In 1972, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushell hired an electrical engineer named Allan Alcorn to work for his fledgling video game company. Alcorn was experienced in computer science but had never been involved in video game development, so Bushell set him a practice exercise: replicate a game with two paddles and a moving spot that he'd recently seen running on the Magnavox Odyssey. It was a simple tennis-based game, and Alcorn soon had his own version up and running.
However, he then had a rather important realisation: the game was boring.
Alcorn looked at the programmed ruleset and decided to make a few small changes in an effort to make the gameplay more enjoyable. The paddle was split into eight sections, each returning the ball on a slightly different angle, and the ball was made to slowly accelerate the longer it stayed in play. The end result, PONG, so impressed Bushnell that he immediately decided to publish it through Atari, and the rest is history.
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