Al Alcorn Joins Fellow Atari Legends in Hall


The legendary engineer and computer scientist Al Alcorn was this year inducted into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame alongside the game he helped create (Pong), joining fellow Atarian Nolan Bushnell, who was a part of the inaugural class.

Alcorn began his career at Ampex in 1968 working on a high-resolution video system. It was in 1972 that he started working on Atari with Bushnell. And it was there, of course, that they created Pong, one of the first commercially viable video amusement games.

“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,” said RePlay publisher Eddie Adlum. “The answer, obviously, is Al Alcorn. Under directions from Atari’s founder Bushnell, Al did the board work that created the machine that launched the video game revolution back in 1973.

“Back then, nobody knew the power that Pong would exert on the amusement world, and Nolan had Al put Pong circuitry into such weird things like barrels and call it Barrel Pong. But it was the standard upright cabinet that most folks know, and which pretty much set the standard for all video uprights to come.”


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