De diseño simple, este raro pong tiene la virtud de permitir jugar contra la máquina, tanto uno como los dos jugadores ... lo que la convierte en un sistema salvapantallas del pong!
If Atari and Magnavox had funds to design complete lines of video games, there were other small businesses that tried to enter the market as they could. Executive Games is a great example.
Executive Games Inc. of Dorchester, Massachusetts was incorporated in 1968 under the direction of owner Peter Stepanek. Games and novelty items, such as chess and backgammon, were the companys original product line. Foot-high chessmen and a plush checkered playing surface rug evidenced the unique and novel appeal of one chess set. By 1974, yearly sales had grown to $2-million and the company was on the verge of a major two-fold product expansion.
Executive Games became one of the leading producers of home video games by January 1976. The electronic games market flourished in late 1975 as a major development in the consumer electronics industry, following hand-held calculators and digital watches. Until then high costs had restricted video games to coin operated machines in public areas. Peter Stepanek recruited the engineering skills of a group of M.I.T. students to develop a less expensive version of these popular games: Gabor Szakacs, Robert Dickson, Mike Shields, Glen Dash, David Agans, and Joseph Corkery. Glen Dash continued working on video games after the Executive Games plant closed in 1976. He was another key person in this field, not only for his unique competences in FCC testing, but also as an engineer. More details can be found at the end of this page about the works of Glen Dash.
The company released two video game systems in 1975 and 1976: Electronic Television Tennis and Face Off (TV Hockey/Soccer). Electronic Television Tennis was the third American home video game system (excluding URL Video Action II and III. See why on the URL page). It passed the FCC tests only a month after Atari Pong and began selling in the fall of 1975. Executive Games continued to sell Television Tennis until October 1976. Despite being a small company, Executive Games managed to sell approximately 65,000 Television Tennis games during that time (Magnavox produced 140,000 Odyssey units in 1972, and only around 60,000 in 1975). Approximately 18,000 Face Off units were produced and approximately 13,000 units were sold between October and December 1976. The remaining 5000 units were either sold as surplus in 1977 or went missing in a robbery of the Executive Games Dorchester, Massachusetts plant just before the close of the 1976 Christmas season.
The whole history of Executive Games is detailed in a well-written business case study authored by an MIT student, Victor Tom, in 1977. Glen Dash, one of the MIT students who developed Television Tennis, made corrections to this document and sent it to us. Click here to read it. (It is in a PDF format so you may need to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.)
Once you have read the PDF document, you might wonder why Executive Games did not design a single video game chip to lower the cost of their units and bring more advanced games. Here is the answer, which Glen Dash emailed us in March 2003:
As far as I can remember, the chips that Atari and GI were making were the most complex LSI devices that, up until that time, had been designed for the consumer market. Though we knew of GIs intentions in 1975, we did not think that they could produce something on the order of six million of these devices in 1976 and early 1977. That was quite a remarkable performance. Secondly, timing in the games market is very tricky, and dangerous. While public demand greatly exceeded supply in 1975 and 1976, I am not sure if that was the case by Christmas of 1977. Anyone stuck with inventory when demand dried up would have been killed. I agree that we had a window in which to produce chips in 1976 and early 1977, but being successful in the games market in late 1977 and 1978 would have required extraordinary vision. (As I am sure you know, hand held games were a rage for a while and then Mattels Intellivision and Ataris microprocessor based video game fought it out until the early 1980s. But thats a story for another time.)