Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pong on the Beach Event

Play pong by running around with your cell phone in your pocket
  (+17, -4)(+17, -4)
(+17, -4)
  [vote for,

Four vans park on the beach, each marking a corner of a square. On a trailer parked between two vans a huge screen is erected with a few hundred lightbulbs on it. The classic 70s computer game Pong appears on it. Two cell phone companies play against each other. You can move a 'bat' left or right by running in the direction of either of two vans with the logo of your phone company.

Just by yourself you can't make the bat move fast enough to hit the ball (the representation of the ball on the screen that is). You need help. A dozen or more people with cell phones running _in the same_ direction can make the bat move fast enough to catch the ball. The subscribers of the other brand do the same. But you can slow them down when you run to their side of the field and run in the opposite direction of where they are going. You can't make their bat move, you can only slow their bat down. But be careful, if they hit the ball you have to run *fast* to your side of the field to be back in time to move your bat.

Everyone with a cell phone of either of the two companies can join. If the field is too small for the number of players, the vans drive away from each other to enlarge the square. Inside the vans is the cross-triangulation technology (?) to keep track of the positions of the players and the computer for feedback to the screen.

The vans have an open window where you can switch to the other brand of cellphone if you really want to be in the team with all your friends if they happen to be all subscribed to the same brand. And you can buy new credit, a new phone, a new charged battery and all sorts of goodies. If you're not a subscriber to either of the two companies you can buy a prepaid SIM-card to put in your phone.

Individual players can be motivated to keep playing, by calculating a personal high score for them, based on the time in the field and the accumulated scores in that period. To get this they have to send an SMS to a special screen on the rooftop of the van. Your cell- phone number is then listed on a high-score list with phone- numbers. Everyone can call or send SMS messages to the winner to congratulate, distract, discuss strategies or invite for the next Pong event.

Each new game is announced with SMS messages that also list the previous scores, personalised with the scores for the individual players.

It's up to the phone companies to encourage groups of friends to be on the beach by announcing the event on the phonebill or something. It's about brand loyalty because everyone has a cell phone already (at least here in the Netherlands) and few new subscribers can be found.

Ideally all phone companies join in these games nationally and internationally. On their websites they can each portray their top-players with their high-scores. Maybe even give prices to them, like extra phone credit. Professional Pong players will appear on the scene if the price money is high enough.

Top events with only professional players (one can't join by just running onto the field) can be broadcast on television with camera's on top of each van (or trucks by then). Guinness Book of Records games can also be organised, the highest number of players successfully playing for an x-number of minutes without missing the ball.

rrr, Aug 25 2002

Pong on a building in Berlin http://www.blinkenl...interactive.en.html
call to play Pong with the room lights in a high-rise building [rrr, Aug 25 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Pong to the edge of the universe http://www.madblast...oska/humor_pong.swf
Funny epic version in Flash about two Pong players [rrr, Aug 25 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

World's smallest Pong game http://www.guimp.com/pong_flash.html
play Pong with a few pixels and your cursor-keys (in Flash) [rrr, Aug 25 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

positioning technology based on 802.11 http://zdnet.com.co...02-1105-962587.html
Or with Wi-Fi equipment instead of GSM [rrr, Oct 20 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

NewsBreaker Live - interactive cinema game http://www.youtube....watch?v=y6izXII54Qc
Sort of baked, but with a crowd in a movie theater and it is not pong and no mobile phones, but just waving hands and bodies. [rrr, May 27 2007]


       ºº| Player 1 |ATARI ® PONG|Player 2|º²


thumbwax, Aug 25 2002

       At last, a sport for the digital age.
DrCurry, Aug 25 2002

       "Pong to the edge of the universe" is great.
bristolz, Aug 25 2002

       'wax, that's a thing of beauty.   

       I didn't read the idea, though. Should I vote for it?
waugsqueke, Aug 26 2002

       It's an interesting concept. I don't think people are *that* loyal to their phone companies though.
madradish, Aug 26 2002

       So...cells come standard with a means to cheaply accurately triangulate the position of a specific user, even in a large crowd of users? Uh oh.
nick_n_uit, Aug 27 2002

       // pong to the edge of the universe //   

       Proof positive that God does not play dice. He plays Pong!
RayfordSteele, Aug 27 2002

       Yes nick_n_uit, with current GSM technology you can determine the position of a cellphone accurately on a few hundred meters. With antennas around the field it should be possible to be more precise. You don't have to calculate the exact location of each phone, you just cut up the field in a matrix and count the density of phones of either company in each square.
rrr, Aug 28 2002

       Gotta admit, just read the idea, and I love it. Completely melds sport with a video game. Plus, its a very popular video game (was). Definitely like the idea of makeing it into a business loyalty thing. Interesting......very Interesting.
dashingshags, Dec 21 2003


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