Introducing the oldest machine in my collection! This Chicago Coin TV Ping Pong from 1973 that I got for $25!
It’s essentially a near perfect hardware clone of Atari’s Pong arcade board with a very similar cabinet, but a much bigger TV! You read that right, not a monitor a LITERAL off-the-shelf G.E. Black and White television!
The board’s not working right now, but I’m going to give it a shot at fixing it. This is new territory for me being an entirely TTL (transistor logic) based game!
Almost from the earliest days of video games, there were clones of successful games. Pong, which basically gave birth to the video arcade industry, was released late in 1972. This was a relatively simple game in which two players each controlled a ‘paddle’ with which they bounced a ball back and forth to each other. If you missed then the other player got a point. Pong was Atari’s first video game.
Because of the immense success of Pong, there were already those lining up to duplicate their effort by 1973. The above picture shows one such example. This game is called TV Ping Pong and was produced by a company called Chicago Coin. TV Ping Pong was more or less and exact clone of the original Pong. There were some hardware differences though. For instance, instead of using a dedicated monitor, TV Ping Pong used an off the shelf black and white G.E. television. The advantage being that it was quite a bit larger and probably much cheaper. The image quality probably wasn’t quite as good but with such simple graphics it didn’t matter all that much.
Chicago Coin, like other companies that eventually developed video games, was known for their pinball machines. They went bankrupt in 1977 and their assets were purchased to help found Stern Electronics which became a much more well known pinball and video game machine manufacturer. Stern has gone through some ups and downs to say the least and Stern Electronics died to give birth to Stern Pinball but they are still producing pinball machines to this day (though their last arcade machines were produced in 1984).