So, it occurred to me after playing my Computer Space for a while that I really needed a classic Pong machine to complete my collection. I mean, here I had the very first arcade machine ever built sitting alongside my other machine with all the games I enjoyed as a kid, but it seemed that to properly complement the group, I really should have Pong there as well.
I do have several versions of Pong on my main machine but without having two properly set up spinners, the gameplay just isnít the same as the real thing. And, unfortunately, living in an apartment as I do, with my two machines running during a typical party situation (music, lights, etc.) I have blown the circuit-breaker before so I guess I am pushing the limit of my power consumption.
So given my limited space and my circuit-breaker, I had surrendered myself to the notion that I could not realistically get another machine, despite really wanting a Pong.
In writing up the History section of this website, I became very interested in the intriguing background to this little tennis game, and tried a variety of schemes to make it happen.
Then, luckily, one day I came upon the Jakkís Atari 2 Player Paddle and was struck with an epiphany.
Iíll MAKE a Pong! And, for the sake of saving space, Iíll make it in miniature! Thus my ďBaby PongĒ project was born!
First, I had to locate the Jakkís controllers. This was not as easy as one would think. I live in Canada so our WalMarts and Toys R Us stores do not always stock the same items as their American counterparts. The single paddle version of the Jakks controller was readily available, but in trying to find the 2 paddle version, I had no luck. Eventually, after contacting the Canadian distributor, I did manage to buy the correct controller in a Canadian Tire store (the last place I considered looking!).
This controller is fantastic! Not only do I get original arcade Pong, but the controllers come with a dozen other games like Warlords, Circus Atari, and Breakout. All great games that really require a spinner to play them. My one complaint is that the beep for scoring a point in Pong does tend to remain on a bit too long for my liking, but according to a review I read on http://www.classicgaming.com the sounds were all accurately reproduced. This is odd because the same claim was made about the Pong on the Atariís Greatest Hits CD and its score sound is much better. Given that I havenít played on a real genuine Pong in decades, who am I to argue? The game is still fun with the Jakks controller.
Next, I need a TV. Now given that I want to make this Pong small, I went with a portable Black & White from Curtis.
Not only was this TV inexpensive, it had A/V inputs on the back to hook up the Jakks controller easily. I admit that if I want to play the other games I am reducing the fun by not having a color TV but that would mean spending about three times the price, being forced to have a larger TV (you wouldnít believe how hard it is to find a small color TV these days!), and draining more power. This little Black & White uses a simple 12V power supply. And my main objective is to have Pong, the other games are just a bonus (and they all play just fine in Black & White anyway).
Now to make the miniature cabinet. If I had access to carpenterís tools and a workshop I would properly build a small wooden cabinet for this, but alas I donít. Luckily, I found a couple of cardboard filing boxes that are made to look like fake wood paneling so these will be perfect! I picked up some bright retro 70ís yellow construction paper at the same store.
Having a look at the two boxes I see some re-sizing is required.
So a few slices with my trusty knife.....
Propping the TV up, I need to cut an angle along the front to replicate that distinctive Pong look.
There we go, pretty good.
Now to the yellow front piece. Having made a template in paper, I cut what I thought looked pretty close to the original window shape and cut it out.
Then just use that cutout for the real thing in yellow.
Attach it to the box.
Put a little logo on that I printed out.
And ta-daa! I have a baby version of Pong! Plays pretty good too.
†Ladies Love Cool Pong
By the way, just in case anyone out there thinks Pong is too old and dull to entertain anymore, I thought I'd post a couple videos of some lovely ladies who attended a recent party of mine. They zeroed in on Pong right away and loved every minute of it. Stick THAT in your ear, X-Box!!