Pong the Classic Computer Game for Windows

  Presenting the modern version of a classic game for Windows built with DirectX

 What kind of joystick is best for this game?

Logitech Dual Action Joystick

 Joysticks that don't require much physical effort to manipulate are best fit for this game. Big, stick-like force-feedback joysticks (like Microsoft Force Feedback 2) are not a good choice for Pong: you will find yourself fighting the joystick, not the opponent. Best are dual joysticks, such as Logitech Dual Action (shown on the left). They are inexpensive, and have the advantage of having two sticks, so that two people can play using the same device.

  It is likely that you will find the mouse is the best device to use. If you have two computers at home, you can play the network version of this game once they establish a connection. This way both you and your opponent can use a mouse, and play on either side. Read more on this below.

Microsoft Force Feedback 2 Joystick

 Got two computers? Play over network!


  If you are new to network games, don't get scared by any of the technical terms below. Even if you have no network and never have seen one, connecting two computers these days is as simple as plugging in a cable (that you buy for $10-15 in any computer store) and making a few mouseclicks. Then the game does the rest for you. Pong supports two protocols, TCP/IP and IPX. I advise using TCP/IP as the faster of the two, the only difference is that the guest enters the IP address of a host computer, while IPX finds the host automatically.

  Keep in mind that Pong is a fast-paced game, and a slow network can be a problem. Though modern networks are capable of transmitting huge amounts of information quickly, it is not the bandwidth but network latency (time delay between when a signal is sent and received) that is critical for games. Tests show that latency over 35-40 milliseconds significantly impacts the quality of this game. This is why it is primarily for use at home between two PCs (connected wirelessly or not, and in local networks (LAN) when connected computers are physically close) and not for remote connections.

 How do I set up a network connection?


  If you have two computers at home that share an Internet connection (i.e. you can browse the Internet on both of them at the same time) you are most likely already set up to play the game. To check this, you can use utilities such as IPCONFIG (or WINIPCFG) and PING (they come with Windows OS, and you may already have them on your computer). Alternatively, just run Pong on both computers and see if you connect. Here are the steps to do it:

  • Start the program on the first computer, choose Network from menu. If both TCP/IP and IPX circles appear grayed, you don't have a network set up. Bad luck;-(. Otherwise, click Next button and read on.
  • Select TCP/IP (default) and select Host the game (see the image on the left), click Next.
  • Program will show the list of IP addresses of this computer. Write them down. Click Go!. The program will go into the 'waiting state'. Now go to another computer.
  • Start Pong, select Network from menu, then TCP/IP and Connect to the Host. Click the Next button.
  • Program will ask for an IP address. Type in one of the addresses you wrote down previously. Click Connect.
  • Wait for the program's response while it shows Connecting to Host. If connection is successful, both computers go to playing stage. If not, program shows 'Connect failed' message.
Check this cool screensaver program!

 Connecting two computers directly with a cable


  Using dialup Internet? There are two easy ways to connect your PCs to play the game.

Network Socket

  Method one is connecting them with a CAT5 Crossover cable. This will work only if both computers have network sockets (shown on the left). A network socket looks like a large telephone socket with a symbol of three computers connected to a horizontal line next to it.

You can also buy network adapters that have such sockets, and plug them into your PC. For example, USB Network Adaptors simply plug into a USB port. With a CAT5 Crossover cable in place, just go and try Pong as it is described in the previous section.

CAT-5e UTP Crossover Cable
Symbol of three computers connected to a horizontal line next to it, usually located near network socket
DB25 Male/Male Parallel Port Cable

  Method two is connecting two PCs with a DB25 Male/Male Parallel Cable, also known as a File Transfer Cable. Almost any PC has a 25-pin parallel port since it is often used for printers. If you have a laptop, it might be hidden by a back panel. When connecting with a DB25 Cable, you must take some additional steps:

Windows 98
Start • Programs • Accessories • Communications • Direct Cable Connection. Using the Change button set one computer as Host, another as Guest. Follow screen instructions, select parallel port (usually LPT1).
Windows 2000
Start • Settings • Control Panel • Network and Dialup Connections • Create New Connection. Use Connect Directly to another computer option. One computer will be accepting incoming connections, another will connect.
Windows XP
  1. Start • Control Panel • Network and Internet Connections. Click Network Connections, and then double-click New Connection Wizard.

  2. In the New Connection Wizard, read the Welcome page, click Next, select Set up an advanced connection, and then click Next.

  3. On the Advanced Connection Options page, select Connect directly to another computer, and then click Next.

  4. On the Host or Guest? page, select Host for one PC, and Guest for another, and then click Next.

  5. On the Connection Name page, in the Computer name box, type a name for the connection.

  6. On the Select a Device page, select LPT1, and then click Next.

  7. If you want this connection to be made available to all users of this computer, on the Connection Availability page, click Anyone’s use, and then click Next. If you want to reserve the connection for yourself, select My use only, and then click Next.

  8. Click Finish.

 What's in the Pong?


  -'Is this yet another, million-and-first incarnation of the classic game?' - you might ask. Yes, this is another version of Pong. And there were reasons to put this game together. Here are these reasons:

  • The implementations of Pong I have found on the web so far are, in my opinion, just poor imitations of the classic Pong which you (just as I a long time ago) might have enjoyed playing as a kid.
  • First, they typically use the keyboard to move the paddle, while the classic one used a stick. This considerably slows down the game.
  • Second, even if a mouse is used to move the paddle, it moves only in one dimension (top to bottom or left to right), while classic pong was two-dimensional. I don't know about you, but for me... it is cheap junk, having very little in common with the classic Pong.
  • There are some 3-D versions of the game. The idea of moving the paddle in 3D with the keyboard or even a mouse (a two-dimensional pointer device) does not excite me or anyone I know...

This version of Pong is two-dimensional. You play using a mouse or joystick to move the paddle. In addition, you can choose the side (play on the right or on the left, which left-handed people will find handy). You can set custom table size, play on different levels, set the speed of the game, etc. In the end, you decide if you like this version or the other one. But first, I suggest you try it. Enjoy!

Play using a mouse or joystick. Advanced options give you more control over these devices.



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 Some History


  Pong was, arguably, the first computer game that reached masses in 1970s. As time moves on, there are now hundreds and thousands of games of every kind available. With the explosion of the Internet, they are now easily available to everyone connected to the web. Classic Pong is viewed now by many as something old-fashioned and trivial. While it is, for certain, one of the oldest computer games, and it is a quite simple one, it is still remembered by many around the world. If you are one of these people, or if you are too young to remember, this game is for you! If you are interested in Pong history, you might like visiting this site.


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