Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

1975: Atari Pong Invades the Family Room


It seems that I've mentioned the Magnavox Odyssey console, but only briefly acknowledged Atari's nifty little Pong games. Let's fix that little omission.

Atari was founded by Nolan Bushnell, designer of Computer Space, the first arcade video game. After trying out the Magnavox Odyssey in early 1972, he set about building his own version of electronic ping-pong and named it Pong, after the sound the ball makes when hitting the table. It was a runaway success. Magnavox quickly claimed that Atari had infringed on their ball-and-paddle gameplay and sued. The case was eventually dropped when Bushnell agreed to pay royalties on each Pong unit sold. Almost 40,000 Pong coin-operated games were manufactured.

Bushnell continued to build Atari’s arcade business, but was determined to crack the home market as well. Atari designed a home version of Pong that included digital on-screen scoring, something the crude Magnavox Odyssey didn’t offer. The scoring system was based on a single chip, something that no other manufacturer had managed up to that point. They struggled to find a distributor until Sears & Roebuck took a risk and purchased 150,000 units for the Christmas 1975 season. They sold out.

Atari released a number of Pong derivatives in 1976 and 1977, including a 4-player version. One such game – Video Pinball – replaced the simple Pong chip with a microcontroller. This enabled it to play pinball and a breakout game in which a ball and paddle were used to knock down a wall of bricks. Even after these early successes, the best was yet to come.

Atari's Pong - conquest of the living rooms (computermuseum.com)


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