Before I begin this review, allow me to clear up a common misconception: Pong was not the first videogame ever made—that distinction goes to Super Mario Bros. 2.
Let me also preface my review with a disclaimer of sorts: There aren’t a lot of ways you can review Pong. Well, there are, but all the clever ones have already been taken.
I’ll kick off my review after I explain what I mean. Obviously, you can explain what the game is, how it works, whether it’s any fun—you know, a normal review.
However, Pong is so much simpler in every regard than almost any other game a person would normally review; a fair and effective review of Pong usually requires at least a small bit of historical background to put things in context.
Unfortunately—and I’ll get to my review momentarily—history is not my forte; even if I had the motivation to exhaustively research the history of Pong, (a) getting any of the facts wrong would make me look like a doofus; and (b) reviews that cover the historical background and cultural significance of Pong already exist, and they’re all better than anything I could hope to hammer out. So much for a normal review, then.
That’s why people have resorted to creative reviews of Pong: talking about Pong as though it’s an RPG; comparing Pong to a battle between Good and Evil; describing Pong as a metaphor for man’s desire to break free of things that restrain him; etc. Which, I guess, is what I need to resort to as well. Of course, if I choose the creative path, does that make my review uncreative because I’m taking a cue from other people to be creative? Augh, this is making my head hurt!
Now, before I start reviewing Pong, let me clarify that I’m not going to write some intricate story that anthropomorphizes the game, nor am I going to turn Pong into some kind of metaphor. Furthermore, I refuse to even mention any games that are clones of Pong or were inspired by Pong; this review is about the original only, and I will mention nothing else.
At this time I would like to begin my review. Prior to commencing my review, however, I would ask that you keep an open mind and clear out any preconceptions you have about Pong. Anyone who has ever played a videogame undoubtedly has an idea of what Pong is, and I don’t want to confuse anyone if my explanation doesn’t match their expectations.
On the most basic level, Pong is all about hitting a square ball back and forth. On a more sophisticated level, Pong is all about hitting a square ball back and forth.
Thank you for reading my review.
(Note: My scores for this game are neither outrageously subjective nor objectively based on Pong‘s historical context. To arrive at these scores, I played six games of Pong against the computer. The first time the computer scored a point against me, I wrote down my score at the time and assigned it to whichever category deserved it most. As you can tell, I am the master of Pong.)