The Cost to Play Pong?
January 16, 2009 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Arcade filter: How much did it cost to play the original Pong?

How much did it cost to play the original Pong arcade machine back in the early 70s, United States?

Did you get a certain amount of "lives" per coins inserted?
posted by nikkorizz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
25 cents per game
posted by jaimev at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2009

As I recall, it was one "game", whomever reached the target score first won.
posted by nomisxid at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2009

Thanks guys
posted by nikkorizz at 9:30 AM on January 16, 2009

I saw my first Pong game in a Shakey's Pizza Parlor in SoCal around 1973. It had replaced my favorite pinball machine, but in about 3 seconds I had forgotten all about pinball.

It cost 25 cents to play a two-person game. That was a fortune in those days. I worked like I'd never worked before (chores, yard work, dog-walking) to acquire those precious, precious quarters.

Good times.
posted by Aquaman at 9:33 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Related is a great story from the early days of Atari:

The system was tested initially in a small bar in Grass Valley, California and Andy Capp's Tavern, a bar in Sunnyvale, California. After only one day, the game's popularity had grown to the point where people lined up outside Andy Capp's waiting for it to open.

After a while, the unit broke down, and the bar's owner called Al Alcorn at home to have him remove the game. When he opened the unit he discovered the problem - the milk carton placed inside to catch the coins was overflowing with quarters, causing the coin switch to become jammed.

posted by ALongDecember at 9:37 AM on January 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

It was indeed a quarter. I would go to the bank and trade in paper money for rolls of quarters, and feed them into the Pong machine in the entryway of the Arlan's department store in Dearborn, Michigan.

(Yes I know it's already been answered, but how often do I get the chance to share my Pong story?)

posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:47 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing $.25 (Canadian!)....the machine was in the hallway that separated the Miracle Mart strore from Pascal's hardware was enthralling.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:12 AM on January 16, 2009

1 Moroccan Dirham, back in the day when my father took me with him to the café.
posted by zouhair at 2:43 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

(Pong's entry at
posted by blueberry at 3:10 PM on January 16, 2009

The arcade staff raised me part time, so couldn't help but chime in "one wonderful quarter".
posted by Grlnxtdr at 3:49 PM on January 16, 2009

I'm a little intrigued by how much other countries had to pay. If you lived outside of the US during the 70s, feel free to chime in the amount you had to pay to play Pong.
posted by nikkorizz at 8:46 PM on January 16, 2009

$0.20 aussie cents
posted by bystander at 3:09 AM on January 19, 2009

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