Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

June 19, 2008 -

The NLGD Festival of Games opened yesterday with a special Pong match between the game's creator, Ralph Baer, and the mayor of the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Vertical Wire reports that the "heated" match was played on authentic, 1960's-era equipment. After dispatching the mayor 2-nil, Baer gave the keynote address to open the conference, which was designed to promote the Netherlands as a European gaming hub.

Among those presenting at NLGD are serious games guru Ben Sawyer and Spore design team member Chaim Gingold.

UPDATE: A reader, Rob F, writes in to advise that we've got an error in this story regarding the origins of Pong:

[I] just wanted to point out that Ralph Baer did not create Pong, Nolan Bushnell/Al Alcorn did.  Also, Pong was released in the 70s, so I'm unsure what 60s era equipment they were playing on, maybe Baer's Brown Box?  Think was also from the 70s, maybe late 60s.  Bushnell viewed Baer's Table Tennis on the Odyssey (the first home console) and basically ripped Baer off.  I'm not a big fan of wikipedia, but from what I scanned they got it right.


Ralph wrote a book a couple years ago, it's really good.  You can view a sample here.



Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

To be overly technical, Al Alcorn was the man who invented Pong. The Odyssey had a game called Tennis or Tennis For Two, but it did not feature the characteristic sound effect of flipper physics that Pong features.

Don't get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for Ralph Baer and did have the utter priviledge of interviewing him and own a much valued copy of his book, but he didn't invent Pong.

It can be very confusing trying to figure out who stole what from whom.. Baer invented television gaming, Bushnell stole it, and Baer later stole Simon from Bushnell. And then you get into the specifics that Bushnell marketed and helmed the company behind Pong but Al Alcorn himself engineered, designed, and programmed it.

Just wanted to put in my two cents. Hope it helped and didn't annoy. :)

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

Having gone back and read the article again, it talked about it being played on a vintage 60's era machine, which could actually be the Brown Box of Baer's rather than the arcade Pong cabinet shown in the picture (it would have to be, actually, if it is indeed a sixties era machine), which would indeed be something Baer invented. It just ain't Pong.

All right, shutting up now.

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

According to my paperback book on video game history, Baer's brown box was made in 1969 and was a prototype to the Magnavox Odyssey. The Pong machine wasn't directly related to that. The first game Baer made with the box wasn't actually a Pong-like game but a simple light gun game where you shoot white squares on the screen.

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

LOL Actually, it's nice to hear a little bit more detail of the history of things.

I suppose it's like all major inventions, Television, Telephones etc, they seem to have risen in several places at once, and years later, there's a whole load of confusion about who invented what :)

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

Mr. Baer rawks, and I'm glad to see he's still at it.  He was kind enough to grant us an interview at Gamerdad a couple years ago and it was great to get his perspective on this whole thing.

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

This from a nation in the EU, where lately all we've been seeing is how badly video games and their companies get mistreated.  Thank you, Netherlands, for not being stupid.

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

Duuuddeee for a minete there I thouight it read bong smokes.....

I is fuzzy brained mew


(in need of a bad overhaul)

I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
(in need of a bad overhaul)

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

That is awesome! :D

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

Is that a deliberate double-entendre I see there Dennis? ;)

Re: Pong Creator Smokes Dutch Mayor to Open Festival of Games

 It has to be said:

Gaming, serious buisness!

Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :


Did Microsoft pay too much ($2.5 billion) for Minecraft developer Mojang?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician