Review by Psycho Penguin

Reviewed: 07/05/03 | Updated: 07/05/03

Well, it's still Pong. I forgot my cool tagline. :(

Well, it's Pong. I don't really want to do this review, but I kind of have to, due to the fact I drew the unlucky letter ''P'', and I just reviewed Predator not one week ago! Plus, I haven't played enough of Parasite Eve 2 to actually play it. I can't really think of many games that I have actually played that begin with P, and most of them I have already reviewed. So, as a result, you get to read my super crappy and super short Pong review! Enjoy! (or not.)

We all know what Pong is by now, it's pretty much the first commercial home based game ever released. Sure, there could be a debate as to what the first ever game was, but I'm just going to go easy and not bore you with the history of this game, because you can go buy a book or read Whelkman's boring review or whatnot. Instead, I am going to tell you about Pong. I hope this doesn't disappoint you, as I am never one to bore with historical facts like the grandfather's name of the person who made Bubble Bobble!

The object of Pong is to win Review of the Day. Good storyline, I think, but it could have been a tad more realistic and better. The lack of character development hurts, too. I named my left paddle Rufus, and by god he wants to be let out of his shell! Let the man speak! Give him some dialogue or something, please. The right paddle deserved a non-speaking role, since his name was Matt, and Matts don't deserve to speak, but at least let him nod his head to what Rufus is saying. That's really all you get. Come on now, I play Pong for the plot, and who wouldn't? The world deserves more! So, the basic storyline is okay, but the character and plot development suffers.

It's a game which acts a lot like table tennis. You get a white paddle on the left side, and a white paddle on the right side, and a ball, and you have to hit the ball back and forth. The object of the game is to simply score more points than your opponent. To score, you simply aim the ball to go past your opponent's paddle. It's a lot like Air Hockey, only slightly less fun.It might not sound fun at first, but it can get to be pretty fun. Especially when you get into a heated game with a friend of yours. Plus, trying to shut out your opponent is always a nice challenge. I like pretending my friend plays for the Red Wings and I'm a goaltender for the Mighty Ducks. He never scores!

The lack of game modes is a bit of concern, as you only get the basic 1-on-1 mode (and yes, I know there's a version that will let you play 2-on-2, but my arcade doesn't have that version, so **** off!) and not much else. It's a tad bit concerning, but the lack of modes is not a big turn-off, as the original gameplay is still fun and addicting as ever. I'm not going to criticize a game too much for having no modes when it was revolutionary for having one, you know.

It's a pretty addicting game, whether you play 1 or 2 players, but you will soon notice an annoying flaw. The computer likes to cheat from time to time. Back in 1972, there wasn't exactly an exact science to determine computer AI, so instead of there being a computer that always plays fair, sometimes it will just make extremely tough shots. Still, it's not too bad for a very old video game. I just wish I could actually get rewarded for the way I play, but I guess playing Pong is like writing reviews. This is why I always preferred 2 player Pong, but the 1 Player mode still isn't that bad if you can forgive the shoddy computer AI.

The graphics are pretty good, but nothing revolutionary. Well, actually, I guess they were pretty revolutionary for its time. Damn, I can't be like Kasket and use the same line for every review and get away with it this time! Well, yeah, the game is just black and white graphics, but considering it was one of the original video games, they're not bad. At least they're not distracting or get in your way during the game like a certain PSX remake of this. There's no music, and a limited sound effect that occurs whenever you hit the ball. Fortunately, this sound effect is not that annoying.

Due to the shoddy computer AI, I never really find myself playing Pong too much, especially when there are so many better alternatives out there. For instance, for multiplayer action, I always preferred Air Hockey at the arcade. For single player action, give me a good tennis game. Regardless, this game can prove to be addicting for a while. It's nice and fun, and never really proved to get on your nerves. Plus, the nice and simple graphics and lack of music may be a good point. Far too many games rely simply on graphics and music, and they interfere with the gameplay. Sadly, this game has too little gameplay to be replayable. Ultimately, you will outgrow it. I sure did, and everyone else has.

That's because the challenge level is focused too much on how much the computer cheats instead of giving you a nice, clean, fair fight. That's the biggest problem with Pong, but it is almost understandable because of how ancient the game is. However, for a true challenge, try getting one of your friends to play against you. Then you can rail off point after point against him, unless he's any good. Then, the game becomes somewhat of a true challenge. It's sad that the computer provided little challenge except for cheating, but that's life.

That's pretty much the thing about Pong. It's a nice way to relive history, but that's all it is. I'm not going to list Pong on any ''best of all time'' list unless you're talking about revolutionary games, because it's not all that great. It's still a fun game, with one awesome mode, that's awesome in multiplayer, but there's not much here to let it get a higher score. Better games have passed it by, and will continue to pass it by. There's about 10 Tennis games I enjoyed that are better than Pong that rely less on cheating, and better multiplayer games that actually involve a certain amount of strategy and physical exertion (OH MY!). You may find yourself giving a quarter or two to Pong, but don't expect to go broke.

It will always be the first, though.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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