Atari offers $100K to best Pong app maker

There’s a big prize at stake if you can make a ball bounce between two sides of a screen.

Pong will be turning 40 years old very soon. Let’s just wait a moment and let that sink in. Regardless of how old you are, that has to make you feel a bit dated. The gaming industry is actually reaching its “old age” status.

But as with any 40-year-old, Pong wants to get a little more excitement before it has to face a midlife crisis and then resign itself to a retirement community. The game is looking for a comeback, a re-envisioning of sorts.

So Atari, the company that has always owned the rights to the classic game that is often considered the birth of modern gaming, has unveiled a contest in which app developers can compete for a $100,000 grand prize.

Specifically, developers can submit their own Pong remake for the iPhone and iPad, and a select number of entries will go to an esteemed panel for judging. Among the panel members is Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari (though he no longer works there) who is considered by many to be the father of video games.

In the fine print, it states that the grand prize money will be contingent upon the game being a success in the App Store. Pong is pretty universal and Atari will no doubt create a whirlwind marketing campaing around the winning entry. After all, it wants to play its cards right so that it earns a lot more than $100,000.