information on the history of PONG(tm) as  well
  as  possible  "official" permission to actually use the name legally.  Who
  knows!  Maybe we'll be able to take the winner and have it released  as  a
  "real"  PONG(tm)  game with Atari's blessing...but don't hold your breath.
  Let's just have some fun.


       Terry, just look what you have started!  Any  vendors  interested  in
  upping   the   stakes   can   try   to  contact  me  via  electronic  mail
  (COCO-SYSOP@GENIE.GEIS.COM) or leave a message on the Sub-Etha OSK Midwest
  Division line at (815) 748-6638 (24 hours a day) and it will be relayed to
  me.  Of course, U.S.  Mail is always available...

            Sub-Etha Software
            P.O.  Box xxxx42
            Lufkin, Texas  75915

       Have fun!  I will be looking forward to your entries!   (OSK  entries
  can  be  directed  to Joel Hegberg and perhaps might even be better mailed
  directly to  Joel...Leave  a  message  to  JOELHEGBERG@DELPHI.COM  to  get
  instructions on how to get something to him...)  Thanks!


       On  5/18/93,  I received a return phone call from a lady at the Legal
  Department of Atari.  She  is  currently  checking  into  some  "official"
  PONG(tm)  history for me, as well as finding out some legal guidelines for
  using the name PONG(tm) in this text file.  Suffice it to say that  I  had
  to revise this file and make sure that the TRADE MARK was clearly visible.
  To further disclaim all of this...we are NOT writing PONG(tm)...but  games
  that  are  PONG(tm)-like.   (Thus,  all  the changes in this document from
  Revision 1.0...)

2 thoughts on “PONG 1993

  1. L. Curtis Boyle

    Was this where GNOP for MM/1 came from? I recall it was a variant where your paddle stayed in the center of the screen, but the entire playfield moved around you instead.


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