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This Classic Arcade Game Is Jumping On The Portable Bandwagon

Retro games hit a sweet spot with gamers of a certain age. That may be why Atari has decided to resurrect a classic title for the portable gaming market. PONG is making a return, in all of its retro table tennis-simulating glory.


In an exclusive press release via Shacknews, Atari has announced its plans to bring classic PONG gameplay to a new smaller device. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais told Shacknews, "Available soon online, the Atari Mini PONG Jr. is the perfect gift for Atari fans and collectors interested in experiencing the simple-yet-challenging gameplay of PONG in a tangible, more immersive way."

The announcement video for the Atari Mini PONG Jr. certainly paints an impressive picture. The sleek machine features a 7.9 inch LCD screen and a battery that can be recharged via USB. Players can either go against one another or test their skills against 10 different AI settings. In other words, this is classic PONG, just with a few more bells and whistles, and in a fully portable design that mimics classic table-style arcade machines.


According to Shacknews, Chesnais was very vocal in his excitement for the future of Atari's collaboration with both UNIS and Arcade1Up. It's easy to see why, considering how established all three companies are in the realm of retro-themed entertainment.

UNIS Technology is a China-based company that builds all kinds of arcade-centric machines. From video game cabinets to skee-ball lanes to indoor/outdoor carnival rides, this company has most likely built and sold something you've seen or played, especially if you're an arcade regular. It makes sense that Atari would team with UNIS for this project, particularly since UNIS has manufactured unique spins on retro games in the past.

As for Arcade1Up, you may recognize that company for its many recreations of classic arcade cabinets. These include cabinets for such classics as BurgerTime and X-Men vs. Street Fighter. You may have seen the awesome TMNT arcade cabinet released by Arcade1Up a few years back.

Of course, one of the biggest questions regarding the release of this little console is: why? It isn't as though PONG is not readily available for gamers on the go, and for a much lower price than this (admittedly impressive) device will cost. A quick search through the App Store will reveal multiple PONG and PONG-like games available for download, many of which are absolutely free. With that in mind, the reasoning behind the Mini PONG Jr. must be that people will pay for the experience of using the miniature table.


Judging from the social media reactions to the Mini PONG Jr., it seems as though many fans are willing to pay for just such a device — at least, they're willing to pay a low price.

One fan commented that they'd be interested in owning a Mini PONG Jr. if it cost around $25. Another fan was little less charitable, tweeting that paying any more than $10 bucks for Ataris new device would be ridiculous. "Over that you're kidding," they wrote. This prompted indie games studio Supergoodpixel to theorize that the Mini PONG Jr. would probably cost much more than that, jokingly suggesting a price tag of $600. Don't worry; there's pretty much no way that the Mini PONG Jr. could possibly cost that much, particularly when so many of Arcade1Up's larger cabinets rarely reach that dollar amount.

Some fans have also clowned on the overall design of the Mini PONG Jr., with one person comparing it to the design of the Nintendo Switch and another calling it "an electric etch a sketch."

The announcement of the Mini PONG Jr. is the latest in a series of attempts to resurrect the PONG brand. Back in early 2018, Atari announced plans to bring PONG to television screens in the form of a game show called Million Dollar PONG. While that series has yet to see the light of day, it's obvious that Atari thinks there's still some life in PONG's old digital paddles.


While PONG is obviously the only game available on the Mini PONG Jr., some people are already trying to figure out how to mod it so that it plays other titles. Games producer Henry Faber joked that it's only a matter of time before someone programs the Mini PONG Jr. to play Doom. After all, if programmers have figured out how to play Doom on a pregnancy test or a graphing calculator hooked up to a bunch of old potatoes, then who's to say gamers won't soon be able to blast away at the legions of hell on the Mini PONG Jr.?