Daily Almanac for Tuesday, November 29, 2022

On this date in 1972, Pong, a coin-operated video game, debuted. Pong table tennis game. An upright cabinet of Pong on display. 2013 photo. By Chris Rand – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org


Pong is a table tennis–themed twitch arcade sports video game, featuring simple two-dimensional graphics, manufactured by Atari and originally released in 1972. It was one of the earliest arcade video games; it was created by Allan Alcorn as a training exercise assigned to him by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, but Bushnell and Atari co-founder Ted Dabney were surprised by the quality of Alcorn’s work and decided to manufacture the game. Bushnell based the game’s concept on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console. In response, Magnavox later sued Atari for patent infringement.

Pong was the first commercially successful video game, and it helped to establish the video game industry along with the Magnavox Odyssey. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that closely mimicked its gameplay. Eventually, Atari’s competitors released new types of video games that deviated from Pong‘s original format to varying degrees, and this, in turn, led Atari to encourage its staff to move beyond Pong and produce more innovative games themselves.

Atari released several sequels to Pong that built upon the original’s gameplay by adding new features. During the 1975 Christmas season, Atari released a home version of Pong exclusively through Sears retail stores. The home version was also a commercial success and led to numerous clones. The game was remade on numerous home and portable platforms following its release. Pong is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., due to its cultural impact.


Question of the Day

In Homer’s Iliad and Sophocles’ Ajax, who is identified as Ajax’s brother, and what does he do?

His name is Teucer, half brother and faithful comrade of Ajax. Teucer was considered the greatest archer of the Trojan War.

Advice of the Day

To cure insomnia, eat raw onions.

Home Hint of the Day

To remove lead pencil marks from fabric, try rubbing with a clean, soft eraser.

Word of the Day

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s intensity. It is used to estimate a hurricane’s potential impact on coastal areas, including property damage and flooding. Wind speed, measured using a 1-minute average, is the determining factor in the scale.
Category 1: wind speeds 74-95 mph
Category 2: wind speeds 96-110 mph
Category 3: wind speeds 111-130 mph
Category 4: wind speeds 131-155 mph
Category 5: wind speeds over 155 mph

Puzzle of the Day

What is that which when thrown out, you may always catch without hands?

A hint


  • Wendell Phillips (abolitionist crusader) – 1811
  • Morrison Remick Waite (Chief Justice) – 1816
  • Louisa May Alcott (author) – 1832
  • Sir John Ambrose Fleming (physicist) – 1849
  • C. S. Lewis (novelist) – 1898
  • Merle Travis (musician) – 1917
  • Dilhan Eryurt (Turkish astrophysicist) – 1926
  • John Mayall (musician) – 1933
  • Chuck Mangione (musician) – 1940
  • Suzy Chaffee (Olympic skier) – 1946
  • Garry Shandling (comedian) – 1949
  • Joel Coen (director, producer, & writer) – 1954
  • Howie Mandel (comedian, actor, & television host) – 1955
  • Andrew McCarthy (actor) – 1962
  • Don Cheadle (actor) – 1964
  • Anna Faris (actress) – 1976
  • Chadwick Boseman (actor) – 1976


  • Sir Charles Stanley (4th Viscount Monck; first governor-general of Canada) – 1894
  • Natalie Wood (actress) – 1981
  • Cary Grant (actor) – 1986
  • George Harrison (musician; member of The Beatles) – 2001
  • John D. Barrymore (actor) – 2004
  • Wendie Jo Sperber (actress) – 2005


  • Committee of Secret Correspondence organized by 2nd Continental Congress– 1775
  • Fire destroyed much of Maryland Agricultural College, in College Park, Maryland– 1912
  • Richard E. Byrd and pilot Bernt Balchen, in the Floyd Bennett, were first to fly over the South Pole– 1929
  • Doctors Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas performed the first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome– 1944
  • The first helicopter hoist rescue took place, at Penfield Reef, Connecticut– 1945
  • Kukla, Fran and Ollie debuted on television– 1948
  • Enos became the first chimp to orbit Earth– 1961
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy– 1963
  • English was used for the first time during a U.S. Catholic mass– 1964
  • Pong, a coin-operated video game, debuted– 1972
  • Megamouth shark caught off Catalina Island, California– 1984
  • Ensemble of 1,013 cellists played in Kobe, Japan, setting world record– 1998


  • Major Henry Hitchcock, during Sherman’s March, Georgia, wrote: “Weather so warm that I could not wear any cape after 10 a.m. Afternoon perfectly lovely and tonight beautiful starlight: Atmosphere dense and smoke from campfires hangs low.”– 1864
  • Nine inches of snow fell on New York City– 1882

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