Sometimes you don’t have to be the first to come up with a good idea, you just need to be the one who copies it the fastest.
Atari, developer/publisher behind classics like Pong and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, is accusing the developers behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds of doing this exact thing. Atari even went as far as to call PUBG a “carbon copy” of Pong and said that the company is considering taking “legal action” against Bluehole, the development studio for PUBG.
The key designer behind Pong, Mr. Pong, had the following to say about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:
I knew when I made Pong that many people would try to take my creation and reproduce it in as many ways as humanly possibly. However, I was always at peace with this idea, so long as future developers didn’t pull some of our exact mechanics and implement them into their games. I encourage developers to put a spin on Pong, but PUBG blatantly rips almost all of the mechanics from my game and meshes them into its own game, making the final PUBG product basically a carbon copy of my original game.
Mr. Pong says that the most egregious of PUBG’s ripped-off elements is the mechanic of moving a player-controlled object from point A to point B. He points out that in Pong, the player can move up and down, and in Battlegrounds, you can move your player forward and backward, which he says is “basically the same thing.”
Before I made Pong, nobody had ever let people control their own object on the television screen. Sure, we had moving pictures, but you didn’t get a choice of what happens in those. I mean, back in my day, when we used to go to the movies…
Mr. Pong then trails off to talk about how movies, and life in general, were better back in the 70s.
The next rip-off that he cites is the basic idea of a video game in the first place.
In advertisements for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, the designers continually use the term “video game.” But, before I made Pong, there weren’t any video games. Who do they think they are, using that term to refer to their doohickey? Go make up your own word to call your game and quit using mines!
Once again, Mr. Pong trails off during his press release, this time to talk about “kids these days.”
Once he finally gets back to his point in his press release, he drops the bombshell: After reviewing the many similarities between Battlegrounds and Pong presented by fans, Atari is prepared to take “legal action” against Bluehole. Mr. Pong said that he has been in talks with executives at Atari who are eager to do anything at all to make themselves relevant again and change the narrative about their company.
KekRaptor is our semi-regular satire series. You can find more of them here.More About This Game