After not feeling entirely fulfilled after his previous oscilloscope pong project, Glen Kleinschmidt decided to go even further and make a version that displays simple color graphics on a video monitor. The trick is that it’s made out of discrete components — 100% IC free. No ATmega328, ATtiny85, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or anything else, just a massive collection of components on display in the video below around 1:00.
The staggering amount of components needed for this relatively simple game is enough to give one even more respect for our computing ancestors, and a greater consideration of just what integrated circuits take care of for us. Even better, the whole thing is documented here — 431 bipolar transistors, six junction field-effect transistors, and 826 silicon diodes — so if you have a few (hundred) hours of time on your hands, you too can build your own discrete Pong game, or be inspired to accomplish something new.
The game itself appears to work well, with a two-player mode controlled by a pair of potentiometer-based paddles, and a one-player mode where the computer never actually looses. The score is displayed on the top, with the first player to 19 declared the winner. Nice bonk sounds are generated when the ball bounces off the walls or paddles, and there’s even a stereo effect for the sound that tracks the ball position.