Executive Games: on time and technology

I have been eBay free for two weeks now, something I am glad I finally accomplished (after some time). Back in December, however, I thought that purchasing another video game console was a nice Christmas gift to myself: I have been ogling over one of the earliest home video game consoles created, and I decided that it would be a nice addition to my collection. It was Executive Games’ Television Tennis. It was an extremely simple game of tennis, much like Atari’s Pong: all one had to do was to bounce a ball off two paddles and keep it in play as long as possible. Executive Games had a short run of creating electronic games, but it was a fruitful run, and they were able to produce one of the earliest home video games consoles, so kudos to them.

This is the game.

This is the game.

I could not help but wonder, however, how more patient the people were back then than the people of today. I mean, they were able to play a game like that for hours at a time. I guess it was merely the novelty of it all, but it just seems they had more tolerance for a game like that than we do today. Thirty-five years has done a whole lot for technology, and Television Tennis just reminded me of that. I think it was probably the novelty, though. After all, once the Atari 2600 came out similar games like Pong were quickly phased out.

Back then, I guess the people assumed they were at the cutting-edge of technology when they had a Pong game in their homes. But time and technology, just like humanity, are fickle beings. Right now, I enjoy playing on that console, but only for 15 minutes at a time. One can only go so far with volleying an electronic ball. I appreciate the effort, however, and I appreciate its existence as a historical landmark in the evolution of games.

It also reminds me to stop wasting my money on eBay.

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24 Responses to “Executive Games: on time and technology”

  1. Baka-Raptor Says:

    If you can afford all these ridiculous games, you can afford Opal Mehta.

  2. Michael Says:

    But that’s going to be your birthday gift to me!

    My birthday’s next month! ๐Ÿ™

    You promised! ;A;

  3. Ryan A Says:

    I am just not sure how people did it back then.

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  5. Angelus Says:

    As one of “the people back then”, I found the things fascinating, but that was mainly because of my computing and electronics background. Yes, they may have sold a lot of them, but I doubt that they got much use after the first few weeks.

  6. Michael Says:

    Ryan A:

    I’m waiting for Angelus’s answer, LOL.

    Angelus:

    So it is the same back then and today? Well, they were able to sell (~)65,000 units, which may not be a lot especially when compared to even just the Atari 2600, but notable enough especially for a small company. I was just thinking that people back then must have been pretty patient if they could play a game like that for hours. What was your experience? People still got bored of it quickly?

    Thanks for the comments.

  7. Angelus Says:

    I didn’t get bored, but that was only because I’ve always been a techno freak ๐Ÿ˜‰ Most of my friends would play a couple of games and that was it.

    As soon as Space Invaders came out, though, Television Tennis was pretty much consigned to the garbage bin of history. Except for this version, of course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWY0Q_lMFfw

  8. Michael Says:

    Angelus:

    I’m impressed. Actually, the first video game I bought from eBay was Space Invaders. That was sometime in 1978 or 1979, right? Wasn’t the Television Tennis already doomed when the Atari VCS came out?

    I’m glad someone else also appreciates the history of gaming (and watches anime as well)!

  9. Angelus Says:

    Television Tennis was pretty much doomed right from the start. Once people got over the initial excitement, that was it. Like the Clairol Foot Spa and countless other inventions.

    As for the history of gaming in general, appreciate it? I paid for it! A game of Space Invaders cost twice as much as a game of pinball :p

    I was totally loyal to Space Invaders, though. Until Galaxian, of course…

  10. Michael Says:

    I am SO impressed. ๐Ÿ˜€

    You bought the damn thing!? Ahahahaha.

    Wow.

  11. Angelus Says:

    I would have liked to have bought one, but I was just a poor student at the time ๐Ÿ™ I was comparing the cost of playing the games.

  12. Michael Says:

    Ah. At the time, though, Television Tennis was the cheapest among them. Whereas Pong was at 80-90 dollars, TV Tennis was only at $60, and this was when the color stuff went from 120-200 USD. I imagine that 60 dollars at the time was still a lot of cash, though. Adjusting for inflation, it will still be a decently expensive game. You’re right: it was still going to be expensive.

  13. Angelus Says:

    In order to play Television Tennis, you needed to have a television ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t forget this is also the technological backwater called the UK, where I spent my early childhood watching a TV with one channel.

  14. Michael Says:

    I didn’t expect UK to be ‘backwaters,’ so that’s really surprising. I live in the Philippines, and here is where it’s as backwater as it can get (excepting Zimbabwe and other African countries). One channel!? Time really changed …

    And I thought UK was always forward and progressive. It’s just surprising, that’s all.

  15. Angelus Says:

    Well, I have hundreds of channels now, but 50 years ago it was very different – although admittedly that was mainly because of the economic conditions and excessive state control of broadcasting, rather than lack of technology. My parents bought their first television to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and half the street crammed into their house to watch it!

  16. donaven Says:

    ok i have one of those and i’m wanting to sell it and i don’t know how much to sell it for.. how much did you buy it for????

  17. Michael Says:

    donaven:

    15 dollars. If you have a Super Micro I’m interested as well. ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. donaven Says:

    ah ok well i only got the one on the pic. witch i got it form my dad and he dose not have any other. i was shocked to see that it look bran new… like it was never played.would that make it worth more??? ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks again

  19. Michael Says:

    Maybe a little bit. But it’s not really that rare, and in the end it’s just another Pong console. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. donaven Says:

    oh ok thanks again. i got the info i needed to know thanks

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  23. Bob Says:

    This was my first video game console. I want to say we got it in 1976. This was better than some consoles – the controllers were better and you could play two-player or against the computer. Actually, one of the fun things to do was set the console to play against the console. Voila! The first screen saver!

    Think about how many people spend time goofing around with lame games on Facebook that aren’t much more impressive than Pong or little “apps” on the iPhone that – in the clear light of day – really don’t seem like they’re worth $1.99. Like a lot of Christmas toys – then and now – the console was cool the day I got it, but the blush faded pretty quickly. I think I played it a lot the first few weeks and then I didn’t play it often unless someone came over and we were bored. By the time my brother got an Atari a couple of years later, this game had been unused in the corner for a long time.

  24. Michael Says:

    Hi Bob! Thanks for the comment. I’ve seen it act as a screen saver, hah.

    And I know what you’re talking about. That’s why I don’t purchase any of those games, because they simply fade into oblivion. But this was a part of history I was not exposed to, and wanted to experience personally – and I did. I’d like to play it again soon.

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