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Nolan Bushnell: Pong was a feminist game

The Pong table
The Pong table

Pong creator and gaming legend Nolan Bushnell has stated that Pong helped to liberate women as part of the feminist movement in the 1970s.

When the game launched back in 1972 it caused a coin-shortage in the US, because it became – almost instantly - the most popular pastime for Americans in bars and clubs country-wide.

"This was at the time of women's liberation and things like that," Nolan Bushnell, creator of the game and co-founder of Atari, told the BBC.

"The average woman could beat the average man. In bars there started to be this whole sociology built up around the game in which it was OK for a woman to challenge a guy on one of the bar stools to come and play Pong."

Not a game, originally

The game was originally designed as an engineers' training tool, not a game.

"It was meant as a training project for one of my engineers," says Bushnell. "And we kept fiddling with it and doing slight improvements. One of the improvements all of a sudden made the game completely fun."

"We had no factory, we had no process, we had no systems in place. And we were young - we were very inexperienced.

"We were making it up as we were going along."