A New Exhibit!
The year is 1972: people are wearing bell-bottoms and flower power prints, Ms. magazine starts regular publication, the Volkswagen Beetle becomes the most popular car in history, and parents are about to start telling kids that they can’t play video games until they finish their homework. The Magnavox Odyssey is here, the catalyst for changing how we spend our free time. Taking the Odyssey’s Ping Pong/Tennis games to the next level, Atari sparks a revolution in the arcades, followed by the takeover of living rooms with home Pong consoles. It’s a short step to General Instrument’s release of the AY-3-8500 “Ball and Paddle” integrated circuit chip, allowing smaller companies worldwide to create their own versions of Pong. Whether the consoles were labeled Tennis, Table Tennis, Hockey, Jai Alai, Squash, Handball, Football, or even Skeet Shoot and Target Shoot, the basic gameplay is all Pong.
Our new exhibit, officially opening on March 12, focuses on this evolution of Pong from Arcade to Home. On display are fourteen different Pong consoles, technical data sheets, a facsimile of a rare pre-production Odyssey repair manual, and two video clips of vintage advertising introducing the Odyssey. The Pong cocktail table will also be up and playable! Stop by and play a game of Pong; bell-bottoms are optional.