Repairing And Reviewing A 1976 PONG Clone

Hackaday alum [Todd] has been searching for an old PONG clone for the last two years. This variant is called, “The Name of the Game”. [Todd] has fond memories of playing this game with his sister when they were young. Unfortunately, being the hacker that he is, [Todd] tore the game apart when he was just 14 to build his own Commodore 64 peripherals. He’s been wanting to make it up to his sister ever since, and he finally found a copy of this game to give to his sister last Christmas.

After opening up the box, [Todd] quickly noticed something strange with the power connector. It looked a bit charred and was wiggling inside of the enclosure. This is indicative of a bad solder joint. [Todd] decided he’d better open it up and have a look before applying power to the device.

It was a good thing he did, because the power connector was barely connected at all. A simple soldering job fixed the problem. While the case was still opened, [Todd] did some sleuthing and noticed that someone else had likely made repairs to several other solder joints. He also looked for any possible short circuits, but everything else looked fine. The system ended up working perfectly the first time it was started.

The end of the video shows that even after all this time, simple games like this can still capture our attention and be fun to play for hours at a time. [Todd] is working on part 2 of this series, where he’ll do a much more in-depth review of the system. You can watch part 1 below.

15 thoughts on “Repairing And Reviewing A 1976 PONG Clone

  1. I’ve never seen this thing before, but I love the styling! It would really cool if he built a new case out of actual wood. Something with a nice deep grain.

    Can’t help but love/hate that cheesy injection molded faux wood grain :)

      1. faux wood grain. My TV had it. The TV stand had it. Atari 200 has it. Atari game holder had it. My parent’s station wagon had it. I’m glad that one stayed behind in the past

    1. Yeah, just Fluke meter porn. I love my Flukes… will any test gear really but my Fluke get used the most. I got 3 on eBay and 1 from Craig’s list local. I don’t think I have ever purchased any gear new… Would have to think about that one.

    1. I too was surprised to hear I was picked up here for this project. Part 1 was only a video on the history of the game and how it related to my past. However, I have posted Part 2 now which does have some voodoo video repair I managed to figure out but could use some help explaining how the “voodoo wire” is being used in the circuit and why my re-positioning made such a huge improving in color, sound and jitter. I love sharing what I do know so I’m always happy to get picked up by Hack a Day.

  2. We got a Sears Pong, which was much better build quality… Though it only played Pong, it did so in rainbow Color which was awesome. I saved up $ 360 for a Vic20 and tape drive, and Space Invader cartridge. This was when it first hit the local stores; before you could only see it in Popular Electronics Ads. Was given a C64 fox Xmas a year later but by that time they were mainstream. I know have over 200 computers, many ancient 8 bits, and don’t use or play with any of them any more, as I spent 100% of my time on a Nexus 7 2013 tablet. If I could send all this worthless crap for computers back in time to when I was 14, I would of felt like a quadrillionaire. Back then it was just amazing just to be able to put things on a TV screen and control them, and program a machine to do what you want.

    I became an astute programmer, game designer, IT comp support and networking guy, but never got a job at it ever and never made any money from it. So it was pretty much a crack dream and computers wasted my life. Other people went on to graduate college, buy houses, start families. Me, I just kind of got screwed. Wish I’d never seen that 1979 Popular Electronics issue in the library. How would my life be different today if I hadn’t. Fuck computers and electronics…

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