GamesBeat

Pong: The Interactive Fiction

Editor’s note: I’m not sure why Pete went to
the trouble of making Pong‘s reductionist visuals even less palpable to contemporary gamers…. Oh wait, I’ve got it. Because it’s effing hilarious! -James



After the (relative) success of this nonsense, here’s some more classic gaming reimagined as interactive, text-based fiction. Today, I drown the grandaddy game of them all, Pong, in a sea of ASCII.

I hope you’re sitting comfortably. Things are about to get real.

Let the epic battle begin!

 

Welcome to PONG – An interactive adventure by Allan Alcorn.

Copyright (c) 1972-2010 ATARI Inc. All rights reserved.
PONG is a registered trademark of ATARI Inc.
Version 48 / Serial number 840905

Type HELP for help.

The Arena, North-Western Corner

You’re not sure where you are. All around you is inky blackness. To the east, you can just see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision. Another glint of white is just visible in the distance, further to the east.

There is a ball here.

?>LOOK

The Arena, North-Western Corner

All around you is inky blackness. To the east, you can just see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision. Another glint of white is just visible in the distance, further to the east.

There is a ball here.

?>LOOK AT BALL

To call it a “ball” is perhaps inaccurate, as it is perfectly square. It’s the same shade of white as everything else around here.

?>PICK UP BALL

Ball: Taken.

?>EAST

Pong02

The Arena, Northern Edge

The inky blackness continues in all directions. A little to your east, there is a dotted white line that extends in a north-south direction. Further to the east, you can see a solid white block standing motionless as if waiting for something. To the west is the boundary of the arena, where you came in. To the north, you can see a large white hollow square that looks like a letter “O.” The arena continues to the south.

?>LOOK AT SQUARE

It’s made of the same curious solid white material that everything else seems to be made of, but there’s a hole in the middle that makes it look like a rather angular doughnut, or a letter O. Or possibly a zero. Who knows?

?>PICK UP SQUARE

Try as you might, you can’t pick up the square. It seems to be fixed in place.

?>KILL SQUARE

You throw a punch at the square, but you succeed in nothing else other than bruising your fist.

?>EAST

You begin walking to the east. As you are about to cross the dotted line, however, you feel a mysterious force pushing you backwards. It doesn’t look like you can go any further in that direction at this time.

?>LOOK AT LINE

You don’t see anything special about it.

?>LOOK AT DOTTED LINE

It’s a dotted line that extends as far as you can see in a north-south direction.

?>WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE LINE?

I don’t understand WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE LINE?

?>KILL LINE

You throw a punch at the line, but you succeed in nothing else other than bruising your fist.

?>EAST

You begin walking to the east. As you are about to cross the dotted line, however, you feel a mysterious force pushing you backwards. It doesn’t look like you can go any further in that direction at this time.

?>SOUTH

The Arena, Middle

Inky blackness surrounds you in all directions. In the distance to the north, you can see a large white hollow square. To the east is a dotted line that extends as far as you can see in a north-south direction.

?>EAST

You begin walking to the east. However, as you are about to cross the dotted line, you feel a mysterious force pushing you backwards. It doesn’t look like you can go any further in that direction at this time.

?>DAMN IT

I don’t understand DAMN IT.

?>THROW BALL AT LINE

You take out the curious square ball and fling it as hard as you can toward the dotted line. You feel a curious sensation, and suddenly, you are back against the western edge of the arena.

The Arena, Western Edge

Inky blackness surrounds you in all directions, but you feel as if you are up against some sort of invisible wall to the west. In the distance to the east, you can see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision.

You can see the ball you threw flying off to the east.

?>LOOK AT BALL

The ball is flying off into the distance.

The ball disappears into the blackness.

You hear a noise that sounds like “BOOP.”

?>SOUTH

Pong01

The Arena, South-Western Corner

All around you is inky blackness. To the east, you can just see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision, with another glint of white just visible in the distance, further to the east.

You can see a shape heading roughly towards you in a north-westerly direction.

?>EAST

Try as you might, you don’t seem to be able to take a step forward in that direction.

The shape is coming closer, and after a moment you recognise it as the ball you threw. If you headed to the north, you might be able to intercept it.

?>NORTH

The Arena, Western Edge

Inky blackness surrounds you in all directions, but you feel as if you are up against some sort of invisible wall to the west. In the distance to the east, you can see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision.

Far to the east, you can see a solid white block that seems to be moving back and forth.

You arrive just as the ball arrives. It’s about to go whistling past you.

?>HIT BALL

You position yourself in the path of the ball and it bounces off you with a “BOOP” sound.

The ball is flying off to the north-east.

?>INV

You are carrying:
nothing

The ball bumps into some sort of invisible barrier to the north-east of your position and bounces back in a south-easterly direction over the dotted line.

?>NORTH

The Arena, North-Western Corner

You’re not sure where you are. All around you is inky blackness. To the east, you can just see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision, with another glint of white just visible in the distance, further to the east.

The ball disappears into the blackness.

Far to the east, you can see a solid white block that seems to be moving back and forth.

?>EAST

Try as you might, you don’t seem to be able to take a step forward in that direction.

You hear a curious sound, and the white square to the north-east of you suddenly changes into a straight line.

(Your score has gone up by 1 point.)

The ball suddenly appears in the middle of the court. It looks like it’s heading towards your side in a south-westerly direction.

?>LOOK AT BALL

The ball is coming closer. It looks like it’s going to arrive somewhere to the south of your position.

?>SOUTH

The Arena, Western Edge

Inky blackness surrounds you in all directions, but you feel as if you are up against some sort of invisible wall to the west. In the distance to the east, you can see some sort of curious white mark stretching across your field of vision.

Far to the east, you can see a solid white block that seems to be moving back and forth.

To your south, you see the ball sail past you into the inky blackness beyond.

You hear a “BLOOP” sound.

You have died.

You achieved a score of 1 out of a possible 10.

Would you like to (R)estart, (L)oad or (Q)uit?

?>Q

Thanks for playing PONG.

C:/PONG/>_


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