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PONG is a video game by Atari, based on the sport of table tennis. "Pong" (lowercase) is the title of an entire genre of PONG derived arcade units, consoles and games based on the "ball" and "paddle" characteristic of game play. Though PONG is commonly thought to be the world's first video arcade game, Computer Space actually preceded it. The original PONG arcade unit was released by Atari on November 29, 1972. It was certainly the first video game to win widespread popularity, in both its arcade and home console versions; in that sense, it acted as the lynchpin for the initial boom of industry in each of those sectors.

Its creators were among the first to recognize that technology had evolved sufficiently to make such a game possible. Displaying graphics on a video or television screen and reacting in real time to user input required more computer power than 1960s consumer products could afford. Even in 1970, the computing power of a modern cell phone would have required a mainframe computer the size of a small apartment.

However, by drawing only two lines for paddles, a line for the net and a square for the ball, Pong was playable as a graphical game on the technology of the early 1970s and could soon be sold as units to consumers.

PONG is a basic simulation of the racket sport of table tennis. A small square representing a ping pong ball travels across the screen in a linear trajectory. If the square strikes the perimeter of the playing field, or one of the simulated paddles, the square ricochets based on the angle of the impact.

Game play consists of players moving their respective paddles vertically to defend their scoring zones. Players score one point by maneuvering the square past their opponent's paddle.

PONG can be played either by a single player pitted against a computerized opponent, or by two players each controlling a paddle. In Atari's original PONG arcade cabinets, players controlled their paddles using one of two small paddle controllers (a knob-like input device). By contrast, several of the derivative table tennis simulations employed longitudinally-sliding joysticks.