Gear Games Review: Atari C-100 Pong Home System

As anyone who has whiled away the hours playing Dungeon or Trek on your PDP-10 or S/360 knows – video games are fast becoming a BIG DEAL! Atari has caught on to this phenomenon, and already released the exciting Pong arcade game a couple of years back. But now they are ready to take it to the next level – with the C-100 Pong console they are bringing all the thrill of pong into your HOME!

The Hype:
Pong is a two-dimensional sports game that simulates table tennis. The player controls an in-game paddle by moving it vertically across the left side of the screen, and can compete against either a computer controlled opponent or another player controlling a second paddle on the opposing side. Players use the paddles to hit a ball back and forth. The aim is for a player to earn more points than the opponent; points are earned when one fails to return the ball to the other.

The Reality:
Wow that ‘hype’ is BORING! You’d think they were detailing a colonoscopy rather than the thrilling state-of-the art game that will cause the hours to just melt away before your eyes, that will have the entire family glued to the TV screen every night! Let’s take a look!


Inside the deceptively small box is a technological powerhouse! You have the full arcade game, as well as two controllers and switches to reset the game and also to switch from single player to two-player mode!

The game system has two wired paddles with 3 foot long cords that allow you and a friend to play simultaneously in front of the TV without getting in each others ‘box’.

The C-100 hooks to your TV using an antenna adapter you can buy at your local Radio Shack, by screwing the adapter onto the terminals where your antenna hooks up. If you have one of those new BetaMax machines you probably already have one of these adapters.

Graphics & Gameplay:

I have long said ‘it isn’t about the graphics’, it is the gameplay! Pong is a black & white game – no need to adjust your sets, folks … no color paddles or balls here! Sure this isn’t like the arcade game Computer Space or the Star Trek mainframe game, but what it lacks in graphics pizazz it makes up for in terms of sheer brilliant gameplay.

The concept is simple – one player has a paddle on the right side of the screen, and the other player has a paddle on the left side. As in table tennis a ball is ‘served’ and your goal is to keep it in play on your side – and get your opponent to miss.

It seems simple, yet it is all about physics and trigonometry! You will use your knowledge of angles to grab tough shots and make ones to confuse your opponent! Take a look at a screen:


One of the coolest things about Pong is how the paddles attach to the base, and how simply everything fits right back into the box for easy travel. Since everyone has a ‘rabbit ears’ antenna in their house, there is no worry about ‘compatibility.

In fact, for Thanksgiving my family brought our Pong system to my aunt’s house – she always has everyone gather up late in the afternoon for pie and coffee. While one TV had the football games going (hey, Detroit has to win at least ONE game every year!), we hooked our pong system to the second TV for some Pong fun.

We actually grabbed a picture of it, and you can see me between my brother and sister having a frenetic game!


Pong is a great example of ‘truth in advertising’ – it is all about bringing the thrill and simplicity of the great arcade to your home! You no longer have to hang around in a bar or bowling alley to play, and now you can share with your kids as well! The asking price is a bit steep, but for the amount of hours you and your family will play it is a much better value than the $10 you could spend for a family of four for movie tickets, soda and popcorn!

Here is a video of Pong so you can marvel at this wonder of technology and its exhilarating gameplay!

Review: Atari C-100 Pong Home Console

Where to Buy: Sears or other retailers

Price: $74.99

What I Like: Exciting gameplay; easy hook-up; great portability; excellent social ‘family time’ experience

What Needs Improvement: Would have loved color graphics!

Source: Personal copy

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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