In order to satisfy the requirements set forth by Lady Truna for Workshop #1, whereby we delve into the rich and complex world of PONG, I have arranged an 'interview', if you will, with two of the newest generation of gamers. Unlike many of their contemporaries, they have remained relatively un-seduced by the lure of the 21st-Century's hi-def graphics and Attention Deficit Disorder-style gameplay which requires little to no patience, persistence or cunning of any kind.
Thanks to their stepfather (an old-school gamer who served alongside the likes of  Roger Wilco, King Graeme of Daventry and Sonny Bonds of the Lytton City Police Department, and fought in the Quests for Glory in Gloriana), care has been taken to ensure that the siblings both played and respect early, graphically-challenged games.
Of course, they are still products of their time, and so chiefly play Flash games, and games which benefit from the technological improvements common to their time, such as both touch-screen control and motion-control.
Being as yet unacquainted with any games older than those of the early Sierra days, I had them both play through Pong, Tennis for Two, and a few of its variations, and then asked them whether they would permit me to transcribe their response for ludology's sake.
What follows, are the results:

COLBOURNE64: Welcome. Thankyou for your time. I appreciate you two granting me this unique and educational opportunity to, not only witness, but to 'engineer' this metaphorical 'bridge', if you will, between you - the latest generation of gamers, and stretching back into the past, back to the dawn of (real)time - when lives were cheap (about a penny) and the world was fraught with monochromatic danger and peril. When gamers were built of tougher stuff - and would literally line up and willingly lay down their two or three lives in defense of our freedom, against the marauding pixelated alien invaders. When men were men, and women were... well, usually kidnapped by giant 2-dimensional apes.
With you - the 'bricks and mortar', the 'metal' um, 'ingredients', I mean... 'bridge-type supplies', in our project, and with me - the burly and hard-working 'builder', who, little by little, pieces this giant metaphor together, ocassionally pausing to wipe the sweat from his brow with the back of a sinewy tree-trunk-like forearm, and taking off his tight and dusty singlet to wring the man-sweat from within - his muscles bulging and throbbing in the sweltering heat, as ladies look on and fervently hope that later, after coming up with a pathetic excuse to walk past the construction, they will manage to at least warrent a sideways glance - however brief - from the sexy man-beast, and perhaps, dare-they-hope, one day perchance to even illicit a wolf-whistle from him.
In conclusion, with a little bit of luck, today's results will help allow both scientists and designers to build bigger and better metaphorical bridges and structures which will one day reach far away destinations such as the moon or God himself, so we can stand atop them - our legs splayed proudly apart, our heads held high - and proclaim "yes, we have done it. We have built a metaphorical bridge or other such structure which can reach far away destinations such as the moon, or God himself, and now we are truly the masters of the universe."

FAIRYSPICE: Do we have to do this? Did mum say we have to?

COLBOURNE64: Yes, you do. Your mum's not the only boss. I'm an adult also.

HIPPOCANDY: What's a wolf-whistle?

FAIRYSPICE: No you're not. You're not my real dad. Mum's the boss of you too. I don't have to answer your stupid questions.

HIPPOCANDY: When do we make the bridge? I want to go to the moon.

COLBOURNE64: Well she said that I'm in charge and that you do have to answer my stupid questions, or else I'm allowed to take a star off of you young lady, and don't think I won't do it.

HIPPOCANDY: Is mum coming on the bridge?

COLBOURNE64: Sure, she'll meet us there. So are you ready? First up, Hippocandy.

FAIRYSPICE: I want to go first - I'm oldest.

HIPPOCANDY: No, he said me! Go away.

COLBOURNE64: You can go next. Go and clean your teeth and get ready for bed.

FAIRYSPICE: I've already done them.

COLBOURNE64: No you have not!

FAIRYSPICE: I have too!

COLBOURNE64: When did you do them?

FAIRYSPICE: I did them before. When I went to the toilet.

COLBOURNE64: Did you do them for 2 minutes? You're supposed to do them for the whole 2 minutes, you're the one who'll pay the price if you don't do them properly. You'll be the one that everyone laughs at when you teeth rot and fall out, is that what you want? You want to look like your mum's friend Brian?

FAIRYSPICE: I'll do them again. But I already did them.

COLBOURNE64: Great. Then they'll be extra clean. So, Hippocandy, this game is called Tennis for Two, it's from 1958. Take a couple of minutes, and then let me know what you think. And then, FairySpice, it will be your turn.


* From this point the interview is edited for reader sanity - discussions and taunts against the computer ("Nobody does that to me - you're going down! NOOOOOOOO!" etc., have been omitted for brevity and relevance.

COLBOURNE64: So, Tennis For Two... is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: Yes. It is very fun.

COLBOURNE64: Ummmm, WHY is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: 'Cos it's the first game ever made. And it's awesome. I like that there isn't any point to the game.

COLBOURNE64: Why is it not fun?

HIPPOCANDY: It IS fun! I just told you!

COLBOURNE64: Okay... so, what DIDN'T you like about it?

HIPPOCANDY: I don't like the graphics but the sound was good. No way to make the game better except for improving the graphics.

COLBOURNE64: So, next up... PONG. Is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: No. It's a little bit boring.

COLBOURNE64: Huh, really? Why is it not fun?

HIPPOCANDY: This one, you have to move something and then hit a ball and I don't really like that.

COLBOURNE64: Hmmmm, well try these variants.


COLBOURNE64: So, what did you think of 3D Pong? Better?

HIPPOCANDY: No. It's the worst game ever.

COLBOURNE64: Why is it not fun?


COLBOURNE64: Hmmmm. Well put. I think there's something in that for all of us.


COLBOURNE64: Ultra Pong? You like?

HIPPOCANDY: Fun without the slide.

FAIRYSPICE: Yes it was. It was fun with the slide off.

COLBOURNE64: Why is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: Cos you can have more than one ball.

FAIRYSPICE: It was fun 'cos you can like, choose how many palyers you want... and ummm... and you can choose like the background so if you're like good at it you can choose the background to distract other players. Yeah, and you can put more than one ball in... and ummm... yeah.

COLBOURNE64: Was it more fun with two people?


FAIRYSPICE: Yes it is.

COLBOURNE64: Hmmmm, powerful words.

FAIRYSPICE: The graphics were good.

COLBOURNE64: Any bad elements?

FAIRYSPICE: The music was distracting. But I liked it.

COLBOURNE64: Okay, interesting results.

FAIRYSPICE: Good graphics and I want to play it all over again and again and again and again and again and again and again - (*etc.... this continues for some time complete with a kind of elaborate childlike trance involving skipping in circles which they both participated in.)

COLBOURNE64: Okay guys? Guys? Plasma Pong - is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: (*referring to the "interactive solver") I liked the drawing bit.

COLBOURNE64: Why is it fun?

FAIRYSPICE: I liked the music. I liked the graphics and it was very pretty because it was all wavy. Very nice and pretty. I like the sucking thing and I also like that you can shoot it at them.


COLBOURNE64: Battle Pong. Is it fun?

HIPPOCANDY: I don't like this one. It's very complicated.

FAIRYSPICE: I don't like the music. Graphics were okay.

MRS64: Okay kidlets, bedtime. Teeth and pajamas.

COLBOURNE64: Oh, but there's still some questions -

MRS64: Steven, it's already 8:20 - they've got school in the morning.

COLBOURNE64: Fine. I'll just fail my course then.

MRS64: Dominick, bedtime. If you've done your teeth, into bed.

HIPPOCANDY: I'm just getting a glass of water.

MRS64: Honey, can you put the kids to bed?

COLBOURNE64: I'm just getting a glass of bourbon.

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    Steven Colbourne is a carbon-based life-form with opposable thumbs and a fairly advanced respiratory system which removes carbon dioxide and provides oxygen to the blood. He is covered in a layer of protective tissue that scientists refer to as skin. He can not breathe underwater or dislocate his jaw in order for him to swallow meals larger than his mouth.

    He has never been played by two-time Oscar nominee Harvey Keitel.


    May 2010