venerdì 31 ottobre 2014

The Definitive Ranking Of "Star Wars" Films

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You decide which film the force is strongest with.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Best part: The scenes that featured Palpatine’s rise to power.

Worst part: All of the scenes that take place on Geonosis (sans Yoda’s fight scene). Also, the B-movie sounding title could've been stronger.

Lucasfilm

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Best part: The final intense duel between badass Sith Lord, Darth Maul, and, Jedi’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn. And it was all set to a pretty epic score.

Worst part: The introduction of Jar Jar Binks, who is arguably the worst thing about the entire film.

Lucasfilm

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Best part: The final 20 minutes of the film; which are the only scenes from all three prequels that felt connected to the original trilogy.

Worst part: The cheesy dialogue, stiff-acting, and nonexistent chemistry between Anakin and Padmé.

Lucasfilm

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Best part: The final showdown between Luke, Vader, and Palpatine.

Worst part: The fact that the Ewoks beat the Empire with sticks and stones.

Lucasfilm


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18 Times "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" Made You Ugly Cry

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Grab Mr. Pointy and some ice cream and get ready to cry.

When Buffy finds her mother dead on the couch.

When Buffy finds her mother dead on the couch.

“You’re not supposed to touch the body!”

Why You'll Cry: Joss Whedon likes to break your heart until you need to lay down and eat ice cream... and then stab you in the gut with the Slayer Scythe while you're too busy crying to notice you're being stabbed. That's what this scene is.

How Long It’ll take You To Recover: 10–24 hours.

WB / Via btvs-reaction-gifs.tumblr.com

When Anya walks down the aisle... alone.

When Anya walks down the aisle... alone.

“I, Anya, promise to love you, to cherish you, to honor you, ah, but NOT to obey you, of course, because that's anachronistic and misogynistic and who you do you think you are, like a sea captain o-or something?”

Why You'll Cry: SHE’S STOOD UP AT THE ALTAR BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPY CAN EVER HAPPEN TO THESE CHARACTERS EVER.

How Long It’ll take You To Recover: A solid 48 hours. But you still won't ever fully forgive Xander.

UPN / Via fanpop.com

Tara getting shot by Warren.

Tara getting shot by Warren.

“Your shirt.”

Why You'll Cry: Because you aren’t a robot devoid of emotions and Tara and Willow were arguably one of the best couples on television and Amber Benson can break your heart with just one line.

How Long It’ll take You To Recover: You will literally never recover from this heartbreak. Your world will come crashing down.

UPN / Via tumblr.com

Angel getting his soul back, right before Buffy has to kill him.

Angel getting his soul back, right before Buffy has to kill him.

“Close your eyes.”

Why You’ll Cry: Willow does her job and gives Angel his soul back after spending nearly the entire season without his soul (and tormenting Buffy) — but it’s too late because everything is always terrible for everyone on this show.

How Long It’ll take You To Recover: A whole summer.

WB / Via elle.com


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Which "Big Bang Theory" Character Are You?

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Buzz-inga!

Ira Madison III / Via CBS / BuzzFeed

Daniel Radcliffe And Juno Temple Play A Game Of "Would You Ever?"

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Would Dan Rad and Juno Temple recline their seats on airplane??

Would you take a kid's candy from them on Halloween?

Would you take a kid's candy from them on Halloween?

Daniel Radcliffe: I mean, I guess. I guess that's bad.

Juno Temple: No, I wouldn't take a kid's candy on Halloween.

DR: I wouldn't take a kid's candy on Halloween. I'm as happy as they are!

David J. Bertozzi / BuzzFeed

Would you prank someone afraid of snakes with a rubber snake?

Would you prank someone afraid of snakes with a rubber snake?

DR: Oh no, I would definitely do that.

JT: Yes.

DR: I would want to see their face.

JT: (Laughs)

David J. Bertozzi / BuzzFeed

Would you eat an entire box of doughnuts?

Would you eat an entire box of doughnuts?

JT: I wouldn't do that either.

DR: You wouldn't? Nah, you wouldn't do that. I would do that.

David J. Bertozzi / BuzzFeed


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Which Book Scared You The Most As A Child?

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Why did our parents even let us read these?!

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

42 Amazing Things You Will Only See At Hello Kitty Con

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We went to the first-ever Hello Kitty Con in Downtown Los Angeles. This is what we saw.

First, you are welcomed by a giant Hello Kitty sign welcoming you, because DUH.

First, you are welcomed by a giant Hello Kitty sign welcoming you, because DUH.

Justin Abarca for BuzzFeed

Pretty much every Hello Kitty fan in the world is there*. Because this is Hello Kitty Mecca, and they were here to make their Hello Kitty pilgrimage.

Pretty much every Hello Kitty fan in the world is there*. Because this is Hello Kitty Mecca, and they were here to make their Hello Kitty pilgrimage.

*not actually true, but we were told 25 to 30 thousand people were expected to attend over the weekend. And they were ALL decked out in Hello Kitty gear AND were of all ages!

Justin Abarca for BuzzFeed

There is Giant Hello Kitty graffiti, natch.

There is Giant Hello Kitty graffiti, natch.

Justin Abarca for BuzzFeed

A Hello Kitty ATM, so you can spend money on Hello Kitty things!!!

A Hello Kitty ATM, so you can spend money on Hello Kitty things!!!

Justin Abarca for BuzzFeed


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Which Weasley Are You?

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Red hair, freckles, a hand-me-down robe… let me guess.

Warner Bros.

J.K. Rowling Has Just Posted A New Harry Potter Story Online

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And it’s full of new insights into Dolores Umbridge.

J.K. Rowling today published a new Harry Potter short story on her website, Pottermore, all about Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge.

J.K. Rowling today published a new Harry Potter short story on her website, Pottermore , all about Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge.

Getty Images Danny E. Martindale

The new 1,700-word essay was published this morning as a special treat for Halloween.

The new 1,700-word essay was published this morning as a special treat for Halloween.

Pottermore/BuzzFeed

The new story focuses on new facts, reflections, and insights into Umbridge, and can be seen in full on today.com without needing to sign up.

The new story focuses on new facts, reflections, and insights into Umbridge, and can be seen in full on today.com without needing to sign up.

today.com

After the new story, Rowling reveals her personal thoughts on the character and how the malicious pink-loving witch was based on a real person that she knew. Although she makes sure she doesn't reveal who that person actually was.

In the new musings, she writes:

Once, long ago, I took instruction in a certain skill or subject (I am being vague as vague can be, for reasons that are about to become obvious), and in doing so, came into contact with a teacher or instructor whom I disliked intensely on sight.

The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest. Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say.


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giovedì 30 ottobre 2014

Indisputable Proof That Doctor Who Is Based On Actual Events

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I always knew it.

The 11th Doctor hanging out with The Beatles:

The 11th Doctor hanging out with The Beatles:

Via themarysue.com

Self-explanatory:

Self-explanatory:

Via funnyjunk.com

Self-explanatory:

Self-explanatory:

Via godsriseoneast.soup.io

Self-explanatory:

Self-explanatory:

Via gallifrey-feels.tumblr.com


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34 Video Game Levels That You Must Play Before You Die

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The essential stages of video game history. Please, add your own!

"Super Mario Bros.," Level 1-1

So, let's start with the basics.

"The Legend of Zelda," First Dungeon

Again, this is a prerequisite. These first two should be called "Two video game levels to play before you ever have a conversation ever."

"The Legend of Zelda," Ninth Dungeon

As long as you're playing the original Zelda, you should beat the game. Or, as Samir Mezrahi, our deputy social media editor, puts it, "The thought of the music when you enter the level still gives me the chills."

"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time," Water Temple

This is the definitive level in what a plurality of gamers would call the greatest game ever made. Beating it is a rite of passage. It's like a Bat Mitzvah for dorks, I mean sick bros.


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How Well Do You Know Your Fonts?

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Think you know the difference between Arial and Helvetica? Know what makes a font serif or sans-serif? Are you a font of knowledge when it comes to fonts? Put your typesetting skills to the test.

22 Important Things You Should Know About Yoda

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Stuart Freeborn, the British make-up artist who designed Yoda, has died . Miss you we will. Here are some intriguing facts about Freeborn’s most famous creation.

twitch-metalhead.tumblr.com

Freeborn based Yoda on his own appearance

Freeborn based Yoda on his own appearance

muppet.wikia.com

However, he also wanted Yoda to look intelligent, so he threw in a bit of Albert Einstein as well

However, he also wanted Yoda to look intelligent, so he threw in a bit of Albert Einstein as well

Reuters Photographer / Reuters


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The First 25 People On Facebook

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Today is Facebook’s ninth birthday. Meet the students who celebrated its birth — and find out where they are now.

Amie Broder

Amie Broder

Broder, two years ahead of the Facebook founders at Harvard, went on to NYU Law School and a job at the law firm Simpson Thacher. She’s now an associate at Troutman Sanders, and in 2012, was named by Law & Politics as a “rising star” in tax law.

troutmansanders.com

Ada McMahon

Ada McMahon

McMahon lives in New Orleans, where she works as a media fellow for Bridge the Gulf, a group of citizen journalists collecting stories from the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. McMahon also blogs for The Huffington Post.

Billy Olson

Billy Olson

Olson, the fourth roommate in Zuckerberg, Hughes, and Moskovitz's suite, was "an amateur thespian with an impish streak," according to David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect. In The Social Network, Olson has the bright idea of comparing students to farm animals. While his friends all went on to become billionaires, Olson took time off from Harvard and never graduated, said a Harvard official. Still, he ended up making friends with a tight-knit group of younger students, with whom he is still close, according to a former classmate. Friends said Olson had become a firefighter in his hometown of Briarcliff Manor, New York.

sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Hilary Scurlock Cocalis

Hilary Scurlock Cocalis

Previously with the Bleacher Report, Cocalis is now the marketing manager for MiresBall, a branding agency in San Diego.

sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net


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First Look: The Dwarves Of The Hobbit

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These continual image releases are a slow burn of happiness.

Facebook: TheHobbitMovie

Pixel Glasses

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SAMALdesign has been making these glasses in an ’80s retro pixelated style. If they weren’t so spendy I would already own a pair. (via The Uniblog )

//

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15 Insane Theories About Movies And Television That Will Blow Your Mind

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I hope you’re sitting down for this.

The "Aladdin" Is Set In The Future Theory

The "Aladdin" Is Set In The Future Theory

There's a scene in "Aladdin" where Genie calls Aladdin's clothes "so 3rd century." However, as we all know, the Genie was locked inside a lamp for the past 10,000 years, meaning that there is no way he could have known what the 3rd century was like.

This means that "Aladdin" actually takes place in the FUTURE, in at least 10,300 AD. The movie itself is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, one where only some Arabic culture has survived. The things called "magic" are actually just some of the technological marvels left behind by the previous civilization. These include flying carpets and genetically engineered parrots which can comprehend human speech instead of just mimicking it.

How else could the Genie do impressions of ancient, long-dead celebrities like Groucho Marx, Jack Nicholson, etc?

Via nolanslifeisaverage.tumblr.com

The "Rugrats" Never Happened Theory

The "Rugrats" Never Happened Theory

None of the babies in "Rugrats" actually exist, but they are all instead figments of Angelica's imagination, as result of her parent's negligence.

Chuckie died with his mother, which explains how much of a nervous wreck his father is.
Tommy was a stillborn baby, which explains why his father, Stu, was always in the basement making toys for the son he never had.
Finally, the DeVilles had an abortion. To compensate for not knowing the sex of the baby, Angelica invented twins in her head, one boy, one girl.

Via ihaveanaddictiontoonedirection.tumblr.com


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Blowing Into Your Nintendo Cartridges Didn't Actually Help

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Save your breath.

Back when our video games came in cartridges...

Back when our video games came in cartridges...

media.photobucket.com

...we would blow into them if they didn't work.

...we would blow into them if they didn't work.

nintendolife.com

But it turns out blowing into a Nintendo cartridge doesn't actually help.

But it turns out blowing into a Nintendo cartridge doesn't actually help.

playcloths.com

See, we thought we were blowing off dust, when in fact we were just lining the cartridge with a layer of moisture.

See, we thought we were blowing off dust, when in fact we were just lining the cartridge with a layer of moisture.

videogameconsolelibrary.com


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24 Things That Prove Video Games Are All Grown Up

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Video games are getting older, and so are you.

These are no longer considered cutting-edge graphics.

These are no longer considered cutting-edge graphics.

brandon kuzma

Pong is officially over-the-hill.

Pong is officially over-the-hill.

youtube.com

The model for Lara Croft will be over-the-hill before Obama's second term is over.

The model for Lara Croft will be over-the-hill before Obama's second term is over.

screened.com

Crash Bandicoot is old enough to drive.

Crash Bandicoot is old enough to drive.

itunes.apple.com


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Atari Teenage Riot: The Inside Story Of Pong And The Video Game Industry's Big Bang

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Today, Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club at 157 West El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, California — slap-bang in the middle of Silicon Valley — faces out to a Chinese restaurant and taqueria across a three-lane road. It’s squeezed between a Goodyear garage and a check-cashing place; on the corner is the California Paint Company. Drive down Route 82, head onto Sunnyvale Saratoga Road, and three or so miles down the street you’re at the Apple campus in Cupertino. In the fall of 1972, Rooster T. Feathers was Andy Capp’s Tavern. “Just a dive bar, nothing special,” says the club’s manager, Beth Schumann. But this dive bar would soon become the video game industry's Plymouth Rock, Mount Sinai, and Cheers, all rolled into one.

This was where Pong — a rudimentary Ping-Pong game featuring two dashes for paddles and a white dot as a ball — became a phenomenon. But its creation was practically an accident, a stroke of luck borne out of failure. The video game industry didn’t really exist, and what its pioneers did “was very seat-of-the-pants stuff,” says Darran Jones, editor of Retro Gamer magazine. “People were making things up as they went along.”

The frontage in 1972 was much the same as it is in 2012 — though Schumann says the building has had a couple of paint jobs since. Inside was a little different: Drinkers walking into Andy Capp's that summer of '72 were presented with beer on tap, pinball machines, a purple-glowing jukebox playing vinyl 45s, and an arcade machine — the world’s first commercially available one — called Computer Space, which let players take the helm of a tiny pixelated rocket ship and try to shoot flying saucers out of the sky. But the game was a tough sell.


“I think for that stage in the life of a coin-op game, it was too difficult,” says its co-creator Nolan Bushnell, 69, pausing between sentences at his home in Los Angeles to take swigs of a drink to ease his hoarse throat. Still, the game racked up $3 million in sales from a couple thousand units. “I wasn’t disappointed with Computer Space’s performance. The idea of doing $3 million in sales was kind of cool.” But a better, more user-friendly game could make more, he thought, if customers kept returning to play.

That better game would be Pong, which was deceptively simple to pick up, but infuriatingly difficult to master (not least because a developmental hiccup meant that your paddle couldn’t defend all your territory in the original coin-operated version). Today it is considered one of the biggest arcade games in the world, responsible for the success of the video game industry, valued at $78.5 billion this year. Pong took video games out of windowless computer labs full of buttoned-up coders and brought it to the masses, and with it, Bushnell's nascent company, Atari.

It would've been hard to imagine then, but games today are bigger than the global film industry, which had a 60-year head start. Pong is the reason that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can make more than three times as much in its first five days on sale as The Avengers can in its first five days in theaters. But while today’s blockbuster games are largely created by hundred-strong teams at bankrolled developers, the men who created and crafted Pong embodied the bootstrap start-up culture that typifies the most exciting edges of today’s tech landscape. They were knocked back by old men in drab suits who said games weren’t going to be big business. But games were going to be big business, even those started in unassuming surroundings. And nothing was going to stop them.

“Nolan Bushnell's personality established an important paradigm for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: willful, daring, imaginative, hypercompetitive,” says Henry Lowood, curator of the history of science and technology collection and media collection at Stanford. “It's difficult to imagine Steve Jobs without Bushnell before him.”

But before these culture-defining pioneers could establish a paradigm, they had to first be very bored.

In 1969, Bushnell and Ted Dabney, now 75, set up a company, at the time called Syzygy, named for the phenomenon in which the earth, sun, and moon fall in line during an eclipse, to create Computer Space, with $500 placed in Dabney’s bank account. They had met one year earlier, thrown together in a small shared office at Ampex, one of the biggest engineering firms at the time, based in Redwood City, California.

Space in the office was tight, especially when Bushnell, who had reached 6 feet 4 inches by the seventh grade, stretched out his legs. In 1969, Ampex created and maintained the Videofile system, which recorded files and photos to a magnetic videotape system long before the advent of commercial computer hard drives (to this day, Britain’s New Scotland Yard still uses the Videofile system to store perpetrators’ fingerprints).

Bushnell made $12,000 a year as a research design engineer and enjoyed the job, but had long nurtured the idea of a video game arcade — a dream first fostered working summers at the Lagoon, an amusement park north of Salt Lake City. The park, according to a mention in the Beach Boys’ 1965 album filler, “Salt Lake City,” was “full of all kinds of girls/and rides, and we'll be flyin’ there soon, now.” (The lyrics were more likely Mike Love’s doing than Brian Wilson’s). But full of arcade machines it was not — at least yet. “There was pinball, knocking down bottles to win a stuffed animal, things like that,” Bushnell says dismissively. “I knew at the age of 22 that if there was a video game there, it’d earn a lot of money.”

There were such things as video games, but in a form totally unrecognizable today. Bored computer engineers and military polymaths used spare computer time and processing power to code rudimentary games, but they were purely for their own entertainment. To get near them you needed privileged access to a computer lab at a high-ranking university — or the gumption to worm your way into one.

Bushnell spent most of 1964 and 1965 in the lab at the University of Utah, playing a program called Spacewar!, an intergalactic battle game written by MIT student Steve Russell in 1962. I ask Bushnell if he encountered the game through a school computer club. “Not at all,” he says. “It was a fraternity brother and myself sneaking into the lab late at night.” Spacewar! stuck with Bushnell: With a few tweaks, and placed inside a coin-operated arcade cabinet, it became Computer Space.

In spite of the cramped Ampex office, Bushnell and Dabney became close when Bushnell asked Dabney to learn the Japanese board game Go so he would have a playing partner. “We’d only play at lunch,” Bushnell says — the idea of goofing off during the day was anathema to him. The duo graduated from a cheap and flimsy board to one handcrafted from a $6 offcut.

"I carved it out of an inch-and-a-half-thick board and put a Videofile logo on the other side so it could hang on the wall," Dabney recalls. When the two played, the board sat on top of a trash can, a coincidental foreshadowing of the future: The original Pong prototype in Andy Capp’s would sit squat on top of a barrel, people huddled around it.

Go was useful in another way as the two young men left Ampex to eventually launch their video game venture: When the local authorities told Bushnell and Dabney that a roofing contractor had already claimed the nerd-friendly sobriquet Sygyzy, they used a term from Go that was equivalent to chess’s “check” for their newly incorporated company: アタリ. Anglicized, that spells Atari.

After Bushnell and Dabney left Ampex, many of their colleagues thought they were crazy. “I felt kind of sorry for Nolan and Ted,” says engineer Al Alcorn, who would shortly join them. “They were quitting a good career at Ampex to go off and do this strange thing. That was the conventional wisdom: Where did these guys go wrong?”

Back in the early 1970s, arcade games didn't pay the bills, but servicing pinball machines — battered and bruised from being tilted and slammed by overzealous and over-served bar patrons — did. The potential was there for games to pay their way, though, and Bushnell saw it. Computer Space had been released in cooperation with Nutting Associates, a manufacturing company, in 1971. This time Bushnell wanted to go at it alone, without answering to someone else. So using the profits from Computer Space, he hired Alcorn as chief engineer for $1,000 a month (less than Alcorn was making at his previous job) and 10% of the company’s stock in May 1972.

Alcorn, a Berkeley grad, was pretty talented at computer science and electrical engineering. At the time, both disciplines involved working with relatively large, clunky machinery and required the patience of a saint as the machines calculated their commands and processed messages across room-sized components. Alcorn had been hired by Ampex through Berkeley’s work-study program in 1968 as an engineer and put educational theory into industrial practice.

“I’d been fixing televisions in a repair shop since junior high,” he explains to me at 10 a.m. on a Monday from his cluttered home office in Palo Alto, California. In fact, it paid his way through college, which he completed while working for Ampex, on and off, through to 1972. But he had no experience with game design, and he was taking a risk on Atari. “We were thinly funded,” Alcorn says — the venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital that would eventually transform Silicon Valley were in their embryonic stages in the early '70s, not that bar games would have been considered a sound investment. “Banks wouldn’t talk to us. I did it because I was young, unmarried, and reckless — what the hell. I figured it’d cave in a year or two anyway and I’d go back to Ampex.”

"There was a race to the bank to make sure yours was the first paycheck that cleared,” says Steve Bristow, who turned down offers from big companies like IBM and General Electric to join Atari.

Meanwhile, the first TV-based home console, the Magnavox Odyssey, designed by gaming-industry forefather Ralph Baer, was being released. The Odyssey was demonstrated in Burlingame, California, on May 24, 1972. “It turned out that Al started at Atari almost exactly the same day I went up to see the Magnavox game,” says Bushnell. Around the same time, Baer was at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, sitting amongst the 30 or so East Coast retailers to whom his employers were trying to sell his creation. Beaming with pride, Baer could barely sit still. “The entire Magnavox product line for 1972 was displayed there,” he explains. “That included the Odyssey game, which was the hit of the show.” One of the games on the Magnavox console was a version of tennis.

“I thought the game was kind of crappy,” Bushnell says. Yet people were lining up to play it, “and they were kind of having some fun. I thought, If they can have fun with this shite” — Bushnell breaks off into a hearty laugh — “if it can be turned into a real game, that’d be great.” On the drive back from the demonstration, “I got thinking of ways it could be improved.”

Bushnell believed that a game similar to the Magnavox Odyssey tennis title could aptly fulfill a contract with Bally Manufacturing Corporation, which paid Atari $4,000 a month for six months to develop an arcade racing game and a pinball machine. He had a plan: Dabney would handle the creation of the pinball machine for Bally; Alcorn would re-create the tennis game for arcades. All the while the three would regularly grab lunch at a Cupertino diner about a 15-minute drive away from their office at 2962 Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara. “The office was tiny,” Alcorn says, “about 1,000 or 2,000 square feet. We would go into our back room and play a pinball machine — the Bally Fireball — for inspiration.”

Alcorn completed a version of Ralph Baer’s tennis game for home consoles three months later. It saw two bats at either end of the screen hitting a ball from one to the other. Behind the TV screen was a series of around 75 transistor-transistor logic circuits (TTL ICs) that controlled the on-screen components: the two paddles, the ball, and the score counter above the play area. It didn’t need complicated instructions; in fact, the sole in-game instruction to the player was a wry one etched onto the faceplate of the arcade cabinet: “Avoid missing ball for high score.”

“Nolan didn't like the game at all,” Dabney says. “He wanted a driving game, but Al and I liked it so much, especially after Al added some sound. Nolan kept complaining, but we said, ‘No, this is a good game.’”

The original Pong console. Courtesy of Al Alcorn

Alcorn headed out to the local Walgreens, picked up a $75 black-and-white television set, hid the Hitachi logo inside a rudimentary orange casing, which housed the logic circuits and a coin box made from an upturned sawed-off plastic milk jug, and dragged it into the corner of Andy Capp's, next to the pinball machines, the jukebox, and the Computer Space machine. “There were seven or eight machines in the back of the bar,” Alcorn says. "Andy Capp’s was one of our favorite places because we knew the owner, and we trusted him. If something went wrong, we knew he’d call us.” It was September 1972.

The Atari designers and engineers decided to linger for a while. “It was really interesting,” Bushnell says. “You put it in place and stand back and watch people play it.” What they saw was encouraging, but not extraordinary. “We watched for a couple of hours, drank a couple of beers, then went home.” Bushnell was catching a flight to Chicago the next day, a portable version of Pong in an aluminum case under his arm.

Within a few days, Bill Gattis, who ran the bar, was on the phone to Atari. “The machine had stopped working; I was told to go fix it,” Alcorn explains. ”I stopped over on my way home from work, and much to my surprise, the coin box was overflowing, gushing with quarters.”

“It’s weird,” Gattis told Alcorn as he counted the impressive bounty. “I’ve got guys at my doorstep at 10 a.m. when the place opens. They’re not drunks. They come in, play the Pong game, and don’t buy any beer.” Alcorn listened, and swapped out the milk jug for something a little bigger — a bread pan.

“Up until that point I was expecting to turn up to work one day and there’d be a padlock on the door,” Alcorn admits. “It was sheer luck that the simplest game you could think of was what the market wanted.” Today, people talk about "social" gaming, but Pong was truly social gaming. There were no personal computers — and certainly no Nintendo Wii Us, no Xboxes, and no FarmVille. To play meant leaving your house and going to a bar and actually interacting with people.

“You had to play against someone,” says semi-official Atari archivist Curt Vendel, whose online Atari History Museum has carefully salvaged machines, documents, and memories of the company. “It made for a great icebreaker at bars, for people to meet one another.”

But Baer, the inventor of the Odyssey, is to this day ambivalent about his competitor. “Mr. B. didn’t ‘invent’ anything,” Baer, now 90, told me via e-mail, “but he started a whole industry, the arcade video game industry. Give the man credit for that achievement. He just simply didn’t invent anything.”