Al Alcorn Joins Fellow Atari Legends in Hall | AUSRETROGAMER

Pioneer Al Alcorn Honored with Amusement Industry Hall of Fame Induction

In a momentous tribute to his groundbreaking contributions, the esteemed engineer and computer scientist, Al Alcorn, has been inducted into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame this year. Alcorn, renowned for his pivotal role in the inception of the iconic game Pong, joins the ranks of esteemed visionaries, including fellow Atarian Nolan Bushnell, a member of the inaugural class.

Alcorn embarked on his illustrious career at Ampex in 1968, where he initially delved into the development of a high-resolution video system. However, it was in 1972 that he embarked on a transformative journey with Bushnell and Ted Dabney at Atari. Together, they spearheaded the creation of Pong, a seminal milestone in the realm of video amusement games, heralding a new era of entertainment.

Reflecting on Alcorn’s indispensable role in shaping the landscape of gaming history, RePlay publisher Eddie Adlum remarked, “If you ask 10 operators today who programmed Pong back in the day, five would say Nolan Bushnell and the other five would say they don’t know. The answer, obviously, is Al Alcorn.” Working under Bushnell’s guidance, Alcorn meticulously engineered the circuitry that birthed the revolutionary machine in 1972, laying the foundation for the burgeoning video game revolution.

[L – R]: Ted Dabney, Nolan Bushnell, Fred Marincic and PONG creator, Allan (Al) Alcorn

In a testament to their innovative spirit, Bushnell and Alcorn experimented with unconventional concepts, such as embedding Pong circuitry into barrels, dubbing it “Barrel Pong.” However, it was the classic upright cabinet iteration that resonated most profoundly with audiences, establishing a paradigmatic standard for all subsequent video uprights.

Al Alcorn’s induction into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame not only honours his extraordinary legacy but also underscores the enduring impact of his visionary ingenuity on the fabric of modern entertainment. As his pioneering achievements continue to inspire generations of creators and enthusiasts alike, Alcorn’s legacy remains indelibly etched in the annals of gaming history.

story & image source: RePlay Magazine

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