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Pong field notes

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I visited this exhibition about games in Stockholm this weekend. Apart from beer and fellow gamers they had the original Pong game. Of course, you were not allowed to play the actual game, it was too much of a rarity.

Instead, they had mounted a replica of the control panel and had the game projected on the wall next to it. Here are some comments about my experience.

  • The interface was extremely responsive. You had these industrial regulators that you could turn, like on a stove. Their angles set the target position of the pads.
  • The pads could run outside the screen and balls bouncing-area.
  • There was no powerups and the ball moved with constant speed.
  • The pads had four trigger-areas, where only the tips of the pad triggered a larger bounce-angle (not the entire pad which I first thought). The two center trigger-areas did not seem to result in wider angle, it just flipped the x/y movement.
  • The control was very sensitive in the sense that small movements in the control led to very fast movement. This made it feel a bit unstable but also more fun.
  • As a player I was conflicted by my wish to hit the ball with the end cap to make it increase speed/unpredictable angle and and my wish to safely catch the ball.

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