Old school mechanical pong still amazes

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[Tom], from the YouTube channel ThingsTomLike, found a really sweet little mechanical Pong clone at a thrift store. It came in broken, but in just fifteen minutes of your time, [Tom] allows for complete disassembly and repair. (Video, embedded below.)

The game works by balancing a light bulb on the end of a pivoting arm that projects a “ball” onto a screen, while players move their paddles up and down to hit the spring that surrounds the light unit. The ball arm is periodically kicked by a DC motor and cam assembly, causing it to move wildly back and forth across the screen.

It is a miracle of simple technique without IC. Ironically, it may have been cheaper than making it out of silicon back then, but considering the current economy, just the human labor to adjust that counterweight so that the “ball” floats would blow the budget.

Why a screen and light bulb? Because it mimics Pong, a video game, the new kid around. But even 45 years later, we think it has a charm all its own that lacks Pong’s cold digital logic, even if the gameplay suffers.

Thank you [Hari] for the good tip!

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