From Wimbledon and Pong to Capriati and the Casino

Portrait of beautiful woman playing tennis indoor. Isolated on black.

Tennis has long been a favorite for both video game and online slot developers. The first ever video games were loosely based on tennis and Playtech’s Tennis Stars is one of the most popular online slots at this time of year.

The First Video Game?

If you thought Pong (more on that in a minute) was the world’s first video game, you were wrong. In 1958 – fourteen years before Pong pinged into life – nuclear physicist William Higinbotham devised a game called Tennis for Two that was played on a cathode ray tube oscilloscope.

A short vertical line represented the net and a dot of light sailed across the screen, controlled by a metal box with a dial and a button. Although crude, it was the first time that people could interact and compete using computer generated visuals.

The game’s creator never patented his game. He had no idea it would be the precursor to a multi-billion dollar gaming industry.

Pong Smells

It’s one of the world’s most iconic video games. Two paddles are moved up and down vertically, to try and keep a bouncing ball in play. The ‘tennis’ game first appeared on the Magnavox Odyssey gaming console in 1972 but it was Atari founder Nolan Bushnell who developed the Pong brand and took the game to the next level.

He commissioned the first arcade video game console containing Pong. The game prototype was tested in a neighbourhood bar and the coin box was soon overflowing. It was clearly destined to be a hit and the era of arcade video games began.

Three years after making the arcade version, Atari developed a home console version. Magnavox claimed the patent in court and Bushnell and Atari conceded, becoming Magnavox’s first licensee.

Tennis Gets Served Up

Post Pong, tennis video games continued to evolve. As home gaming systems proliferated in the 1990s, several tennis superstars put their names to video games. Andre Agassi, Jimmy Conners, and Jennifer Capriati all signed up for a video game license.

Nintendo’s Mario Tennis was a big hit. The game play was realistic despite the cartoon characters. In 2006, the Wii console promised to deliver the perfect translation of tennis. In the end, flat screen television manufacturers were the ones rubbing their hands together.

Tennis at the Casino

Online casino software developers are always looking for a new theme. From football and golf to hunting and tennis – it’s all fair game for the creative programmer. Over the years, there have been a handful of tennis games developed for online casinos.

By far the most popular tennis-themed online slot is Playtech’s brilliant Tennis Stars. The five reel game has 40 paylines, as well as a bonus round where you actually play video tennis to earn your bonus. Ace your opponent and you cash in.

Game, Set, and Match

Finally, Wimbledon is a great opportunity to discover a few match winning bonuses of your own. At Casino.com, for example, the casino is offering daily bonuses and rewards for the duration of the world famous tournament. You may not be able to get a seat in centre court but you can enjoy some extra cream with your strawberries here. Enjoy.

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