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The Atari renaissance continues with a Pong television game show

Contributed by
Jan 30, 2018

When it comes to '80s nostalgia, nothing hits the spot quite like Atari. One of the earliest console gaming systems, it's undergoing a reemergence these days, with Google using old Atari games to teach Artificial Intelligence (horrifying), deals to bring two of its most famous games to the big screen (Centipede and Missile Command), and a visual shout-out in last year's Blade Runner 2049. The "remember us?" party continues today with news that the company is partnering with producer Scott Sternberg for a new game show based on, wait for it, Pong

You read that right. One of the earliest games on any platform, Pong launched in 1972 and was as simple as any game could be — it allowed two players to hit a small digital ball back and forth using two digital lines. According to Variety, the new show will be called Million Dollar Pong. It is the first game show to be adapted from an Atari game. 

Jeff Merkin of Atari will serve as producer alongside Sternberg, who is a game-show veteran, having been behind shows both popular (Hollywood Squares, Love Connection, The Gong Show) and not so popular (Lover or LoserRock and Roll Jeopardy). 

In a statement, Sternberg called Pong an "iconic brand" that's served as a "cultural touchpoint for generations of people." 

No other information about Million Dollar Pong was disclosed, which only makes the mind wander to very crazy places in terms of what this show will be. Will it evolve into watching two contestants play a big-screen Pong like they're on a Twitch channel, or will it be something more technologically intense? If it's a hit, will there be Celebrity Pong? Just how far can you really take Pong in the first place? 

Whatever's in the works, it sounds like it could be something worth watching. No network is attached yet, but with everyone and everything looking to cash in on nostalgia in every way, shape, and form, it's only a matter of time. For all we know, a cinematic game-show universe is being built around the filmmakers who found those lost Atari E.T. cartridges at this very moment. 

Does the idea of a Pong game show excite you, or would you rather ping it back over to the other side of the screen? Let us know!

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