Quick Peeks: Pong Machine (C64)

Chip Hageman's picture
Quick Peeks[ JAN . 12 . 2011 ]
Atari PongI remember back in 1976 when my father came home with Atari Pong... We hooked it up straight away on the TV set in the kitchen and just played the hell out of it. Only being five, I didn't quite get the hours in on it that my older siblings did, but I still logged quite a few.

Who would have thought that something so damned simple could hold your attention for so long? Simply put, it was a new technology that really foreshadowed the possibility of what was about to come. And it didn't take long.. Atari 2600, Fairchild Channel F, Bally Astrocade, Intellivision, Odyssey 2... all of these systems owe their existence, at least in part, to the financial success of Atari Pong... and conceptually to the Magnavox Odyssey by Ralph H. Baer and, of course, Willy Higinbotham for his oscilloscope rendition of Tennis for Two.

Pong Machine (C64)And now, thanks in part to the internets, copious amounts of free time, and heaping doses of nostalgia.. the German group Technische Maschinenfabrik has released Pong Machine, a fantastic version of pong for the Commodore 64.

I've tried the game out in both NTSC and PAL modes and it appears to work fine in both.. probably due to the fact that the game is not taxing the system to the point where it's running afoul of the raster refresh.. still, this means the game will run slightly faster on NTSC machines.. but at least it does run, and it's quite playable. You can also play this game on an emulator, such as VICE, if you're looking for spot-on timing.

The AI used in the game is impressive, and will defiantly make you earn your goals. The game controls are joystick based.. and playing a Pong game with a joystick takes a whole lot of getting used to. You can speed up your bat by pressing the fire button.. just be careful not to overshoot the ball.

There's also some nice extras that have been worked into this version that my 1976 counterpart did not have.. such as your choice of four color themes, the ability to set the ball speed, three game modes, and setting how many points are required to win the game.

You can download the game here.


Rob Daviau
Rob Daviau's picture
Joined: 05/19/2006

Your link for the game immediately opened my C64 Forever Front end and loaded right up!

Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Wow quite the user friendly experience!

Hmmm indeed this is very nice. Just clicking on the game-name in the article just fires it up on your virtual C64! Excellent little video! C64Forever is quite a nice application, quite a bit easier to use than the underlying bare Vice emulator!

Chip Hageman
Chip Hageman's picture
Joined: 10/06/2010
Now that's convenience!

Now that's convenience!

Joined: 01/21/2009
I gotta agree, when you

I gotta agree, when you really thingk about it.. some white blocks to photo realistic race cars in ...well it guess its been about 35 years or so.. still impresses me, maybe as I grew up in the perfect age bracket for it all. I remeber taking turns at pong, a 20 point game took forever when watching sombody else play.

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