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Mechanical Pong table transports the classic game into real life

Pong steps out from the screen and into a coffee table with a playable mechanical version of the famous arcade game.

A concept image for the playable Pong table.

Daniel Perdomo

In an era of high-tech video games that immerse you in realistic fantasy environments, there's something comforting about Pong.

It's a simplified version of tennis and it reminds us of earlier times, back when video games had blocky graphics and the most exotic thing you could do was to shoot the tail off a centipede. Now Pong has reemerged as a playable physical version of the game built into a coffee table.

Daniel Perdomo's Table Pong Project is a labor of classic-gaming love. He and a small team conceptualized and built a coffee table-size mechanical game that pits two players against each other in real-life Pong.

The table is about two years in the making. A behind-the-scenes video shows the crazy level of detail and numerous parts that went into building a playable prototype.

The cabinet shape is inspired by a vintage box that once held a version of Pong for home televisions. Controllers on either end of the table work the paddles. The "ball" is magnetic and glides over the surface with the help of a moving bar hidden below. A clear top keeps debris out of the playing field.

Perdomo is looking for a hardware incubator to help with manufacturing more of the gaming tables and making them available to buyers, but no timeline is in place for the game to actually reach the market. If you can't wait and still want to get your Pong on, then consider cuing it up in tiny digital format on your smartwatch. You'll need to keep your fingers limber if the real thing eventually comes out.

There has been a slow incursion of video games into real life over the years. Here's Mario Kart on the streets of Paris, a Mario Kart mall prank and a human-size Pac-Man game that became a Super Bowl ad. At least coffee table Pong isn't nearly as harrowing as any of those.

(Via Geeky Gadgets)