Atari continues to struggle with getting its long-promised throwback console to consumers, but in the meantime it’s turned one of its most iconic games into a portable gaming machine that allows two players to smack a blocky ball back and forth across a virtual ping-pong table. Pong is back…again…but now in a more portable version.
The new Pong was created in collaboration with UNIS Technology Ltd., makers of elaborate arcade games and, in recent years, coffee table-sized versions of Pong that will set you back several thousand dollars to scratch a nostalgic itch. That’s what makes the new Atari Mini Pong Jr. so appealing, assuming that, given its size, it’s not priced similarly to a used car.
Measuring in at just under 12 inches long, the tiny table is powered by a USB cable or three AA batteries for portability and allows two players to compete head-to-head when perched on a table using a pair of spinning paddle controllers. Single-player mode is also supported, allowing someone to plop the Mini Pong Jr. on their lap and challenge an AI opponent.
Although a colour LCD screen is used, the console includes a mostly faithful recreation of the original Pong, which plays out in black and white with some modern animated effects added as the ball bounces off walls and paddles. Atari promises the Atari Mini Pong Jr. will launch. “exclusively online this holiday season” which we’re going to take with a big grain of salt given that the company has made similar promises regarding its other throwback console for the past three years. Neither Atari nor UNIS Technology Ltd. have revealed the pricing for the Atari Mini Pong Jr. yet, but given its hyper-focused game library, it will hopefully be well below a Benjamin.