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Game reset: Pong and the rise of video games, 50 years later

Michael Newman’s research and teaching interests include video games, television and media studies.

How many of you have heard of the video game Pong? Released in 1972, Pong looked like a pixelated version of pingpong. It might seem simplistic now, but 50 years ago, Pong was a smash hit.

The first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, also was released 50 years ago. On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with Michael Newman, a professor of English who also teaches in the Media, Cinema and Digital Studies program in UWM’s College of Letters and Science. Newman is the author of the 2017 book, “Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America,” which covers the arrival of Pong, the early days of video games and the impact of what was then a nascent form of entertainment had on pop culture and discussions around the family dinner table.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee produces the <i>UWM Chancellor’s Report</i> and <i>Curious Campus</i>, a show about science, discovery and culture.