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Pong creator: today's devs too risk-averse

Making games used to be "a lot more fun".

The man behind ancient arcade classic Pong reckons that studios today are too afraid to take risks, thanks to the huge budgets involved in modern game development.

Speaking with VentureBeat about how the industry has grown since he made one of the first ever videogames back in 1972, Atari co-founder and Pong programmer Al Alcorn said "It wasn't my intention – I'm surprised as the next guy.

"I think it was a lot more fun when it was just a little thing and there was no expectations," he explained.

"If you look at our games – the earlier games – they were all really wildly different. We tried all kinds of things. It was a great time to experiment. Now, the money is so big, we're afraid to take risks. We took a lot of risks and we had a lot of fun doing it."

When asked if he had any advice for the current generation of developers, he called on them to be a little braver and resist the temptation to rehash existing concepts.

"Boy, I've not been in the videogame business for a long time but I think just in general you've got to take some risks to do new things. We're seeing some of it slowly with the 3D Kinect thing and the Wii.

"If you're trying to compete with what somebody else has already done it's really, really risky to [try and] do better than that. I think people are better off trying a new kind of game, and maybe they'll get lucky."

Allcorn left Atari in 1981 to become a tech consultant in Silicon Valley.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.