In the beginning was Pong. And in the beginning it stood alone. But not for long ….
In September 1972, Atari’s Nolan Bushnell and Allan Alcorn installed the prototype Pong machine at Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California. The idea was to make a computer game that was “so simple that any drunk in any bar could play.” And boy, did they ever.
… Atari didn’t have the patent on the technology and very quickly the vast majority in the machines eating quarters around the country were knock-offs. Of course, Pong itself was “inspired” by an electronic ping pong game that was in the Magnavox Odyssey home system. To keep up, Bushnell continued to innovate, as did everyone else. Call it a volley between King Pong and his brethren, while an invasion from space was on its way.
— From Everything You Know is Pong by R. Bennett and E. Horowitz
I’m very fond of Pong. Not that I spend a lot of time playing it; but I like the idea of Pong, I’m pleased that it exists.