Ever spent an afternoon pondering the inherent deficiencies of arcade classic Pong? Ever said to yourself in a flash of inspiration, "What this seminal bat battler really needs is jokes! And dungeons! And a paddle with a moustache!"? If so, congratulations! You are Atari and have just invented Pong Quest, the newly announced "hilarious" dungeon crawling spin on the legendary arcade game, coming to pretty much everything this spring.
Pong Quest – which, as far as I can tell, is the first official new outing for the series since 2012's Pong World – casts players as a "cheerful and adorable" Pong paddle, as it embarks on a vaguely RPG-like adventure to save the world from imminent destruction.
What that amounts to in gameplay terms is a bit of exploratory dungeon roaming – each new area is said to be loosely themed around classic Atari properties, including Asteroids and Centipede – with enemy encounters being resolved through spiced-up Pong battles, with over 50 Pong ball varieties adding "new depths and strategy".
A full single-player adventure is promised, as is a multiplayer battle mode for up to four players (each able to make use of those new Pong balls), and there's even paddle customisation, should you feel the need to adorn your angular protagonist in new clothing and accessories.
It's the Pong modernisation that, I suspect, very few people imagined, or ever really asked for, but, hey, I'm keeping an open mind, and there's definite mileage in the idea of a lighthearted reimagining that aims to freshen up the series' extremely well-worn core – and, to be fair, the enthusiastically upbeat trailer does have a certain zany charm.
We'll know how the whole thing comes together when Pong Quest launches for Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC some time this spring.