Remember Pong? It’s back – and for some reason, it’s now a role-playing game. Taking a break from the perpetually delayed VCS, Atari has now announced Pong Quest, an RPG spin on the beloved (if dated) arcade classic.
Pong Quest will take place in a fantasy land, where instead of your standard turn-based battles, players will face off against opponents by playing Pong. The game will feature a variety of different play modes with fifty special balls, each adding odd gameplay tweaks.
In an effort to marry Pong with a story, the player takes on the role of a sentient paddle. You’ll have the opportunity to customize your “character” with a number of unique outfits. In addition to the game’s singleplayer story mode, there’s also a multiplayer option. Up to four players can challenge each other, making use of the game’s many special balls to make this version of Pong stand out from the past fifty years of similar remakes.
Will Pong Quest actually work?
This whole endeavor feels very tongue-in-cheek, but it’s hard to say how well Pong Quest will work. The idea is cute, but there’s no denying that the simple art style makes the trailer feel like a Newgrounds Flash game from the turn of the century.
However, while the idea of making such a simple arcade game into an RPG might sound ridiculous, there is precedent for this kind of thing. Pong Quest calls to mind titles like Jewel Quest, which applied the glittery gem-based puzzle mechanics popularized by Bejeweled to a roleplaying game framework. Golf Story and Undertale are similar examples of how roleplaying games can work just fine if paired with other genres.
The success of this new game will hang on the execution. Pong‘s core gameplay has remained familiar for a reason, but over decades of experimentation, it’s hard to imagine there’s much that can be done with digital tennis that hasn’t already been achieved.
The real deciding factor in this game’s success will likely be its story. Roleplaying games live and die by their narrative and their characters. If Atari can find a way to make Pong paddles emotive and sympathetic, the game will no doubt find its audience.
It’s too early to pass judgment on Pong Quest just yet, but for fans of quirky roleplaying games, this might prove to be an intriguing twist on one of the most iconic arcade games of all time.