pong o tronicThe Ping-o-Tronic is a first generation video game console produced by Zanussi and released under the Sèleco brand in late 1974. In the game mode it is similar to Pong. It was the first console of Italian production. In December 1974 it was on sale for 49,000 lire.




 TMS 1965 PONG in chip




  In 1975, Atari and Magnavox started selling improved systems using integrated circuits. Magnavox used      several Texas Instruments (TI) chips, which replicated the design of the first Odyssey, itself based on 1967 transistor circuits. Atari, however, had the smart idea of designing the first "PONG in a chip" device, but these Atari chips were not available to other manufacturers, thus limitating the market considerably. Most Atari systems used a different chip because of the different games and features. Of course, a few discrete components interfaced the chip to the other parts of the system: the video modulator, the player controls, etc. These chips replaced most of the numerous components used in the early analog and digital systems. Although Atari chips were a smart design, the idea of integrating complex circuits into a single chip was a common idea at that time, and other video game manufacturers soon released their own video game chips.

Texas Instruments (TI) had an important role in 1975 since Magnavox asked the manufacturer to design a special chip set for the Odyssey 100 and later models. Each chip had a special function: paddle generator, collision detection, on-screen scoring, etc. They are detailed in the table at the end of this page. These chips were the SN764xx. It was possible to combine these chips to design a customised Ball & Paddle games, and even a Spacewar game.

Later, TI copied the Executive Games Television Tennis circuits and integrated them into a new chip: the SN76410N. This chip was very unsuccessfull and very few systems used it: Tele-Match 3300R, Ricochet Super Pro (model MT-4A), and Venture Electronics Video Sports VS-5. David Winter asked Glen Dash (who designed the Television Tennis) how this came to his attention. His reply was crystal clear: "The Tennis game was absolutely same, so much that it had the same bugs as my original design".

Because all these chips were unsuccessfull, TI decided to release another type of chip in 1977: the TMS-1955 and TMS-1965, both pin compatible with the GI AY-3-8500, hence a better success.

My first computer game, was built by a colleague of my father, using just the the Texas Instruments TMS1965 microprocessor, the year 1977 !

The first Italain's console to use the TMS1965 !


 polistil1  console polistil  pong   pubblicita console polistil


pong o tronicTelegames Pong

In 1975, Atari started looking for ways to distribute their new home “Pong” system, but it wasn’t easy finding a distributor due to the track record that Magnavox had with the Odyssey. Retailers felt the price of the system was too expensive to draw an interest from the general public. After being rejected by numerous toys and electronics manufacturers Atari tried contacting Sears & Roebuck to see if they would have any better luck trying to work out a distribution agreement. They were directed to Tom Quinn who was the buyer for Sears’ sporting goods department, and he expressed interest but wanted the system demonstrated for a few executives first. Al Alcorn travelled to Chicago to demonstrate the pong home system prototype for the Sears executives and despite some minor technical issues with the prototype was able to obtain their approval.

Now that the executives gave their blessing, Quinn started to work with Nolan Bushnell to see if they could reach an agreement. Quinn wanted exclusive rights to the system as well as 150,000 systems before the holiday season. Bushnell agreed to the terms even though he knew that Atari would not be able to produce 150,000 units with their current facility. Atari acquired a new factory through funding by venture capitalist Don Valentine in order to produce the promised 150,000 units for Sears. In the end Atari was able to fulfill the order for Sears. All systems manufactured in 1975 were branded with Sears’ “Tele-Games” name but in 1976 Atari started releasing a version under their own brand name.

The success of home pong just like the video arcade version resulted in a multitude of clone pong consoles. Unlike the Magnavox Odyssey the home pong console and the clone consoles were only able to play one game “Pong”. Even with the limited ability of playing just one game the Pong systems became extremely popular and easily outsold the Odyssey. 

Sears’ first venture into video games was very successful and they decided to continue the partnership with Atari expanding the tele-games brand by offering other video game systems with built in games.  Atari continued to manufacture systems branding them with the Sears Tele-Games brand and by early 1977 many systems with built in games were released under both the Atari brand and the Sears Tele-Games brand.