An original prototype of an Atari' Home Pong' video game system sold for $270,910, according to Boston-based RR Auction
Originating from the collection of Allan Alcorn who revolutionized the video gameindustry in the 1970s as the creator of Pong, the first popular video arcade game.
The unit was built with a finished Pong chip in a prototype circuit board in the base, featuring a hand-carved wooden mockup of the Pong system set upon the large black box.
The system mockup features two potentiometer paddle control knobs, a red 'start game' pushbutton, and a central metal grille for its built-in speaker. The general design cues seen here-from the three-part layout to the gently angled control panel surfaces-are reflected in the production models of 'Home Pong,' beginning with the Sears Tele-Games (1975) and subsequent Atari Pong Model C-100 (1976).
Accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by Alan Alcorn, the game's designer discussing the initial success of the Pong arcade game and Atari's efforts to create a commercial, consumer version of the game-which hinged upon the production of a small, affordable chip to replace the expensive hard-wired PCBs of the arcade version. As it turned out, the fabrication of a functional chip was 'easy'-it was getting an injection-molded plastic case for the system that was the main challenge in putting Pong in homes across America.
Alcorn writes, in part: "In 1975 Atari had managed to become dominant in the coin-operated entertainment business and moved on to build video games for the home market. We had to get Pong running on a single chip of silicon so a product could be built at a price a consumer could afford."
"It's a rare and remarkable piece of gaming history originating from the collection of its legendary creator," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
Additional highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak signed 1976 Apple Computer check sold for $163,923.
Steve Jobs signed note to 6-years-old "You are our future" sold for $124,998.
Douglas Engelbart Mouse and Coding Keyset sold for $54.903.
The skeleton of an early Engelbart computer mouse with a signed patent diagram sold for $45,935.
Apple-1 Computer Operation Manual sold for $42,660.
Allan Alcorn original Space Race hand-drawn schematics sold for $37,999.
Steve Jobs signed 1971 High School Yearbook sold for $32,069.
The Steve Jobs Revolution: Engelbart, Atari, and Apple auction by RR Auction began February 14 and concluded March 17