Another Addition to the Pong Multiverse
On November 28th, 1972, Al Alcorn introduced Pong to Sunnyvale, California in Andy Capp's Tavern. Alcorn was working with gaming entrepreneurs Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who were incorporated under the name "Atari." Soon the entire world would be rocked by the addicting game, and Pong would make more of an impression on the video game industry than Alcorn ever imagined. Atari set out to create an at-home version of the game, employing Steve Jobs himself as their fourth employee. Breakout was completed in 1976 with the assistance of Steve Wozniak who ended up doing the bulk of the work. Breakout would end up inspiring Wozniak while he was designing the Apple II, the second edition of the invention that prompted Jobs and Wozniak to start Apple Computer. Yes, that one!
Since the success and popularity of Pong, there have been many remakes, knockoffs, and reimagined versions but most of which have kept the core gameplay the same. The player controls the paddles and uses them to control the ball. Atari’s new game has challenged us to ask the question, “What if there were more to the story?’ qomp2 challenges the decades-long trend that has slotted the paddles themselves as the main component of the game. This time, we focus on the ball. This 2D sequel looks to incorporate a variety of controls and options that are dependent on physics, just as Pong did, but on a whole different level. There are obstacles, enemies, and environmental elements that bring a sense of life while the creative elements bring the right amount of fun and whimsy that still feels like an arcade game you can play at home.
Sounds pretty cool, right? That’s exactly what Atari thought when they acquired the rights to the original sequel titled qomp which was released in 2021. As it ends up, this inventive idea did not actually start at Atari. Instead, it was introduced to the world by a developer known as Stuffed Wombat along with Britt Brady, Miroko, Clovelt (as credited on Steam.) qomp was celebrated for its inventive take on a classic and was very well-regarded. The gameplay is simple and only a few hours long with no hidden secrets. You beat one level, then go on to the next. It was simplicity that won the hearts of gamers with Pong, and simplicity again that caught Atari’s attention. While the team that brought the world qomp are no longer associated with the project as Graphite Lab is taking over, it looks like they are happy with how Atari is "carrying their work forward."
The stories of Pong and qomp are deeper and more intertwined than one might assume from such simple games. Having already played a part in a chain of events that led to the creation of one of the largest and most influential companies in the world’s history, Pong’s legacy continues to influence the modern world as it passes on its legacy onto the next installation. It’s hard to predict just what kind of effect qomp2 will have on society 2024, but wishlisting it on Steam will already make you a part of history.
Are you looking forward to qomp2? Did you play qomp? Let me know!