Light Pong somehow makes one-dimensional pong feel like fun
In addition to textual adventures, Pong is pretty much the simplest video game you can imagine. The Light Pong creators decided that it could be even simpler, however, and in the process of reducing Pong from two dimensions to one, they managed to create a game that somehow actually looks more fun to play than the addicting original.
This is not the first attempt to reduce Pong to its bare minimum. Back in January, Mirko Pavleski created a tabletop version of Pong with a single LED strip which created the effect of a white point bouncing between the players. Instead of quickly positioning a paddle, the game was all about timing, and the longer a player waited to return a shot with a single press of a button, the faster it would be returned to their opponent. It was kind of like a digital chicken game, but if players waited too long to return a shot, they would miss it altogether, giving their opponent a point.
Unlike the original arcade machine and Pavleski’s creation, Light Pong can be played anywhere, as it uses two portable controllers with buttons connected by a flexible tube filled with 150 multi-colored LEDs. They not only recreate the effect of a ball bouncing back and forth, but also create a vibrant light show in the process. It allows players to move around during a one-on-one competition, making it much easier to taunt each other, or perform a heinous victory dance to really get into an opponent’s head .
Battery life is estimated to be around four to five hours depending on the game you’re playing and the flex tube lighting, while charging is handled through a simple USB-C port – no connectors, cables, or docks. Owner welcome is not required.
Light Pong includes several variations of the original Pong, the basic challenge being ping pong where players have to press a button to send a shot back into the tube with perfect timing. Too early or too late and their opponent scores a point.
Other challenges include Tug of War, where players mash buttons so that the light tube changes color – red or green – along its entire length; Rev & Release, where the goal is to speed up a shot and land it on a specific target somewhere along the tube; and Cyclone, where the glowing bullet appears to travel a giant circle at high speed and players attempt to stop it at a specific location. The makers of Light Pong promise more games are on the way, some even coming from a thriving developer community.
To bring Light Pong to consumers, its creators opted for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise the $ 50,000 needed to put it into production. The cheapest way to pre-order one is to donate $ 79 to the campaign, while the final price should be closer to double that amount. Delivery won’t take place until September 2022 at the earliest, so at least the creators of Light Pong aren’t making overly optimistic estimates of when backers will receive their games.
Despite the fact that at the time of this writing the Kickstarter has already exceeded its fundraising target, it’s still a good idea to back it up with a lot of patience. Supporting any crowdfunded product always comes with risks that the product will be delayed or never see the light of day, and this is especially true during an ongoing pandemic with chip shortages and shipping delays affecting nearly every industry, not just consumer electronics.