The bane of fanboys across the ‘verse, The Picky Geek is a column that takes the glaring faults of popular games, puts them under a magnifying glass, and leaves them there until they’ve been fried by the sun. With snark, cynicism, and maybe even a little hyperbole, Ryan Larrabee explores why he never gets invited to any games industry Christmas parties.
That’s right. Pong. How is it that Pong is so universally praised? Put it next to to today’s big games like Halo and Call of Duty and it’s like comparing your sister’s tricycle to a super sweet Range Rover. Pong has more than a few issues, and what follows are merely a few of them.
1. The Visuals
A blind man could see what I’m talking about here. I mean, a square ball being knocked around by a couple of lines? It’s like someone took all of the interesting pieces out of a broken kaleidoscope. You can even see all of the jagged edges. Appalling.
And what about those colors? Black and white just don’t cut it for a competitive game. How are you supposed to differentiate between the two opposing teams? It seems like the game’s difficulty lies in the creator’s bad design decisions instead of the required skill level.
2. The Sound
The sounds in Pong sound like you put a sad computer through a dishwasher. It’s so low quality that determining what the hell each sound clip is supposed to be is next to impossible. Did I just hit the ball, or did someone run over a duck in an iron lung? There’s no way of telling.
Also, the lack of soundtrack isn’t helping. There’s nothing there to build dramatic tension as an opponent evens the score, or as you win an hour long battle. The game just sits in silent judgment the whole time.
3. The Lack of Story
What the hell are we supposed to be doing in Pong? Are we moving lines just to say we did? It needs an alien invasion, or the threat of humanity’s end. It seems like the developers were going for the “subtle story telling” route, but they went too far. For all we know, Pong could be the video game adaptation of Balls of Fury.
Do you see now why Pong doesn’t deserve its praise? It’s less of a game, and more of a cure for insomnia. Give me a call when they release a sequel with plasma rifles.