Deconstring Blip, A Fully Mechanical Version of Pong
June 8, 2020 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Shelby of the Tech Tangents Youtube Channel examines Blip, a mechanical version of Pong from 1977.
posted by Going To Maine (8 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Whoa, this vividly called to mind a toy I had as a kid: T.V. Tennis from Marx (1974; video with some sort of inset video of how it worked). The memory was so deeply buried I might have lost it forever without this cue. Thanks!
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:29 PM on June 8

I had Blip as a kid, and I do not remember it being all that difficult. I also took it apart to check out the gear mechanism. Hadn't thought of that in years. Or of Merlin.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:33 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]

I do not remember it being all that difficult

Same here. I think maybe it's because kids' reflexes tend to be quite good. I had my Blip game for Christmas, and I seem to remember having abandoned it within a day or two, because if you hovered three fingers over the buttons, you could pretty quickly get good enough to never miss.

I remember being impressed by just how analogue it was, too, and dismantled mine more than once. This sort of technology was pretty common in games around that time. There were all sorts of wind-up games, with gears and magnets and so on - I remember one being a driving game where you could steer a car around a track. They all pretty much disappeared as soon as cheap LCD game-and-watch type things emerged.
posted by pipeski at 4:23 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

I had one of those but never thought about what an amazing bit of mechanical engineer it took to make it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:32 AM on June 9

Had it. That year for Christmas we got Blip, a Merlin, and a Simon game. IIRC, the Blip game did not last very long because the mechanism that moved the LED broke from our rough use. The next Christmas we got a Mattel Football handheld game and I got so good at it that it stopped being interesting. I think that was also the year we got a Sears knockoff Pong console.
posted by briank at 4:59 AM on June 9

Not to be confused with the pong coffee table edition...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:53 AM on June 9

I was was fortunate to see an analog Pong tabletop game at the CA Extreme free-play arcade convention in Santa Clara last year.

The unit apparently uses magnets and pulleys (YT Video) to move the ball and paddles; this was visible when the play surface was removed to show off the mechanisms.
posted by JDC8 at 8:59 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

For some reason I still have a T.V. Tennis, because my family hates me.
posted by mmb5 at 4:18 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]

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