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Whatever Happened to Pong?

Ah, the memories.

I'll never forget the first time I saw her. She was standing beside the door of the local Ben Franklin store, as if she knew I would be there and she had no problem waiting. She caught my eye immediately. How could she not? She wasn't lithe, that much is certain. Quite the opposite, she didn't so much occupy the space by the door as she commanded it with her elephantine girth. Black as ink-stains at night, she was. Beautiful . . .very beautiful.

I approached her, cautiously at first, as she was unlike anything I'd ever seen. She sat square on the floor, unlike her four-legged predecessors, and when she spoke it wasn't the chirpy, clangy voice to which I was accustomed, but the sensuous sounds of vast intelligence.

I looked into her eye, and there it was. The future. My future. And she only cost a quarter.

Her name was pong, and I fed her enough quarters to make a cheap hotel's vibrating bed envious. She was the future, and she was exciting, and nothing like her had ever come along before. The pinball machines started to disappear in favor of the sleek, flat lines on either side of the black screen, sending the square electronic ball sliding back-and-forth with a figure-skater's grace.

And then came Atari, and I brought my love home.

Ah, the memories.

She was simple, yet elegant. Beautiful. And most importantly, she had class.

Unlike the Bimbos of today.

Then again, Pong really didn't have the figure to pull it off.

Eh. So be it.

Hey man, gimme that centerfold, will ya'?

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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