Atari celebrates 40 years of Pong with iOS game, Xbox 360 mod

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Pong, the famed table-tennis arcade game whose mainstream success spawned a burgeoning video game industry celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday. To commemorate the occasion, Atari released Pong World for iOS, and is offering a chance for its Facebook fans to win a pretty neat Atari 2600-skinned Xbox 360 (pictured right), complete with an attached LCD screen.

To enter the contest you'll need to complete an Atari-themed puzzle on one of four participating gaming sites and fill out an entry form on Facebook. Winners will be announced December 4.

The new iOS game being released today is the result of Atari's "Pong Indie Developer Challenge," which pitted developers against each other for a $50,000 prize, and is available free for the iPhone and iPad. Developed by zGames, the game offers a new take on the classic game, with four different environments, new game modes, and features like power ups and "paddle creatures".

Pong was Atari's first consumer product available initially in the form of six-feet tall arcade units, placed in locations around Southern California. The game quickly grew in popularity, with people lining up outside bars before opening hours for a chance to play. It wasn't until 1975 that the home version was released.

Check out BuzzFeed's Chris Stokel-Walker recount of the game's origins  and its meteoric rise for a trip down memory lane -- or a video game history lesson if you're not that old.

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