Because who wouldn't want the most 1970s-awesome coffee table in town? It might not move humanity forward, but, boy, is it cool!
Back in the halcyon days of mid-2016, we published an article about a bunch of friends who had banded together to create a largely mechanical, coffee table-sized version of Atari’s legendary 1970s game Pong.
As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who did. In fact, the story went viral, and Gerardo Orioli and pals were bombarded with requests from people wanting to kit out their man caves (and presumably a few woman caves, too) with their own copies.
Jump forward 10 months, and they’re ready to deliver on that demand. Well, to take pre-orders at least.
“After the viral success we had last year, we decided to move forward with the next set of challenges,” Orioli told Digital Trends. “We secured an investor to further our research, and obtained an exclusive license with Atari. We built more prototypes and perfected the functionality and performance in our design. Now we are ready for the next stage. We started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in order to start mass production. Our goal is to partner with fans of the game worldwide, and come up with the minimum units required to enter production and to start manufacturing.”
As you can see from the video at the top of this page, the concept is pretty darn rad. The original used magnets and metal bars for the movement of the game pieces, while scoring was carried out using Arduino controllers and simple LED displays. The Kickstarter version builds on that design, but adds an extra level of polish.
Pong being the most pick-and-play game this side of Tetris, users can expect a fun, straightforward gaming experience — although, from the sound of things, putting the physical table together wasn’t always so easy.
“Our biggest challenge was to find the right balance between the forces that recreate the 2D movement and illusion of the game,” Orioli continued. “We had to deal with two different kinds of forces: Magnetic and friction. In order to control them, we had to variate the motor’s speeds and accelerations to achieve the right balance; otherwise the ‘ball’ would fly out of reach. A lot of research was put into trying different motors and different setups, and into choosing the right magnets and surfaces.”
Interested in getting a unit of your own? Of course you are. Pre-orders are currently taking place on Kickstarter, with shipping set for this December. Prices start at $1,100 — although we’re personally hankering after the $5,000 Collector’s Edition signed by none other than Atari legend Nolan Bushnell.