The Tuesday Videos: Record Pong Edition

He’s the Guinness World’s Record champion! He walks up… wait for it… fifteen stairs!

A little Apple remembrance in honor of Steve Jobs. This is the “1984” commercial Apple played during the 1983 Superbowl and at the Keynote that year. Feel free to skip if you’re not a fan. But if you are, it was a big moment, and a nice piece of nostalgia.

Meet Joe Black is a very somber, humorless, and emotionally deadening experience. It needs something fun and exciting to jazz it up and make it worth watching. It needs something like… Pitt Pong!

16 Responses to The Tuesday Videos: Record Pong Edition

  1. We’ve all heard the advice to use your head for solving problems but that first video is just silly. Using your head isn’t supposed to work like that people!
    Say what you want about the issues of Apple products and Steve Jobs but they did make some pretty impressive propaganda, didn’t they?
    The Pitt Pong clip needed a few more cars hitting him to work, it was a bit too repetitive sadly. I suspect there is at least one videogame production team that can make it work though. It seems a little bit like old eighties videogames I have seen before but I don’t feel like doing the research on that one.

        • I had the original Pong console box, (back when videogames were being marketed as date activities) and let me tell you, when that came out, it was the shit. Although I remember my ex-dad not letting me put it on the family TV because he thought I’d break it somehow by attaching it to the antenna inputs. (He didn’t know anything about burn-in, he just thought that the different signal might blow up his TV.)

          • Thought about it, but I’m thinking something single player since the point of the game is to keep bouncing the Pitt-ragdoll. In pong you’re trying to make your enemy stop rallying it, so that doesn’t work so well. I’m thinking trying to steal bounce control of th ragdoll for points each time you bounce the Pitt, or just a single player game where you’re trying to both prevent the Pitt from hitting the ground AND trying to set up special bouncing tricks for bonuses.

  2. I actually saw this performance in a circus a few weeks ago, altough for added difficulty the “stairs” were held on the shoulders of two other guys. Personnaly I rate circus performance on “how much it must have hurt training for it” and I was quite awed by this one ; )

  3. #1 gives me headaches.
    #2: who is out there to stand up against Apple like Apple was “standing up” against IBM?
    #3 I stopped afer a minute – it got boring…

    • #3 I was foolish enough to wait, hoping for a payoff at the end like the after-the-credits vignettes in movies these days. I was wrong.

    • (re #2): Of course at this time Jobs still had an agreement with what turned out to be the real Evil Empire.

      • Google? *dodges thrown rotten produce*
        Yeah, the deal between Apple and Microsoft was pretty hilarious in hindsight.

        • It did keep Apple afloat. There would likely be no Apple today if not for that deal. Also, I’m pretty sure that the “Evil Overlords” of that commercial were supposed to be IBM, not Microsoft.

          • Okay, fair, but Steve Jobs outlined in great detail in that speech why IBM wasn’t really a competitive problem (he may have thought he was explaining why IBM was a problem, which is funny): The personal computing market was already moving fast enough that IBM’s reaction was too little, too late. The world wasn’t on internet time yet but everybody knew that IBM’s ambition was to support the old business and kill the newer and cheaper business developments. They were looking to save R&D money and maximize the sales of higher priced stuff than these four-figure PCs. That sort of thing tripped IBM up with its own foot-dragging and kicked their ass more than Microsoft ever did.
            That said, Apple’s own questionable decisions almost killed Apple before Microsoft destroyed IBM’s PC market. Until the Ipod led them into mass profitability I remember Apple was trying to hold out on slow development and overpriced product which almost destroyed them. In particular they spent ridiculous amounts of money and effort on anti-reverse-engineering kludges to prevent an Apple clone market, which did work to stop the sort of clone business that made the PC market take off. The right way to achieve the same goal was to compete on features and pricepoint so fast that people attempting to reverse-engineer can’t keep up… but neither they nor IBM tried it. Against those problems there were two things that kept them afloat: The well-known one was brand recognition as people who made computers that were less annoying. Until the 2000s the personal computing market was driven almost entirely by price point, feature lists, software compatibility and performance though, so that was only a minor thing. The other thing was, as you mention, the history of secret partnerships with Microsoft–Microsoft kept coming back to buy more and more help from Apple, trying to invent Windows but always Microsofting it up.
            It eventually did all change but in the period from 1997 to 2001 people were seriously predicting the end of Apple and they didn’t stop until significantly after the Ipod hit the market. The Imac was involved in keeping Apple from being forgotten but it wasn’t enough since Apple’s “usability” advantage was blunted: The 1997 official partnership with Microsoft meant that the name brand software that people were buying Apple to use was the same thing as what the cheaper offerings had. Market share left for the cheaper hardware since it was Microsoft Office either way. When the Ipod was first announced it was seen as a dying-effort by a company trying to reclaim market legitimacy after they had slipped well below their historical 8-12% PC market share. In the PC industry press of the time the Ipod was basically ignored or dismissed as lacking features over the competition other than the “vague and uncertain” usability advantages… heh. Nobody in the industry press understood how much “cool” and ease of use market positioning can be worth, or that they were sheltered from giving a crap about this in the PC market by two facts: One was that price point importance was being driven by PCs having these ridiculous 4-figure pricings back before we had another decade of inflation to make a thousand bucks seem worthless. The other was that a huge chunk of PC purchases were by huge companies purchasing huge orders and not giving a crap what their employees wanted, driven by superior pricing and better marketing to large companies than Apple has ever had.
            What’s really funny about the Ipod success is that the Microsoft-fanboy camp were mocking Apple for being late to market and following in Microsoft’s wake making the Xbox and being less ambitious. I’d describe that as daft there since Microsoft was pushing into a hotly competitive console gaming market that had been vicious for over a decade… but that’s Microsoft. Gates’ competitive advantage was eagerness to race to the bottom of the dirty tricks barrel and his only predictive insight was a PC on every desk. Interestingly, Apple took a page from the playbook of the 1984-1995 behaviour of Microsoft by regularly launching new versions of their products every year with some significant new feature to drive sales. They succeeded so well with the Ipod and later the Iphone that Apple has undeniably crawled out of the dustbin of history… at least for now.
            At some point it’s worth talking about how Apple is more competitive in their version of user-hate than Microsoft is. That said, we’re talking about the history of Apple’s many near-death experiences and competition so that’s irrelevant: Microsoft isn’t really their competition today and rarely was over the years.

            Of course all of that is a future progression that nobody imagined in 1983. IBM was still considered insanely huge and powerful at the time I guess, to the point that they had a lot more people trying to clone their stuff than Apple did. IBM never wanted a PC market in the first place so they dragged their feet developing that market. Because of that Microsoft’s freedom to sell their software to anyone they wanted let them sabotage IBM’s clumsy efforts to chill the PC market.
            Overall, I’d say that both IBM and Apple tried their hardest to completely lose at the PC game by failing to care what the market wanted–less overpriced AND better. The main difference was that Apple managed a hail-Mary play to avoid dying and IBM couldn’t be bothered.

  4. 1 – because Guinness needs more incredibly silly records to add to their book after the two fat guys on tiny motorcycles.
    3 – One or two loops would have been more than enough.

    • Okay, at first I agreed with you. But then I just sort of relaxed into it and became mesmerized by the bouncing Brad Pitt. You can’t fight Pitt Pong, you must surrender to it…